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
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
infant Boy infant Boy October 29, 1894 at [?] Coleman Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
William M. Tredaway March 27, 1851 at the house of William M Tredaway at Beach Island Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick

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