Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262
Enslaved population (1850): 22,725
Percent slave: 58%
Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524
Date range: 1829-1899
Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol

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