Was born at Llansaintffraid, near Conway, in Denbighshire, Wales, August, 1839. His ancestors had lived in the same part of Wales for many generations. His parents were David EDWARDS and Elizabeth EVANS. John D. was the sixth of nine children. He was brought up in the valley of River Conway, which was fertile and productive, though the surrounding county was rough and broken. When a boy of fourteen, he went on board a vessel, and followed the sea for a year and a half along the British coast. He was very fond of this occupation, but in obedience to the wishes of his parents, (one of their sons having already been lost at sea) he returned home and went to school. He then became an apprentice to the gardener's trade, and afterward worked a year in Liverpool. In the spring of 1858, he came to America, reaching New York on the 29th of May. He spent a short time in New York state, and then went to Wisconsin. The winter of 1858-9 he was in Mississippi. In the spring of 1859, he came to St. Louis, and after working for a time on a steamboat on the Mississippi river, in the summer of that year, came to St. Clair county, of this state, and was employed in the vicinity of O'Fallon till the breaking out of the war of the rebellion.
On the 2d of July, 1861, he enlisted at Summerfield in company E, 2d Illinois cavalry. His regiment took part under Grant in the campaign against Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson, and afterward in the siege of Vicksburg. Among the other engagements at which he was present during his service, were Middleburgh, Jackson, Port Gibson, Atchafalaya River, New Iberia, Sabine Cross Roads, Pleasant Hill, Grandicourt, Natchitoches, Hudson's Hill, and Marksville. He was wounded at Yellow Bayou, Louisiana. He was discharged at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after the expiration of his term of service, and reached St. Clair county in September, 1864. On the 12th of January, 1865, he married Virginia, daughter of Madison ELY. She was born and raised near Lebanon, in St. Clair county. He then went to farming near Trenton. He owns 115 acres of land in section 28, of township 2, range 5. He has seven children; Ann, William David, John Ellis, Edward, Robert, Mary, and Madison. He is a republican in politics, and he and his wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
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