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 301 - 350 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Hartwell Roper June 17, 1869 at the residence of Rev. J.P. Mealing Natural Causes
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
infant infant May 5, 1893 at F. L. Foys Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol

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