Monday, August 23, 2010

Cabinet Photo of John Roberts Edwards, born Pennsylvania; lived Logan, Utah & Fresno, California

Cabinet photograph of John Roberts Edwards, born in Minersville, Pennsylvania on 19 Nov. 1848, the son of   John and Margaret (Roberts) Edwards, who found their way from Wales in Great Britain to Pennsylvania, and, sometime before 1869, to Utah. 

The photograph was made by the studio of Thomas S. Odell of Logan, Utah.

John Roberts Edwards married Marion Eliza Sermon in Logan, Utah, in 1869.  They had at least two children, before Marion died in 1889.   On 16 November 1890, John Roberts Edwards married Barbara Etta Jackson, who was born 20 Dec 1860 in South Thomaston, Maine, the daughter of Alexander Samuel and Flora Ann (McDonald) Jackson.    I found a source online that described Barbara Etta Jackson as a teacher.

As you can see, John Roberts Edwards is not identified per se on the cabinet card.  Rather, it was his relationship to Barbara Etta Jackson that allowed his identification to be made, though it took me some time to sort it all out.

I'm guessing that this photograph was sent by Etta (Jackson) Edwards back home to a friend or relative, as it was purchased in Maine.  I'm always intrigued by how married people first met, and this case is no exception.    I noticed that Barbara Etta had brothers who, according to the Census, spent time in Montana; perhaps she followed them west sometime after the 1880 Census, at which time she was enumerated living in South Thomaston with her parents.

By 1900, she is living with her husband, John Roberts Edwards, in Logan, Utah, where he is a saloon keeper.  By the 1910 Census, they had moved to Fresno, California, where John Roberts Edwards listed himself as a farmer.  

John Roberts Edwards and his wife Barbara Etta (Jackson) Edwards) had several children, three of whom appear to have died young, and three who lived to adulthood.  There may be children that I missed.

If you have corrections, additions or insights regarding the information presented above, please leave a comment in the comments box or contact me directly.

A map of Logan, Utah:

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I wrote and article about J.R. Edwards for the paper. When I saw this photograph, I thought it was him without seeing his name. You can contact me @ and I will tell you how to get a copy of my article if you wish. I even have a picture of him in book I wrote and his Saloon! I really like this man!

  2. Great photograph of J.R. Edwards, my 2nd Great Grandfather. He was quite a character, owning one of the few saloons in Logan, Utah where drinking was (and still is) looked down upon. He also owned a billiards hall and skating rink in Logan. In fact, he had to close his bar when prohibition came early to Logan in 1909. A historic Logan building, the "J.R. Edwards" building still stands. His daughter, Rachel Eliza Edwards, my great grandmother, was one of only two children who remained in Utah. She had married a local man, William McNeil Smith who owned a lumber company in Logan. J.R., his second wife Etta Jackson and the three surviving children they had together moved to Reedly, California where he grew olives on a large farm which he purchased. At his death in 1917, he had an estate valued at $80,000.00, a significant amount at that time. Although he had eleven children, only five lived to adulthood and John Henry Edwards, a son from his first marriage pre-deceased J.R. After J.R.'s death in Ocean Park, California, his body was returned to Utah where he was buried beside his first wife, Marian Eliza Sermon Edwards, who had died in 1889. Thanks for making this photograph available and for doing the research to figure out who it was.

  3. Great, Great Grandpa!!!

  4. It's so nice when a person in a photograph turns out to have descendants, and they get to see their ancestor here. And thanks for letting me know!