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
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Carey Ashley October 11, 1879 at J W Wises[?] plantation Homicide pistol
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
John Webb March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Thomas Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville 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
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053
  • admin@ehistory.org

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory

Supporters

+ American Council of Learned Societies
+ DigiLab, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia