Henry Harrison EDWARDS, successfully engaged in general agricultural pursuits in Hennepin township, is one of the native sons of Putnam county, having been born in Magnolia township on the 12th of March, 1842. He is a son of William and Mary (WILEY) EDWARDS, both of whom were native's of Ohio. The father, who was born in 1800, died in Putnam county, Illinois, at the age of seventy-four years, while his wife passed away July 20, 1870, at the age of fifty-seven years. Their marriage was celebrated in the Buckeye state. William EDWARDS was a carpenter by trade in the days when the representatives of the occupation went into the woods and hewed out the timbers which they used for building purposes. Many structures in Ohio are still standing which were erected by him long years ago a fact which indicates his excellent workmanship and the splendid quality of the timber which he used. In 1841, thinking to better his financial condition in the middle west, he brought his family to Putnam county, Illinois, and purchased three hundred and fifty acres of land in Magnolia township. This land was unimproved, and he erected thereon the first dwelling. He then began to clear and cultivate the fields, and continued to reside upon the farm until his death, while his wife also passed away there. In early days he walked five miles to Palatine and worked at his trade, and after his return home at night he built a barn upon his own place. He often went without his dinner, but said that he never suffered any inconvenience on this account. He was a most industrious, energetic man, and allowed no obstacle to brook his path as he advanced toward the goal of prosperity. His political support was given to the republican party, but he was without aspiration for office. His wife was identified with the Society of Friends or Quakers in early life. In the family of this worthy couple were six children: George, who for many years was county clerk of Tama county, Iowa, where he followed farming, but is now deceased; Henry Harrison; Joseph, who was born September 1, 1845, and was a prominent attorney of Iowa City; Anna, who was born April 20, 1848, and is the wife of William CASTLE, a resident of Magnolia township; Luella, who was born October 4, 1850, and is the deceased wife of William EISENHOUR; and Mary J., the wife of O. W. ALLEN, a resident of Henry, Illinois.
Henry Harrison EDWARDS spent his boyhood days on his father's farm, amid the wild scenes and environments of pioneer life, and pursued his education in a district school, where the pupils sat upon slab seats and wrote their copies upon a desk made by placing a board upon pins driven into the wall. He afterward had the advantage of attending Wheaton College for a short time. His training at farm labor was not meager, and through practical experience he early became familiar with the work incident to the cultivation of the crops. He remained at home until twenty-seven years of age, when he came into possession of a part of his father's farm and began business on his own account. He lived upon that place until about eleven years ago, when he purchased the farm upon which he now resides. It was at that time an improved tract of land, and he as since added to it many more modern improvements. His buildings are all nicely painted and the farm presents a well kept appearance in every department. The dwelling is a large frame residence, richly and tastefully furnished, and the fields cover one hundred and ninety acres of rich land under a high state of cultivation. Here Mr. EDWARDS carries on general agricultural pursuits, raising both stock and grain, and each branch of his business is proving profitable to him.
In 1869, when twenty-seven years of age, Mr. EDWARDS was married to Miss Elizabeth STUDYVIN, who was born in Putnam county and died about fifteen years after her marriage. They had one child, a daughter, Alice, who is now the wife of William KAYS, a resident of Tonica, La Salle county. On the 15th of August, 1883, Mr. EDWARDS wedded Alice KAYS, a daughter of William A. KAYS, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work. Unto Mr. and Mrs. EDWARDS have been born three children. Jennie V., born May 7, 1884, is a graduate of the Granville high school of the class of 1902 and has taught in the district schools for four years. She is now devoting her attention to music. Helen, born November 1, 1888, was graduated from the Granville high school with the class of 1906. Joseph, born March 11, 1894, is at home.
Mr. EDWARDS and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and take a helpful interest in its various activities. In politics he is a republican, without aspiration for office, and fraternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America. He and his family are most pleasant and genial people and the family is one of prominence in the community, while the hospitality of their home is greatly enjoyed by their many friends. The name of EDWARDS has figured upon the pages of history in Putnam county through almost two-thirds of a century, and for sixty-four years Henry Harrison EDWARDS has resided within its borders, so that his memory compasses the period of pioneer development as well as of later progress and improvement. He can remember the days when many of the homes were log cabins, when much of the land was still uncultivated and when the work of the farm was done with very crude machinery as compared with the agricultural implements of the present day. He has kept in touch with the trend of modern progress and is now a prominent representative of agricultural life in Putnam county.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.