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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman 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
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
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
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
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
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
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins 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
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Violet negro woman (slave) March 25, 1844 at John Dinkinses Suicide
Lizzie Carson January 29, 1892 at John J Carson Coleman Township Suicide pistol
Aron slave, boy June 15, 1862 near the White house Suicide vine
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
Basil M. Boone November 4, 1855 at the residence of Daniel Boone Suicide rifle
M. Emmitt Bryant June 25, 1891 at the Residence of Mrs Caterim[?] Bryants Suicide rope
Jacob Long Jr. December 19, 1848 at Jacob Longs Suicide razor
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide rope
John Crawford June 25, 1853 at the house of John Crawford Suicide pocket knife
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol

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