Andrew Enoch Edwards 1879-1960 (revised)

I was in sixth grade, I think, and playing at a friend’s house when my parents and brother Hal came by in the car and said we were going to the farm. I was talking about this and that, and then Hal said, ‘Pop died.’ I guess at that age, I didn’t understand that he was dying, even when we visited at the farmhouse and he was in a bed set up in the dining room.

(The three photos below are of a wheat harvest, the men out in the field with their horses and wagons.  My mother cut out the photos and put them on a board, so I assume that at least one of the workers was her father. I’ve increased the contrast to make them easier to see.)

I’ve typed in and combined material from the official obituary in the Turon Press, notes that could be from my mother, and the death notice from the paper.

As usual, the fragment of the Turon Press page that the notice and obituary was in gives an interesting sense of Turon doings in 1960:

  • Mr and Mrs Elmer Bliss are the proud parents of a baby girl, Dee Ann.  St Paul’s baptized three children: Dennis Krecklow, Rodney Green, and Jolene Trimpes. The congregation was saddened by the sudden death of former member Lester Seyfert. The Christian Church is sponsoring a Pancake Feed at the Turon Legion, beginning at 5.00a.m.
  • The Nautilus Club met at the home of Mrs Frances Sailer, with 14 members present.
  • Fairfield South School news:  The Falcons wind up their football season and will check in for basketball equipment. Coach Andrews hinted that he may pare the squad down to twenty candidates or less, and those who show the most desire and determination to play will have first chance. Lettermen returning include Jim Devine, Glenn Reiser, Stanley Ely, Paul Jordan, Jim Nickels, Danny Zink, David Railsback, Gary Montford, and Nolan Zink. Others who have been getting into condition or have been playing football include Don Elstrun, Mike Woodson, David Froman, Richard Elstun, Lannie Sprout, Lonnie Hook, Jerry Geesling, Dennis Miller, Leon Montford, and Merlin Fluke. Guidance director, Leo Frazier, administered a group of tests to all the students in school, the first of several to be given during the year. The first chilly weather caused the schoolhouse boiler to be fired for the first time. Temperatures in the building dropped sharply and custodian Chet Heitschmidt met the challenge with warm radiators. Juniors from Fairfield North and South will meet with a representative of the Balfour Co. to select their class rings. Both schools use identical rings.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Raph Zink and family have moved back to their farm house. Mr. and Mrs Vernon Barr and son of Great Bend spent the weekend in Turon with Mr. and Mrs. O.R. Barr. Two Mitchell familes of Tonkawa, Okla., spent the weekend with Mrs. Alice Mitchell. Mr & Mrs J.D. Jennings and Kevin Childs were evening supper guests of Mrs. James Jennings and sons at Sylvia.
  • Ad:  Democratic Rally Monday October 31, Legion Hall, 7.30pm, Arlington, Kansas.
  • Ad: Raines Packing House/Market  Dealer in Fresh & Cured Meats. Let Us Do Your Custom Killing & Curing. Wholesale and Retail. Open late evening–until noon on Sundays.
  • The newspaper is published every Thursday by Arthur J. Allen, Editor and Publisher. Subscription rates: 1 year $2.50, 6 months $1.50 for Reno, Pratt, Kingman counties. All other Kansas counties, $3.00 and $1.75. Outside Kansas:  $3.50 and $2.00. No subscriptions taken for less than six months.
  • More than thirty members of he Turon Chamber of Commerce met in the old C. of C. rooms above the Turon State Bank. As has been the custom for many years, Turon will have Santa Claus Day for the town’s youngsters and community. Cliff Foulk is the chairman for the treats committee and the appearance of Santa. Hap Brown is chairman of the street lighting committee, which will be placed early in November. The group voted to move the band stand from the front of the street entrance on the Commerce lots to the rear, and arrrange for seating during band concerts. President Holmes will appoint a four-member committee to make a trip to Colorado to consult a manufacturer relative to the possibility of locating an industry in Turon. Promoting a celebration in Turon in 1961 was discussed in length. The present quarters over the Turon State Bank will be retained for regular meetings of the Chamber. Refreshments of crullers and coffee were servved.


