Ancestral Family Topic 30

 30   Richard Thomas Edwards (1843-1919)
Pedigree Chart 09

Richard Thomas Edwards, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, Richard Thomas Edwards might describe his life as follows.

Born 5 May 1843, I was an 18-year-old carpenter when I enlisted in the Co. K, 14th Virginia Regiment 14 May 1861. Disease often kept me and the other boys of the Dan River Rifles, as we called ourselves, hospitalized. Fielding only 26 at Malvern Hills, we lost 14 in 30 minutes. When we were not shooting at them, we would make tiny boats out of tree bark and sail tobacco across a stream to the Yankees.
With Pickett’s Division, we crossed the Potomac into Pennsylvania in July 1863. At Gettysburg with the 14th, I crossed a half-mile of open field and penetrated the Union line at the stone wall before being overwhelmed. The Yankees held us first at Fort McHenry, Maryland, and then, Point Lookout, Maryland. One morning our campfire ignited a can of gunpowder another prisoner had buried, killing my tent mate and blinding me. I was exchanged in September 1864 after more than a year of confinement, and honorably discharged in November 1864.
Back in Halifax County, I married Frances Randolph Petty at her home 20 May 1868. “Fannie” and I were the parents of 12 children born 1869-92. We were farming near Chatham, Pittsylvania County, in 1870,  but back in Birch Creek District of Halifax County by 1880 where I was overseeing the poor house farm. We lived later at Crystal Hill.
Fannie died 6 July 1894 and on 3 April 1895 I married Bettie S. Quarles. We had 4 children, including twin boys when I was 59, giving me 16 in all. I was 76 when I died 27 December 1919 and rest next to Fanny in Oak Ridge Cemetery, South Boston.

Confederate service
On 14 May 1861 eighteen-year-old Richard enlisted for in the Confederate Army, as a private in Co. K, 14th Virginia Volunteer Regiment. Although the war was already underway, this was 9 days before Virginia voted for secession. Richard’s enlistment papers noted he was a carpenter. Anticipating a brief war, the Confederate States enlisted Richard for one year.
David Augustine Claiborne commanded Co. K, which included mostly men from South Boston. Charles Bruce was First Lieutenant, Wilkins Bruce, Second Lieutenant, and Nathaniel Overby, Third Lieutenant. Col. James Gregory Hodges, Lt. Col. T.J. Godin, and Maj. White commanded the 14th. Capt. D.A. Claiborne’s Company, also called the Dan River Rifles, drilled for about 3 weeks at South Boston in a field at the corner of Main Street and Moore Avenue. The 14th Regiment, with companies A to K, officially became part of the Confederate Army 1 July 1861.
Bimonthly company muster rolls show some of Richard’s experiences during the war. He was present at most musters at South Boston through June 1863, but they noted he was absent without leave beginning 26 Feb. 1862, but marked him “present” two days later. Richard was ill with “debilitas” from Feb. to April 1863. On 8 Feb. he left for a hospital in Richmond and the medical director admitted him the next day, transferred him to General Hospital No. 12, and then sent him to Chimborazo Hospital No. 1 on 20 Feb. Richard was still ill 14 March when the CSA General Hospital in Danville admitted him but returned to duty 3 April.
Richard was present for muster at South Boston from March to June 1863, but the Union captured him at Gettysburg on 3 July 1863 and imprisoned him at Fort McHenry, Md. When Capt. Claiborne mustered his men 31 Oct. 1863, he reported that Richard was “taken at the battle of Gettysburg, and in the hands of the enemy.”
Paroled from Point Lookout, Md., 18 Sept. 1864, he was transferred to Aiken’s Landing, Va., and exchanged for Union prisoners. Prisoners of war camps were unhealthy and Richard was fortunate to survive imprisonment for more than a year. A common and often fatal malady was diarrhea and Chimborazo Hospital No. 2 admitted Richard with this affliction 23 Sept. and 5 days later they presented him with a 60-day furlough.
On 1 Nov. 1864 Capt. Claiborne reported that Richard was “absent on furlough, sick.” Edwards retired from the Army of the Confederate States of America 12 Dec. 1864 and his name then appeared on the register of the “Invalid Corps.” The Union formally paroled Pvt. Richard Thomas Edwards 12 May 1865, the war being at an end.
Richard described his service to “The Cause” in his own words:

