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John G. Edwards Family

The Edwards family is quite difficult to trace because the name was so common. Since there were two or more John Edwards in the county, that poses a problem. Tracing John back to Virginia is even more difficult. What follows is a survey of the Edwards of early Harrison County, and an attempt to sort them out.
The first Edwards marriage record in Harrison County was Travers Edwards who married Elizabeth Coleman on June 6, 1794. Benjamin Coleman was minister. Travers also appeared in the tax list of that year through 1797. In February 1796 Traverse Edwards was heir at law of John Coleman, dec'd., husband of Betty Coleman. (Court Order Book A, p. 38)

Travers Edwards was the son of Andrew and Elizabeth Edwards of Stafford County, Virginia. Andrew wrote his will on April 11, 1786; and it was proved on July 14, 1788. In the will and subsequent deed the heirs are named as follows: Wife Elizabeth; sons Andrew, Neale, Monkister, & Travers; daughters Margaret, Mary the wife of Alvin Mountjoy, Sarah, Anna, and Peggy. Travers later settled in Nelson County, Kentucky, where he appears in the census records.

A John Edwards was in Harrison County by 1795, for on August 4, he witnessed a sale from Lawrence King to James Blaine. (COB A, 1794-1800, p. 19) In 1796 there were three lawsuits involving John: March - John Edwards & Co. vs. Ralph Nailor. (COB A, p. 47) May - John Edwards vs. Andrew Robinson. (p. 59) May - John Edwards vs. Robert Harrison. (p. 60). The Harrison County Circuit Court records include several suits of John Edwards, up to about 1806, regarding money owed him. Most likely, this John Edwards was from the prominent Haden Edwards family in Bourbon County. He was called Colonel and a reference is made to Bourbon County. On April 1, 1799, Amos Edwards, son of John Edwards, made a deposition on his father's behalf. George H.S. King wrote a good treatment of this family in Kentucky Genealogies. This John Edwards was U.S. Senator from Kentucky, 1792-1795.

On January 6, 1795, "Alexander H. Marshall, Thomas Arnold and Ninian Edwards produced their licenses and are permitted to practice as attorneys at law in this court." (COB A, p. 3) Ninian was also from Bourbon County, son of Benjamin, and grandson of Haden Edwards. Ninian was active in politics, and went on to become Governor of Illinois.

Francis Edwards appeared in the tax records of 1795. More about him later. In 1803 Jonathan Edwards appeared in the tax list, with one horse. Next to this entry was Peter Edwards with five horses. Peter Edwards appeared for two more years. Prior to that, in 1795, Peter Edwards was on the Bourbon County tax list. Jonathan continued in the records for years to come. In 1807 Susanna Edwards, of Raven Creek, paid tax on two horses. Jonathan Edwards of Raven Creek paid on one horse. In 1808, Jonathan was listed with 136 1/2 acres on Raven Creek, and that continued through 1811. Later, in 1816, he was listed with 100 acres on Raven Creek. I did not check further than 1821.

In 1808 a suit was brought against Jonathan Edwards in the Circuit Court. (39-1061) James Daniel complained that he had made an agreement with Humphrey L. Edwards of Clark County on January 15, 1806, to develop a machine to pick cotton. Meanwhile, Humphrey had died, and Jonathan Edwards was the administrator of the estate. Jonathan was to fulfil the contract of Humphrey, but had failed to comply. Therefore, James Daniel wanted $200, which had been agreed upon in case the contract failed. We do not know the outcome of the case.

We note that Jonathan and Humphrey Edwards were on the tax list for Louisa County, Virginia, in 1787. There is little doubt that Jonathan and Humphrey were sons of John Edwards who gave his oral will and testament on May 1, 1791, in Louisa County. John mentioned his wife, Edie, and his son, Jonathan. He acknowledged his other children, but did not name them. The will was proved on October 10, 1791. (WB 3, p. 441) Edy Edwards posted bond, as administrator of the will, and Solomon Edwards and Humphrey Edwards provided security. (WB 3, p. 442)

Jonathan Edwards and Rachel Huffman married in Harrison County, Kentucky, on September 25, 1805. William Williams officiated.

The 1810 Harrison County Census lists Jonathan Edwards: (p. 319)

In 1820 Jonathan was listed as 45 or over, and in 1830, he was listed as being over 60 but not yet 70. Taking the various figures into account, he was probably born about 1767.

