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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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COLONEL ELISHA A. EDWARDS, a well-known, public-spirited, and influential citizen of Hampshire County, was born in Southampton, Mass., March 25, 1824. He is of Welsh origin, the emigrant ancestor having been Alexander Edwards, who left Wales in 1640, and after his arrival in this State settled in Springfield. On April 28, 1642, he married Sarah Searl, and in 1655 moved to Northampton, where he died September 4, 1690. Of his eight children, Samuel, born March 7, 1643, was the next in the line now being considered. He married Sarah Boykin, daughter of James Boykin, of New Haven, Conn.; and they reared six children, their eldest son being Samuel Edwards, Jr., who was born March 26, 1676, and died March 8, 1749. His first wife, Mercy Pomeroy, whom he married in 1708, died in 1712; and he subsequently married Sarah Pomeroy, of Colchester, Conn. He reared nine children, including Samuel, the third, born September 12, 1716, and Noah, born June 6, 1722.

Noah Edwards was married June 28, 1749, to Jerusha Alvord, who died in 1798. In his old age, September 11, 1799, he married widow Elizabeth Wright, with whom he lived until his death, September 3, 1805. Justin, the second of his eight children, was born in 1752. He married Elizabeth Clark in 1778, and afterward removed to Westhampton, where she died December 6, 1792. On January 1, 1795, he married Mary Bartlett, a niece of Phoebe Bartlett, whose early history is given in President Edwards’s work on “Revivals.” Justin Edwards died October 6, 1816. By his first wife he had four children: Dotia, Jesse, Justin (the Rev. Dr. Edwards), and Elizabeth. His second wife bore him three children: Sarah, who died in infancy; Mary; and William.

Samuel Edwards, born in 1716, was the grandfather of the late Professor Bela B. Edwards and also of Elisha Edwards, father of Colonel Elisha A. He served in the Revolutionary War. The elder Elisha Edwards was married in 1792. His son Elisha, who was born April 22, 1793, and died April 26, 1868, married Julia King, who was born in October, 1798, and died in 1838. They were the parents of eight children; namely, Horace, Elisha A., Julia A., Charles L., Elizabeth, Caroline, Eunice M., and George K. The father, Elisha, Jr., was a soldier in the War of 1812.

Horace, born November 22, 1822, died December 23, 1846. Julia, born September 29, 1826, became the wife of the Rev. Cornelius H. Taylor, D. D., a Presbyterian minister; and he died in Cincinnati, Ohio, February 25, 1875, leaving four children: Edwards C., Frank L., Julia K., and Kirke H. Charles L., born October 19, 1828, now a coal dealer and insurance agent at Lawrence, Kan., married Susan Powers, of North Hadley; and of the three children born to them one is now living, Virginia S. Elizabeth, born December 10, 1830, married Martin L. Gaylord (graduate of Amherst College), a farmer in Easthampton, and they have three children: Lucy P., Edith E. , and Winfred M. Caroline, born February 23, 1833, is a resident of Southampton.

Eunice M., born May 6, 1835, and now living in Colorado, is the widow of the late George L. Gaylord, and has two children, Lewis and Edwards K.

George K., the youngest son, born April 28, 1838, grew to manhood in Southampton, and there lived until his enlistment in Company B, Thirty-first Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, in October, 1861. Going South with his regiment, he was engaged in the battles of the forts before New Orleans, which the Union army took possession of in April 1862. On July 7, 1862, he was discharged for disability. On January 1, 1863, he re-enlisted, was commissioned First Lieutenant, and mustered into service March 2, in Company A, Second District of Columbia Volunteer Infantry, being at first stationed at Washington Heights, and going thence to Alexandria, and from there to different places in the South. He displayed great bravery in several engagements. On September 12, 1865, he was discharged, and came home in poor health and suffering from injuries he had received by falling from the upper deck of a steamboat, a distance of twenty feet, and striking on a barrel.

