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
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife

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