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
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Mary Gillam January 1, 1891 at Mrs Francis Wrights Plantation Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Matt Loyd February 24, 1891 at Mr. Carmal cemetary near the Old Wills Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Thomas Prince July 31, 1848 at the Joal of Said District Natural Causes
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank

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