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Edwards Family Papers Manuscript Collection

Biographical Notes: Cyrus Edwards (1793-1877) was the brother of Ninian Edwards, territorial governor of Illinois and later governor of the state. Born in Kentucky, he was admitted to the bar in Kaskaskia, Illinois Territory in 1815, but soon moved to Potosi, Missouri. He returned to Kentucky in 1819 and married Nancy H. Reed (1803-1834). Together they lived in Franklin, Missouri, Kentucky, Edwardsville and Alton, Illinois. Cyrus Edwards served four terms in the Illinois state legislature between 1832 and 1862, two of those terms with Abraham Lincoln.

Scope Notes: These intimate letters (the earliest 1820, the latest 1852) provide a view of one of frontier Illinois's most prominent and accomplished families. In the letters, various members of this extended family reflect on almost every aspect of their lives, including their views about slavery. Of particular interest is the correspondence related to Matilda Edwards's stay in Springfield, Illinois, and her association there with Abraham Lincoln.

Collection range: 1820-1852
Collection size: 2.5 inches
Donor: Elsie Quigley Nelson