William Edwards
of Ashe/Alleghany County, NC

William Edwards, son of David EDWARDS, Sr. & Elizabeth MORRIS, was born Oct. 15, 1776, in Orange Co., NC, and died Nov. 21, 1869, in Alleghany Co., NC. He married Nancy Carter, abt. 1798. She was born abt. 1776 in North Carolina, and died between 1860-1870 in Alleghany Co., NC.

Children of William Edwards & Nancy Carter:

  1. Thomas Edwards, b. Sept. 1, 1799, in Orange or Ashe Co., NC; d. 1840-1850 in Ashe Co., NC (or left area); m. Jane FENDER or Lucinda, last name unknown. (Documentation needed).
  2. Nathaniel Edwards, b. Jan. 27, 1802, Ashe Co., NC: d. Sept. 10, 1872, Wilkes Co., NC; m. (1) Sarah Ann RANEY, Oct. 17, 1833 (b. abt. 1808; d. 1860-1870); m. (2) Nancy Jane CHAPELL, widow of Edward SPRINKLE, Aug. 5, 1867, Wilkes Co., NC (b. abt. 1840; d. unk.); bur. Edwards Cemetery, Ronda, Wilkes Co., NC. Children: Mary Edwards (c.1837), David Edwards (c.1839), Nancy Edwards (c.1844).
  3. David E. Edwards, b. Sept. 10, 1804, Ashe Co., NC; d. Sept. 2, 1872, Wilkes Co., NC; m. Nancy Laura CHOATE, daughter of Sabret CHOATE & Mary WOODFORK, May 25, 1826, Wilkes Co., NC (b. Nov. 4, 1807; d. Aug. 28, 1886). Children: William Sabret Edwards (1827), Mary Jane Edwards (1829), John Isom Edwards (1831), Nancy Caroline Edwards (1833), Charity Edwards (1835), Sarah Edwards (1838), Sowell N. Edwards (1840), David A. Edwards (c.1841), Joseph Thomas Edwards (1843), Martha Edwards (1846), Susan Edwards (1848), Laura Edwards (1851), David Austin Woodfork Edwards (1853).
  4. Jonathan Edwards, b. Dec. 10, 1806, Ashe Co., NC; d. aft. 1880, Brush Creek, Linn Co., OR; m. Jane HIGGINS (b. abt 1807; d. aft. 1880). Children: Nancy Edwards (c.1829), Sally Edwards (c.1832), Thomas J. Edwards (c.1837), Rosamond Edwards (c.1840), Mary Edwards (c.1845), John Edwards (c.1848). (Note: some family trees identify Jonanthan's wife as Jane DUNCAN but descendants believe she was a daughter of John HIGGINS & Fanny BAUGUESS of Wilkes Co., NC.)
  5. +Sarah Edwards, b. Jan. 13, 1809, Ashe Co., NC; d. Apr. 6, 1897, Alleghany Co., NC; m. Richard "Dickie" CHOATE, son of Sabret CHOATE & Mary WOODFORK, abt. 1826 (b. abt. 1800; d. 1850-1860); bur. Center Edwards Cemetery, Hwy 21, 1.5 miles north of Sparta, Alleghany Co., NC.
  6. Joshua Stoneman Edwards, b. May 29 or Aug. 18, 1812, Ashe Co., NC (sources conflict); d. 1892, Grayson Co., TX; m. Nancy Mahala DUNCAN, daughter of John DUNCAN, abt. 1835 (b. abt. 1814; d. 1853). They moved to Hunt Co., TX, in 1859. (Source: F. Battey, Biographical Souvenier of State of TX (1889). Children: Sarah M. Edwards, David A. Edwards (c.1836), Jonathan T. Edwards (1837), Jane "Jennie" Edwards (c.1840), Nancy Edwards (c.1842), William Edwards (c.1845), Oliver F. Edwards (c.1849).
  7. +Nancy Edwards, b. Apr. 16, 1815, Ashe Co., NC; d. Jan. 11, 1902, Alleghany Co., NC; m. Allen FENDER, son of John FENDER & Martha TOLIVER, May 19, 1835 (b. Apr. 8, 1815; d. May 5, 1894); bur. Hiram Edwards Cemetery, Rd. 1162, Bledsoe Creek, Alleghany Co., NC.
  8. Jane Edwards, b. Sept. 4, 1817, Ashe Co., NC; d. Jan. 10, 1882 (?), in Yancy Co., NC, or TX; m. George Washington DUNCAN, Nov. 21, 1841 (b. 1802; d. 1850).