On June 8, 1821 Michael Huffman of Bourbon County sold 136 1/2 acres of land on Raven Creek to Jonathan Edwards. (DB 7, p. 254) We assume Michael was the father of Rachel, and that this was the land on which Jonathan had been living and paying taxes. A few days later, on June 22, 1821, Jonathan and Rachel Edwards sold 136 acres of land on Raven Creek to John W. Barnes. (DB 7, p. 272)

Jonathan Edwards died in 1836, and his administrator, James Edwards, presented the inventory of his estate 12 October 1836. (WB C, p. 466)

On December 28, 1838, Benjamin D. Beale of Campbell County, acting as commissioner in behalf of the heirs of William Kennedy and Benjamin Beale, deceased, conveyed a deed for 100 acres on Raven Creek to the heirs of Jonathan Edwards: Mary Huffman late Mary Edwards, George Edwards, James Edwards, Caty Forgison late Caty Edwards, Louisa Edwards, John Edwards, William Edwards, Henry Edwards, Albert Edwards. (Harrison Co. DB 17, p. 177)

This was probably the same 100 acres on Raven Creek sold by the heirs of Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Dunn on October 27, 1851. The deed was signed by Solomon Rodrick, Mary Rodrick, Peter Schinder, Catherine Schinder, William Edwards, Meeky Edwards and Louisa Edwards, all of Vermillion County, Illinois. (Harrison Co. DB 23, p. 362)

Rev. Jno. E. Edwards produced in court his credentials as a minister of the Christian Church in August 1844. (Minute Book J. 1843-1846) We suspect this was the son of Jonathan Edwards. Probably this was the same John Edwards whose estate was settled in February 1850. His will in Book F, page 252, mentioned his (second) wife, Ruth Jane, and infant daughters, but not by name. He also mentioned his children by his first wife, but no names. Executors were his brother James Edwards and brother-in-law Mourning Linnick. These "administrators of John Edwards, dec'd." sold land on Raven Creek to Thomas Dunaway on February 24, 1853. The 1850 census, page 146, lists Ruth J. Edwards 30, and Nancy 1.

The marriage records tell us more about the children of Jonathan and Rachel Huffman Edwards:

Mary Edwards married Michael Hofman (Huffman) on 26 December 1828.

James Edwards married Nancy Skinner 9 January 1835. (#2851) He was listed in the 1850 census, page 114

James Edwards, 42
Nancy Edwards, 42
James Skinner (Edwards?), 16
John Edwards, 14
Wilson Edwards, 12
Newton Edwards, 12
William Edwards, 9
Jesse Edwards, 7
Nancy Edwards, 5
Mary Edwards, 4
Richard Edwards, 8/12

James was listed in the 1860 census as being 54, having a saw mill, and married to Nancy 54.
Catherine Edwards married Chastaine Ferguson on 25 August 1833. (#2683)
Barsha Edwards married Mourning Linnick on 4 April 1835. (#2881)

This brings us to another Edwards family in Harrison County. On February 3, 1807, Samuel Hopkins applied for their marriage license. Mrs. Susannah Edwards gave consent for her daughter to marry. Thomas Bierd (Beard) and John W. Edwards were witnesses. The marriage return was dated Febuary 12. (#496) Samuel Hopkins was listed in the 1810 census, page 316. Both he and his wife were between 16 and 26 years of age, and had a son and daughter less than 5 years old.

On June 22, 1807, Joanna Hinson (Henson) married John W. Edwards in Harrison County. Joanna's parents, George and Susanna (Settle) Hinson gave consent. Samuel Hopkins was bondsman, and George Payne and John W. Edwards signed as witnesses. John Conner was the minister.

Since Samuel Hopkins and John W. Edwards were both involved in the above marriages, we assume that John and Mary Edwards were brother and sister. Likewise, we assume that Susanna Edwards was the mother of both. However, at this time we do not know for sure who was the father. As seen earlier, Susanna Edwards of Raven Creek paid a tax on two horses in 1807. Then she disappeared from the records. A Susanna Edwards is listed in the 1810 census of Bourbon County, but we believe she was the Susanna Wroe Edwards, widow of John Edwards, a separate family.

All too little is known about John W. and Joanna Henson Edwards. Presumably they lived and farmed in Harrison County until their deaths. The 1807 tax list includes a John Edwards with 2 horses. In 1808 a John Edwards listed two males 21 or over in his household, three horses, and 53 acres entered under the name of William Kennedy. It is interesting that in 1808 the tax man visited John Edwards, Jonathan Edwards and Samuel Hopkins, all in the same day. They obviously lived near to each other.

