My Edwards Ancestors

Abel Edwards

The progenitor of my line of Edwards is Abel Edwards born around 1742 +/- ?.

Abel Edwards and Polly Potts Edwards when married lived in Louden County Virginia according to one source. A 1771 tithing table. If this tithe table entry is indeed my Abel and Polly then this would be the earliest that Abel and Polly can be found. There is some interesting research being done by distant cousins that go farther back in the New Jersey area but nothing concrete as of yet.

Few documented facts are known concerning Abel Edwards. Some of the facts are as follows:

1st Fact. Abel was in Louden County Virginia in 1771.

2nd Fact. Abel was married to a woman widely known as Polly Potts.

3rd Fact. Abel was in Franklin County Virginia in 1783. He purchased land off of both sides of Snow Creek.

4th Fact. Abel migrated from Franklin County Virginia to Sullivan County North Carolina in 1789. Land purchased on the south side of the Holston River.

5th Fact. Abel sold two tracts of land in 1798 and then again in 1807 to his son in law Littleberry Sams.

6th Fact. Abel Edwards born 1742 died September 16th, 1827 in Unicoi County Tennessee aged 85 years. Mary Edwards born 1745 died August 19, 1827 in Unicoi County Tennessee aged 82 years.

Many assumptions are made with where Abel was prior to 1771:

1st assumption is his birth date. For many decades Abel and Polly’s birth and death date varied from family historian to another. I was not until 2014 when I Cousin R. found Abel and Polly’s death dates in the Indian Creek Church in Unicoi County Tennessee.Every researcher has a different theory. The primary source that is used for the date of birth was located within the Edwards Bible where is is now located within the museum at the Mars Hill NC College in Mars Hill NC. In this bible it is written that Abel and Polly’s first child was born in 1772. At this time in my early research I assumed that Abel was in his late 20’s or early thirties which is where I come up with the birth year of 1739+/-. Death record of our Abel and Polly (Mary). Abel was born in 1742 and Polly was born in 1745.

2nd assumption is his first or given name. All researchers of this Edwards line of Abel and Polly can share their frustrations at the use of the first name of John when referring to Abel of Abel and Polly. There only two early sources of our Abel that married Polly Potts and that is the previously mentioned tithing table of 1771 and tax records of Henry County Virginia in the 1780’s. In each of these sources the name of Abel is used and I am not aware of one source that uses the name of John.

3rd assumption is that Polly Potts was named Polly. Polly is a nick name for Mary in many families. In many researchers records they have Abel Edwards marrying Mary Potts.

4th assumption is that Abel and Polly are buried within Sullivan County Tennessee where they purchased land in the 1780’s. A few years back a Edwards Cousin who is well known for his work on the history of Abel and Polly found a church minutes entry which firmly places the death date of Abel and Polly as 1827. This church was located in Erwin Tennessee. Even now it is tempting to assume that Abel Edwards and Polly Potts were buried near Erwin Tennessee. This can’t be assumed because they still had children and grandchildren living in Sullivan County Tennessee.

5th – Last and most dangerous assumption. That Abel Edwards is descended from the supposed Edwards who might have purchased the original land in Manhattan New York where Trinity Church is today. I am not going to give this any of my time. I have read my share of this story. It is a great story but without proof (there is no proof) it is not worth sharing my views here. I will leave it to you the reader to read to your hearts content. Edwards Heirs and Edwards Fortune.

Abel Edwards married Polly Potts and my descendancy is as follows:

Abel Edwards and Polly Potts children:

Note: Refer to my books at the end of this page for specific information on each of the children of Abel and Polly.

  1. John Edwards 1772
  2. Thomas Edwards 1774
  3. Nancy Edwards 1777
  4. Owen Edwards 1779
  5. Joshua Edwards 1781 (My 4th Great Grandfather)
  6. Abel Edwards 1783
  7. Arthur Jethan Edwards 1786

Joshua – 4th Great Grandfather

Joshua Edwards was my fourth great grandfather, and was born on August 11, 1781 and died on March 18, 1859.

Joshua married Nancy Ervin on September 30, 1802.

The children of Joshua and Nancy:

  1. Samuel 1803
  2. Owen 1806 – My 3rd Great Grandfather
  3. Abel 1809
  4. Mary Polly 1811
  5. Drucilla 1813
  6. Matilda 1813
  7. Ethelbert 1817
  8. Eldridge 1819
  9. Margaret 1827
  10. Elkaney 1832

With all of the names and histories that I have worked with throughout these years of researching I find my Fourth Great Grandfather Joshua Edwards the most interesting and intriguing.

