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
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns 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
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide

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