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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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THOMAS J. EDWARDS, Treasurer of Cass County, and a prominent business man of Dowagiac, was born in Ann Arbor, Mich., June 23, 1844. He is of direct English descent, his parents, Thomas and Louisa (Kellott) Edwards, having both been born in Leicestershire, England. The father learned the drug trade in his native land, and after his emigration to America, in 1837, followed that business in Ann Arbor, Mich., from 1842 until the time of his death, in 1859. After the death of his first wife, which occurred in 1851, he was again married, choosing as his wife Miss Elizabeth Edwards, his first cousin. Seven children resulted from the first marriage, and three were born of the second union, all of whom are now living. The father of this family was very successful in his business, and being a man of shrewd foresight and sound judgment, he attained a prominent position among the moneyed men of Ann Arbor, and at his death left a fortune to his family. While not an active partisan, he always displayed an intelligent interest in public affairs, and was a stanch Democrat.

Little of unusual interest occurred to individualize the life of the subject of this sketch prior to the commencement of the Civil War. In August, 1861, he enlisted as a member of Company C, First Michigan Infantry, and at the expiration of his term of enlistment was mustered out, in November, 1864. Afterward he re-enlisted in the United States service, serving with the same company and regiment as before. He was mustered out on the 9th of July, 1865, after having served altogether a period of four years lacking one month. He took an active part in forty-seven engagements, being in all the important engagements of the Army of the Potomac. He was wounded in the battle of Malvern Hill on the 1st of July, 1862, and was taken to the hospital at Philadelphia, where he remained until his recovery. In the Peninsular campaign he saw considerable active service. Throughout his entire military life he displayed the possession of valor, courage and energy, and in the thickest of the fight his cool intrepidity never failed him. To such as he the Union owes a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

Returning to Michigan, Mr. Edwards located in Ypsilanti, where he served an apprenticeship at the trade of a marble-cutter, and followed that occupation for ten years, part of the time in Ypsilanti. In 1872 he came to Dowagiac and embarked in the marble and granite business, which he still conducts, having established a lucrative trade and built up an extensive business. His marriage, which occurred on the 10th of September, 1868, united him with Miss Mary S. Cady, the daughter of Charles and Fidelia (Carter) Cady, her father being a farmer of Ypsilanti. She was born and reared in that city, and has spent her entire life in Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Edwards have two children: Wallace C., Cashier of Lee Bros. & Co.’s Bank, at Dowagiac; and Myrta L., who is at home.

Politically, our subject is a Republican, and is so positive in his opinions as to be considered radical. In State and national politics, he takes a deep interest, and has himself figured prominently in the public life of the community. He served as Alderman for six years, and was prominent in the City Council. In the fall of 1890, he was elected County Treasurer, and two years later he was re-elected, being the present incumbent of the office. In the Grand Army of the Republic he enjoys considerable prominence, and was the first Commander of H. C. Gilbert Post No. 47, at Dowagiac, having filled that position for five successive years. He has been a Chairman of the City Republican Committee, also a member of the County Republican Committee. Identified with the Masonic order, he has served as Master of the lodge, High Priest of the chapter, and is a member of the commandery at Niles. He is also connected with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, being an active member of these societies.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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