I guess I am slightly biased because Joshua Edwards is of my direct line, but for the most part I feel most interested in his life because he wasn’t the average farmer like most of my/our other direct line
ancestors and their descendants.

In the book, “SKETCHES OF TENNESSEE’S PIONEER BAPTIST PREACHERS” it was written, “He (Joshua Edwards) was chiefly instrumental in building a house of worship for this newly constituted church (Holston Baptist Church), holding church services in his own house till the meeting-house was ready for use.”
From most of the known records, Joshua Edwards was a man who pursued religion through out his whole life.


-1781: Joshua Edwards born
-1800: Joshua Edwards converted and Baptized by Jonathan
Mulkey, Carter County Tennessee.

-1802, April 3: Joshua Edwards mentioned in Cherokee Church minutes, Carter County Tennessee and also from a eulogy from the Holston Baptist Association. Current Church’s website.
-1802, September 30: Joshua Edwards married first wife Nancy Erwin/Ervin.
-1803 : Joshua Edwards mentioned as member of Sinking
Creek Church
, Carter County Tennessee.
-1804, August 4: Joshua Edwards mentioned as witness,
Washington County Tennessee.
-1807, October 30: Joshua Edwards, wife and wives sister
Ervin mentioned in Cherokee Church minutes, Carter County Tennessee.
-1807, December 29: Joshua Edwards witness to deed between Abel Edwards(husband to Polly Potts) and son in law Littleberry Sams.
-1809: Joshua Edwards mentioned in deed, Sullivan County Deed.
-1809, November 26: Joshua Edwards mentioned in deed in Sullivan County Tennessee
-1810, January: Joshua given land grant, Sullivan County Tennessee. -1811:Joshua Edwards mentioned in deed, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1811, October 30: Joshua Edwards mentioned in grant, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1812: Joshua Edwards mentioned in tax list, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1822, February 18: Joshua Edwards bought 380 acres, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1822, February 18: Joshua Edwards mentioned in deed, Sullivan County Tennessee.
1827, June 16: Joshua Edwards named as a constituent member of Holston Church, Sullivan County Tennessee.
1827, June 16: Joshua Edwards chosen Clerk of Holston Baptist Church, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1830: Joshua Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1833: Joshua Edwards married Drucilla Delaney.
-1834, December 20: Joshua Edwards ordained Deacon, Holston Baptist Church, Sullivan County Tennessee.
1836, March 20: Joshua Edwards licensed to preach, Holston Baptist Church, Sullivan County Tennessee.
1836, July 16: Joshua Edwards first mentioned giving sermon in Holston Meeting House, Holston Baptist Church, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1838, December 9: Joshua Edwards married second Drucilla Delaney.
-1840: Joshua Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Sullivan County Tennessee.
1841, September 18: Joshua Edwards signed as clerk of Holston Baptist church, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1845: Joshua Edwards named Benedicts Correspondent and/or reporter for Holston Church, Sullivan County Tennessee and other associations.
-1845, February 3: Joshua Edwards bought 4 1/2 acres, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1850: Joshua Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1850: Joshua Edwards located in 1st Division, Sullivan County Tennessee.
NOTE: According to Sullivan County land records the location of all Edwards families were in 3rd division. There is no other mention of 1st division for our Edwards ancestors.
-1852, September 2: Joshua Edwards sold 125 1/2 acres, Sullivan County Tennessee. -1859, March 18: Joshua Edwards died. Probable area where he is buried. These pictures are from the old section of the cemetery.
-1859, MARCH: Joshua Edwards burial mentioned in Holston Baptist Church minutes, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1859, MARCH 20: Joshua Edwards mentioned in eulogy in Holston Baptist Church minutes, Sullivan co. -1859, JULY 9: Joshua Edwards eulogy written in the minutes of the Holston Baptist Association.
-1868, November 14: Joshua Edwards mentioned in deed records, 262 acres to his son Samuel E. Edwards upon Joshua Edwards death. Sullivan County Tennessee.


(My 3rd Great Grandfather)

The man on the right is for sure Owen Born 1806. The man on the left was with this picture with no name. The age of the tin type and the very similar look of both of them make me think the man on the left is also Owen Born 1806 just must younger.

