Eldon Louis Edwards
BORN: February 13, 1895, in Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa
DIED: June 29, 1973, in Missouri
AGED: 78 years, 4 months, 16 days
BURIED: Cameron Memory Garden Cemetery, Cameron, Caldwell County, Missouri
FATHER: John Edwards
MOTHER: Sarah Provoast
MARRIAGE 1: to Jessie J. Rence on June 15, 1918, in Leeds, Woodbury County, Iowa. The marriage ended in divorce on January 10, 1932, in Rockwell City, Iowa.
1. Loren E. Edwards born August 6, 1920, in Iowa.
2. Harold L. Edwards born November 21, 1926, in Pomeroy, Calhoun County, Iowa.
MARRIAGE 2: to Velva Williamson on July 1, 1933, in Cherokee, Cherokee County, Iowa.
1. Shirley Rozalee "Gretchen" Edwards born October 8, 1934, in Iowa.
2. Ruby Lynne Edwards born April 10, 1940, in Iowa.
Eldon Louis Edwards was born on February 13, 1895, in Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa. He always said that his father was John Edwards and his mother was Sarah Provoast Edwards, because they were the people who raised him. However, several obituaries say that Eldon was an adopted son. If that's the case, then the names of his biological parents may be lost to time. But, the people who truly matter are John and Sarah.
I know nothing about Eldon's boyhood or formative years. The 1910 U.S. Census only lists him as a 15 year old farm worker. However, I requested information on Eldon from the Railroad Retirement Board in Chicago, because I knew he was employed by the Illinois Central Railroad. In the material that I received, I was able to learn more about his life as a young man. One document listed all of the places and dates where he worked while he was employed by the Illinois Central.
In the autumn of 1913, Eldon started working as a clerk at the I.C. depot in Dow City, Iowa. During the following year, he learned how to run a railroad station and perform all the duties of a station agent. Also, very importantly, he learned to be a telegraph operator.
In July of 1914, Eldon was moved to Denison as a relief agent/operator. In fact, from July to November of 1914, he moved a total of seven times. In succession, he worked as a relief agent/operator at Denison, Knierim, Oto, Oyens, James, and Ackley. It was part of their training that prospective station agents had to prove themselves capable of working in a variety of places and under varying conditions. He must have done well, because he was appointed the permanent agent/operator at James, Iowa, in November of 1914.
It was while he was working in James that he met a girl named Jessie Rence, They fell in love and eventually got married on June 15, 1918, in Leeds, Iowa. Their first child, a son named Loren E. Edwards, was born on August 6, 1920. Eldon was also baptized in the L.D.S. Church during his tenure at James. That event occurred on November 3, 1919.
In September of 1920, Eldon was transferred to Pomeroy, Iowa, which is in extreme northern Calhoun County. He remained in his new location for the next seventeen years. It was an eventful time, too. A second son, Harold L. Edwards was born on November 26, 1927. But the marriage between Eldon and Jessie wasn't going very well. After fourteen years, the marriage ended in divorce on January 10, 1932, in Rockwell City. About eighteen months later, Eldon got married for the second time.
Velva Williamson was born on July 11, 1901, in Auburn, Iowa. She had previously married a man named Glenn Salisbury on December 26, 1931, in Kansas City, Missouri. However, he died on June 10, 1932, in Lanesboro, Iowa. I have no knowledge of how Eldon and Velva met, but they were married on July 1, 1933, in Cherokee, Iowa. To this union, a daughter name Shirley Rozalee "Gretchen" Edwards, was born on October 8, 1934.
Three years later, in October of 1937, Eldon was again transferred. This time it was to Woodbine in Harrison County. He spent the last 23 years of his employment in his new location. From November 1937 through December 1942, Eldon and his family lived in the depot itself. In earlier times, it wasn't unusual for a railroad to provide living quarters above the main depot for the agent/operator and his family. This housing counted toward the pay for the agent. They also received light, water, and coal while he lived in the depot. It was also during his time at Woodbine that the last addition to his family took place. A second daughter, named Ruby Lynne Edwards, was born on April 10, 1940.
On March 1, 1960, Eldon took his retirement after working forty-five years for the Illinois Central Railroad. He moved to rural Kidder, Missouri, and worked as a farmer until his death on June 29, 1973. Velva passed away on April 1, 1979.