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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Augustus W. Burt March 25, 1847 at the Plantation of A.W. Burt Homicide axe
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Henry Padget freedman November 14, 1866 at Wm Padgets premises on Clouds Creek Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Sarah Jowls[?] November 16, 1858 at Mrs Mary Ann Keys Suicide rope
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Samuel M. Dowel July 25, 1844 at James Murrels Suicide knife
Aron slave, boy June 15, 1862 near the White house Suicide vine
Joshua Miller December 22, 1851 at Joshua Millers Suicide shotgun
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
E. M. Whatley August 31, 1893 at E M Whatley's Suicide
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Prince negro man October 27, 1844 at Mrs Elizabeth Timmermans Suicide
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide rope
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol

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