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 451 - 500 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Rose negro woman Slave March 14, 1846 at Michael Longs Homicide
W. Brooker Toney August 12, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide pistol
Robert Parks September 27, 1894 at Parkville Homicide lick
Green negro boy July 23, 1850 at the house of John Cheatham Homicide knife
Joseph W. Glover September 2, 1844 at Charles Comptys[?] Hotel Homicide
Warren Kirkland November 16, 1858 at Benjamin Bartons Homicide
Lewis Bartie July 26, 1864 at Mount Zion Church Homicide shotgun
Margaret Simpkins September 21, 1879 on Jas C Brooks Plantation Homicide shotgun
Andrew Trapp December 4, 1869 near Trapps Mills Homicide knife
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
Harry slave December 25, 1858 at Col Arthur Sinkins[?] Homicide knife
Joshua Hammond Jr. September 6, 1849 at a place belonging to John Bauskett[?] on little horse creek Homicide fence rail
Thomas Styson June 22, 1856 at R. M. Fullers Homicide hoe
John Butler October 23, 1850 at the House of Mr Seth Butler Homicide knife
Joseph Riddle April 10, 1856 at Hamburg Homicide
J. H. Christian July 21, 1856 in the village of Edgefield in Room No 11, in B. J. Ryans Hotel Homicide pistol
Scipio slave April 1, 1862 at E. J. Youngbloods Homicide hatchet
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
Henry Burt June 21, 1895 at Henry Burts Homicide knife
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Richmond slave March 3, 1857 at V[?] Elbert Blands residence at Edgefield Court House Homicide
Julia Van June 20, 1892 at the plantation of Mr Joe Thurmond Homicide
Clara Bell colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
James Bledsoe May 15, 1893 at Dr D.P. Lalsrones[?] Residence Homicide pistol
Britton McClendon November 11, 1850 near the residence of Henry C. Turner Homicide large hunting knife
Andy Padgett July 5, 1891 near Ridge Spring Homicide knife
Jno. C Swearingin April 24, 1895 at Edgefield CH Homicide
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Namro negro man August 11, 1844 at the house of Rob King Esqr Homicide club or stick
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Keal Johnson colourd man October 20, 1866 at J.M. Proctors Residence Homicide pistol
Harry slave May 20, 1863 at Jesse Gomellions Homicide knife
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
George Watkins October 10, 1866 at George Watkins Homicide
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
Wesley Weaver[?] June 15, 1858 at Mrs Lydia Nevus[?] Suicide shotgun
Basil M. Boone November 4, 1855 at the residence of Daniel Boone Suicide rifle
Aron slave, boy June 15, 1862 near the White house Suicide vine
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
Lovina negroe girl, a slave September 4, 1860 at Doct H M Folks[Faulk?] Suicide
Nancy Slave June 19, 1847 at the house of Mrs G. Rily's Suicide
Sarah Scurry September 28, 1844 at the House of Sarah Scurry Suicide
James Miller March 29, 1847 at the house of James Miller Suicide rope
Blassingame Wise April 27, 1848 at or near the Negro quarter of Mrs Wiley Glover, on Savannah River Suicide
Lizzie Carson January 29, 1892 at John J Carson Coleman Township Suicide pistol
John Crawford June 25, 1853 at the house of John Crawford Suicide pocket knife
Darling Willis March 4, 1859 at Wade Holeston warter Suicide pistol
William L. Russell September 6, 1849 in the Hotel of H Jordon Suicide razor

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