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 101 - 150 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort ascending Death Method
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Charles M. Creswell August 5, 1869 at Edgefield CH Homicide
James Ramsey December 12, 1869 at the residence of Andrew Ramsay Sr Homicide pistol
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Dave Gillam August 25, 1892 at the house of Cal Smiths Homicide
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
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
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide
Bridgett Etheridge June 26, 1893 at John Etheridges Residence 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
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Isaac Matthias Jones October 14, 1858 at the house of Lewis Jones (Sr) at Edgefield C.H. Homicide knife
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
John E. Paul June 14, 1892 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
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
J. D. Ouzts December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Homicide pistol
Michael Long April 17, 1849 at the house of Michael Long Homicide shotgun
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide

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