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.
Bonnie (withheld by
request), Galena, Illinois
H. D. "Mike"
Frieda, Jr., descendant research
Illinois Roster of
Officers and Enlisted Men
LDS Data Bank
Stastics, State of Illinois