Owen Edwards was born on November 5/6, 1806, Sullivan County Tennessee and died on May 8, 1873/5 in Drakesville Township, Davis County Iowa, buried in the Drakesville Cemetery. Owen Edwards married Amanda Longacre 1828, May 22 Sullivan Co. Tennessee. Owen Edwards is the first of my Edwards ancestors to have been photographed.

Owen and Amanda Longacre Edwards Children:

  1. William Samuel W.S.E. 1829 – My Second Great Grandfather
  2. Mary Maria 1833
  3. Joseph Longacre 1834
  4. Margurete I. 1837
  5. Eldridge S. 1839
  6. Ireson 1842


-Owen Edwards Born 1806 -1828, May 22: Owen Edwards married Amanda Melvina Longacre. Sullivan County Iowa -1844, February 27: Owen Edwards wife Amanda passed away. Buried in the old section of the Weaver Cemetery, Sullivan County Tennessee.
-1847, October 14: Owen Edwards mentioned in land survey, Sullivan County Tennessee (Note: Line bearer next to said land is “Longacre” which is Owen Edwards b.1806 spouses maiden name. This is Owen Edwards b.1806
-1850: Owen Edwards mentioned in Sullivan County, Tennessee Federal Census, 1st division
-1850: Owen Edwards mentioned in Sullivan County, Tennessee Federal Census, 1st division -1851ca. Owen Edwards left Tennessee to Illinois and one year later left to Davis County. Owen Edwards did live in Wappello and Van Buren Counties also before settling permanently in Davis County Iowa. Edwards 427 pg. 19 -1856 Owen Edwards is in Marion, Davis County Iowa. Was in Iowa for only 1 year.
-1860: Owen Edwards mention in Davis County Iowa Federal
Census, Fox River Township
-1867, March 30: Owen Edwards visited his daughter M. Edwards Reeder and husband P. Reeder in Appanoose Co. or Davis Co. Iowa.
(Philander Reeder Diaries). (Entry: Owen Edwards come here)
-1867, September 23: Owen Edwards visited daughter Mary M. Edwards Reeder and Husband P. Reeder in Appanoose Co. or Davis Co. Iowa. (Philander Reeder Diaries). (Entry: Owen Edwards with three other old Baptists come here)
-1868, October 23: Owen Edwards visited Daughter Mary M. Edwards Reeder and husband P. Reeder in Appanoose Co. or Davis Co. Iowa. (Philander Reeder Diaries) (Entry: Owen Edwards come up)
-1868, October 25: Owen Edwards rented home of E.S. Edwards in Appanoose Co. or Davis Co. Iowa. (Philander Reeder Diaries)
-1873, May 8: Owen Edwards died, buried Drakesville Cemetery, Drakesville, Davis County Ia.
-1875, May 8: Owen Edwards died, buried Drakesville Cemetery, Drakesville, Davis County Iowa.

William Samuel W.S.E.

(My 2nd Great Grandfather)

William Samuel Edwards, alias W.S.E. EDWARDS was born in 1829, Sullivan County Tennessee, and died in Stockton, Rookes County Kansas on January 5, 1887.

Buried in Orleans Cemetery, Washington Township, Appanoose County Iowa.

William Edwards married Mary E. Willet September 14, 1854
Appanoose County Iowa

William and Mary Willet Edwards Children are:

  1. Sarah Amanda 1855
  2. James Philando 1858 – My Great Grandfather
  3. Emmil Se 1864
  4. Ida M. 1864


-1833: Mentioned in deed index Appanoose Co. Iowa
-1850: William S. Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Washington County Tennessee, with his uncle Samuel E. Edwards.
-1854, September 14: William s. Edwards married Mary E. Willet, Appanoose County Iowa
-1860: William Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Appanoose Co., Orleans Twp. Iowa
-1861, August 17: “A” Wm. Edwards mentioned as enlisted, Davis County Iowa
-1861, December 25: William S. Edwards living in Appanoose County Iowa
-1862, June: William Edwards mentioned in letter to Philander Reeder from brother J.L. Edwards, brother to Williams. Edwards. Letter sent to Appanoose County Iowa, Orleans Township.
-1864, January: “A” Wm. Edwards mentioned as enlisted, Davis County Iowa
-1869: Mentioned in Pension Records, Iowa
-1870, June 21: W.S.E. Edwards mentioned in deed index, Davis County Iowa. The land in question was located in Tennessee.
NOTE: The person who W. S. E. Edwards sold mentioned land
was named John Carrier. Coincidentally the person who was involved in the purchasing of the land which was originally owned by Abel Edwards and Polly Potts was named Edmund Carrier.