Civil War Service Record of
Richard Thomas Edwards
My first skirmish was at the burning of Hampton as we reached Bethel Church too late for the battle. My first active engagement was at Seven Pines where our Company lost several killed and wounded. Then for 30 days we did guard duty on the York River Railroad near where it crosses the Chickahominy Swamps under the enemy’s fire. I was there with my Company actively engaged in the Seven Days fight around Richmond ending at Malvern Hill, at which place we carried 26 in the charge, losing 14 in thirty minutes.
We were then placed under General George E. Pickett, Armistead Brigade, under whom I participated in the Battles of Thoroughfare Gaps, in the Second Battle of Manassas, Harpers Ferry, next day at Sharpsburg - two days later at Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Then again at Fredricksburg in December. In the summer of 1863 I with my Company crossed the Potomac walking to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, hence to Gettysburg where with my command, I participated in the memorable charge made by Pickett’s Division on July 3, 1863. Being captured at the Rock Fence by the Federal Army, I was taken to Fort Delaware, thence to Point Lookout where I was blown up with powder, lost my eyesight, but lived. Guarded by Negroes, was honorably discharged November 10, 1864. Cause, loss of vision.

Back from the war
Richard and Frances were married at the home of her parents, Thomas Petty and Martha Russell, in the presence of “sundry persons,” W.J. Boyd (Fannie’s brother-in-law William James Boyd) and John H. Boyd (Boyd’s brother John Hubbard Boyd).
In 1870 Richard and Fannie were farming in Pittsylvania County near Chatham, Va. Living with them was a daughter Annie, age 1, who is not mentioned in the family Bible, and a black “house servant,,” Annie Jones. 
By 1880 Richard had returned to Halifax County to superintend the county poor house in Birch Creek District and their children were then Clara Eliza 9, Mary Emma 7, John Thomas 5, Florence Randolph 3, and a three-month-old son—probably Elmo Harvey Edwards. Fannie’s nephew Oscar Boyd, aged 11, and James Bass, aged 10, were boarding with them.  They later lived at Crystal Hill.
“Captain Dick,” as they called him, and Fannie bought a large Bible, published in 1888, in which they wrote the dates their children were born and died. Children born after 1880 were Richard Arthur, Mattie Lee, Josephine, Julian Hunter, Lucille, and Fannie Ruth Edwards.
Richard’s 2nd wife was the daughter of John W. Quarles and Cornelia M. Barksdale, a daughter of Col. Elisha Barksdale, who married in Halifax County 28 Aug. (bond) 1846 according to his marriage bond.  Yet the marriage register of St. John’s Church, Halifax County, says, “John Quarles and Cornelia Barksdale, August 30, 1840.”
Richard and Bettie were the parents of Ellen Quarles, William J., Claude W., and Leonard Edwards who died as a youth.
The Census of 1900 confirmed that R.T. and Bettie S. had been married 6 years and were the parents of 3, only two of whom were listed, Ellen 4 and W.J., aged 1. Nine children from Richard’s 1st marriage were still in his household and he was described as a farmer.  By 1910 only Ellen, William, and Claude were in the Edwards’ household. 

