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
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide

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