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
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
infant male child infant male child January 3, 1894 in Edgefield County Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Julia Banks September 4, 1891 at Mr Banks Plantation Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide

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