|Truman,, Dolly, and John Houston Edwards|
Edwards is one of those fairly common names in the United States. It probably rates about fifty three in the rankings in the United States according to the 2000 census. What that means to the genealogist is, that particular family line could be difficult to research and pin down your Edwards ancestor. Then, to make it more difficult is to have a John Edwards. But serious genealogists use tips and clues to track down their John Edwards or any common surname that may be in their family line.
Well, it so happens that I have a John Edwards in my direct family line. My father’s biological father John Houston Edwards. My father Esters Eley was born about 28 Jun 1908 in Eros, Jackson Parish, Louisiana to Alice Lee, sister-in-law to John Houston Edwards. Daddy knew who his father was and shared that with his oldest children.
John Houston Edwards was born 25 Oct 1874 in Houston, Harris County, Texas. His parents are living in Washita Township in Polk County Arkansas in 1880. John is five years old on the 1880 Washita Township, Polk County, Arkansas. How did John Perry and Nancy get the family from Texas to Polk County, Arkansas? Why did they leave Texas to go to Arkansas? Was it better opportunities for jobs? John Perry was stated as being born in Georgia as were his parents, and he was a farmer at that time. His wife Nancy stayed at home, or as the younger generation calls it today “a stay at home mom.” John P. and Nancy had five children, three daughters and one son by 1880, and a boarder living with them also from Georgia; he was a comic artists. The youngest son on the 1880 census was named after Nancy’s father Dixon; a common naming pattern at that time. Dixon Kelly was Nancy’s father and he was from Alabama.
The Edwards apparently were on the move quite a bit by 1900 John H. was twenty-four years old and was in Sandtuck, Elmore County, Alabama and married to Dolly O. age nineteen. They married in 1899; the census showed they had been married one year and had no children. The information for John’s birth was October 1775, Dolly his new bride was born June 1880, and she was born in Alabama. John was apparently following in his father’s footsteps because he also was a farmer.
About 1903 the Edwards and Lee families migrated to Louisiana and by 1910 they were living in Ward 1, on Pine Bluff and Columbia Road, in Jackson Parish, Louisiana. By the time the Edwards was listed on the Louisiana census the family had grown to six children born between the ten year census span. Tillman was the oldest child and he was born after the 1900 census; he was nine years old. Maggie was the oldest daughter and she was eight years old. Then, Reathey came along two years later and possibly Dollie lost a child in between because of the two year span. Marvin was four years old and then there was Noah age fifteen months. Noah is an unusual name if you look at the naming pattern for the other children. Where did the name Noah come from? Was there a Noah in the Edwards line? Was there a Noah in the Lee family’s line? Reathey, Marvin, and Noah were born in Louisiana, and the family was on the move again back to Alabama.
John H. and Dolly were again parents of three boys by the 1920 Harpersville, Shelby County, Alabama census. Leonard, was eight years old, Lawrence was five and John was three years old, and those three boys were born in Alabama. The Edwards family left Louisiana after the birth of Leonard and went back to Alabama. The Lee family stayed behind in Louisiana. Dolly’s mother Emma died 11 Nov 1920, and her father William Alfred died 10 Oct 1917 in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana where their three other children James W. “Jim,” Robert E. “Bob,” Alice the youngest of the four lived.
John and Dolly were living in Vincent, Shelby County, Alabama when he registered for the World War I Draft Registration Card E. The Edwards family is staying in the same place up to 1930, and there were two more children. Odessa and Truman, were born by the time the 1930 census was enumerated. Odessa was nine years old and Truman was six years old. Dolly would have been forty-four years old when Truman was born. Truman was Dolly and John’s special child; he was born with downs syndrome. The family was living in Shelby County by the 1940 Census was taken.
In 1940 John H. and Dollie were now getting up in years and still listed as farmers. John was sixty-five and Dolly was sixty-two, Truman was sixteen years old. They were living in Vincent, R. 1, Beat 10, Shelby County, Alabama by April 1, 1935. The hours that John stated he worked was fifty-five hours. By 1940 they lived in the same place. The Edwards were settled now in Alabama and that is where they lived until they died. The years they were living in Louisiana was a busy time for them, and the Lee families. Once the Edwards migrated back to Alabama that was their home until John Houston died 15 Aug 1954 in Shelby County, and Dolly Ophelia died 9 Dec 1970 in Sylacauga, Talladega County, Alabama. Both are interred in Vincent Cemetery in Vincent, Shelby County, Alabama.