Captain David F. Edwards
Captain David F. Edwards was born in New York City, December 20, 1819,and enjoyed his golden wedding with his estimable wife, surrounded by children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren on August 29, 1897. He is a son of John Edwards, Jr., and grandson of John Edwards, Sr., who was a son of John Edwards, a member of the House of Lords, from Montgomeryshire, Wales. His mother was Priscilla (Farrell) Edwards, daughter of William Farrell, his maternal grandmother being a Monmouth, of Monmouth county, N. J., and daughter of an officer of the Revolutionary war.
Mr. Edwards' grandfather, John Edwards, moved to the United States, in 1780, and located in New York City. He went into the scale and beam manufacturing. He was also an evangelist. He believed in preaching in the highways and hedges, and that the structure was not the church, but the people were. The Monmouths were workers of the soil. They came to the United States late in the seventeenth century, and located in what is now Monmouth county, New Jersey.
Mr. Edwards' first nautical experience was had at the age of ten years, when in 1830 he shipped as cabin boy on the bark Sarah, on a trip to Brazil. He further pursued his nautical education in the forecastle of a man-of-war, the old ironsides frigate Constitution, at the age of seventeen, after working three months at boat building. Between the years 1837 and 1840 he served on the frigate two years and eight months on the Pacific. In the fall of 1840, after returning home and being paid off, he, with two comrades, bought the schooner Volunteer, and embarked in the oyster trade on Chesapeake bay, out of Norfolk, Va. They made one successful trip to Baltimore and on returning the vessel carried away her mainmast, the wind a gale at west-northwest, and in trying to make a leeport without a mainmast the schooner was wrecked January 1, 1841, on Sandy Island bar. She broke up, and the crew got ashore in a yawlboat with some difficulty. He then joined the brig Washington, Captain Gedney, on the coast survey, and afterward continued for a season with Captain Davis in the gulf and coast survey.
He then shipped on the bark Magdala and coasted in the cotton trade. On May 20, 1846, he shipped as carpenter on the bark Grafton, Captain Abbott, out of New York for Canton and the East Indies, but did second officer's duty. In the fall of 1847 he joined the Globe as chief officer. She plied between New York, New Orleans and Galveston, transporting government stores from the seat of the Mexican war. In 1848 he returned home and worked as shipwright for William H. Webb in New York. In 1849 he went west to Milan, Ohio, near which place he built and launched the first sloop ever laid in Ohio. In 1852 Mr. Webb built the packet ship San Francisco and started her on a voyage to California. They met a gale of wind off the Bermudas, and the ship sprung her projecting guard beams and sunk. The crew and passengers were picked up by several vessels, and carried, some to England, and others to New York. The Alabama was then sent out to locate the San Francisco, Mr. Edwards going as carpenter, but the missing boat could not be found. The Alabama sprung a leak on the return voyage, and had four feet of water in her before it was discovered. She was saved only by the energy and coolness of Mr. Edwards, who took charge of the pumps for three days and nights.
In 1853 Mr. Edwards went to work in the shipyard of W. H. Webb, and remained throughout the year. In 1854 he returned to Milan, Huron county, Ohio, and between the years 1854 and 1861 he built fourteen lake vessels. In 1862 he suffered an injury, which incapacitated him from work. The following year he went to Bridgeport, Ala., and took charge, as foreman, of the construction of transports and gunboats under the direction of naval constructor Alvin A. Turner, for the Army of Tennessee. In 1864 he went to Toledo, Ohio, and built the yacht Nomad, the first boat of this kind owned in Toledo. In 1868 he removed his family to Toledo, Ohio, and built a homestead for himself, where he and his family reside at 443 West Lafayette street. In 1873 he built the schooner St. Peter at Toledo, which was wrecked in 1898 on Lake Ontario, and the next year, 1874, the Emma Thompson at Saginaw, Mich. In 1875-76 he built two schooners and a tug at the Portage.
In 1877 Mr. Edwards helped as foreman to build two sections of the Bay bridge for the Sandusky division of the Lake Shore railroad. He then worked in his shop for a number of years, being engaged in building yachts, etc. He also built trucks for the United States Express Company. In 1893 he built the yacht Neptune. He then took his family to Kansas City on a visit, remaining almost the year. In the fall of 1894 he returned to Toledo, since which time he has been engaged in yacht, railway and shop work. His shop is located on Swan creek, opposite the foot of Division street.
On August 29, 1847, Mr. Edwards was united in marriage to Miss Mary J. Logan, daughter of William Logan, of New York City. The children born to this union were: Leah F., now Mrs. Selden M. Clark; and William F., deceased. The grandchilden are Henry E., Pauline (Burget), and Orson B. Clark; and the great-grandchildren are David F., George B. and Harry T. Clark. Mr. Edwards is a Master Mason, and a member of the I.O.O.F.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.