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
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Benjamin F. Jones March 24, 1845 at W B Griffins Homicide shotgun
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide

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