Source:  Turon Press, October 27, 1960

Andrew Enoch Edwards, 81, an early day farmer of Grove Township north of Turon, died in his home at 4.30 p.m. Saturday after seven years’ illness.

He was born March 29. 1879 in Point Pleasant, West Va., came with his parents to this community in a covered wagon. He was a member of the Glendale UB Church.

Survivors are the widow, Pearl; two sons, G.F. of Sylvia, and Fred of Hutchinson; three daughters, Mrs. Lloyd Allison and Mrs. Malvin Durham, both of Hutchinson, and Mrs. Earl Welch of Turon; a brother, R.H. of Balboa Island, Calif.; ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


NOTES + Obituary Combined

Andrew Enoch Edwards, son of Renssllear and Louisa Edwards, was born at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on March 29, 1879. He departed this life Oct. 22, 1960 at the age of 81 years, 6 months and 23 days, after a lengthy illness.

He came to Kansas at an early age, with his mother, four brothers and two sisters. The family settled in the Neola Community, northwest of Turon. His father passed away at Nevada, MO.,  before his birth, while the family were on their way to Kansas by covered wagon.

His early years were spent in Neola community where he grew to manhood, later moving to the present farm six miles north of Turon, where he resided until the time of death.

He was united in marriage to Icea Verneena Koepple, March 29, 1905. To this union was born five children: Charlotte Louise, Glenn Franklin, Fred Renssllear, Ruth Pauline and Virginia Helen. However the family group was broken in 1926 with the death of Mrs. Edwards.

Mr. Edwards was united in marriage to Pearle Ann Vernon July 29, 1929 who came into the home giving all the loving care, patience and undertstanding that a mother could give to this large family.



Mr. Edwards was a leader in the community and county, serving many years as a member of the school board, township board and other offices, and was active in the church as well as a politician. He served several terms as a member of the Reno County Stabilization Committee, until poor health forced him to quit.

He was a good neighbor and was always ready to lend a helping hand to his fellowmen.”Bub” as he was known, held this friendship in high esteem to all the people of the community—many departed and too numerous to mention. He was a kind and loving father, and having a fun-loving disposition, he was always able to entertain his family and friends with ready wit and ability to recall the past.

In this age group, he had the opportunity of breaking the sod with a team of oxen pulling a 14 inch plow—and living to see the same land farmed by modern methods. This era spanned the “horse and buggy” days–from oxen to diesel and supersonic speed. But the period of red barns—mules and horses—the header and threshing machines was the time when a good neighbor was a necessity as they depended upon one another—whether it was sitting up with a neighbor during a flu epidemic or helping with harvest. The men and women in this age group lived a very busy, rugged useful life–they developed the character which meant honesty, trusthworthyness—helpfulness and love.

Due to ill health he has been confined to the home much of the time for the past seven years but he never gave up hope that he would regain his health.

He is survived by the widow—Pearle of the home. By one brother Dr. R.H. Edwards, Balboa Island, Calif. Two sons G.F. (Buss) Edwards of Sylvia, and Fred of Hutchinson. Three daughters:  Mrs. Lloyd Allison and Mrs. Malvin Durham both of Hutchinson and Mrs. Earl Welch of Turon. Ten grandchildren, two great grandchildren, many relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 25, at the Christian Church in Turon with the Reverends C.W. Roll and Garland Bohn officiating. Burial was in Glendale Cemetery. Foulk Funeral Home of Turon had charge of arrangements.



Suddenly Taken By Death 1926: Icea Keopple Edwards

This clipping is the obituary about ‘the sudden passing of Mrs. Icea Edwards’, having been ‘ill for only a short time with the flu and a sudden attack of the heart hastened the end.’


Born March 9, 1887, in Iowa.  Died May 5, 1926, at age 39 years.  Her parents and her moved to Turon KS when she was about 14. In 1905, she married my grandfather, A.E. Edwards. They lived most of their adult lives at ‘the home place, five miles north of Turon.’

Besides being a ‘home-loving wife and mother’, with five children, Icea was an active worker in the Red Cross during the war, as well as in the Ladies’ Aid Society. Both she and her ‘Bub’ liked the Glendale church, and she reorganized its Sunday school, plus gave and her time and talent so ‘the young people . . . might have the advantage of church privileges’.

The funeral service was held at the home, led by her friend, Mrs. E.M. Rowell. Two women sung ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Beautiful Isle of Somewhere’.

Family members include her mother Mrs. C.E. Doan, three sisters (Mrs Iva Gray, Mrs Arta McCaffree, Mrs Maud Divine), three brothers (Leslie, Karl and Ted Keopple), and other relatives and friends. Burial was in the Turon cemetery.


001 Icea obit019

‘A kind and loving relative and faithful friend has gone from our midst. Earth is poorer but Heaven is richer because of her smile.’ Mr. A.E. Edwards & family, and Mrs. C.E. Doan & family also added a Card of Thanks, acknowledging friends’ sympathy, acts of kindness, and flowers.

As usual, I always see what’s on the other side of a newspaper item that has been cut out.

  • KU has a Memorial Union, which includes eating places, bookshop, etc. I never knew anything about its name. A fragment of an article in the paper mentions that the Union will be built in sections, as alumni provide funds. alumni. Included was part of a list of alumni who had died while serving the country, including 34 men who ‘lost their lives in battle’ and two women, one who died in Lawrence and the other in Washington.
  • The Ks highway commission announced that 55 miles of highway would be constructed, along with 21 bridges in May.
  • The KS wheat crop will need 40,000 additional laborers to help local ‘harvest hands’.
  • At Mound City, a turkey buzzard was seen flying with a sheep bell attached to its neck. Townspeople wondered if was the same bird ‘mentioned in dispatches’ from Kentucky, which had been caught and belled a few years earlier.

The Humble Shopping List

Both of my grandmothers lived in the same area, on farms near Turon Ks. They were alike in many ways. They both raised chickens, cooked for five kids and a husband, helped out during harvest, and were the the best grandmas a kid could have.

Mameen (Pearle Edwards) had a big cookie jar that was always filled when I visited. Her dining room wall had a built-in black chalkboard, the bottom of it setting at floor level so it was perfect for us kids.

Both did their chores wearing a smock apron over their dresses. This apron style was one piece, no apron strings. To wear it, you pulled the main opening over your head, like a sweatshirt, then put your arms through the armholes. The apron was about hip-length, and it the fabric at the bottom was turned up to make a long pocket. This big pocket enabled the wearer to comfortably hold anything there—collected eggs from the henhouse, vegetables from the garden, mail.

I have one of these aprons. I don’t wear it, but it brings back pleasant memories when I see it hanging up near my kitchen.

001 notebk shoppingOne item that was usually in this apron pocket was a homemade notepad. Farming life in those days was about making do, and it probably seemed extravagant to pay for a ‘bought’ notebook if there was good scrap paper that would otherwise go to waste.

Mameen’s homemade notepad that I discovered in my Edwards family box has two holes at the top, perhaps for a string that was threaded through them to hold the pages together. (It also has a staple). When my grandmothers had something they wanted to remember, such as food items for a shopping trip to Turon, they rummaged in their apron pocket, pulled out a pencil stub, and wrote in a notepad like the one above.  How handy to have writing materials with you throughout the day.

The items in Mameen’s notepad included the following:

Honey, Buttermilk. Oleo. Post Toast. Sanka Coffee. Cascara. [What is Cascara?]Weiners. Meat Roast. Corn starch. Black eye beans. Consomme. Sweet corn. Worchest Sauce.

T. Soap. Colored chalk. Tobacco.  not over 50cents ea., 2 plastic Dolls 7 1/2. B & G Dress. Rubber things for chairs. Trowel at Kress. 1 1/2 yds apron. Spic & Span. scratchers. Income Tax Paper. Locker. Meat for Shile. gopher traps. Gas permit. something for club St Patricks, Green construction paper.  Flash Lite Battery. Feenamint (?). gloves. Cards. Tallies. Rug yarn. Screw and for light. Oil. Lunch Cloth at Drugstore. card table. Beet seed. Cabbage plts. Tomato plts. Bub’s Medicine. Box for sand. Dog food. Fab.

