Lee County Biography

Isaac Edwards

The name of this gentleman is a familiar one to the residents of Lee County, and especially to the citizens of Amboy where he has resided most of the time since 1853. His financial ability is proved by the fact that, although he came to this county with limited means, he is now the owner of five hundred and eighty acres of farming lands, and ten houses and lots in Amboy, besides his livery and sales stables, an ice house and a hotel. He possesses the thrift and perseverance of a long line of English ancestors, and to those qualities adds the American characteristics of push and enterprise, a combination of traits which ensure success to the fortunate possessor.

Born July 31, 1828 in Somersetshire, England, Mr. Edwards is the son of Marmaduke and Charlotte (Tavener) Edwards, his father being a shoemaker by trade. He was one of six children of whom five grew to mature years, although none but Isaac ever came to the US. The mother of the family died in 1840, and the father married again, six children being born of his second union. Two of our subject's half brothers came to this country - Job, who is located at Warren, Ill., and William, of Amboy. Marmaduke Edwards lived to an advanced age passing away when eighty years old. At the time of his mothers death, our subject was only twelve years old and his subsequent education was somewhat liimited, but as he has alays been a great reader, he has become a well-informed man.

In 1850, Mr. Edwards came to the US, proceeding westward to Illinois and stopping at Elgin, where he worked on the construction of the Chicago & Galena Railroad. The following winter he found employment at similar work in Indiana and in the spring of the ensuing year returned to this state, working first at Rockford and later at Pecatonica. He had three contracts on the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad and graded seven miles of that road. Next we find Mr. Edwards at Forreston whence he came to Amboy and worked on the construction of the Illinois Central Railroad until its completion. Before coming to this city, his work on railroads was teaming and he had several teams in constant use.

After the completion of the railroad, Mr. Edwards engaged in the livery business, also in general teaming, moving buildings, and as an ice dealer. Subsequently, he had contracts on the construction of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, the Kansas City Branch of the Chicago & ALton, The Chicago & Pacific, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, and also in Iowa, devoting some ten years to railroad work. During that time his business in Amboy was continued under his supervision. In 1879, he was elected County Treasurer, but the Board of Supervisors questioned the sufficiency of his bond, although his bondsmen were several of the most wealthy farmers of Lee County. On referring the case to the State's Attorney, he held that they could not accept a new bond after the first of December and as they had assembled at the last moment, no time was left to make a new bond and thus the office was lost.

In 1882, Mr. Edwards was elected Sheriff of Lee County and during the four years in which he held office, resided in Dixon. In the meantime, his son conducted the livery business under the direct oversight of Mr. Edwards, who at the expiration of his term of office returned to Amboy and has resided here since. A faithful member of the Republican party, he has always maintained the greatest interest in the welfare of this country and during the late war furnished the Government with many horses. Since that time he has been an extensive dealer in live stock. He has held many of the highest positions within the gift of his fellow-citizens, has been Supervisor some ten years, Collector of the City Taxes, and Mayor of Amboy for several terms.

The lady, who in 1853 became the wife of Mr. Edwards, was Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Saul, of Forreston, this State. Mrs. Edwards was born in the North of Ireland and emigrated to the United States with her parents when nineteen years old. She has become the mother of eight children, four of whom died in childhood, the survivors being - William J., John H., Isaac F., and James A. Possessing the genial and hospitable dispositions which win and reatin friends, both Mr. Edwards and his wife occupy a high place in the regard of the people of Amboy and the surrounding country.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 317


Lee Co Bios

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