Biography - C. F. EDWARDS

C. F. Edwards, who has been closely associated with the business development of Montgomery county through agricultural and financial interests, and who has also figured in public affairs as the promoter of many measures for the general good, is now engaged in banking in Coffeen. He was born November 4, 1856, in East Fork township, Montgomery county, his parents being James A. and Christina T. Edwards. His father was born in 1818 in North Carolina and was the son of Thomas Edwards. In the state of his nativity he was reared and educated, and when a young man he came to Montgomery county, Illinois, and purchased land here. Thomas Edwards being among the early settlers of this portion of the state. From that time forward members of the family have borne an active and helpful part in the work of general improvement and upbuilding. Thomas Edwards continued as a farm resident of Montgomery county until his death, which occurred in 1857.

James Allen Edwards continued farming in this county from the time of his arrival until his demise. He was married in 1848 to Miss Christina T. Cannon, a daughter of William Cannon, and they became the parents of ten children, of whom nine are living: William T., of East Fork township; Margaret, who died in infancy; John W., also of East Fork township; Julia F., who is the widow of John W. Major; Mary T., who is the wife of Joseph A. Hanner; C. F.; Samuel H., of Coffeen; Amos R., of East Fork township; Ida, who married William A. Boyd, of East Fork; and James A., also of East Fork. The father died in 1867 and was buried at Edwards Chapel, which was named in honor of his grandfather, who gave the land upon which the church was built. James A. Edwards was deeply interested in all that pertained to the welfare of his community and was a co-operant factor in many measures for the general good. At the same time he conducted important and extensive business interests, becoming one of the leading landowners of the county, having at the time of his death bought nine hundred acres. In his political affiliation he was a Democrat, taking an active interest in politics and keeping well informed on the questions of the day. His barn was the voting place of his district. After the death of her husband Mrs. James A. Edwards remained upon the home farm until her children were married and then removed to Coffeen, where she is now living.

C. F. Edwards was reared to farm life and acquired his education in the public schools, while in the summer months he assisted in the labors of field and meadow. When twenty-one years of age he began farming for himself on land which he inherited from his father. After his marriage he settled upon a farm of one hundred and sixty acres and there carried on agricultural pursuits with good success for about eight years. In 1888 he removed to Coffeen, where he purchased a lumber yard, which he conducted with profit for ten years, having a very extensive patronage and thereby realizing a good return from his investments and his labors. In 1898, however, he sold the lumber yard. He was secretary of the Building & Loan Association for nine years, and in 1900 he built a bank, and has since conducted a private bank, which has become the leading financial institution of the township. He still owns his farm, which is now rented. After removing to Coffeen he built a nice residence, which he occupies, and he is classed with the substantial citizens of his community.

When twenty-four years of age Mr. Edwards was united in marriage to Miss Catherine J. Nichols, a daughter of Gordon Nichols, of East Fork township. Her father was born in Kentucky, July 3, 1826, and with his parents removed to Indiana, where he was reared. He became a resident of East Fork- township, Montgomery county, in 1857, and made for himself a place among the substantial farmers of the community, becoming the owner of four hundred acres of rich and valuable land. At length he retired from active farming pursuits and in 1893 removed to Coffeen, where he spent his remaining days, his death occurring on the 6th of March, 1901. He was married in 1848 to Miss Jemima F. Robinson, of Greencastle, Indiana, who is now living in Coffeen. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards has been blessed with eight children, of whom six are now living: Clarence L., Harvey C., Lester Franklin, Floyd Springer. Russell Wayne and Chauncey J., all of whom are at home. Rosetta and Grove Allen, the second and third members of the family, died in infancy.

Mr. and Mrs. Edwards belong to the Methodist church, he having become identified with the Edwards Chapel prior to his marriage and served in church offices since his removal to Coffeen, and he is deeply interested in the various church activities, contributing generously to their support and doing all in his power for their upbuilding. In politics he is a Democrat with accurate information concerning political questions, conditions and issues, and the important service which he has rendered his party led to his selection for a delegate to the state convention held in Springfield in 1904. He was a member of the first town board of Coffeen and is now filling that position, although his service has not been continuous, he has been particularly active in opposition to the saloons, doing all in his power to promote temperance sentiment here. There were only a few houses in Coffeen when he removed to the town, and he has been a very important factor in the upbuilding of the place. He is quick to recognize and take advantage of opportunities for the public welfare, as well as his individual business interests, and his career has been marked by steady progression and characterized by the development of a life history which commands uniform respect and esteem.

Extracted 11 Apr 2020 by Norma Hass from 1904 Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois, by Jacob L. Traylor, pages 36-39.

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