FRANK EDWARDS. The most interesting part of the history of Kansas is the story of those individuals who made homes in the state when conditions were primitive and every settler had to fight a stubborn battle with soil, climate, and all the pests and plagues that beset the Kansan of twenty-five or thirty years ago.
From his present point of view, as the owner of a fine farm and ranch in Ness County and the proprietor of a successful business at Brownell, Frank Edwards can view with complacency the early struggles through which he and his wife passed in this section of the state. He settled in Ness County in 1885, homesteading the northwest quarter of section 10, township 16, range 21. He was married in January, 1884. By April, 1886, he had completed his first important improvement, the erection of a sod house containing a single room. In the same fall he built a large two room "soddy" which was almost a palace for that time. The two room sod house remained his home until after he had proved up his claim. His equipment to begin with consisted of two teams, eleven head of cattle, three dozen chickens and a pig. Few of the early settlers had any cash, and his wife declared "we'll starve to death, we'll starve to death on that $35," that being the total cash asset when they started housekeeping. Most of their food until their first crops were gathered in were the products of their cows and chickens. Mr. Edwards made some profit out of his crops during the years 1888, 1889 and in 1891 and 1892, and his large yield of wheat in those years put him beyond the reach of envious fortune.
The Edwards home was on his original homestead until 1893. In that year he bought a quarter section nearby. This land had running water and there he built a number of permanent improvements and from that has expanded his land holdings until they now include 920 acres. Of this large tract he farmed about 350 acres, and operated the rest of it as pasture for his big herd of cattle. Eight years ago Mr. Edwards began the breeding of Galloway cattle, and now has forty head of registered stock.
Frank Edwards was born in Champaign County, Ohio, December 9, 1860. Both his father and his grandfather were named John. In the grandfather's family were the following children: John, Edward and Mary, the last dying unmarried. John Edwards, Jr., was born in Wales May 15, 1834, and in 1837, at the age of three, came to the United States with his parents, who settled on a farm in Champaign County, Ohio. John Edwards grew up in Ohio, and soon after the outbreak of the Civil war enlisted in the Ninety-Fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was in active service for two years and four months, and was finally discharged for disability brought on by fever. His only fraternal connection has been with the Grand Army of the Republic. He has never been a politician, though a republican voter, and he and his wife have been devout Methodists for many years. John Edwards took his family from Ohio in 1867, when Frank was seven years of age, and moved to Buchanan County, Iowa, and in 1870 he came to old Davis County, now Geary County, Kansas. There John Edwards took up a homestead at the head of Humboldt Creek, proved it up, and remained in that county until 1886. In that year he came to Ness County and took as a timber claim the southwest quarter of section 10, adjoining the quarter section previously occupied by Frank Edwards. John Edwards proved up his timber claim and set out a large number of trees that now make almost a forest covering, and much of the timber is now valuable commercially. The rest of his land he farmed until 1897, and he was also one of the successful wheat growers of Ness County. Since 1897 John Edwards has lived retired in McCracken. He married Elizabeth Cummings, who was born July 27, 1836, and has now passed the age of fourscore. Her parents were Tyler and Elizabeth (Crossley) Cummings, her father a native of Pennsylvania and her mother of Ohio. The Cummings family lived for many years near Lima in Allen County, Ohio. John Edwards and wife had the following children: Frank; John M., who died in 1910 in Ness County, and left his widow, Mrs. Delia A. (West) Edwards; Mary E., wife of Clem West of Scott County, Kansas; Minnie, wife of Richard Elias of LaCrosse, Kansas; and Edward, of Hoisington, Kansas.
Mr. Frank Edwards had only the advantage of the common schools while he was growing up, and his earliest experiences identified him with a new and somewhat wild section of Western Kansas. He lived at home until past his majority and until he moved to Ness County to begin his experience as a homesteader.
Besides his farm and ranch Mr. Edwards has been engaged in the real estate business at Brownell since 1908, and he was also connected with the implement business in that town. The firm of Edwards & Woodworth now do a large business handling real estate as brokers and as speculators. Mr. Edwards helped to promote the Brownell State Bank and has been on its board of directors since the beginning. Politically he is a republican and has served as township trustee and township clerk of Waring Township. He is a member of McCracken Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America.
On January 21, 1884, he married Miss Alvenia L. Horne, daughter of William and Sophia Horne. Her father came to Kansas from Wisconsin and spent his career as a farmer. Besides Mrs. Edwards the Horne children were William; Etta, wife of H. F. Meseke; Mary, wife of Herman Grunewalt; Frances, wife of Herman Britzke; Charles; George and Henry.
Mr. and Mrs. Edwards have five children, three of whom are already married and in homes of their own. Mary is the wife of A. H. Schutte, of LaCrosse, Kansas. William lives in Trego County, and by his marriage to Alma LaSchelle has a daughter, Thelma Fay. Blanche is the wife of J. H. Carpenter, of Wakeeney, Kansas; Bertha and Ferne, the two younger children, are now students in the Wakeeney High School.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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