Edwards Crossroads

Edwards Crossroads, Alleghany Co.
from an 1891 USGS Map

William Edwards and his family arrived in Ashe County, NC, sometime prior to 1800.  They settled on the Little River and Jewel Swamp Creek, which was a part of Ashe County that became Alleghany County in 1859.  The large and extended Edwards family were very numerous in this part of Alleghany County, and the principal community in the area eventually became known as Edwards Crossroads.

Some important information about Wiliam Edwards comes from an affidavit dated Mar. 24, 1892, prepared by his daughters Sarah (EDWARDS) CHOATE, Nancy (EDWARDS) FENDER, and Jane (EDWARDS) DUNCAN, and recorded in Alleghany Deed Book 33, pp.524-525.  In the affidavit, the three women state that "their fathers name was William EDWARDS and was born in Orange County, North Carolina, October 15th, 1776, and that his wife's maiden name was Nancy CARTER."  They further state that William's children, along with themselves, were "Thomas EDWARDS, Nathaniel EDWARDS, David EDWARDS, Johnathan EDWARDS, Joshua EDWARDS."  See entire affidavit below.

Another source, Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas by F. Battey (orig. pub. 1889), p.274, contains this interesting entry concerning William Edwards' grandson Jonathan T. (J.T.) Edwards, son of Joshua Stoneman (J.S.) Edwards who moved to Texas: "J.T. EDWARDS, general merchant of Howe [Grayson Co.], TX, b. NC 10 Nov. 1837; parents were J.S. and Nancy M. (Duncan) Edwards, natives of NC.  J.S. Edwards is a son of William Edwards, a native of Orange Co. NC, born Aug. 18, 1812, still living.  Mrs. Nancy Duncan was a daughter of John Duncan, and died in 1853… to TX Oct. 4, 1859, to Hunt Co."

According to Alleghany County Cemeteries Through 1986 (pub. by the Alleghany County Hist.-Gen. Society), William and Nancy (Carter) EDWARDS are buried at the Brooks Cemetery, Road 1426 in Alleghany Co., NC.  However, the dates on the gravestones, at least as reported in the cemetery book (William 1745-1830 and Nancy 1750-1835), are cleary erroneous.  Also, the gravestones are reportedly transcribed with the words "born in England" which is probably not correct.  It is possible the stones were erected by descendants who had inaccurate information.

See also Alleghany County Heritage (Alleghany Co. Hist.-Gen. Society, 1983) pp.197-198, article No. 302 by Mrs. Ullys Jackson.


Nov. 15, 179?. Orange Co., NC. William EDWARDS & Nancy CARTER posted a marriage bond.

Mar. 30, 1797. Chatham Co., NC. James CAMPBELL of Cumberland Co,. NC, sold a slave to Wm. EDWARDS. (Chatham Co., NC, Estate Records 1782-1799, Vol. 2, p.107.)

1800 Census, Ashe Co., NC, p.77: WILLIAM EDWARDS
1 w/m under 10 1 w/f 16-25
1 w/m 16-25  

Dec. 17, 1802. Ashe Co., NC. Land grant to William EDWARDS, 100 acres on Bald Knob on waters of Joels Swamp Creek [Jewel Swamp]. Entered May 12, 1801. (NC Archives Folder No., Land Grant No. 360, Entry No. 388, Book 116:318.)

Dec. 17, 1802. Ashe Co., NC. Land grant to William EDWARDS, 100 acres on Jewel Branch. Entered May 12, 1801. (NC Archives Folder No., Land Grant No. 370, Entry No. 386, Book 116:319.)

Dec. 17, 1802. Ashe Co., NC. Land grant to William EDWARDS, 50 acres on Little River. Entered May 12, 1801. (NC Archives Folder No., Land Grant No. 371, Entry No. 387, Book 116:319.)

