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
William Anderson April 14, 1864 at the plantation of T.[?] S Boles Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
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
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair

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