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
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife

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