Nov. 1806. Wm. EDWARDS & others ordered to view and lay off a road "from HAPPERSON's [HOPPPERS?] road between little river and Glad [Glade] creek the most convenient way by MAXWELL's Mill into the road from Elk Spur to the furnace & make report &c." (Ashe County, NC, Court Minutes.)

May 1807. William EDWARDS & others ordered to view and lay off a road from Richard WILLIAMS to Joseph DAMSONS. (Ashe Co., NC, Court Minutes.)

Nov. 28, 1807. Ashe Co., NC. Land grant to William EDWARDS, 50 acres on Jewel Branch adj. Abraham MITCHELL. Entered Feb. 10, 1807. (NC Archives Folder No., Land Grant No. 712, Entry No. 1714, Book 123:64.)

1810 Census, Ashe Co., NC, p.14: W. EDWARDS
3 w/m under 10 1 w/f under 10
1 w/m 10-16 1 w/f 16-25
1 w/m 26-45 1 w/f 26-45

Dec. 7, 1814. Ashe Co., NC. Land grant to William EDWARDS, 300 acres on Little River adj. his own line. Entered Mar. 9, 1812. (NC Archives Folder No., Land Grant No. 870, Entry No. 2428, Book 128:498.)

1815 Tax List, Ashe Co., NC: WILLIAM EDWARDS

1820 Census, Ashe Co., NC, p.30: WM EDWARDS
1 w/m under 10 2 w/f under 10
4 w/m 10-16 1 w/f 10-16
1 w/m 26-45 1 w/f 26-45

1830 Census, Ashe Co., NC, p.37: WILLIAM EDWARDS, SR.
2 w/m under 5 1 w/f 10-14
1 w/m 15-19 1 w/f 15-19
1 w/m 20-29 1 w/f 50-59
1 w/m 50-59  

Sept. 19, 1836. Thomas WILSON of Burke Co., NC, to Fredrick L. WOLFE of Ashe Co., NC, 100 acres on Little River adj. Richard CHOAT & others, for $50, being land granted by the state to William EDWARDS and known as said EDWARDS first old place. Beginning on south side of Little River, crossing said river and crossing Jule [Jewel] Swamp Creek. Signed: Thos. W. WILSON. Wit: John L. WOLFE. Proved Dec. 7, 1885, by Willam WOLFE. Reg. Dec. 23, 1885. (Alleghany DB 6, p.258.)

1840 Census: not listed. There is a Wm. EDWARDS, age 40-49, on p.13 of the 1840 census of Ashe Co., NC, but this is probably the younger William Edwards, born abt. 1793, who was a son of David Edwards, Jr.

1850 Census: not listed.

Jan. 17, 1854. William EDWARDS & wife Nancy to Joshua BRACKINS, 43 acres adj. William SPURLIN, CHOAT's old line, & BASS, for $100. Signed: Wm. EDWARDS, Nancy (X) EDWARDS. Wits: Wm. SPURLIN. Proved Dec. 30, 1885, by Haywood EDWARDS from William SPURLIN's handwriting. (Alleghany DB 7, pp.215-216.)

Geographic note: Alleghany County was formed from Ashe County in 1859.

1860 Census, Alleghany Co., NC, p.420 (HH#599):
SARAH CHOAT, 50, $800, $2800, NC
-- Sowel, 18, laborer, NC
-- Nancy, 80, NC

Affidavit of Sarah Choate, Nancy Fender, & Jane Edwards
Concerning Their Ancestry

The following document contains some extremely important genealogical information about the family of William Edwards (1776-1869) of Ashe/Alleghany Co., NC. However, it also contains a major inaccuracy that is undoubtedly related to the famous legend of the "Edwards Fortune."  During the 19th century, many families named Edwards were duped by con artists who gave them fraudulent family trees showing their alleged relationship to an individual named Robert Edwards of New York, whose heirs were supposedly the rightful owners of 77 acres of land in New York City.  As suggested by the correction later entered in the margin of the deed book, the father of William Edwards (1776-1769) is believed to be David Edwards, Sr., of Orange Co., NC, not a "William Edwards" who was the brother of a Robert Edwards who "returned to England" and had property "in the state of New York on in the vicinity therof."  More about the Edwards fortune.

