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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
white man white man October 21, 1849 in the woods near Holsonbakers[?] old fields Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Dilsey Seigler September 20, 1869 at Miles Mills Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide

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