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 151 - 200 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor

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