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
Ben Shubrick col December 24, 1869 at Negro heade Lane Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Tephius[?] Cornwall January 14, 1845 on one of the Public Streets of the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Richard Stevens February 21, 1898 at Johnston S.C. Natural Causes
Amanda Glover August 30, 1892 at Mr Pofse[?] Lotts Plantation Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Ben Lowman September 14, 1894 at W.[?] L. Rawls Mills Homicide pistol
Edmond Sharpton December 20, 1866 at the House of Mrs J.P. Brewer Homicide pistol
Thomas O'Donald September 13, 1869 at Dr. John E. Padgetts Homicide pistol
Prince negro boy December 23, 1849 at Thos G. Lamars Mills on little horse creek Homicide knife
Hammond Frasier November 6, 1897 at Trenton S.C. Homicide pistol
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
John McKinny September 26, 1894 at W P. Lipfords[?] Homicide
Alice Adkinson October 18, 1898 at Republican Church Homicide
William Thurmond February 14, 1856 at Edgefield Court House, Planters[?] Hotel Homicide chair
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Arthur Morris June 20, 1898 at M. W Clarks Homicide pistol
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Dave Parkman December 16, 1897 at Cheatham place Homicide pistol
Eldred Glover March 2, 1852 at the house of John Doby Homicide pistol
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Lizzy three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide axe
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
Griff Zimmerman October 9, 1899 at Johnston Township Homicide pistol
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
John Laudrum October 11, 1869 at Dons Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
infant child infant child December 14, 1877 at Dr. K N Hudsons plantation Homicide
Jim McKie October 26, 1898 near John starks Homicide
Isham Glover August 10, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Allen Smith Freedman January 19, 1867 at S.B. Chappells Residence Homicide pistol
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
male baby male baby May 24, 1891 at the Saluda River Homicide
Rufus Harling September 16, 1897 at Clarks Hill Homicide
Matilda H. Posey February 26, 1849 at the house of Martin Posey Homicide stick
Al White October 12, 1898 at Mundy[?] Place Homicide
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
Louisa Laudon October 11, 1869 at Dorns Steam Mills near Rocky Creek Homicide knife
Randal negro man May 9, 1844 at Grancis Bettis's plantation on Horns Creek Homicide cow skin
George Ross June 29, 1898 at Adoms[?] place Homicide

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