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
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Stanmore B. Chappell January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol

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