Edwards is of Welsh origin. One John Edwards, born in Wales, and married to Hannah Aperby, was the apparent immigrant of our Edwards line. He came to Virginia about 1750.

His son, Charles Edwards, was born in Virginia about 1768 and married on Feb 6, 1790 in Orange County, North Carolina to Sarah Dugger. Shortly afterward Charles and Sarah migrated to Tennessee and remained there a few years then moved on to Illinois.

Children of Charles Edwards and Sarah Dugger
John Edwards 9 Oct 1790, VA Anna Blair
Duca Milla abt 1792, VA Thomas Williams
Leonard A. Edwards abt 1796 Sarah McGee
Jane Moore
Lorenzo R. Edwards abt 1805, TN Eliza Green Broughton
Howell Edwards abt 1806 Sarah Garrett
Pauline Edwards abt 1807 Singleton Bowers
Isavilla Edwards abt 1809 Thomas James Shain

Their son, Lorenzo Edwards, was born about 1805, in Sumter County, Tennessee. He married Eliza Green Broughton, with the permission of her father, Jeremiah Broughton, April 1, 1829 in Gallatin County, Illinois. Lorenzo was a farmer and died in Gallatin County on May 31, 1849. About five years later, May 11, 1854, Eliza married, James Yates.

Children of Lorenzo Edwards and Elsey Green Broughton
Charles Edwards abt 1833, IL Catherine Hovey
Jeremiah Edwards 1835, IL Louisa J. Vineyard
Sarah A. Bellah
William Edwards IL
Washington Edwards 1839, IL
Leonard Edwards 1840, IL
Milton Edwards 10 Oct 1841, Gallatin Co., IL Elizabeth Harget
Sarah Norris
Mary Skelton
Sarah J. Edwards 1843, IL
John Edwards 1846, Gallatin Co., IL Biddie ???
Harriet Edwards 1848, Gallatin Co., IL John S. Skelton

Other descendants of John Edwards relocated to Illinois about 1830. Some of these Edwards were possibly Revolutionary soldiers and settled in Illinois on military tracts, or bought parcels of the cheap "government" land there.

Our Edwards settled in Gallatin County, Illinois, around Shawneetown, and framed and raised their families. Shortly before the turn of the century Great Grandfather, Milton Edwards, son of Lorenzo Edwards and great grandson of John Edwards, immigrant from Wales, removed to Success, Clay County, Arkansas. There he lived the remainder of his days.

John Edwards, youngest son of Lorenzo and Eliza, during the Civil War enlisted in Co. G, 29th Regiment Illinois Infantry Aug 15, 1864 at the rank of Pvt. for a period of 2 years. He was 18 years of age, a farmer, eyes black; hair dark; complexion dark; height 5 ft 10 1/2 inches.

John S. Skelton, brother of Mary Skelton, Milton's wife, married Milton's baby sister, Harriet. She was probably John's second wife as there are two marriages to John S. Skelton in Gallatin County records. He was probably named after his mother's father, John S. Patillo.

During the Civil War John S. Skelton joined Co. K, 6th Ill Cavalry and served about a year in 1865. He was discharged in Selma, Alabama. His bounty was credited at Troy Town, Will Co., IL.

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Milton Edwards

Milt Milton Edwards was born October 10, 1841 about twelve miles west of Shawneetown, Gallatin County, possibly near Equality, Illinois. He died June 10, 1939 at Success, Clay County, Arkansas, four months before his 98th birthday, and was buried in Hitt Cemetery June 12.

Milton married his sweetheart, Miss Elizabeth Harget, on February 14, 1866, but she died March 1867, with no heirs, probably from child birth. He married again October 10, 1869 to Miss Sarah J. Norris, in Batchtown, Calhoun County, Illinois (by William J. Batchelder, J.P.). Sarah was born in Calhoun County, Illinois in 1854 and died in Gallatin County January 1872, also probably from child birth complications. Her parents were J. C. Norris, born in Ohio and Louisa born in North Carolina.

Milton married a third time on December 14, 1874 to Miss Mary Skelton, at Omaha, Gallatin County, Illinois (Benj. Kinsall, J.P. officiated). She was born February 19, 1851 in Gallatin County, Illinois and died December 22, 1934 Success, Clay County, Arkansas. She was buried December 23, in Hitt Cemetery Success, Clay County, Arkansas. Her parents were Barnabas G. Skelton, born about 1816 in South Carolina, and Martha A. Patillo, born about 1817 in Illinois, probably Pope County.

Shortly after war began, Milton joined Co G, 29th Ill. Vol. Inf of the Union Army on August 6, 1861. According to Army records he had dark eyes, dark hair, and dark complexion. He was five feet six and three-quarter inches tall, and by occupation a farmer. Pvt Milton Edwards became an ambulance driver and remained with the 29th for about two years. In 1864 & 65 he was a member of Co. H US Heavy Artillery Colored, at first as a Sergeant and later 2nd Lieutenant. He was discharged December 6, 1865 at Natchez, Mississippi.