Descendants of Richard Thomas Edwards
Information about the children of Richard Thomas Edwards, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 Annie Edwards (1869-),  
 Clara Eliza (Edwards) Ballow (1870-),  
Willie King Ballow,  Rev. P.A. Anthony,  Charles Paul Carr,   Sarah Frances Carr,   Maria Ballow,  
William T. Ballow,  Sallie King Toot,  Bessie King Ballow,  Grover Cleveland Carr,   Harry Lewis Carr,   
 Mary Emma (Edwards) Carr (1873-1954),  
Charles Paul Carr,   
Mattie (Edwards) Moore,   
 John Thomas Edwards (1875-1909),  
Laura Hoffman,  
Clara Elizabeth Edwards,  McAllister,  
John Edwards,  
 Florence Randolph (Edwards) Lacks (1877-1969),  
Littleton R. Lacks,  
Richard Lee Lacks,  
Edgar P. Lacks,  
Thomas Currie Lacks,  
Marian J. Lacks,  
Clara H. Lacks,  
Oscar H. Lacks,  
Lucy Evelyn Lacks,  William Greenwood,  
Littleton R. Lacks,  
 Elmo Harvey Edwards (1880-1912),  
Clara Beale Greenwood,  Henry Frank Greenwood,  
Harvey Greenwood Edwards,  Elizabeth Estelle Wolfe,  A.L. Wolfe,  Clara —,  
Robert Greenwood Edwards,  Lunette Gillespie Russell,  Dr. A.G. Russell,  
John Russell Edwards,  
James Andrew Edwards,  
Richard Milnes Edwards,  Jacqueline Sue Null,  Eugene J. Null,  Ruth Cole,  
Elizabeth Cole Edwards,  
Kathryn Duvall Edwards,  
William Milnes Edwards,  
James Randolph Edwards,  Melinda Sue Johnson,  Dr. Charles W. Johnson,  Sue —,  
Kelly Greenwood Edwards,  
James Randolph Edwards,  
Brandon Lawson Edwards,  
Richard Thomas Edwards II,  Augusta Elizabeth Saul,  John Peter Saul,  Mary Elizabeth Hufford,  
Frank Fulton Farrier Jr.,  
Dr. Richard Thomas Edwards III,  Mary Evelyn Evans,  Robert C. Evans,  Virginia Boney,  
Christopher Thomas Edwards,  
Clarissa Virginia Edwards,  
Jocelyn Augusta Edwards,  
Evans Greenwood Edwards,  
John Saul Edwards,  Sara Catherine Dabney,  Robert Lewis Dabney III,  Sara Frances Cline,  
John Saul Edwards Jr.,  Kelley Colleen Riddle,  
Dabney Elizabeth Edwards,  
Catherine Lewis Edwards,  
Elizabeth Augusta Edwards,  Esley Offit Anderson III,  
Charles Shober Anderson,  Susan Donahoo Sears,  
Claire Elizabeth Anderson,  
Caroline Edwards Anderson,  
 Richard Arthur Edwards (1882-1887),  
 Mattie Lee (Edwards) Nichols (1884-1971),  
Samuel N. Nichols,  
Jerry M. Nichols,  
Kathryn Nichols,  Kemp Gibson,  
Willard Richard Nichols,  
 Josephine (Edwards) Canada (1886-),  
Flavius C. Canada,  
Ruby Canada,  Elwood Morrisett,  
Bernard Canada,  
Martha Canada,  William B. Allen,  
Harvey Canada,  Kathleen —,  
 Julian Hunter Edwards (1888-1918),  
Virginia Maude Noblin,  Randolph Bush Noblin,  Emily Frances Snead,  
John Elmer Edwards,  Nettie Overby,  
Hunter Palmer Edwards,  Sarah Dowell,  
Fanny Randolph Edwards,  James Edgar Cuddihy,  John James Cuddihy,  Lillian Ruth Cauble,  
Ray Edwards,  
 Lucille (Edwards) Bennett (1890-1992),  
Andrew Johnson Bennett,  
Robert Edwards Bennett,  Mary Lee Penn,  
Andrew Johnson Bennett,  Betty Campbell,  
 Fannie Ruth (Edwards) Cole (1892-),  
H. David Cole,  
Emma Cole,  James Wagal,  
Emma Wagal,  
Frances Wagal,  
Frances Cole,  Coates,  
 Ellen Quarles (Edwards) Williams (1896-),  
 William J. Edwards (1899-),  
 Claude W. Edwards (1902-),  
 Leonard Edwards (1902-),  

This family topic includes the following notable individuals.
Soldiers of colonial and American wars
Richard Thomas Edwards - Civil War Harvey Greenwood Edwards - World War II
Richard Thomas Edwards - World War II  

Legislators - colonial and state
John Saul Edwards - Virginia  

Selected sources
Edwards Family Bible. • Family Bible of Richard Thomas Edwards in possession of John Saul Edwards of Roanoke, Va.

This topic, which represents .21% of all the family history material at, includes 26 citations and the names of 152 individuals.
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