Source : Webster County Mississippi History, Ruby Edwards Kimbrell VOL 1 page 230
After the sudden illness and death of Edward D. Edwards, Jr., the widow Mary "Molly" Gray Edwards, asked if she could live with the Edwards family at "New Hope". She lived with the family from the September 1860 death of her husband untill March 1861, Judge Edwards had harvested the crop on the lower plantation and had settled with her for $1200.00 giving her his note. In March,1861. Judge Edwards went to New Orleans for his cotton returns and upon reaching home, he advised Molly that he desired paying off the note. For some unknow cause, the widow got the note, threw it at the Judge's feet, Saying at the same time that $1200 was no money to her and that she refused it. The money would last no time if she had to pay board. She had not been paying board, nor was she expected to pay board in the future. The Judge replied "daughter, you know I promised you a home at my house where your board would cost you nothing". She persisted in her refusal to take the money and left his house. The widow was gone for about three weeks, and returned stating that she had been on a long trip. That she spent a great deal of money and would like to settle the account due for property and farm tools. Judge Edwards paid her and asked that she sign a receipt. After she departed he sat silent with tears on his face. His wife inquired what was troubling him. He told her that he did not understand the widow and feared that through the advice of her brothers they would cause him great trouble- they might try to kill him to in herit his estate. A short time later, Bob Gray, The widow's brother, came to the mansion and advised the Judge that he had taken out letters of administration on the estate of E.D. Edwards, Jr. The Judge said that was alright and that he would have all the property-stock, farming tools,etc. gotten together for the appraisers. When the appraisers were finished , the Judge advised the administrator who was present that he would like the property moved from his premises as early as possible, he would keep the stock together so they would have no trouble in getting them.
Learning that his son-in-law and Molly's brother, Dr. Jim Gray, was aiding his sister in swindling him, the Judge asked that a Negro boy be retuned. The Judge had loaned the boy to his daughter, Mary Ellen Edwards Gray, to aid in her home. Dr. Gray refused to return the Negro boy and wrothe the Judge an insulting note saying he would send the boy home if the Judge would send him two more. This note arrived at the mansion on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Dr. Gray went to the mansion and, the Judge not being hom, told his wife that he wanted to settle the difficulties between them. Her son Luther, was sick upstairs, and hearing the loud talk, came down , told the doctor that a difficulty was not necessary between him and his father if he would send the boy home. Dr. Gray turned very quickly, placed his hand on his repeater, half drawing it and said to Luther if it was trouble he wanted he (Gray) was ready for him. Luther made no reply, turned and walked back upstairs. Dr. Gray waited about an hour for the Judge, Talking rough and saying hard things about the Judge. He left, advising that his brother Bob Gray would be there for a load of their sister's (Molly) furniture Thursday morning. The Judge knew if he gave them the keys to his housel they would take possession, so he went to the lower plantation Thursday morning taking his son Knight to help with the furniture. Bob and the widow came to "New Hope: Thursday morning for they keys and were told by a Negro that the Judge had gone to the lower plantation. When they got to the lower plantation house, Judge Edwards told them that he would pass the furniture out to them to be loaded on the wagon. They were unable to get all the furniture on the wagon and said they would return the next day (Friday) for the rest of the belongings. The Judge locked the house and he and his son left. When Bob Gray and the widow arrived and Dr. James Gray's (A son-in-law of Judge Edwards and a brother to Bob and the widow), they appeared much excited. The widow went into the house where Mrs, Gray was and in an excited manner told her that her father (Judge Edwars) had insulted her (the widow) and he should be taught better. Bob Gray immediately went for their brother Capt. Bill Gray, who, according to his own words had murdered no less than a half dozen men in Texas and Mexico and had ridden with outlaw gangs. Mrs. Jim Gray (Marry Ellen Edwards Gray) became very upset, seeing her husband aiding Bob in getting off and the widow pacing the floor. When the doctor came in, his wife ran to him, threw her arms around his neck and asked if Bob had gone for Bill. The doctor loosened himself from his embraces, refused to answer, and left the house. When he returned sometime later, Mrs. Gray met him at the gate, begged him to tell her what was troubling him. He related the