"The newly organized soldiers", the Gallatin County Buffalos," were sent down the Ohio River toward Cairo, at that time the border line between the states. They saw service in that territory, and also did much in Southeastern Missouri and Northeastern Arkansas. Crossing over into Tennessee, with his regiment, he [Milton] arrived just in time to get into that awful battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing . . . After that, he was with the Union Army in the various campaigns along the Mississippi River, and was one of those present when Gen. Grant's Army captured Vicksburg.

He was taken from the 29th Regiment and given a place in Co. H U.S. Colored Artillery, Heavy. He was also promoted to Second Lieutenant, and continued with this unit of the army till Lee's surrender, which occurred while they were encamped at Natchez." (Interview, Clay County Courier, July 28, 1933.)

Prisoner of war records reveal Pvt. Milton Edwards was captured at Holly Springs, Mississippi and also paroled there December 20, 1862. Holly Springs was one of the battle fields of the Illinois 29th, and in 1863 a Union supply base.

He was a patient at U.S.A. General Hospital, Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri April 24, 1863. The reason was not specified and he was returned to duty May 9.

The remainder of 1863 Milton was on detached service to the 5th Reg't U.S. Col'd Art'y at Natchez, Mississippi (Which subsequently became Co. "L" 6 Reg't U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery). First as 2nd Sergeant and by March 1, 1865 as 2nd Lieutenant and transferred to Company "H" of the same Regiment. (The Regiment in September 1865 had a strength of 40 officers and 1,316 enlisted men.) In October 1865 Milton was Assistant Provost Marshal at Natchez, Mississippi.

Milton tendered his resignation October 14, 1865: "I have been in the Service Since the 6th of August 1861: during all of which time I have not had an opportunity of Settling my business at home, which I left in a very unsettled State upon entering the Service. A longer delay in the settlement of my business may occasion the loss of all I have." His resignation was approved and he was discharged December 6, 1865.

After leaving the Army Milton returned home to Gallatin County, Illinois and married his Sweetheart, Elizabeth Harget, a couple months later. She died in March the following year.

He departed Gallatin County and drifted to Calhoun County in the southwestern part of the state. There, about a year and half later, he married Sarah Norris. She also died after about three years marriage. He returned to Gallatin County and a couple of years later married Mary Skelton. They settled down to farming and raising a family in the Omaha vicinity.

From Omaha, Gallatin County, Illinois, January 16, 1890, Milton affirms: "When discharged Dec 6th 1865 I came to Gall. Co. remained there till 1867. Then went to Batchtown [Calhoun County] remained in that part of the country till 1870. Then came to the vicinity of Omaha and have remained the most of the time ever since."

About 1895 he migrated to Success, Clay County, Arkansas and settled on a 40 acre farm about a mile and a half west of Success. Sometime later he moved into Success where he lived until his death. (In 1925 Milton said he lived after the war about 15 years in Gallatin County, about 8 years in Calhoun County, and again 8 years in Gallatin County, and about 25 years in Success, Clay County, Arkansas.)

His petition for a pension from Omaha, Illinois, seems to have been in 1889 when he was forty-seven. The reasons in an affidavit were..."he contracted rheumatism in hips and shoulders and deafness of right ear, and he has suffered therefrom ever since." In a letter to the Pension Office Milton wrote: "I contracted Rheumatism and deafness in wright ear in the fall of 1864 as well as I remember now as my memory is not very good while on a trip through La after cattle, nown as the Black River expedition we marched through Louisiana swamps in mud and water, very severe."

He was treated for rheumatism by doctors, but for his deafness he declared: "I was not treated by anyone for deafness since I was discharged as it does not pain me only when takes severe cold or exposed to rain etc. then I doctor it myself."

At age 61 an affidavit to the Pension Offices says, "he is partially unable to support himself because of rhumatism, deafness, lumbago, disease of heart, general debility, and debility from age." By November 7, 1921, his disabilities were "rheumatism, high blood pressure and vertigo." His last declaration, at age 84, lists his disabilities as "Rheumatism and General disability."

A family tradition has it that Milton at one time rowed the notorious outlaw, Jesse James, across the Mississippi River. If that is true it must have been while he lived in Calhoun County. The county is in the southwestern part of the state of Illinois and borders the Mississippi River the length of its western side.

He was also patriotic, a staunch Republican, and at political rallies or at voting time in Success, he would be up and around yelling, "Hear ye, hear ye..." Milton was of the Baptist faith, but later on, probably after he arrived in Success, Arkansas, embraced the Pentecostal Movement and became a devout member of the Pentecost Church.

Children of Milton Edwards and Sarah Norris
C. C. "Charles" Edwards 4 Dec 1871, Calhoun Co., IL
Children of Milton Edwards and Mary Skelton
Norah Edwards 19 Jun 1877, Gallatin Co., IL Jacob "Jake" Henry Willis
Marion Monroe "Dick" Edwards 3 Oct 1879; Gallatin Co., IL Emma Elizabeth Philour
Walter "Walt" Edwards Edwards 22 Jun 1882, Gallatin Co., IL Bertha Baxter
Maud Edwards 10 Nov 1886, Gallatin Co., IL Harry Smith
Felix "Feek" Edwards 13 June 1889, Gallatin Co., IL Dee Woodmur


The National Park Service dedicated a memorial to U. S. Colored Troops who served in the Armed Forces during the Civil War. Their names and the names of their White Officers are inscribed in plaques as part of the memorial.