The Mystery of Elizabeth Edwards

[ Originally published Friday, October 20, 2006]

Elizabeth Edwards was born on 06 Apr 1788 in Germantown, New York and was baptised on 20 Apr 1788. She was the first child of William Edwards and Christina Smith. We even know who her sponsors (ie. Godparents) were at her Baptism – Jacob Bekker & wife Elisabeth Schneider. The first 3 children of Christina and William are well documented having been born in Germantown whose records are still extant.

In 1807 Elizabeth married Elisha Allen in Glen, Montgomery County, NY. Her husband, Elisha, had been in Glen since at least 1800 since his father was listed on the 1800 census. They stayed in Glen through 1810, listed on that census as well. According to descendant, Dick Shea, they moved north to Jefferson County, New York around 1816.

With all this documented evidence it is indisputable that Elizabeth Edwards is the daughter of William Edwards and Christina Smith. How is it then that the family history passed down by Solomon Edwards, Elizabeth’s brother, to his son Dimmick, makes no mention of Elizabeth?

I can not attempt to solve this question but let’s look at a few facts. Elizabeth was born in 1788 and her brother, Solomon, was born in 1799. There was an 11 and a half year difference in their ages. In 1816 when Elizabeth removed to Jefferson County, Solomon would have been 17 years old. Three of William and Christina’s children, William, Solomon and Amanda relocated to Steuben County, New York at an unknown time prior to 1824. In 1824 Amanda returned to Glen for her wedding to John Olmstead. So we know that the Steuben County Edwards maintained contact with the Glen Edwards at least through 1824.

We don’t know at what age Solomon was when he passed on the family history. Presumably he would have spoken about his family throughout his life. It’s a mystery as to why Elizabeth is left off of his version. We can speculate that there may have been a rift between them that would cause the oversight. Regardless, there is no doubt that indeed Elizabeth was the child of William and Christina and therefore the older sister of Solomon.

More food for thought:

1) Why is Amanda Edwards, the youngest child, born a good 9 years after her next closest sibling, Solomon born in 1899?

2) If Amanda returned in 1824 (at age 16) for her wedding does that suggest that either Christina or William were still alive at that time?