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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
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
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe

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