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
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Tom negro boy February 5, 1853 at the late residence of Col Harling Quarles[?] deceased Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Robert Neid free man of Colour August 26, 1847 at Vaudun[?] Factory Homicide dirk knife
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Jacob Horn February 25, 1866 at the hous of Jacob Horns Homicide
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
Johnson Peterson March 9, 1892 at Deny[?] S.C. Homicide pistol
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide

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