-1870, July 8: William Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Fox River Twp., Davis Co. Ia.
-1870, July 8: William S. Edwards right to vote “might” have been denied or abridged to him for some (at this time) unknown reason
-1870, August 20: W.S.E Edwards mentioned in deed index for Davis County Iowa
-1880: William Edwards mentioned in 1880 Federal Census, Fox River Twp., Davis Co. Ia.
-1883, February: W.S.E. Edwards mentioned in deed index for Davis County Iowa with wife Mary A. Willet Edwards.
-1885: William S. Edwards mentioned in Pension Records, Iowa
-1886: William S. Edwards lived in dwelling, Stockton, Rookes County Kansas
-1887: William S. Edwards owned land/lot, Davis County Iowa
-1887: William S. Edwards rented land/home, Davis County, Iowa -1887: William S. Edwards mentioned in receipt concerning payment of teaching services prior to his death
-1887, January 5: William S. Edwards died, Stockton, Rookes County Kansas

James Philando

(My Great Grandfather)

James Philando Edwards was born on December 15,
1858 in Appanoose County, Davis County Iowa, and died
on December 25, 1938 in Canon City, Fremont County
Colorado where he lived in a what they called the “Poor
Farm”. James P. Edwards body was sent by train to La
Mirada California where he was interred in the Olive
Lawn Memorial Gardens.

James Philando Edwards married Flora Belle Breeding on December 22, 1888 Davis County Iowa

James P. and Flora Belle Breeding Edwards Children:

  1. Virgil O. 1890
  2. Edna Blanche 1891
  3. Elma Mae 1893-1897
  4. John Harlan 1894
  5. Mary Marian 1895
  6. William Jennings Bryan 1897
  7. Charles Seymour 1899
  8. James Dale 1902 – My Grandfather
  9. Claude Calloway 1904
  10. Beulah Rae 1907


-1858, December 15: James P. Edwards was born, Union, Appanoose County Iowa.
-1860: James P. Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Appanoose County Iowa.
-1870: James P. Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Davis County Iowa.
-1880: James P. Edwards mentioned in Federal census, Fox River Township, Davis Co. Iowa. Occupation Farmer
-1888, December 22: James P. Edwards married Florabelle Breeding, Davis Co. Iowa.
-1889, December 22: James P. Edwards married Florabelle Breeding, Drakesville, Soap Creek Township Davis Co. Iowa. Most likely performed at James P. Edwards Aunt Margaret Edwards Wheeler Collinson’s home across the road from the home of James Edwards
-1900: James P. Edwards mentioned in Federal Census, Soap Crk. Township, Davis County Iowa.
-1901, July 21: James P. Edwards(Jim) mentioned in diary, Soap Creek Township, Davis County Iowa.
-1910: James P. Edwards mentioned in 1910 Federal Census, Labette Co. Kansas.
-1918: James P. Edwards in Chetopa Kansas.
-1920: James P. Edwards mentioned in Federal census, Labette Co., Parsons Kansas.
-1922, December 22: James P. Edwards was in Fremont County, Canon City Colorado for his son James Dale Edwards wedding.
-1923: James P. Edwards mentioned in city directory as retired, Fremont Co., Canon City Colorado.
-1929, August 19: James P. Edwards admitted to poor farm, Fremont Co., Canon City Colorado
-1931: James P. Edwards mentioned in city directory, residence, County Hospital, Fremont County, Canon City Colorado.
-1938, December 25: James P. Edwards died, Fremont county, Canon City Colorado
-1938, December 25: James P. Edwards occupation at time of death, retired farmer.

James Philando Edwards from all accounts from living family members was not a very nice man and for the most part not easy to get along with. This is not to say that he was all bad, but maybe just a man who had a hard life.

J. P. Edwards is the first person in my ancestry which one can determine what kind of personality he had. Through different stories collected through out my research his personal profile becomes more clear.

Once James Philando Edwards wife Florabelle Breeding Edwards passed away in 1919, James P. Edwards didn’t have anyone to take care of him and because of his ever increasing ill health he was not able to work to provide for himself and his youngest and last child
still living with him, Buelah Edwards.