plan that Bob had gone for Bill and they were going to take their double barrel shotgus and her father was going to give them the keys to that house and sister Mary was going in. That was in the afternoon. Mrs. Gray pleaded, sobbed and when the clock struck twelve that night, he promised that if she would quit sobbing and go to bed, he would not go and he would send Bill and Bob home when they came and would send a Negro to up the balance of his sister's funiture. She went to bed, but could not sleep. About three o'clock, she heard horses feet comming in a hurry and a light rap at the door. The doctor responded and she heard Bob say that Bill was at Mr. May's and would be going to Greensborough. Then she heard a voice she knew to be Bill's. She remarked she heard Bill's voice, he responded he was in a great hurry. He left his wife quite sick and had to return home as soon as possible. By this time the doctor and the widow were both up and the four- Bob, Bill, Jim and Molly- went into a private room and held a whispered comversation for about an hour. When they had completed their plan, Dr. Jim went into his wife's room, place a whiskey bottle in his saddle bag, bid his wife goodnight, left locking the bedroom door behind him. They left, firing and reloadiong their guns. Mrs. Gray called and called from her window, finally arousing a Nego and sent him to warn her father. On arriving at the house, the Grays broke down the door and proceeded to load the balance of their sisters's funiture. Then they discharged the last contents of the bottle while they waited for the Judge, knowing it was his custom to visit his hands early. They were working close by and he would be compelled to pass the yard.
As soon as the Judge left on his horse, taking with him a small Negro who carried his gun, Luther and Knight (his sons) learned from the messenger the Grays had passed earlier-before light. Fearing for their father, Luther armed himself with a gun and Knight with a dirk-knife and they followed their father. They overtook him just as he was hitching his horse at the gate, The Grays were yelling and whooping, saying "Come on Judge, We are ready for you" they Judge halted and they motioned him, saying "Come on Damn you if you want to fight we are ready for you" The Judge halted again, no doubt, ruminating in his own mind whether or not he would let them drive him from his own premises. He advanced in about twenty feet of the door, the Grays rushed to the door and his son-in-law, Dr. Jim Gray said "Ah! Judge, come on if you want to fight: The juge replied that he had come to attend to his business and he wanted no difficulty with them, but they were acting more like thieves and robbers than honest men. Dr, Jim then said to Bob "Shoot" which he did- the whole load taking effect in the Judge's breast, killing him instantly. About this time, Luther fired at Bob Gray, missing him and Dr. Jim fired at Luther, mortaly wounding him. Knight, left with nothing to defend himself but a dirk-knife was struck a very sever blow over the head with a gun by Dr. Jim Gray. He would have surely been killed except that the Negroes, hearing the gun fire, rushed in and so wounded Bill and Jim Gray they were unable to get away. Bob Gray made his escape with the Negroes pursuing him. He ran to Mr. Hightower's who lived nearby, saying that the Negroes had had an uprising and killed the Judge and Luther. He fell across Mrs. Hightowers bed, spoiling her best counterpane with his blood. Mr. Hightower went to the Edwards plantation and soon a large crowd of neighborhood people had assembled. They beheld a most horrid scene: Judge Edwards lying lifeless in his own yard; Luther in a dying condition; Knight wounded-bleeding from his head; Dr. Jim and Bill Gray wounded. On hearing the statment of the Grays and the dying testimony of Luther, there was but one sentence to be hung without the benefit of the law. The crowd was in an uproar. The Grays were taken to be jailed in Greensborough. Judge Edwards and Luthers lifeless bodies were takedn home. This was Friday, November 22, 1861. Saturday the town of Greensborough was buzzing with disbelief. Sunday night a mob entered the jail and hanged Bill and Bob Gray. Their mother was in the jail and Dr. Jim asked that they not hang him in front of his mother, so he was taken down the road and hanged from the limb of an oak tree. The mother placed the bodies-three sons- in her wagon and drove them to her home in the Mars Hill (Sweatman) Community. (This is the most notorious of the three mob killings in Webster County history). On the way, Mrs. Gray stopped at the home of Mary Ellen Edwards Gray-now the widow of Dr. James H. Gray. She came down the front walk out the gate to the wagon, looked at her husband, took a handkerchief from her pocket and placed it over the face of her husband, turned and walked back into the house. She attended that funerals of her father and brother Monday at Edwards Springs and her husband and brothers-in-law Tuesday at Mars Hill.
