William E. Edwards, who is known as one of the most active and energetic citizens of Wapello and is also one
of its most prosperous business men, is a native of Louisa county, and was born May 25, 1870, a son of Charles
W. and Delia (Merriam) Edwards. The father was born in Oneida county, New York, in 1822, and the mother in Oswego
county, New York. Charles W. Edwards passed his boyhood days upon a farm and at the age of nineteen years engaged
on his own account in buying and selling stock, a business in which he became very successful. In the fall of 1862
he removed to Peoria, Illinois, and two years later arrived in Louisa county, Iowa, being so well pleased with
this section of the state that he decided to establish his permanent home here. He accordingly purchased ten hundred
and sixty seven acres of land located partly in Elliott township, Louisa county, and partly in Des Moines county.
He made many improvements and from time to time increased his holdings until he became the owner of two thousand
acres, his various improvements costing him over twenty thousand dollars. He engaged in general farming and was
also a large cattle feeder and shipper, making a specialty of polled Angus cattle. In 1853, in Oneida county, New
York, he was married to Miss Lucia Lomis and by this union one child was born, Charles, who died in infancy. The
mother passed away in 1855 and on July 3, 1860, Mr. Edwards was married to Miss Delia Merriam, and to this union
were born three children: Frederick C., who is now living in Kansas City, Missouri; William E., of this review;
and Daisy L., the wife of L. C. Erbes, of St. Paul, Minnesota.
William E. Edwards, whose name introduces this sketch, attended the district schools and also took a course at
Elliott's Business College, of Burlington, Iowa, graduating in 1889. He engaged in farming for a year and then
purchased a wagon and plow plant at Wapello, which he operated until 1900. On account of unfavorable conditions
the venture proved unprofitable and Mr. Edwards next became connected with the Deering Harvester Company, representing
that company on the road for three years. He then accepted a position with the Perkins Company, of Mishawaka, Indiana,
manufacturers of windmills, and continued with this concern for two years. In 1895 he assisted in organizing a
stock company at Des Moines which established a large department store, Mr. Edwards having charge of the sales
department. After a year's experience in this line of business he perceived larger opportunities in the land business
and secured a very favorable option on a tract of land In the southwest, which he handled to excellent advantage.
In 1910 he associated with J. M. Guthrie in the farm implement and automobile business at Wapello and they now
have the largest establishment of this kind in southwestern Iowa. The partners in the business are both practical
men and devote their best efforts to the fulfillment of their duties, finding a reward in the steady growth of
trade and a constant addition of new patrons.
On the 22d of January, 1891, Mr. Edwards was married to Miss Lola G. Hook, a daughter of George W. and Emily B.
(Trask) Hook, whose parents were pioneer settlers of Louisa county and who are now deceased. Two children have
been born to Mr. and Mrs. Edwards: Georgie, who was born May 23, 1892, and died in August of the same year; and
Lucille, whose natal day was October 17, 1900. Mrs. Edwards was the eighth in order of birth in a family of nine
children, the others being: Elisha, who is now living in Chicago; Alonzo, of Toolsboro, Iowa; Sophia, who is deceased;
Jessie, who is the wife of Abraham Parsons, of Louisa county; Grant and George, both of Louisa county; Emma, the
widow of Dr. F. R. Wright, of Wapello; and Merritt B., who is now engaged in the practice of medicine at Denver,
Fraternally Mr. Edwards is a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and politically he gives his
support to the republican party. He is a sincere believer in the Christian religion and is an adherent of the Presbyterian
church, Public spirited and progressive, he is ever willing to lend his assistance to every movement that he believes
will advance the general good. He is a man of resourceful business ability and in the field to which he has turned
his attention he has found ample room for the exercise of talents which have brought him well merited rewards.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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