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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide

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