The Edwards Family came to the United States from Forfar, Scotland to Corry around 1871 and moved to Spartansburg about 1873. William and Elizabeth and their sons, James and William lived, worked and participated in the community from 1873 until 1903.
William (Sr) had been apprenticed and worked as a stone mason in Scotland before re-locating here. As such, he is listed in Business Directories of the time and was probably actively involved in rebuilding the town following the fires of 1878 and 1898.
Not much is known about Elizabeth, and little is recorded about their family life. Mr. Edwards was described as a craftsman in news articles.
More about William and Elizabeth here.
William and James were ages four and nine respectively when they arrived in America. As they grew the boys participated in sports and became well-known in the community.
In 1892, William married Clyde Asenath Brush Williams (1868-1939) and they had 2 children, Helen Elizabeth (1894) and Cecil Asenath (1896)
In 1899, James and Gertrude Rice (1868-1933) were married. They had no children.
Later in life William and James owned and operated a grocery store (about 1893) on the corner of Main and Water streets. In 1895 the brothers along with their father began the process of opening a woolen mill near Clear Lake on Water Street. (later became the location of Supplee Wills Jones Creamery and OSMO Tannery) With the help of the community in the form of subscriptions that were sold to raise money for the building and necessary equipment the Edwards Brothers Woolen Mill opened in September, 1896. The mill employed several people and produced woolen blankets and fine tweed material. Looking for a way to expand, the brothers relocated the mill to Siverly (Oil City) in 1902.
William and his family moved to Oil City followed by his father and mother in 1903. William (Sr) and Elizabeth returned to Scotland about 1905 and remained there until their deaths in 1908(Elizabeth) and 1927(William).
The woolen mill in Siverly expanded and blankets produced there were very popular. But in 1906 a fire destroyed the business. What was left of the building and the property was purchased for the Oil City Gas Engine Company. In 1908 William was a part of the newly organized Oil City Oil and Grease Company which was later absorbed by Pennzoil. He was also employed as a sales representative for the oil company.
James and his wife Gertrude spent some time in West Virginia following the move of the business. James was employed as a Claims Adjustor in the oil fields but returned and also became a resident of Oil City in about 1912.
In 1914 James joined in partnership with William Stevenson for ownership and management of a Dry Goods store on Center Street in the city. Two years later William once again became a partner with his brother to manage what became Edwards Brothers Department Store. They remained in that Business until James’s death in 1931 and William’s in 1936.
Following William’s death his wife Clyde and then his daughter Cecil kept the business open and thriving until 1946 when fire once again caused the loss of an Edwards business. The store burned to the ground and was not rebuilt.
Throughout their lives William and James maintained a connection to Spartansburg and visited often.
James’s wife Gertrude Rice was from Columbus area and their burial site is in the West Lawn Cemetery there.
Find-a-grave # 144486394
William’s wife’s family was from Greenville and he and his descendents’ final resting place is in the Edwards mausoleum in Shenango Valley Cemetery.
Find-a grave # 81708256
Helen and Cecil both married and lived successful lives.
Cecil graduated from Allegheny College with an education degree in 1919. She taught school until her marriage to fellow Allegheny College graduate, George Stetson(1897) in 1921.
Cecil and George remained in the area for several years. George was Superintendent of Titusville schools in the 1930s. They had 2 children. George E (1929-2006) and Elizabeth (1932). Later they moved to West Chester, PA where George was Superintendent of schools. Cecil died in 1976 and George in 1977. They rest in the Shenango Valley Cemetery mausoleum.
Helen married Chester A Fulkman (1887) in 1921. The lived in Akron Ohio area where Chester was involved with sales and management of insurance. They had 3 children. William who died as an infant in 1924, Edward (1925-2007) and James Colville (1927-2010) Chester died in 1956 and Helen in 1971. Both are laid to rest in the Shenango crypt.