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
Bettie Willis March 24, 1892 at the Croker place the home of Miss Bettie Willis Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Caroline Coleman July 25, 1893 at Brisel[?] Blacks Residence Natural Causes
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Levi H. McDaniel March 9, 1859 at or near the 17 mile Post on the Scotts Ferry Road Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Willie G. Harris March 25, 1897 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
John Williams August 21, 1898 at S H Nicholson Homicide stick
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
infant child infant child April 14, 1895 at Charley Moors Homicide
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
John Henry King October 29, 1865 in Hamburg Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Henry Parks September 14, 1895 at Parksville Homicide

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