Alleghany County, NC, Deed Book 33, pp.524-525

Edwards William Descendants
State of North Carolina, Alleghany County

Interlineations by Transcriber

This day Sarah CHOATE and Nancy FENDER and Jane E. DUNCAN comes before me and each in one form of law makes oath. Mrs. CHOATE that she was born January 13th, 1809, Mrs. FENDER 16th of April 1815, Mrs. DUNCAN, September 4th, 1817, in North Carolina.

That their fathers name was William EDWARDS and was born in Orange County, North Carolina, October 15th, 1776, and that his wife's maiden name was Nancy CARTER, and that the names of his brothers and sisters were Starling EDWARDS, David EDWARDS, Elizabeth EDWARDS, who married Henry BREWER, Polly EDWARDS who married Syl or Cil BREWER, Susan EDWARDS who married Charles TOLIVER, Sally EDWARDS who married Jacob CROUSE.

That their Grandfather's name on their father's side was William EDWARDS [actually their grandfather was David EDWARDS] and that he lived in Orange County, North Carolina [true], and that he died about 1779, according to their information, and that their said grandfather came from England and settled in Virginia, prior to his coming and settling in North Carolina, and that their said grandfather had two brothers, if no more, to wit: Thomas EDWARDS and Robert EDWARDS [not true], and he their said grandfather had a sister by the name of Frankie EDWARDS, but neither one knows who she married. That their grandfather's brother Robert EDWARDS, after coming to America and staying awhile, returned to England [not true], according to the information that they received from their father, and the reports and traditions of the family, when they were little girls, and that their said grandfather married Elizabeth or Betsy MORRIS [probably true], and that he either married her in Virginia or at least she came from Virginia.

That the brothers and sisters names of affiants were Thomas EDWARDS, Nathaniel EDWARDS, David EDWARDS, Johnathan EDWARDS, Joshua EDWARDS, and the three affiants. That after the death of their said grandfather his widow then married Richard WILLIAMS and Sarah CHOAT makes oath than when she was a child or little girl she often heard the lessee of the property of Robert EDWARDS, the brother of her grandfather, speak of and that he leased it, or in some way left it, and returned to England, and soon after he thus returned to England that he died: and that the said property of said Robert EDWARDS, was in the state of New York on in the vicinity therof.

That their uncle Starling EDWARDS children were Peggy who married RIGGINS, Rhoda who married Amos HOWELL, Betsy married Henry WOODIE, Sally married Wm. WOODIE, Rachel married a LAWRENCE, Lucy married a RHOUTS or FOUTS, and that his boys names were John EDWARDS, William EDWARDS and Clisby EDWARDS.

Their uncle David's childrens names were William EDWARDS, Henry or Hal EDWARDS, Morris EDWARDS, S.O. EDWARDS, and Phoebe who married A.B. COX, Sally who married Hutch BURTON, Mahala who married Henry RICHARDSON, Betsy who married Jesse CONLEY, Thursy who married Noah WARD.

They do not know who the children of Elizabeth, Polly or Susan were, but the children of their aunt Sallie CROUSE, Candace who married John WOODRUFF, David CROUSE, Jacob CROUSE, John CROUSE, Charles CROUSE, William CROUSE, Sally who married Martin GAMBILL, Betsy, James ANDERS, Margaret married Lorenza ANDERS, Frankie married Richard CHEEK.

[Signed] Sarah CHOAT, Nancy FENDER, Jane E. DUNCAN

Sworn to before me and subscribed before me at Sparta in Alleghany County, North Carolina, this March 24th, 1892. Given under my hand and official seal of office, at office in Sparta in said County and State, this March 24th, A.D. 1892. W.E. COX, Clerk.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this May 15, 1925. A.F. REEVES, Clerk Superior Court.

Filed for registration May 15, 1925. Registered May 23, 1925. L.E. EDWARDS, Register of Deeds

[The following is written in the margin of the deed book] Correction: David EDWARDS, Sr., was the son of John EDWARDS and was a soldier in Continental Army. He married Elizabeth MORRIS. David EDWARDS, Jr., was the son of David EDWARDS, Sr. He married Elizabeth ANDREWS and settled near Zion Church. This May 20, 1954. [Signed] Geo. W. EDWARDS. Witness: Ernest E. EDWARDS, Register of Deeds.