It is known that J.P. Edwards was living in Labette County Kansas in 1920 and from 1920 until December 1922 his whereabouts are unknown. It is very probable that he moved to Canon City Colorado soon after 1920 to be near his son John Harlan Edwards who was currently living in Canon City Colorado, and possibly his other son James Dale Edwards, who left home sometime after his mother Florabelle Edwards death in 1919 for Canon City Colorado where he was to marry his wife Sally Barneycastle in 1922.

James Philando Edwards was staying with his son James Dale Edwards in a boarding house in Canon City Colorado around the ladder year of 1922, and J.P. Edwards signature can be found as a witness of marriage for his son James Dale Edwards in Canon City Colorado.

James P. Edwards can’t be found anywhere between the years of 1923-1929, and the year of 1929 would be the date that James P. was admitted to the poor farm in Canon City Colorado.

It is supported through old family photo’s that James P. Edwards was with his oldest son Virgil Edwards who was living in California, this would likely fit between the years of 1923-1929. It is also supported
through family stories that James P. Edwards floated, or rather moved around from son to daughter. This would very probably fit between the years of 1923-1929.

Once James Philando Edwards daughter Buelah was married ca.1930 James P. Edwards was getting very feeble and the decision was made that it was time to put him in a hospital of some sort so he could be taken care of in a way that suited him.

James P. Edwards was admitted to the Canon City Poor Farm in Canon City Colorado in 1931, and from all accounts he stayed there until his death in 1938.
STORY:(Told to me by my father Johnny Leroy Edwards)
“In 1934 James Dale Edwards(son to James P. Edwards) decided it was time to leave Colorado for Oregon for a better life. Before James D. Edwards left Canon City Colorado he took his children to say goodbye to their grandfather(James P. Edwards) which at this time lived in the Poor Farm in Canon City Colorado. James Philando Edwards was completely blind and laying in a bed when James Dale Edwards brought his children in to see him. Before they left James
Philando Edwards took his hands and felt the faces of James Dale Edwards children so he could imagine what his grandchildren looked like, before their long journey started. James Philando Edwards gave each child a silver dollar before they left. James D. Edwards son Albert Edwards always kept this silver dollar and it is the possession of his children to this day.

Below Story:(Told to me by Rae Miller)
(Rae Edwards Miller was the granddaughter to James
Philando Edwards)

“He (James P. Edwards) lived with us for awhile, he was a real mean person … James P. Edwards at one time came to live with us, Grandpa (James P. Edwards) use to go over to the grocery store and my mother would send me over to get him after he would call the house. Now, how he got from where ever he was to the store I wouldn’t know. (Rae says this because of an earlier comment of how
James P. Edwards was blind.)
I would go up to him and he would always have those flat round peppermints. He would give me those and hazel nuts, well I thought he was “cats meow”. I would take his hand and we would cuddle on home. He was very sweet with me.”

Below Story:(Told to me by Polly Spring, Granddaughter to James P. Edwards)
“On one occasion when my father(Charles s. Edwards, son to James P. Edwards) was a boy he was told by his father to do a specific set of chores and after they were completed he would take him to the circus which was in town. When Charles s. Edwards completed these
chores he went up to his father and told him that he was all done with what he was asked to do, Charles asked his father, “Can we go to the circus now?” His father said to him, “I was just kidding.”
AUTHORS NOTE:This adaption of this story was told to Polly Edwards Spring by her father Charles s. Edwards. (The story supports the harshness of James P. Edwards.)

Below Story:(Told to me by Robert Edwards, grandson to James
Philando Edwards. Robert is talking about his father Charles s. Edwards and his relationship to James P. Edwards his father.)
“From what little I learned from my father about his childhood I can only discern that it was a hard life. Many children in the family and very rural (Davis County Iowa) farm, etc. His father was extremely strict and harsh. My father had difficulty talking about his father. My
father never communicated with his father. Seemed to be some resentment. When James P. Edwards died his body was shipped west. It came through Ogden(Utah). When my father and I went to the station and saw the casket, my father cried. So much resentment but in the end there was so much love.”

