The Enigma named Oliver Edwards

The ongoing, seemingly impossible search for Oliver Edwards’s origins

Oliver Edwards, who was born about 1813 in Virginia and who died before 24 Sep 1897 (when his death was announced) is an almost complete mystery to me. He was my 2x great grandfather. You’d think someone that “recent” wouldn’t be that hard to track down. But the opposite is the case. While I continue to keep his profile on WikiTree updated as I search for clues, I’m also going to log everything here – the more, the merrier, right?

The Virginia records I have for an Oliver Edwards cannot be definitely attributed to my 2x great-grandfather Oliver Edwards of this profile. But I’m putting them out there, in hopes that someone will be able to make a connection. Please, if you do, contact me – I’m dying to hear from you!

Oliver was born about 1813 (per his death notice published in the Taylorville IL newspaper) in Virginia (according to the 1850-1880 census records) and died before 24 Sep 1897 at Taylorville, Christian Co IL at the home of his son, George W Edwards.

He was married first to Hester Plummer,[1] and then to Margaret Auker.[2]

His known children are:
By Hester
John Wesley Edwards 1846-1923

By Margaret
William Henry Edwards 1850-1921
George Washington Edwards 1854-1914
Ann Elizabeth “Libby” Edwards (1855-1932)
Nancy Jane “Jennie” Edwards 1856-1934
Oliver Thomas Edwards 1859-bef.1880

Who were Oliver’s parents?

Y-DNA results tell us he may not have been an Edwards, but a Newhouse. That, or his wife Margaret Auker became pregnant by a Newhouse; the Y-DNA result indicating Newhouse came from a descendant of Oliver and Margaret by their son William H. We need an Edwards male descendant from his first son, John Wesley Edwards, by Oliver’s first wife Hester Plummer, to take the Y-DNA test as well. There are no living Edwards descendants of their son George. This will allow us to determine if the results are coming from Oliver himself or one of his sons. There are a couple of these male descendants of John Wesley Edwards who have already taken the Ancestry DNA test (autosomal). It would be great to have one or both of them take the Y-DNA test. The Y-DNA test will trace males back only on the direct male line, so only an Edwards male can take it. I have a Y-DNA test kit already in hand that I will provide without charge to a qualifying Edwards male descendant. Please contact me if you are interested.

I have yet to discover any siblings or other family members aside from his wives and children.

It is important to remember that the Newhouse family resided in Loudoun County, VA during the 1700’s and early 1800’s and migrated to various parts of Ohio.

There were also Newhouse families in neighboring Fauquier County, VA during the 1700’s and 1800’s.

What we know about Oliver:


Records for Oliver Edwards in Virginia are not proven to be “our” Oliver Edwards, but they are being included here as an means to discovering his origins.

What we do know is that he was born in Virginia anywhere from 1813 to 1818, based upon answers given on the 1850 through 1880 censuses and his obituary. Based upon his activities, the likelier date is 1813.

1827 – Jan 2, 3, 4 – Alexandria Virginia – Oliver has a letter addressed to him waiting at the Alexandria post office – notices were published in both the Phenix Gazette and the Alexandria Gazette.[3]

1829 – Alexandria County VA – Oliver Edwards appears on the personal property tax list.[4] The four columns in this tax list, with his results, are:

White Males over 16: 0
Male slaves over 16: 0
Female slaves over 16: 0
F [Free?] Col Males over 16: 5

This tax entry is interesting – Oliver himself is not being taxed, unless he is one of the free colored males. But if this is our Oliver, born 1813, he may not have yet turned age 16 when the assessment was made. There are no other Edwards names on this list. Important Note: This is a difficult call to make regarding this Oliver; on 4 Mar 1830 (after the tax year), Robert H Miller made a deed of manumission to Maria Craney, age 18 (who had been purchased from B H Lewis) and Oliver Edwards (who had been purchased from Joseph B Ladd) witnesses Jonathan Butcher, Charles Ross, Nathaniel E Janney, Deed Book S-2 p 117.[5]

9 Aug 1834 – Loudoun Co VA – Oliver Edwards was confirmed by D. J. Hauer at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at Neersville, VA.[6] He would be about age 21. No parents listed.[7]

11 May 1835 – He purchased several items in George Abel’s estate sale in Loudoun County, VA, the account of which was filed at Loudoun court on 11 May 1835.[8] The items he purchased were “housekeeping” items, as if he were getting ready to set up house: coverlet, dishes and cups, silverware, a “patty pan,” coffee pot and mill, two flax wheels, a looking glass, hoe and scythe, a chest, etc. He would have been about 22 years old.[9]

1835 – Loudoun Co VA – Oliver Edwards appears with Israel Everhart on the personal property tax list, First District.[10]

7 Oct 1837 – Loudoun Co VA – Oliver Edwards attests to Diadama Elgin’s age for her marriage to Murphey C Shumate.[11]

13 Aug 1838 – Loudoun Co VA – Oliver Edwards attests to Catherine Deakins’s age for her marriage to William Everhart (notice the name Everhart again?).[12]


1844 – At age 26-30 – on 12 Dec marries Hester Plummer at Zanesville, Muskingum County OH
1849 – 22 Mar marries Margaret Auker at Perry County OH
1850 – 2 Aug purchases Lot 23 in Straitsville, Perry County from Margaret’s uncle Isaac Strait
1850 – 29 Aug residing at Salt Lick Twp, Perry County – this is “Auker territory”
1855 – 14 Jul he and Margaret sell Lot 23 in Straitsville to John F Harbaugh
1860 – Residing at Amanda Twp, Fairfield County
1870 – Residing at Richland Twp, Darke County

NOTE: No deed records for him are in the index for Fairfield County as either grantor or grantee; however, in the Range Book for Range 20 West, on page 12 for the SW 1/4 of Section 17 of Township 13 North, there is record of his obtaining a mortgage from Enoch Huffer on 9 Nov 1863, described as “Part – $90. Released”.[13] Courthouse visited by me on 22 May 2019.

