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
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Kisiah Frazier December 17, 1893 at the plantation of T S Rainsforde Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Harriet negro woman July 20, 1859 at the residence of JB Rease Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston 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
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
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
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide

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