Below Letter: (Letter was written by a son of my great grandfather James Philando Edwards, to a daughter of James Philando Edwards) (Transcribed by Johnny James Edwards)
“Dear Sister:
Canon City Colo
July 28th, 1922
I will try and write you a torn can’t read in answer to you letter we received this afternoon. Although I do not hardly know how to start out. Thus I will say a few words as to local affairs in and around Canon. Had quite a little shower this evening cooled things off so a fella can sleep good tonight real nice garden here had all the good stuff to eat. Bean bugs have torn my beans guess I will plow
the ground up and plant some late beans and peas, also some lettuce.
I share 30 young chickens.
I haven’t ever said that I wouldn’t send father any money for I will … , I want to know that father gets the money I intend for he and Beulah
to have, and special delivery letter will take it to him.
I wish that father(James P. Edwards) and Beulah(daughter to James P. Edwards) were in Canon it would be a much more desirable place for them and then I could furnish them with all the vegetables they could eat and Buelah could pick enough fruit on the not clear to furnish them with all the canned stuff they could eat until fruit comes again.
(Daughter) you say, “you would if it was in your power make a home” for father and Beulah. I would do the same but I am handwrapped just as you are, and here a family to look after. I am going to sell our little home this fall to square things up and I think there will be enough money so that father and Beulah can have a little role.
When I think of father I don’t think how he done in the past but think of him as I last knew him.
AUTHORS NOTE:This supports the characterization of James P. Edwards as a difficult father to live with.

(Daughter) I believe in doing good, but I don’t intend to give and money to any out can’t read if they do need it bad. I intend to send father money every month I have a check to get the money with. Dale (son to James P. Edwards) does intend the same. Yes (daughter), I think it is right for each one to help everyone I mean of the whole Edwards family.
As ever you loving bro and family

James D.

(My Grandfather)

James Dale Edwards was born on March 19, 1902 in Soap Creek Township, Davis County Iowa and died on March 10, 1947 at work in Salem Oregon. James D. Edwards is buried in Bellcrest Cemetery in Salem Oregon.

James Dale Edwards married Sallie Barneycastle December 22, 1922 Fremont County, Canon City Colorado. Note:James Dale Edwards married his wife Sallie Barneycastle on the same day “December 22” as his father James Philando Edwards married his wife Flora Belle Breeding.

James Dale and Sallie Barneycastle Edwards Children:

  1. Albert James 1925
  2. Ruth Emily 1926
  3. Johnny Leroy 1928 – My Father.


-1902, March 19: James Dale Edwards was born in Soap Creek Township, Davis County Iowa.
-1910: James Dale Edwards mentioned in the Federal Census, Richland Twp, Labette Kansas.
-1922, December 22: Jarnes Dale Edwards married Sallie Barneycastle, Fremont County, Canon City Colorado
-1923: James Dale Edwards mentioned in City Directory, Fremont County, Canon City Colorado.
-1925: James Dale Edwards mentioned in City Directory, Fremont County, Canon City Colorado.
-1934: James Dale Edwards and family move from Canon City Colorado to Woodburn Oregon.
-1947, March 10: James Dale Edwards died, Salem Oregon.
-1947, March 17: Jarnes Dale Edwards buried in Salem Oregon, Bellcrest Cemetery.

James Dale Edwards had a very interesting life to the extent that he in the end controlled his own life and destiny instead having life control him and let destiny find him.

James D. Edwards was born into the new twentieth century, and really into a whole new way of life. He had four brothers born before him and at this time they were helping their father James Philando Edwards with the farm in Davis County Iowa, and with the birth of a
new son I am sure it was looked upon with great anticipation. Within a few years James Dale Edwards was able to help around the farm, but soon afterwards with his older brothers leaving home to start their own lives he and his leftover siblings were left to help their aging and ailing father around the farm. It must be understood that James Dale Edwards father James Philando Edwards was 44 years old at the time of James D. Edwards birth and ailing in health. James Philando Edwards was growing weak and blind, I believe life for the young children was not easy, and also one should realize it wasn’t easy for James P. Edwards either.

There was much to do on the farm, and to support their family in the new twentieth century a family had to work very hard to purchase the ever increasing prices of goods in town. It was only a matter of time until James Philando Edwards would have to sell the farm and
find something other than a large farm to support his family.