NOTE: No deed records for him in Darke County; courthouse visited by me on 23 May 2019. This does not make sense, because on the 1870 census he says his real property is worth $3,000.


1880 – Residing at Rosamond Twp, Christian County; he states he is married but Margaret is not in the household – census taker error? We don’t have a date or place of death for Margaret or their son Oliver Thomas Edwards.

1897 – Before 24 Sep 1897, he dies in Taylorville, Christian County at his son George’s home. He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery – his obituary states this, as do the cemetery records. His grave is unmarked and likely in the old section.

Oliver did not purchase land in Christian County, per the deed records at the courthouse in Taylorville.

Clues and research notes:


1810 Census Loudoun County VA:
1. Jonathan Newhouse – Hillsboro
2. Thomas Edwards – Leesburg
3. Edward Edwards – Township not stated p 11
4. Eve Edwards (widow of Hugh Edwards)- Township not stated p 24 (males 10-15, 1; females <10, 2; females 10-15, 1; females 16-25, 1; females 45+, 1)

1812 Tax List in Loudoun County VA (most recent tax list on – website is now defunct). It should be noted that most of the Newhouse family was gone to Ohio by now:

From List A:
1. Jonathan Newhouse
2. Andrew Newhouse
3. Samuel M Edwards

From List B:
1. Joseph Edwards
2. Sarah Edwards
3. Rebeckah Edwards
4. Edward Edwards
5. Thomas Edwards

From List C:
1. Philip Edwards (in the M’s)

1820 Census Loudoun County VA Edwards households with males of Oliver’s age:
1. Joseph Edwards – Waterford
2. Joseph Edwards – Middleburg

(NOTE: No Newhouse household in the 1820 census in Loudoun)

1830 Census Loudoun County VA Edwards households with males of Oliver’s age:
1. Samuel M Edwards – Leesburg
2. Joseph Edwards – Waterford
3. Frances Edwards (female) – Waterford
4. Nancy Edwards – Waterford


Possible OH wills for potential parents:

1. Lee 1855 Warren – b1785 KY – has children but only names America by name, wife Mourning
2. (check for more)

Oliver is not named in the OHIO wills of:
1. Matthias O, 1843 Trumbull
2. Henry, 1847 Trumbull
3. Thomas, 1852 Trumbull
4. John, 1855 Trumbull
5. John D, 1863 Warren
6. Richard, 1868 Perry
6. Thomas, 1854 Perry
7. James, 1835 Warren
8. James B, 1846 Warren
9. Nathaniel, 1850 Warren
9. Thomas B, 1865 Columbiana
10. Henrietta, 1859 Harrison
11. David, 1855 Jackson (of Cardigan Co Wales)
12. Prudence, 1856 Belmont
13. Jonathan, 1857 Belmont
14. Cynthia H, 1858 Madison
15. Julius, 1858 Medina
15. Benjamin, 1845 Clark
15. Daniel/Samuel, 1855 Jackson
15. William, 1859 Richland
16. Thomas O Edwards who died in 1863 in Perry County OH is not Oliver’s father – at least Oliver’s not named as an heir in all the estate papers, or his will (Perry Co WB 1 p 373). Perry Co OH Case No. 1417-1418, FHL DGS 5877673, film no. 2113607. While Thomas himself was born in VA, his wife Mary and the named heirs were all born in PA. Maybe he was an uncle…?? Will DNA triangulating help us to see if they’re related somehow? Thomas’ heirs that had children of their own as named in the will:

Thomas Nelson Edwards
1. Ellen Jane m. Daniel M Chalfont Maxwell Edwards m. Fanny Eversole
1. Emily
2. Mary (died before Thos Sr died)
Elizabeth m. Henry Poorman
Lydia Ann m. William C Henderson
Martha Jane m. James W Melick


  1.  Ohio County Marriages 1774-1993,
  2.  Ohio County Marriages 1774-1993,
  3. search for Oliver Edwards 1827
  4.  1829 Tax List, Alexandria Co VA
  5., Slave Manumissions in Alexandria Land Records 1790-1863
  6.  St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Neersville VA.
  7.  [ Information provided 23 Oct 2022 by Pat Ball Duncan, Loudoun County, Virginia Genealogy Facebook page
  8.  Will Book W p 102-106
  9.  Loudoun Co VA Will Book W pp 102-106
  10.  [ Information provided 23 Oct 2022 by Pat Ball Duncan, Loudoun County, Virginia Genealogy Facebook page
  11.  Loudoun Co VA Marriage Bonds, 1762-1850, p 74, Jewell, 1962, Clearfield Publishing, available on
  12.  Loudoun Co VA Marriage Bonds, 1762-1850, p 86, Jewell, 1962, Clearfield Publishing, available on
  13.  Fairfield Co OH Range Book R20W p 12

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