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
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs 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 Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
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
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide

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