Source : Descendants of Edward D Edwards VOL 2 . Compiled by Ruby Edwards Kimbrell
This site is for the purpose of Education of our ancestors . My name is Todd Edwards I am a direct descendant of Edward D Edwards and Lavicy Knight .They are my 5th grt grandparents . I believe this to be the first website on this side of our family. So lets tell you how we got here today . Now it is impossible to list everyones Family tree here . But We are gonna Highlight some of the interesting facts about are history .
Judge Edwards is a direct descendant of the Rev Joshua Edwards ( The Immigrant )who was born in Pembrokeshire Wales on Feb 11 1703 . Removed to Penn or the Welch Tract in Delaware before maturity. He stayed there for 30 years and then petitioned for land on the PeeDee in S.C In 1749 which he was able to secure Joshua Edwards emigrated to the Peedee River Basin in what is now Darlington S.C . In 1751 he was ordained to preach and he became the third pastor of the Welch Neck Church in Society Hill, S.C. where he remained 6 years and then took charge of the Mount Pleasant congregation an off shoot of the Welch Neck Church. The Welch Neck Church remains as a memorial to those who founded it and is used as Sunday School class rooms for the present Welch Neck Church in Society Hill, S.C. The Descendants of Rev Edwards are all over the Untied states . Many which remain in the SC/NC area .
Joshua and wife Cathrine had several children . They had a son named Able who married Sarah Dalrymple They had a son named (Major) Edward Edwards ( Do not know the reference to Major but must have been in a militia after the Revolutionary War war )
Major Edward Edwards had 12 children of which only 5 lived to survive him one of which Was OUR own Edward D Edwards . . He and a Brother John J went to Mississippi in the 1830 . ( John is buried in Knight Cemetery in Webster County MS )Edward D. Edwards married Lavicy Omelia Knight also Society Hill SC on 8-16-1831 Edward first settled in the Yazoo community of MS . But Moved to what was Choctaw county then near Old Greensboro . That is now known as Webster county . They left Yazoo due to a Maleria out break in the fall of 1836 . Edward was a appointed probate Judge by Gov A.M. Scott 1832 and subseqently was called "Judge Edwards or The Judge". He believed in education and had Hired Tutors on his plantation to teach his slaves to read and write . He was a member of The Board of Trustees of the Yalobousha Baptist female institute, in Grenada, Miss . This would later be known as Grenada College where his two oldest daughters would attend . He was well respected in his community and his State
Edward and Lavicy had 12 children in all . 11 are in buried in the Family Cemetery Known as Edwards Springs in Webster County MS . The only child that is missing is Knight Edwards who died Vicksburg . He is buried in a unknown grave at the Confederate Cemetery
Edward was killed in what is now known as the Edwards Gray Feud By Bob Gray . We will get to that in a moment .
Edward D Edwards SR was born on Jan. 3, 1804 and was Killed on Nov. 22, 1861
Lavicy Knight Edwards was born on Aug. 18, 1814 and died July 22, 1878
They only had 1 son who lived to have sons to carry on the FAMILY name
Thier children born to them are as follows.
First born was Edward D Edwards JR on Jan 15 1835 he died unexspectedly at his home on Sep 30 1860 . His first wife was Martha A Whitty on January 15 1856 they were married a short time untill her death the same year on August 14 1856 . He then married Mary ( Molly ) Felicia Gray . His death is what sparked the Edwards Gray fued . They had no children .
Second was Thomas Harry Edwards on June 17 1836 died June 22 1853 . Thomas was the first person buried in the Edwards Springs Cemetery . He was 17 years and 5 days of age at the time of his death . His death is unknown
Third was Luther Edwards on Oct 27 1838 Killed Nov 22 1861 in the Edwards Gray Fued . He was married to Anna Beatrice Hicks on Sep 16 1860 .
On August 18 1861 Luther was called into service of the Confederate States Company K 15th Mississippi inf .Choctaw Greys of Choctaw county . This company was mustard into state service Bellefontaine on May 4 1861 . Muster Roll dated Sept.7, 1861, shows him in the service of Col. Satham. Oct. 16, Col Sathamwith 600 of his regiment received for a march to Barboursville and on this expedition with other regiments of the command, the Fifteenth skirimished with Schoepfs Union Brigade at Camp Wildcat, on Rockcastle Hill. Oct. 21 Schoepf a loss of 4 killed - 20 wounded, Confederates: 11 killed - 42 wounded
Stated on Wendnesday, Nov. 20 1861 - Luther being upstairs sick, hearing the doctor talking to his mother, came down -- From all of this it is belived that Luther was on a furlough and because of sickness had not returned for the Nov. 20th muster.
Two days later, Nov. 22nd, Luther was shot by his brother-in-law, Dr. James H. Gray, in the Edwards - Grey Feud and lived but a few hours. He is buried by the side of his brother Edward in the Edwards Springs Cemetery. Age 23 years. There is a Confederate marker at his grave.
Fourth was Mary Ellen Edwards on Oct 4 1840 Died on July 3 1899 She married Dr. James H Gray on May 31 1859 . She and her younger sister Eliza attended the Yalobousha Baptist Female Institute in Grenada after being tutored at home . Her and James had 1 child together Alice Corale Gray Born Sep 4 1860 . her father gave her land and built her a house and gave her slaves to establish a home . They became farmers besides Dr Grays medical practice . Two and a half years later Dr. Gray had shot and killed his brother in law Luther Edwards in the Edwards Gray feud . Two days later he was hung by a angry mob near a cemetery in old Greensboro . He is buried in Marshill cemetery . Mary went to her father and brothers funeral then her husbands the same day .
About 2 years later she remarried to Monroe D Nelson and they had 9 children. There children where Mary E. Nelson born 1865 and died in the winter of 1918, Eliza Nelson born Nov. 22, 1866 and died Jan. 17, 1951, Elizabeth Nelson born March 27, 1869 and died Aug. 28, 1923, Edith Nelson born Aug. 18, 1871 and died April 29, 1934, Annie Nelson born Jan. 4, 1872 and died May 2, 1950, Lora Nelson born 1874 and died unknown, Calvin Nelson born May 17, 1878 and died Nov. 2, 1957, Zuella Nelson born Aug. 30, 1880 and died July 23, 1906, and Addie Nelson born June 12, 1886 and died Dec. 25, 1978.
Fifth was Sarah Eliza on June 17 1842 and died Jan. 8, 1929 she was the second daughter of Edward Dewitt Edwards Sr. and Lavicy Knight Edwards. She went to school in Grenada, Miss. with her older sister. The school was approximately 40 miles from there home. The President of the school was Lewis Aldridge; his agent was G. W. Aldridge possibly some of her first husband's people.
At the age of 16 she married John Henery Aldridge, and they established there home in the Lodi community of Webster - Montgomery Counties. John served during the Civil War in the Company "E" 4th Miss. Regiment. With Dear's Brigade, French's Div. Hood's Core of the Confederate Forces. He and Eliza had ten children, the first child died. They were married for 42 years. There children were Mary Lavicy Aldridge born Aug. 2, 1860 and died Oct. 8, 1862, William Edward Aldridge born Oct. 25, 1862, Frances Cornelia Aldridge born Oct. 18, 1865 and died Nov. 11, 1944, John Dewitt Aldridge born Feb. 1, 1868 and died Nov. 30, 1884, Jennie Lee Aldridge born April 6, 1870 and died Dec. 6, 1951, Minnie Alma Aldridge born May 26, 1873 and died June 1, 1965, Charles Hendricks Aldridge born Aug. 1, 1876 and died Jan. 17, 1954, Lallie Aldridge was a twin born 1879 and dies 1948, Hart Aldridge was a twin to Lallie born June 4, 1879 and died June 6, 1879. And there last child was Howard Henry Aldridge born Sept. 11, 1884 and died Dec. 25, 1945.
Sixth Knight Edwards on Aug 31 1844 and died July 15, 1863 he was born on a Saturday at six o'clock p.m, near Greensborough, Choctaw (Webster) County, Miss.
Knight had grown up on the plantation, being surrounded by family, learning from the experiences on the farm and the tutor in the home classroom. He was only 17 years, 2 months, and 21 days old when his father was killed. He rode with Luther to the lower plantation to assist their father, carrying as his only weapon a dirk knife. He was struck on the head several times with gun butts and saved from further injury when the slaves came running to his aid. His father and brother were killed in this battle known later as the Edwards - Gray Feud or Choctaw Tragedy.
This Tragedy left Knight as the oldest living male descendant, but legally a minor. At that time (1861) Miss. had been a State less than 50 years and not sureabout the laws that created this situation, but the Legislature of the State of Mississippi removed Knight's disability od minority by an enactment dated Jan. 25, 1862. So this young man was forced to mature in a few months and assume the responibility of a large estate.
In March, 1863, Knight joined Compant "E", 4th Miss. Regiment of the Confederate Forces in Vickisburg, Miss. Copies of two letters written shortly after he went to Vicksburg are attached. The letters convey a genuine concern for the affairs at home. He even tells his mother where the sheep shears are stored.
A little more than three months later, Knight was captured - a prisoner of the United States Forces. The Confederate Forces at Vicksburg surrenedered to Grant, July 4, 1863. Note that he was never paid, that he was sick in a Vickisburg Hospital, the way he signed the parole form two days before he died.
A buddy of Knight's brought some of his belongings to Grandmother Edwards and said he had buried Knight in a wooden box made of boards from a near by building. He refused to return to Vicksburg to show the place of burial even though he was offered a large sum of money. Grandmother made a buggy trip to Vicksburg seeking information of her son, but to no avail.
The National Park Service, Vicksburg National Military Park has informed me that " the soldiers interred in scattered graves close to the combat area were removed to the Confederate Cemetery.... it is probable that Knight's remains lie in an unmarked grave in the Confederate Cemetery.
The Family Bible gives his age as 18 years, 10 months, and 15 days. He is the only one of the original descendants not buried in the Edwards Springs Cemetery.
Seveth Dewitt Edwards on July 29 1846 and died Oct. 4, 1862 because of his short life, the only references we have are the entries in the Family Bible. There were two locks of reddish hair tied with a white thread found. The hair was wrapped in a blue paper and marked " The hair of brother Dewitt Edwards, deceased 1862."
The Bible entry startes Dewitt died of Diptheria. Aunt Emma said he was able to walk across the hall a few minutes before he died and the immediate cause of death was choking.
Dewitt Edwards is buried at the foot of his brother Luther in the Edwards Springs Cemetery. His age - 16 years, 2 months, and 5 days.
Eigth George Washington Edwards on Sep 10 1848 and died Dec. 2, 1928. He is the only son to have decendants. All the decendants of Edward Dewitt Edwards Sr. and Lavicy Knight Edwards who bear the name " Edwards" are decended from this son. They called him "Wash".
He was born near Greensborough Choctaw (Webster) County, Miss. He was 13 years old when his father and brother were killed. ( E. D. Edwards Jr. died 1860; E. D. Edwards Sr. and Luther Edwards died 1861; and Knight Edwards died 1863). Wash was the oldest surviving male heir at age 14 years. The story goes that two slaves Anderson and Dave, were his constant companions. They hunted, raced horses, fished together and if Anderson or Dave did any work it had to be Wash that gave the order. They continued to live with him their entire lives.
George Washington Edwards was very active in his community. He served as Justice of that Peace in 1915, he was instumental in the organization of the Edwards Spring School. He was an elder in the Southern Advent Christian Church at Edwards Springs, and was one of the Charter Members of that church organized under the guidance of Charles Everette Shafer. Was was a lay doctor for the community.
In his later years, Wash had a lengthly battle with cancer on his face and this was the cause of his death. George Washington Edwards is buried by the side of his wife in the Edwards Springs Cemetery. His age 80 years, 2 months, 23 days.
Ninth Jane Elizabeth Edwards on Jan 8 1852 and died June 21, 1933. Lizzie was 9 years old when her father was killed and 11 years old when the Yankee Troops marched through their plantation. At age 25 she married John Louis Burton. The Burtons lived in the Embry community or that direction from Edward Springs. Lizzie was the last child to leave home, so to speak. Her marriage left her mother and her brother "Buddy" as the only two at home. Shortly after her marriage, her mother broke up the original Edwards Family home and lived the remander of her life with Lizzie. (Lavicy Knight Edwards died July 22, 1878). Buddy went to live with brother Wash.
Lizzie and John established their home on land Lizzie hade inherited from her father's estate, located to the north of Wash and to east of Emma near the Edwards Springs Church. The house was built near a spring for their water supply - the house was big with a porch on two side and a hall in the middle.
Even though she had not had an opportinity for a higher education as her older brothers and sisters, Lizzie anted her children to get a good education. When her older children finished the Edwards Springs School, the place was rented to the Blalacks and the family moved to Walthall so the children could get a higher education. The family lived in Walthill four years and farmed while there.
John Burton died of cancer of the throat after an illness of a year. Lizzie survived him fifteen years. The doctor said she died of shingles, but some members of the family belive she dies of cancer. They are buried in the Edwards Springs Cemetery.
Tenth Fannie Emma Edwards on June 22 1854 and died Mar. 8, 1950. Emma grew up surrounded by nine older children - (Thomas Harry died June 22, 1853 - exactly one year before her birth, caonsequently her birthdaywas never celebrated as the other children). She also was surrounded by slaves to look out for her needs. She was given Mingo who, as the story goes, had a tease "Ole broke - toe Mingo is yours". Emma would go crying to her father who would reassure her "Don't cry honey", "I'll give you another Negro".
Once when a doctor came to the plantation to give small pox shots to all the people living in the place, Emma and Wash thought the cattle should have the shots too. They picked up the needles and medicine and proceeded. Of course, this didn't last to long,
When Emma was seven years old, her brother and father were killed, and she was ten when the Yankee Troops under General Grierson raided their place. Emma remembered these tragic events and related them to the children and grandchildren. Although, she was never allowed to work the feilds, she remembered the hard times following these events.
In November, 1874, at twenty years of age, Emma married James Allen Henry. Emma's daughter Dewey Holmes Duncan told that Mr. Allen came from Calhorn County and claimed to be a lawyer, but that he never practiced.
Eleventh Theodosia Esther Edwards on Nov 21 1856 and died Mar. 5, 1869. The cause of her dealth is unknown. She died at the age of 12 years, 3 months, and 14 days.She is buried by her father's side in Edwards Spring Cemetery.
Twelve Edward Devonald Edwards on Sep 23 1860 and died May 20, 1941. Edward Devonald Edwards -called Buddy- and named Edward for his father and Devonald Dewitt was the maiden name o his great-grandmonther Mary Devonald Dewitt, wife of William Dewitt and parents of Mary Dewitt Edwards. Marry Dewitt married Edward Edwards, they are Buddy's grandparents.
Buddy was little more than one year old when his father was killed so he became the darling of his mother's eye. She would not punish him or let anyone else. When his tantrums became unbearable she would send slaves to drag chains back and forths upstairs in an effort of scaring him into behaving.
The home place and 700 acers of land was left him; he was the youngest and his mother thought he would live longer and keep the house in the family longer. He was the first of the children to sell any of their property, but most of his property was sold to members of the family.
Buddy used some of this money to attend Bowling Green University, Kentucky, to finish his education. After college, he went to Texas to work. The story goes that he became engaged while in Texas, but an affair with another girl sent him running back to Miss. The engagement ring was returned. He never explained what happened; he never returned to Texas and he never married. And, as far as I know he was never really interested in another girl.
About 1920, Buddy became chief deputy sheriff for Sheriff Everette Foard, and before that he had served as deputy to several Tax Assessors. He was elected Tax Assessor in 1928-32, and during that time he reassessed and revised the tax rolls. In order to get away from the interruptions at the Court House, he took the books to his little house in the Edwards community. He took with him Dos Gore, George Few and Charlie Lollar. Buddy was said to be an expert on Webster County lands- who owned what land, where the lines ran, etc.
Buddy had a firm belief that gold had been buried during the Civil War somewhere on the place- and in other areas of the Greensboro community.