On December 15, 1864, George K. Edwards was united in marriage with Martha L. Lyman, who was born December 8, 1838, in Chester, Mass., daughter of Stephen and Julia (Searl) Lyman. The only child born of their union died in infancy. They have since adopted a little girl, Ethel May, born May 1, 1887. Mr. Lyman was born December 24, 1811, married Julia Searl, April 28, 1830, and died April 11, 1889. Mrs. Julia S. Lyman is still living in Southampton, quite advanced in years, her birth having occurred June 21, 1815. She bore her husband five children, of whom but two now survive. One daughter, Harriet Eliza (deceased), married the Rev. William R. Stocking, of Williamstown, Mass., and went to Persia as a missionary. Stephen Lyman was the eldest son of Samuel Lyman, who was born at Chester, May 2, 1789, and who served in the War of 1812, in Colonel Enos Foot’s regiment. He was a Deacon of the Congregational church of Chester for over twenty years. On October 26, 1809, he married Marian S. Tinker; and they reared ten children.

Elisha A. Edwards, the second child born to Elisha and Julia (King) Edwards, was reared to man’s estate in his native town. Early in life he chose farming as his principal vocation, and engaged in tilling the soil during the summer months and in teaching school in the winters for several years. At the age of sixteen he joined the militia, and, being promoted from time to time, became Colonel of the regiment, resigning his position after eight years’ service. On October 1, 1861, inspired by patriotic ardor, Colonel Edwards enlisted in defence of his country, raising a company of over one hundred men, they going into camp as Company B, Thirty-first Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, in Pittsfield, removing thence to Lowell, Mass., and afterward to Boston. From there the regiment went South, marching into New Orleans May 1, 1862. The Colonel was taken sick while in that city, and after lying there for weeks received his discharge, September 5, 1862.

After his return to Southampton Colonel Edwards was for a long time unable to engage in business; but since recovering his health he has taken an active part in the management of local public affairs, being an earnest supporter of the Republican party. He has served as Moderator at the annual town meetings for more than a score of years, as Town Clerk thirteen years, as Selectman and Assessor three years, as Justice of the Peace for forty-four years, and is now serving his twenty-eighth year as a member of the Board of County Commissioners, twenty-four years of which he has been its chairman. He has also served as Postmaster of Southampton. Colonel Edwards has always been deeply interested in Masonry, and belongs to Jerusalem Lodge of Northampton. He is likewise a member of the William L. Baker Post, No. 86, Grand Army of the Republic. He and his family are members of the Congregational church and useful workers in that denomination. In financial circles the Colonel is favorably known throughout this part of Massachusetts, having been one of the incorporators of the Hampshire Savings Bank of Northampton, of which he has been one of the Trustees ever since the bank was started. He is a Trustee of the Sheldon Academy Corporation, and has also been Secretary and Treasurer for nearly thirty years. He is likewise President and Trustee of the Southampton Library Association. In 1857 Colonel Edwards visited Kansas with a view of locating there, and for a few months was bookkeeper for the National Kansas Aid Society of Lawrence.

On the 12th of May, 1846, Colonel Elisha A. Edwards was united in marriage with Henrietta L. Sheldon, who was born July 3, 1825, in Southampton. Mrs. Edwards is a daughter of the late Captain Silas and Anna (King) Sheldon, the latter of whom died in 1892. Captain Sheldon and his wife were the parents of seven children; namely, Emily, Silas B., Henrietta L., Lovisa S., Flavel K., Anna K., and Julia E., three of whom are yet living. Four children have been born of the union of Colonel and Mrs. Edwards, the following being a brief record: Alice Julia, born in September, 1848, was first married to George Boyd, and after his death became the wife of W. H. Lyman, by whom she has one child, George W., born March 1, 1889; Mr. Lyman is a travelling salesman, and resides in Springfield. Emma H., born December 10, 1854, died July 11, 1890; she was the wife of the late Deacon L. R. Bartlett, of Westfield, Mass. Isabella G., born May 25, 1856, is a resident of Springfield, Mass., and the widow of the late D. H. Bronson, who passed to the higher life July 6, 1891; Mr. and Mrs. Bronson became the parents of two children: Eugene, deceased, and Frederick E., born in January, 1881, Anna K., the youngest child, born March 18, 1861, is the wife of William C. Sheldon, of Southampton. A lifelike portrait* of Colonel Elisha A. Edwards accompanies this brief historical sketch of the ancient and honored Hampshire County family of which he is the worthy representative.

*Editor's note: Portrait was included in the original printed book.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

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