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 51 - 100 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
Lewis negro man, boy March 14, 1861 at Charles Hammonds Brickyard Homicide pistol
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Wilson Griffin freedman February 13, 1867 at Luke Rodgers Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
Frank Holson freedman January 9, 1867 at Lee Holson Homicide pistol
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
Lewis Moore November 30, 1891 at the plantation of Robert Smith Homicide pocket knife
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
Charles Cobb March 13, 1893 at or near Johnston Homicide umbrella
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Wesley male slave, child October 5, 1857 at the residence of Sophia A Tilman Homicide
Allen Holmes March 4, 1882 at Oscar Seigler Residence Homicide
Sam Howard Freedman August 6, 1866 at L. L. Halls Homicide knife
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
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Andrew slave September 3, 1850 at A.P. Butlers plantation Homicide rail
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence Homicide hoe
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Samuel Posey October 21, 1860 at P. B. McDaniels Homicide pistol
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Jesse Weatherford September 4, 1849 at the plantation of Mrs R Blaylock Homicide shotgun
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun

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