Somehow these Edwards missed being in the census records until 1830, when "Joanner" Edwards was mentioned on page 152 as follows:

1 - male, 60-70
1 - female, 40-50
1 - female 15-20

We suspect that John Edwards had died before this time, since Joanna is listed as head of the household. As we shall see, Joanna signed for her daughters' marriages in 1825 and 1826. Since John's property did not go through probate, he probably owned no real estate. Joanna Henson Edwards died in 1859, and on May 25, John K. Baird, third husband to the daughter, Lucinda Edwards, was appointed administrator. Witnesses were Samuel Baird and Alexander Clifford. (WB H p. 38) The inventory and appraisal were presented to the court on June 25, 1859. Only a few items were mentioned, including a bill of sale to Lucinda Baird. Obviously she was an heir. Joanna Edwards was listed in the death records as follows: "Joanna Edwards, aged 78; d. May 19, 1859; born Harrison Co.; parent John Hinkson." An error was made, not too uncommon, for her parent was George Henson. Joanna was born in 1781. Here, then, are the known children of John W. and Joanna Henson Edwards: 1. George W. Edwards, was born in 1808, and circumstantial evidence suggests his relationship. He signed consent for the marriage of Lucinda Edwards (sister) in 1832. Also, since Joanna Henson Edward's father was George Henson, it is reasonable that the first son be named George. Furthermore, he did business with the Bairds (Beards), who were intimately connected to the family. George married Amanda Rice on March 4, 1842. On the marriage bond, Elizabeth Hargrave said she was "willing that my daughter Amanda Rice and Geo. W. Edwards be married; and Amanda has no Guardian." We assume that Amanda's father had died, and that the mother had married a Hargrave. On November 2, 1858, George W. Edwards and Amanda Malvina Edwards, his wife, sold a lot to Samuel Baird. It was 1/4 of 5 acres which had descended to the heirs of Elizabeth Hargrave. The deed noted that George was living in Garrard County. (DB 27, p. 273)

The 1860 Garrard County Census provides this information, page 804:

G. W. Edwards, 52, wagon maker
Mandy Edwards, 46
John Edwards 17,
Thomas J. Edwards, 13
Lucinda Edwards, 12
James Edwards, 10
Mary Edwards, 8
F. R. C. Edwards, 6
M. H. C. Edwards, 4
Joan Edwards, 1

Note the familiar names in the above list: John, Lucinda, Joan. Lucinda Edwards was born in 1810 according to the 1850 census. On December 26, 1826, Lucinda Henson (Edwards) married (1) Thomas Michael. John C. Michael signed the bond, and Joanna Edwards, mother, gave consent. Hannah Hayns (Haines), Joanna's sister, was witness. Lucinda was about 16 years old at this time. This marriage must have been short lived, for apparently she was back home during the census of 1830. Lucinda then married (2) Joseph Menefee on September 10, 1832. George W. Edwards signed consent. This was a second marriage for both, and it turned out to be unpleasant. She filed for divorce in 1839, because of his drinking and abuse. He died shortly after that. (See Menefee Family) Then, Lucinda Edwards Menefee married (3) John K. Baird on January 1, 1845. The 1850 census lists them as John K. Beard 26, Lucinda 40, James T. Beard 2, Joane Menifee 14 and Susan Menifee 11. Lucinda died in early January 1863, age 53. This writer is a descendant of Lucinda and Joseph Menefee, by way of their daughter, Susan Menefee. America Edwards was probably born about 1811. On August 8, 1825, she and Samuel Swinford applied for their marriage license, and Joanna Edwards gave permission for her daughter to marry. Gideon Henson, brother of Joanna, was a witness, along with Ezekiel Knose. The marriage return is dated August 11, 1825. (#1924) In 1850 Samuel Swinford appeared in the census, living with the Joseph Plunket family, a laborer, age 41. Obviously Samuel and America were quite young when they married. Noreen Shelton of Anderson, Indiana, has some family papers that date back to the 1920s, on her line of the Edwards family. At that time, many Edwards were trying to claim the inheritance of Robert Edwards of New York, and attempts were made to trace lineages to him. At least this prompted some note-taking about the family history by Noreen's grandmother. She indicated that Mary "Polly" Edwards, who married Samuel Hopkins, was born in 1789. She named Jesse and John and brothers to Mary. She indicated that the father of these three was Peter Edwards, born 3 June 1760, married Roby or Rody Clark in Orange County, N.C. From there the trail supposedly goes on back to Robert Edwards, which is quite questionable. While we question our connection to Peter Edwards of Orange County, we are intrigued by the possibility that Peter and Susanna Edwards were the parents of Mary, John and Jesse. Those are all names found in the records of Harrison County.


