Cecil Francis Edwards
BORN: December 2, 1894, in Ute, Monona County, Iowa
DIED: March 3, 1969, in Ames, Story County, Iowa
AGED: 74 years, 3 months, 1 day
BURIED: Dow City Cemetery, Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa
FATHER: Wallace Edwards born April 27, 1871, in Sanilac County, Michigan
MOTHER: Rose Alice Updike born May 22, 1872, in Bloomfield Twp., Polk County, Iowa
MARRIAGE: to Yvonne Alexandria Marie Bruhand born August 18, 1899, in Normandy, France
1. February 15, 1922, male child died at 3 months of age
2. July 5, 1923, female child, died
3. January 30, 1925, male child born premature, lived 8 months
4. Another child, sex unknown, was born premature because of an automobile accident in Minnesota. Date and location are unknown.
5. Normand Francis Edwards born October 21, 1929, in Ames, Story County, Iowa
6. Iris Loraine Edwards born May 20, 1930, in Ames, Story County, Iowa
My Uncle, Cecil Francis Edwards, was the first son born to Wallace and Rose (Updike) Edwards. He was born on December 2, 1894 in Ute, Monona County, Iowa. The Updike family had a farm near Ute, so I imagine that's why he was born there, instead of in Dow City, where most of the Edwards family lived. He first shows up in the U.S. Census for 1900. At that time the family was living in Hurdland Township in Clay County. Cecil was five years old, but was mistakenly listed as being a daughter! He had two sisters, an older one named Edna Myrtle Edwards and a younger one named Grace Edwards. Wallace was working as a day laborer to support the family.
The census for 1910, shows Cecil at age 15, working as a laborer, doing "odd jobs" around town and on farms. Cecil always loved hunting and trapping, so I'm sure much of his time was spent pursuing those activities, too.
The State of Iowa did a census in 1915. In that census, Cecil's age was listed as 19, and he was again described as being a laborer. His earnings for 1914 had amounted to $500. It indicated that he had attended grammar school, but not high school. It also erroneously lists his mother, Rose Edwards, as having been born in Indiana. She was actually born in Bloomfield Township, Polk County, Iowa.
The next big event in Cecil's life was the advent of WW I. He enlisted early and was mustered into the army in Ida Grove, Iowa. He did his basic training in Deming, New Mexico, before being sent overseas to France. While he was there, he worked with horses in a cavalry unit. He was never involved in combat, but I remember him telling about some of the things he saw that were a result of the conflict.
At the conclusion of the war, Cecil remained in France for several months. He met a pretty young French girl named Yvonne Alexandria Marie Bruhand, who lived in Normandy, France. They fell in love and eventually married on July 9, 1919, at Alencon, Normandy, France. After arriving in New York, Cecil was given his discharge, and then they headed to Iowa on the train. They were the "talk of the town" when they got back to Dow City in August of 1919.
The U.S. Census of 1920 shows that Cecil and Yvonne were living with his parents, Wallace and Rose Edwards, in Dow City. His livelihood was given as that of a "trapper for game and furs." Wallace was also listed as being in the same occupation. They sold the pelts for cash.
By the 1930 census, Cecil and Yvonne had moved to Ames, Iowa, and were living at 1227 Burnett Avenue. They were paying $25 a month rent and didn't have a radio. Cecil was still doing odd jobs as a laborer. Almost overlooked by the census taker was their son, Normand Edwards, who was only five months old. He was added onto the bottom of the page with a margin note to "see line 31."
Cecil rejoined the U.S. Army during WW II, but he was too old to go overseas. He was sent to Missouri for awhile, but mostly took care of horses at the Iowa State College Armory. After his discharge, he worked at the Iowa State Nursery south of Ames, where he eventually became a foreman.
In the fall and winter of 1953, my dad built a house for Cecil and Yvonne at 3722 South Duff Avenue. That was when Cecil and Yvonne were still working at the Iowa State Nursery. Cecil liked to garden, and in the spring, he always started a large plot beside his house. Cecil must have had a "green thumb," because he always seemed to have good vegetables. Cecil was very knowledgeable about most plants and trees. When he didn't know something about a particular plant, bush, or tree, he would ask Gene, who was the manager of the nursery. Cecil never forgot what Gene told him.
Cecil always liked wildlife. He would have loved The Animal Channel. He read all kinds of hunting and fishing magazines. I always enjoyed his stories about hunting and trapping. He could make you feel like you were right there with him. Cecil noticed all manner of detail and included it in his stories. He could even remember what kind of a day it was and describe the exact location where everything took place. His stories showed how perceptive he was, and his appreciation for nature. Besides animals and nature, Cecil also like things that went, BANG! He and my dad were two of a kind in that respect. They always seemed to have firecrackers, whether it was the Fourth of July or not.
I especially remember that Uncle Cecil had a nice appreciation of society as a whole. He seemed to see himself as part of a larger group, and he felt an obligation to it. It was a sort of civic responsibility, and he felt others should share in that obligation, too. In his view all people had an obligation to be considerate of others. I always admired my uncle for that attitude.
Physically, Cecil was of average height, about 5' - 10" or so. He wore glasses when he drove the car or was reading, but that was about all. He was slowly losing his hair and was a fairly heavy smoker. When I was a little boy, I was always fascinated by watching him roll his own cigarettes. He was a man of few words around strangers, but was very open around friends and relatives. I remember that he didn't like talking on the telephone. He said what he had to say and then hung up.
I wasn't around for the last couple of years of Uncle Cecil's life. I was serving in the U.S. Air Force when he passed away on March 3, 1969. He's buried in the Dow City Cemetery, in Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa.