John Edwards (1850-1925) was the fifth of ten children in the family of William Edwards and Margaret Rourke of the townland of Tullagh in the Catholic parish of Cloyne, southeast County Cork. Still single at age 29, he followed the example of his uncle Stephen and many other parishioners of Cloyne in emigrating to America. He arrived at the Port of New York in April 1880 accompanied by a younger sister, Lizzie. Together, they travelled directly to Hartford, Connecticut, where jobs awaited them. For John it was work on a farm belonging to a fellow Corkman who had emigrated twenty years earlier. For Lizzie, it was a placement as a servant in a family home. By the following year, John had moved on to a labourer’s job with the Washburn Car Wheel Company which manufactured steel belted wheels for trains. After another year of full-time employment, he did what must have been planned before he left Ireland. He notified his sweetheart, Kate Walsh (1857-1949), and her family, also from Cloyne, that all was ready for her to join him. Kate booked passage out of Queenstown on the City of Paris, arriving in New York on 4 June, 1883. She then travelled north to Middletown, Connecticut, where her oldest sister, Mary, lived with her husband, John Brown, who together had emigrated from Ireland in 1867. Kate remained there for three months until 2 September, when she married John Edwards. The witnesses were John's younger sister Sarah, who had arrived from Cloyne in May 1882, and Michael Regan, also a Corkman whom Lizzie Edwards had married in February 1883. Following the wedding, John and Kate returned to Hartford, where John had rented a flat somewhat less cramped than his bachelor’s lodgings had been. Like most working class immigrants, they moved every year when the lease term was completed in search of better accommodations at a price they could afford. Eventually, stability became more the norm. Sadly, their first four children died within a year of their birth of maladies that often afflicted infants in those days. The next five children survived to enjoy long, healthy, stable lives.
Of William Edwards And Peggy Rourke's ten children, three daughters married and remained in the Cloyne area as did the youngest son. I am pleased to have visited twice with cousins in the Middleton-Cloyne area, accompanied once by my brother and once by my daughter. The cousins are descendants of John Edwards’ youngest brother, William Edwards, who lived in Ballydavid and still spoke Irish. We were warmly received in the best tradition of Irish hospitality. Go raibh míle maith acu. Peter Edwards.
|Date of Birth||1st Jul 1850|
|Date of Death||30th May 1925|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||William Edwards|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Margaret Rourke|
|Spouse (First Name/s and Maiden/Surname)||Kate Walsh (1857-1949)|