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Australian Born

James Edwards, was born February 8, 1810 in West Hinton, New South Wales, Australia, a tiny historic township 3 km north-east of Morpeth on the banks of the Hunter River, 171 km north of Sydney.  Hinton was a land grant made out to the merchant R.C. Dillin in 1823. The rich soil made the area ideal for crop farming with its produce shipped down to Newcastle and Sydney as early as 1824. A post office was established in 1835 and the village came into existence through the subdivision of Robert Coram Dillin's 600 acre property in 1840; then in 1844 a wharf was built. By the end of the 19th century, however, the town had declined from its former self. During that time, James married his first wife,  Mary Mathewayne, and their children were James born in 1834; Mary born in 1836; Alice born in 1838, who died April 11, 1914 in Joe Davies County Illinois and John born April 1, 1843 who died April 11, 1917, also in Joe Davies County.

Later in life James migrated to the United States and made his way to the state of Illinois. After arriving Edwards residence was listed as being in Jo Davies County, Galena, Illinois where  almost forty years to the day from his birth, James on January 1, 1850 married Mary Ann Barnhill, born around 1833. Their children were Margaret Jane born 1844 in Joe Davies County; Francis born in 1849 and Oliver Cromwell born on April 27, 1854; Charles born in 1865; all in Galena, Joe Davies County Illinois.

Twelve years later on August 5, 1862 James was inducted into the Union Army at 44 years of age by J.C. Smith, as a Private for three years at Galena, Illinois. James was officially mustered into Company "I", Illinois 96th U.S. Infantry on September 4, 1862 at Rockford, Illinois. He was described as being 5' 10 1/2 inches tall, had greying mixed hair, grey eyes, was of a light complexion was then single, worked as a carpenter and had been born in Australia. His son John Edwards also served from Galena, enlisting in 1861 at 18 years of age as a Private into Company “D”. 45th Illinois Infantry and  then reenlisted at the expiration of his service period as a veteran in 1863.

Edwards was eventually discharged on grounds of disability on January 1,
1864 at Nick A Jack Cove, Georgia. Later James applied for a military pension, on March 15, 1878; application #250337/certificate #173223. According to records, James Edwards lived in Galena, Illinois, the same town that Ulysses S. Grant, lived as a boy and worked in his father’s leather shop. Records also show that James died on December 29, 1880 in West Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois and was buried in the

Greenwood Cemetery in Galena, Jo Daviess County. His headstone, however, reads, Feb. 2, 1810 – Dec. 24, 1880.


Barry Crompton, ACWRTA

Bonnie (withheld by request), Galena, Illinois

FamilySearch Genealogy Service

H. D. "Mike" Frieda, Jr., descendant research

Historical Sata Systems, Inc.

Illinois Roster of Officers and Enlisted Men

Kathy (name withheld)

LDS Data Bank

National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Vital Stastics, State of Illinois


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