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
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun

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