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 151 - 200 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
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
infant infant January 10, 1898 at Johnston Homicide
Prince slave January 15, 1865 at John Seiglers Homicide knife
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares 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
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
William negro man, boy, slave February 13, 1849 at R. F. Barretts Homicide knife
Isaac Boseley July 5, 1880 at Ridge Spring Homicide pistol
Baze negro slave March 31, 1863 at the D. J. Howls Homicide chop axe
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
John M. Tillman May 6, 1860 at Mr J.A Tillmans Steam Mill Homicide
Willie Toney March 26, 1899 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
infant, (male) infant, (male) April 29, 1857 at Potterville Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
William Bailey July 19, 1846 at the House of Samuel C Scott Homicide
Charley Ryan May 9, 1892 at T. H. Ramsford Plantion Homicide
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings Residence Homicide hoe
Richard Lundy December 7, 1891 at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Eugene McCarty May 11, 1861 at Edgefield Court house Homicide pistol
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Flora Harrison November 4, 1890 at Liberty Hill Homicide
Nelson Smith freedman, boy October 4, 1866 at Andrew Warts Homicide
Gus Blocker August 18, 1892 at the plantion of July Blocker Homicide
Moses Blalock May 19, 1882 on the Plantation of W G McDavid Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide

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