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
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
John Brown December 20, 1844 at the house of John Brown Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Wade Barronton October 8, 1860 at Wade Barrontons Residence Natural Causes
infant child infant child September 9, 1891 at Wards Natural Causes
Victor male slave April 24, 1859 at A. L. Dearing Plantation Natural Causes
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Abram slave October 8, 1860 at the Residence of H. B. Raborns Natural Causes
Rose three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
infant infant March 24, 1892 at Pinksville Homicide
Prophet Burt freedman December 29, 1866 at E.N. Troys Homicide knife
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek 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
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Peter White March 11, 1898 at Jacob White upon the Plantation Silvester Chipley Homicide
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Mahlon Jones December 25, 1891 at Landrams Farm Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
Albert Jones April 29, 1885 at Pickens Reynolds house Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Henry male slave July 15, 1858 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide hickory stick
Joe Weston January 31, 1895 in Edgefield County Homicide
Henry Turner September 24, 1878 at Johnstons Homicide
Luther Sullivan October 26, 1898 near John Stuarts Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Presley Wise July 11, 1891 at D W. Padgetts plantation Homicide
Edmund Brown December 24, 1853 at the house of Wm Merchantile[?] Homicide
Sindy Brighthop August 21, 1898 on S.W. Gardners place Homicide
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Charles slave, boy September 25, 1861 at Elijah Watson Homicide
Harry Anderson December 16, 1882 at Clinton Ward Homicide pistol
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Henry Mobley December 11, 1899 at Johnston Homicide pistol
John E. Elsmore November 28, 1869 at the house of John E. Elsmore Homicide pistol
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide

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