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
Isaac Jones July 1, 1881 at Ridge Spring Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
William Samuel April 26, 1891 at Scima[?] Hill Church Homicide
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Daniel slave, boy May 27, 1862 at John H. Fair Homicide shotgun
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Teague Tillman October 2, 1899 at the plantation of Thos. H. Ramsford Homicide pistol
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Mary Randall October 19, 1857 at the Residence of John Randall Homicide razor
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
William Padgett February 22, 1894 at W.D. Readys plantation Homicide
Lucious Perry November 8, 1891 at the plantation of Ben Boatwright Homicide
Isaah Golden August 27, 1860 at Silverton Beach iland Homicide knife
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Ann Kimball September 4, 1895 at China grove church Homicide
William Cloud July 8, 1851 at the Spaun[?] Hotel Homicide pistol
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Lula Smith child June 22, 1894 at James A Satcher's Plantation Homicide
Alfred Hollingsworth October 10, 1898 at David Strothers place Homicide razor
Bill King August 9, 1881 at H C Kings 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
William Martin May 24, 1891 on the premises of W. E. Friday Homicide pistol
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Aaron slave December 5, 1852 at A. Bushnells Shop Homicide chisel
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Joe slave, boy September 13, 1860 at the residence of D. M. Glover Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Pink Williams October 6, 1898 at or near Mr E.F. Pickles residence Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Stephen Stalmaker August 30, 1850 at J.M.C. Freeland's Homicide plank
Eunice Hogan October 26, 1851 at the house of John Briskey Homicide
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide

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