Below Story: (Told to me by Johnny Leroy Edwards)
“James Dale Edwards getting shot as a child”.
James Dale Edwards and his brother(?) were playing in the house. Their mother had just got done putting freshly baked cookies in the cookie jar. Their mother told them to stay out of the cookie jar.
Their mother went out of sight and James Dale Edwards decided to try and get a cookie. James D. Edwards brother told him to stay out of the cookie jar, James Dale Edwards didn’t listen. His brother reached for a .22 caliber rifle that was always hung on the wall. The rule of the house was the rifle must never be loaded. James Dale Edwards commenced on trying to get some cookies. His brother teasingly told him that he needed to get out of the cookie jar or he would shoot. James Dale Edwards didn’t listen so his brother aimed the gun and thinking that the gun was unloaded pulled the trigger. The bullet that was shot went through James Dale Edwards head.
It was said that there was a tea cup full of brain matter and bone after the shot.

AUTHORS NOTE: Johnny Leroy Edwards said to me, (Johnny J. Edwards) that later in James Dale Edwards life you could look at James D. Edwards head and see the brain pulse where there wasn’t any bone.

With James Dale Edwards father being a hard person to be around because of his demanding demeanor it wasn’t very long until most of the children were getting ready to leave their home in Iowa for other places in America. In 1900 James P. Edwards and his family were still living in the Edwards home in Soap Creek Township in Davis County Iowa, but soon after 1902 when James Dale Edwards was born they left most likely for Colorado where James Philando Edwards and Flora Belle Edwards had their last child, Buelah Rae
Edwards in 1907.

Around the age of 18 years of age James Dale Edwards left his home which in 1910 was in Labette County, Kansas. It was told to me by my father Johnny Leroy Edwards that there were other reasons why James D. Edwards left at the age of 18 or possibly a earlier

Below Story: (Told to me by my father Johnny L. Edwards)

When James Dale Edwards was young he worked very hard at the family farm, and working for his father wasn’t easy. James Philando Edwards from most accounts worked his children very hard, it could be understood why with the farm and house work that needed to be done every day, but James P. Edwards was at time difficult toward his
children. There was a time when James Dale Edwards youngest brother Claude C. Edwards was possibly beaten or was treated in a way that James Dale Edwards and his brother Claude decided that they had enough of the rough and in their minds uncalled for treatment so they left their home and family seeking a better life away from their father and troubles. They jumped a train and took it to where I believe to be Colorado or California. I consider California a possibility because that is where I believe James D. Edwards
brother Virgil lived at this time. I also consider Colorado a possibility because that is where James D. Edwards can be found in 1922 where he met and married his wife Sallie Barneycastle. It should be remembered that between 1910 and 1920 is when James Dale Edwards left home.

James D. worked as a foundry person in the steel foundry mill in Canon City, but he also did some carpentry and other “jack of all” trades type jobs.

James D. Edwards at different times went to California to work in the produce fields but always came back to Colorado. It was also told to me by my father Johnny L. Edwards that James D. was paid a $1.00 a day cutting cord wood which contradicts with his other occupation
of a foundry worker. It is possible and most likely probable that James D. worked at the foundry in Canon City and lost that job because of hard times and the only job that he could find was cutting cord wood for a $1.00 a day. Supposedly because of the low pay that he was earning from cutting cord wood was the main reason why they left Colorado for Oregon. James D. Edwards
and his family stayed in Colorado until around 1934 when they left for Oregon.

When James Dale Edwards left for Oregon with his wife Sallie and three children they left around the month of February. James D. left Colorado during the winter for unknown reasons, but what is known is that it took much courage to leave their home and travel over the Rocky mountains and the Cascade mountain range with young children and the possibilities of very cold weather and untold problems ahead.

Why did they decide to leave Colorado for Oregon? Lets take it further than that, why did they decide to leave Colorado during the latter winter months when it was known and understood that they were taking a chance with unknown hazards ahead. This was a very trying time for most families in the United States with jobs and money hard to come by. I believe James Dale Edwards decided to leave for the Northwest because he felt he had no other choice but to take this chance for the welfare and well being of his family.

The car that they used had no heat, they all packed into the car every day and rocks were heated in a stove and put in blankets and placed next to the children dressed in thick clothes, coats and blankets to keep them warm through out the long days of travel.
My grandfather Dale had to patch the tires along the way many times. My father told me that by the time they arrived in Oregon the tires must have been mostly made of patch.

It was decided to go to Woodburn Oregon specifically because that is where James D. Edwards mother in law lived. When the Edwards family arrived in Woodburn Oregon they lived with Sallie’s mother in a home which was across the street from the Glatt farm which was one of the few family businesses in the town of Woodburn which was not thriving but just getting bye.