Baby present, Joan Ku?cle?. Carol Sailer. Louis(?) Mekeine (?). Nellie. phone numbers. Friday Club 1.00. Call Dr. Crawford.
Grady 1611 Carey Blv Ph 4254W. Call Grace Chrislip (peas/pears?).

Plus a recipe:  4 1/2 c. flour, 3 tbs BP, 1 1/4 teas Cream Tartar,  2 teas salt, 1 Cup Short, 1 Cup mix. Makes 6 biscuits. Brush top with milk.

Plus a message:  I’ll be back in a minute, Pearle.

And as an example of how things have changed:   I was in a junk/vintage shop recently and saw an old, rusted Sanka coffee can. Price—$40 Aus (so guess that’s about $30 US)!


Pearle’s Silverware Set

I posted earlier that after the death of my grandmother, Pearle Vernon Edwards, I acquired her silverware set. Here are some more details and photos.

Her silverware canteen contains 4 different patterns. I’m guessing that she may have started out with her 8-piece set, and then received other silverware from family members.

The first pattern (shown on knife at bottom left) is her 8-piece set, that is, 8 knives, 8 large spoons, 8 large forks, etc. Pattern 1881 Rogers Oneida Ltd.

The second knife shows the pattern her 4-piece set. Oneida Sterling Heiress.

The spoon of the left shows the pattern for 6 teaspoons, identified as Tudor Plate Onieda Community Made. The one on the right is a pattern for 5 teaspoons, a butter knife, and a sugar spoon. Community Plate.

i44 Mameen knife #2045.jpgi44 Mameen knife #1044.jpgi44 Mameen 2 spoons046.jpg

Westward Ho!


The following two typed pages give more details about the Edwards family’s move from West Virginia to Kansas, making two trips halfway across America before settling.

If only someone had kept a diary. It would be so interesting to have details about the trip and learn why Louisa, Rensslear’s second wife, returned to West Virginia, had her baby, then again made the trek to a new life.

There’s a famous book title, by American author Thomas Wolfe, which has become a well-known phrase: You can’t go home again. I wondered if Louisa, after making such a major move, then having her husband die, felt that she no longer fit in when she returned east. Or perhaps she and her children thought there were better prospects in the new land.

I remember at the funeral of my grandfather, Andrew Enoch Edwards, my cousin Greg Welch gave a lovely eulogy. He commented that our grandfather’s world changed dramatically in his lifetime, with transport moving from the covered wagon of his childhood to sky travelers in jet planes.

I wonder if the younger generation wonders how we older people grew up without all the modern gadgets available today. I for one never imagined typewriters would become obsolete. And when we visited Pop and Mameen at their farmhouse, Dad would sometimes phone someone and then hoist me up so I could talk on the wall phone. He’d wind the handle to make so many rings, which identified who was being called on the party line, and then I could talk. Soon we had phones on cords, so you didn’t have to stand up to talk. And the winding handle changed to a dial with numbers. Now I have a mobile, so small in comparison to the old phones, that half the time I can’t find it.

img447 R edwards hist 1 of 2041img447 R edwards hist 2 of 2042

Fire & Death at A.E. Edwards Farm–

The Front page of the Turon Weekly, Thursday 30 June, 1921, covers the death of a local girl, Bernice, who helped my maternal grandparents, A.E. and Icea Edwards, with house and family.

My mother, born on 13 January 1921,  was a baby when the fire broke out. She told me that she and her sister Virginia were left in a safe spot outside while the rest of the family who were there unsuccessfully fought the fire. Bernice suffered extensive burns and died hours later.

At some point, my mother found and framed two items from the fire–small sewing scissors and a squashed thimble. Do any other Edwards relatives have relics from the fire, or know more about it? If so, click on the Comment option to the left.

Some years ago now, I took back to Australia the small frame, which my mother used to mount the two items. (My brother bought the house after my parents died, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to their possessions.)

At the Wichita Airport, I was pulled up by security for having a weapon in my carry-on. I thought they were crazy, until I saw the scan and realized it was the scissors. I explained what they were and what they meant. They told me to put them in my checked luggage or kiss them goodbye. Lucky it was a small airport. I raced back, and the staff at the check-in counter caught my bag just in time before it disappeared to be loaded onto the plane!

