BORN: April 27, 1871, in Sanilac County, Michigan
DIED: June 8, 1946, in Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa
AGED: 75 years, 1 month, 12 days
BURIED: Dow City Cemetery, Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa
FATHER: John Edwards born September 11, 1848, in Lobo, Ontario, Canada
MOTHER: Sarah Provoast born April 3, 1850, in Michigan
MARRIAGE: to Rose Alice Updike on October 7, 1893 in Bell Town, Crawford County, Iowa
1. Edna Myrtle Edwards born November 25, 1893, in Crawford County, Iowa
2. Cecil Francis Edwards born December 2, 1894, in Ute, Monona County, Iowa
3. Grace E. Edwards born May 8, 1898, in Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa
4. Donald Lyle Edwards born June 6, 1911, in Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa
5. Dorothy Lois Edwards born June 6, 1911, in Dow City, Crawford County, Iowa
Just like my great grandfather, I never really knew my grandfather, Wallace Edwards. I was born about two and a half years before he died, so I don't have any memories of him. I do know a little more about Wallace than I do about John, but the difference doesn't amount to very much. Although my dad never talked about his father very often, he always tried to answer any questions that I asked about Wallace. So, ultimately, the fault is my own. I had the chance to learn a lot of information about grandfather Wallace, but I didn't take the time to ask the questions, or to write down my dad's answers. Now that opportunity is gone.
Wallace Edwards was born on April 27, 1871. His obituary says that he was born in a place called Sarney, Michigan. Well, you can look until your eyes are sore and you won't find any place called Sarney in the state of Michigan. There are a few locations around Sanilac County that sound somewhat similar, and there's even a place in Michigan called Snay, but there's no Sarney, at least not that I could find. It's possible that the location existed at one time, and now it's gone. In any case, Wallace always told my father that his birth took place in Michigan. That much is certain.
The same census tables that chronicle my great grandfather's movements also account for my grandfather's whereabouts. Surprisingly, that's also true even after Wallace got married. I guess it's because the Edwards family always chose to live in close proximity to one another. The very first census to list Wallace was the Canadian census of 1881. He was just a boy then, only seven years of age. By that time, however, he had already seen quite a bit of the country. From Michigan, where he was born, they had moved to Crawford County, Iowa, where John Jr. was born in 1877. From Iowa they traveled back up into Canada for several years and then finally moved to Iowa again around 1887.
Quite a bit of time passed however, before Wallace showed up in any census tables again. The next occasion was in the Iowa State Census of 1895, when he is again living in Crawford County, Iowa. Two years before that census, Wallace had married my grandmother, a lady named Rose Alice Updike. Wallace met Rose while she was working in a box factory in Sioux City, Iowa. Their marriage took place in the small village of Bell Town, in Crawford County, on October 7, 1893. Their first child was my aunt, Edna Myrtle Edwards, who was born on November 25, 1893. A year later she had a younger brother named Cecil Francis Edwards. He was born in the small town of Ute, Iowa, in Monona County, on December 2, 1894. Later they moved from Ute, because the Iowa Census for 1895 shows Wallace and Rose living with John Edwards in Charter Oak Township in far western Crawford County. Strangely, neither Edna nor Cecil are enumerated in the census tables. In addition, Rose is listed as being single and born in Indiana, which is not correct. She was married and was born in Polk County, Iowa.
By the time of the 1900 census, Wallace and Rose were living in Hurdland Township in Clay County, Iowa. Wallace was listed as being a day laborer. My Dad said that Wallace helped to build railroad grades in both Iowa and Minnesota. Since Clay County is in northern Iowa, I think this was probably the time when he worked for the railroads, or their contractors. The 1900 Census also shows that Wallace and Rose had a third child, a girl named Grace Edwards.
The census year of 1910 found the Wallace Edwards family living in Dow City on Third Street. In fact, all the Edwards families were living on Third Street. Wallace was listed as being a farmer, while Cecil Edwards, who was then 15, was a listed as being a laborer doing "odd jobs."
Ten years later, in 1920, Wallace and Rose were still in Dow City, although the census didn't record the street where they were living. They had a full house, too, because Cecil and his young wife, Yvonne, were also living with them. Yvonne was a war bride. Cecil had married her in 1919 just before returning from his WWI service in France. The two oldest daughters, Myrtle and Grace, were both married by that time and were living elsewhere in town. However, my father, Donald Edwards, and his twin sister, Dorothy, were still at home.
By the time of the 1930 census, the family had moved to Arion, Iowa, which is an even smaller town just to the east of Dow City. Wallace was listed as being a well digger. They rented a house for $8.00 a month, and they didn't even have a radio. Don and Dorothy are still at home. Don was listed as being a laborer doing general farm work, and Dorothy was working as a servant in a hotel.
Physically, Wallace wasn't a large man. He didn't stand much higher than his wife, Rose. He usually wore a golf-style cap that was popular at the time. He smoked a pipe, and like most of the Edwards men, he wore glasses. He was a skilled hunter and an excellent marksman. He always came home with some animal, either for food or for the pelt. He liked to garden, and they always had a large vegetable patch whenever there was enough room. According to my dad, the family moved frequently because they had trouble paying the rent. Dad said that he grew up in Arion as much as he did in Dow City. Because they were poor, the houses they lived in were old and usually poorly constructed. Dad remembered that he sometimes woke up on winter mornings with snow on his bed.
Wallace Edwards died on June 8, 1946, in Dow City. He's buried in Dow City Cemetery, which is located on a hill just west of town. His marker is a very simple one, giving only his name and the years of his birth and death.