Another Edwards group deserves our attention. Francis Edwards first appeared in the 1795 Harrison County tax records. He was listed in the 1810 census on page 308 as follows:

1 - male 26-45
1 - female 16-26

After 1810 Francis appeared in the tax list on a regular basis. He listed 50 acres and 5 horses. In 1811, it is noted he was living on Mill Creek, but from 1815 on it was listed as 50 acres on Twin Creek. In 1821 it was listed as 50 acres on Raven Creek. This writer has observed that the recorder was not too careful in making his notations. I did not check further than 1821. Francis subsequently appeared in the 1820 Harrison County Census, (p. 146) and 1830 Census (p. 143). Francis Edwards wrote his will on September 10, 1831; and it was probated in May 1834. He made his wife, executor, but did not mention her by name. Then he named his children: Frances, Susanna, Thomas, Polly, Eleanor, Emmalen and Amanda Edwards. In September 1837 Elijah M. Bailey and his wife, Susannah, formerly Edwards, sued to contest the will. (Circuit Court Case 6638) They noted that Frances Edwards had had a stroke in the summer of 1831, prior to his writing his will. His "appoplexy" left his unclear in mind until his death. The suit was against the rest of the family: Sarah Edwards, Thomas Edwards, Francis Edwards, David Lemmon and Polly his wife, late Polly Edwards, Elenor Edwards, Emeline Edwards and Amanda Edwards, devisees of Francis Edwards deceased. The last three daughtere were "infants under 21 years of age." Francis Edwards' wife was Sarah "Sally" Hutcherson, daughter of George and Mary Hutcherson. When George wrote his will on December 24, 1813, he mentioned his wife Mary, son William, and daughters Sally Edwards and Polly Bennett. The will was proved in January 1815, and William Hutcherson and Francis Edwards were named executors. (WB A, p. 248) Sarah Edwards was listed in the 1850 census as 60, with Frances Edwards, 35. (p. 146) In the 1860 census Sarah is listed as 71, a farm owner, and from Virginia. In the home was Frances Edwards, 41, a weaver, born in Kentucky. The daughter, Susanna Edwards, married Elijah M. Bailey on November 17, 1831. Francis Edwards signed his consent. (#2527) They appear in the 1850 census as Elijah M. Bailey 37, Susanna 38, Eleanor 13, Martha A. 12, Amanda K. 9, Francis M. 7, Henry C. 1, and Susanna 1. Several Thomas Edwards' marriages are recorded: Thomas to Elizabeth Douglas, July 7, 1831 (#1498); Eliza Dejarnett December 9, 1833 (#2718); Jane Bennett January 10, 1837. We believe Thomas Edwards, son of Francis and Sarah, married Jane Bennett, for they are listed in 1850 near his mother Sarah (page 146): Thomas Edwards 36, Jane 24, William F. 12, Ashby M. 9, Cornelius 7, Amanda 5, and Atwell 2. Mary or "Polly" Edwards married David Lemmon on March 7, 1834. Of special interest to us, the daughter, Emaline Edwards, married Samuel Beard on October 26, 1837. ((#3208. As seen above, Samuel was closely connected to the John W. Edwards family too, having been a witness in the settling of the estate of Joanna in 1859. Samuel bought land from George W. and Amanda Rice Edwards. Back in 1807, a Thomas Beard was a witness in the Mary Edwards marriage. We suspect that Francis Edwards was a brother to our John W. Edwards and the Mary Edwards who married Samuel Hopkins. Francis named a daughter Susanna, possibly in honor of his mother. Emaline must have died, for Samuel Beard married Ellen M. Edwards, Emeline's sister, on June 11, 1849. (#4161) They are listed in the 1850 census (p. 126) as Samuel Beard 32, Eleanor 32, James T. 7, William A. 5, and Francis E. 3. Amanda Edwards married John G. Renaker on March 11, 1843. They are listed in the 1850 census as John Renaker 53, Mary A. 37, Samuel 16, Abraham 14, Mary 12, Catherine 10, Teresa 8, Jane 2, Adeline 4/12 and Adam 86. John must have had some of these children by a previous marriage.

Source:
Information previously posted by: Jo Thiessen

This study is not complete, but it is a start.  We hope further research will tell us more.  We are especially eager to learn the ancestry of John W. Edwards.  Meanwhile, many thanks to Noreen Shelton of Anderson, Indiana, descendant of Samuel and Mary Edwards Hopkins, who supplied some interesting material.

Compiled by James G. Faulconer, 5200 Oakbrooke Drive, Kettering, OH 45440

June 30, 1997


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