James Dale Edwards was hired at the Glatt farm as a extra hand, and later to be the foreman of the Glatt farm it self. It was a short time later that James Dale Edwards purchased 13 acres of land in Woodburn and built a one room log cabin for his family to live in
while they started their new lives.

With experience in the steel foundry in Canon City Colorado James Dale Edwards was hired on as a steel worker in the Salem Iron Works Foundry in Salem Oregon where he worked until his death in 1947.

Johnny Leroy Edwards

(My Father)

Johnny Leroy Edwards was born on FEBRUARY 11, 1928
in Canon City Colorado, and passed away on April 12, 1993. Johnny Leroy Edwards is buried at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Oregon.

Johnny Leroy Edwards married Cleona Charf December 26. 1950 in Burlingame Oregon.

My father was a wonderful Dad. He was a loving and talented man. I learned much from my him. Some things that he taught me while he was living and other things I learned after his death. My father taught me to be a man, and most of all a gentlemen.


-1928, February 11: Johnny L. Edwards was born in Fremont County, Canon City Colorado.
-1934: Johnny L. Edwards moved to Woodburn Oregon with his parents and siblings.
-1944, September 8: Johnny L. Edwards became an apprentice molder and coremaker at the Salem Iron Works in Salem Oregon.
-1946, September: Johnny L. joined the United States Navy.
-1946: Johnny Leroy Edwards was assigned to the DESTROYER TENDER U.S.S. DIXIE (AD14).
-1947, November 26: Johnny L. was honorably discharged from the United States Navy.
-1948, Febuary: Johnny L. joined the Portland Post Office in Portland Oregon.
-1950, December 26: Johnny L. Edwards married Cleone Charf.
-1951, January 20: Johnny L. Edwards was recalled by the Navy and assigned to Pearl Harbor Hawaii to the submarine U.S.S. SEA DEVIL.
-1953, June 23: Johnny L. Edwards was honorably discharged from the U.S. NAVY on JUNE 23, 1953.
-1979, January 29: Johnny L. Edwards re married.
-1988, Febuary: Johnny L. Edwards retired from the United States Post Office after 35 years of service.
-1993, April 12: Johnny Leroy Edwards passed away.

I was very lucky to have my father share with me many stories of his life in Woodburn Oregon while growing up. I can’t remember one mention of bad times in his childhood.

Johnny L. Edwards grew up in hard times but there were good times also. Along with his older brother Albert and his sister Ruth(Petie) they had some very memorable times while living in the loq cabin that his father built in Woodburn in the 1930’s.

After High school my father more than anything wanted to join the Navy to serve in World War 2. After talking to his father James Dale Edwards and convincing him that this was what he wanted to do, his father James D. Edwards gave his approval and it is here that Johnny L. Edwards started his adult life.

While serving in the Navy Johnny L. Edwards father James Dale Edwards passed away. This of course was a hard time for him and his family, in the end it was very painful for Johnny L. Edwards because of his Naval deployment the Navy was not able to allow him to go
home to say his goodbye to his father, this hurt my father terribly to the end of his days.

Johnny L. Edwards married Cleone Charf on December 26, 1950 and from this marriage there were four children born.

If I could some how share a word to define my father which I feel
accurately portrays him it would be that he was a “Fisherman”. My father was more relaxed and calm at heart while fishing and I feel that this was the real Johnny L. Edwards. The art of fishing was a love of my fathers through out his life, all of his children were able to
share this love of fishing with him, the love and interest in fishing that his children showed meant very much to my father.

Along with fishing there was camping, they both in my fathers mind went along with each other hand and hand. This was called “Edwards Camping”, and everyone, friend and family new about the traditions which came with the annual event. Some of the traditions to this day still occur, Edwards Stew, tarp camping, walking in the dark with a flashlight, and most of what I remember of this is sitting around the campfire at night and listening intently to my fathers stories which molded me proudly into an image of my father.

Johnny L. Edwards had many hobbies some of which included: leather work, carving, woodworking, gardening, decorating, drawing, and stain glass work.

Later in my fathers life he tried to enjoy some of his life ambitions which were building a deck, enjoying a motor home and spending time at home enjoying his retirement.

If there was one thing that my father didn’t accomplish that I know he wanted more than anything in his life was to build a work shop for woodworking and many more of his hobbies. He enjoyed talking with me about this dream, sharing his plans, telling me about the pot belly stove that would have in his mind made the shop complete.

My father was a Veteran of WW2 and the Korean War and was honorably buried in the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Oregon.

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