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 401 - 450 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
John Agner December 26, 1883 at Mr. John Agner's Homicide knife
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife

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