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 351 - 400 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
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
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide

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