Obit: Edwards, John (1831 - 1891)

Contact: Ken

Surnames: Edwards, Alexander, Winans, Taylor, Dill, McBrdie, Price, Whalen, Morrill, Mennett, Nash, Wood, Scott

----Source: Centralia Enterprise & Tribune (Wood County, Wis.) 14 Mar. 1891

Edwards, John (15 Sept. 1831 - 11 Mar. 1891)

The sad news of the death of Hon. John Edwards, which took place at Madison last Wed. afternoon, March 11th, at 1:30 o’clock, had caused many a heart to ache, not only in his own county, but throughout the entire state. Yet it cannot be said that his death was unexpected, for he had been in an enfeebled condition for more than a year, and particularly since about the middle of last October.

During the last few days of Mr. Edward’s life, no subject of conversationn was of more interest to his Wood County friends than that which would give them an idea of his state of health, and of the chances which might exist for his recovery. The mails were watched with assiduity, and those who were known to be in correspondence with his attendants were constantly besieged by anxious and inquiring friends. The day before Mr. Edward’s death, the news was particularly encouraging. But like so many other instances, where false hopes are fostered by a change for the better, it only portrayed the nearness of the end, and a final mysterious summons to the great hereafter.

Mr. Edwards was constantly attended by his faithful wife ever since the session of the present legislature opened, which was on the 15th day of January. Since the 18th day of February, his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Alexander have been at his side, attending to his every want.

When the legislature was informed that one of their number had ended his earthly career, the stars and stripes were immediately placed at half mast from the dome of the capitol, and the transaction of business suspended out of respect to his memory.

On the re-assembling of the legislature the next morning, Hon. John Winans offered the following resolutions, which were adopted by the assembly and concurred in by the senate, after which both bodies again adjourned: -

Whereas, The earthly career of one of the most highly respected citizens of the state has been terminated in the death of the Hon. John Edwards, a member of this honorable body, and

Whereas, In his death the state has not only lost one of its most enterprising, successful and honored citizen, but also a legislator of sound judgment, unquestioned integrity and great usefulness, therefore

Resolved, That a committee of five, three assemblymen and two senators, be appointed to accompany the body of the deceased to his late home at Port Edwards.

Resolved, That the sergeant-at-arms of the assembly accompany the committee and render such service on behalf of the state as the circumstances require.

Resolved, That as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, the senate and assembly do now adjourn.

It was a solemn procession that accompanied the remains of Mr. Edwards to the train on Thur. morning. The members of the legislature not delegated as a special escort formed in line in front of the Park Hotel and preceded the hearse on its mournful course to the East Madison depot. On the casket rested two floral designs, one sent by his associates in the assembly, the other a Masonic emblem. The casket was deposited in a special car provided for the purpose, which was occupied by immediate relatives of the deceased; by the committee of escort consisting of Assemblyman John Winans, Jas. A. Taylor and D. J. Dill and Senators, R. J. McBrdie and H. H. Price; by Sergeant-at-arms Whalen; by Mr. and Mrs. Morrill of Madison, brother and sister-in-law of Mrs. Edwards; and by Messrs. E. Mennett, Thos. E. Nash, F. J. Wood and W. A. Scott. The special train arrived at Port Edwards at 6:30 the same evening.

John Edwards was born in England, Sept. 15th, 1831, being in the sixtieth year of his age at the time of his death. He came to Wood County in the year 1859, when but twenty-eight years of age, and was given charge of his father’s interests in the firm of J. Edwards & Co., who operated a saw-mill about half mile above the present site of the mill now located at Port Edwards. His father died in the year 1864, and soon thereafter the property came into the hands of the four Edwards brothers, John, George, William and Richard. In the year 1873, Thos. B. Scott and John Edwards jointly purchased the interest of the other three brothers and became the sole owners of this valuable property. Thus it remained until the 15th day of last October when the John Edwards Manufacturing company was incorporated with John Edwards, L. M. Alexander, Walter A. and T. B. Scott as subscribers to the capital stock.

Mr. Edwards was married to Miss Frances J. Morrill on the 16th day of January, 1861. One child, a daughter, has blessed this union, and has been their comfort and their joy all these years. She became the wife of Mr. I. M. Alexander one year ago the present month and both have since done what they could for the comfort and happiness of their deceased father.

Mr. Edwards was a Mason of high standing. He was a member of the Grand Rapids Lodge No. 128; of the Chapter at Mauston; of Fort Winnebago Commandery No. 4 of Portage; and of the Wisconsin Consistory at Milwaukee. His Masonic history dates from the 20th day of October, 1860, when he took the first of the thirty-two degrees of which he afterward became possessed.

To the untiring efforts of Mr. John Edwards and his business associates, Northern Wisconsin owes a large share of her present development. It is well known that in the year 1873, largely through his efforts the Wisconsin Valley Railroad was built from Tomah to Wausau. And even last year he was the prime mover in the building of the Port Edwards, Centralia and Northern R.R. Besides, these two great projects, he has interested himself in many other institutions that have been contributed to our well-being and financial stability.

Though naturally of a retiring disposition, Mr. Edwards has not been without political honors. He has been school treasurer since 1860; postmaster since 1864; chairman of the town of Port Edwards since 1873; chairman of the County Board in 1884 and 1885. He has been a delegate to the National Democratic Convention, and last fall was a member of the state convention that nominated our state officials. He twice made a canvass for state senator, in a district strongly averse to his political convictions, yet the contest was so evenly divided that in both instances the result was in doubt until several days after election. Finally he was last October made the unanimous choice of his party as their candidate for member of the assembly, and at the ensuing election was triumphantly elected.



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