I’ve typed out the relevant articles from the Turon paper. Scroll down to read them.

img446033Newspaper article about fire and death at A.E. Edwards farm.

The paper provides an account of the fire, with the headline Fatally Burned (column 3),  a Card of Thanks from Bub and Pearle Edwards (col. 2), and Memorial, the death notice for Bernice Helen Hodson (col. 2) .

Some relatives will know more about the fire than I do. Mom said that Bernice was brought out of the house, horribly burned, and was put in the back of a wagon. She apologised to A.E. Edwards for her mistake. I’m not sure if she died there at the farm, or later. The obit mentions that Bernice was a member of Glendale Church. A.E. Edwards and his family were also members. The church is no longer there, but the Glendale cemetery is.
Does anyone know if the Rev. J.N. Edwards, of the Glendale church, is a relative of A.E. Edwards?

Fatally Burned

Miss Bernice Hodson of Sylvia, who was at the A.E. Edwards home six miles north of Turon, assisting Mrs. Edwards with the harvest work, was fatally burned Saturday evening about five o’clock when she attempted to hasten a slow fire in the kitchen range by pouring kerosene on it. The can was a 5-gallon one and contained only about a gallon of oil, leaving space for the accumulation of a good deal of gas.

The explosion which followed the attempt threw burning oil all over Miss Hodson and also set fire to the house. Mrs. Edwards was burned about the hands and arms in trying to save the girl, as also was Mr. Edwards, who was coming in from the field at the time of the explosion and hurried to the house as quickly as possible.

Miss Hodson was so terribly burned that she died at midnight and the house and contents were entirely destroyed. The property loss is partially covered by insurance.

Card of Thanks

We want to thank our friends and neighbors for their warm sympathy and generous assistance in our recent misfortune.

Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Edwards


Bernice Helen Hodson was born in Sylvia, Kans., Feb. 4th, 1903. She was converted and joined the United Brethren church at Glendale at the age of nine, was baptized by Rev. Givens and has lived a devoted Christian life ever since.

She went to her eternal home June 26th, 1921, aged eighteen years, five months and twenty-two days. She was president of the Christian Endeavor Society of Glendale and the last time she was at church led one of the best meetings ever held there.

She was graduated from the Sylvia High School in a class of fourteen, May 26th, 1921. She was very patent in time of suffering and all who knew her loved her. Her chosen life work was to help the sick and suffering.

She leaves to mourn her loss, her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. James Hodson, of Sylvia; one sister, Bertha; two brothers, Harry and Albert; an aged grandfather and grandmother, Mr. and Mrs. John Proctor of Nickerson; and a large number of relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held at the Glendale church Monday at 2 p.m., conducted by the pastor, Rev. J.N. Edwards. A mixed quartet from Sylvia furnished the music and six girls from her graduating class were pallbearers and her body was laid to rest in the Sylvia cemetery.



The Two Families of Rensslear Edwards

Rensslear Edwards was the father of my grandfather, Andrew Enoch Edwards. The list below identifies his two marriages, and the children of those marriages.

Rensslear Edwards 2 families listInterestingly, the name Rensslear continued into successive generations, with different spellings as time passed. I remember an grand-uncle, I think, who was called Rant. When I’ve mentioned to friends some of the odd nicknames I know, I think Rant is the most striking or mysterious!

The other interesting fact is that Rensslear’s work is listed—perhaps by my mother—as ‘tobacco farmer, preacher, blacksmith, pioneer’. That’s pretty extensive!

He was buried in Rich Hill, Missouri. At some point, Mom and my cousin Janice Allison drove there to find his grave. I was told that the family had started out from the east coast by covered wagon, intending to reach Kansas. But they turned back when Rensslear died (and his wife was 5 mths pregnant), but trekked back west the next year.

When I was recently sorting through the Edwards family papers that Mom had gathered, I saw a couple that should provide more information about the trip to Kansas. I just have to locate them again.

Regarding large families, I once taught at Andale HS, in a German Catholic community. Large families were common, the most memorable being the family with 16 kids–whose surname was Mohr!  My students told me they planned on having smaller families. For them, that meant 4-6 kids.