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
Elijah Reynolds April 11, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide pistol
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Jim negro boy July 23, 1855 at Wade Holsteens Homicide knife
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Elick Youngblood child March 21, 1881 at S[?] R Warren Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Lee Ryan September 27, 1877 at the plantation of Abram F Broadwater Homicide iron instrument
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Aaron slave December 3, 1851 at the house of Larkin Swearinghim Homicide cow hide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Yancy Hardy December 31, 1877 at Dr. GJ[?] Butlers Plantation Homicide pistol
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Peter negro man June 16, 1838 at a Mr. Azariah[?] Abneys Homicide stick
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol

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