Prince Edwards Family
By Lorraine Edwards Taylor
My paternal grandfather Prince E. Edwards was born to Celia Dawson and Prince Edwards, December 4, 1843 in Attala County, Mississippi. Before emigrating to California, Prince served in the USCVT with the Grand Army of the Republic in 1865, serving in an all Black Unit of the Macon, Georgia 136th Regiment – Prince was mustered out of the service January 4, 1866. Prince is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Riverside, one of 20 honored on the “Walk of Fame”.
Prince, Jr. met and married Jennie Cook January 1, 1871 in Fulton County, Georgia. In 1885, Prince as wagon master for a group from Georgia, along with Jennie and their five children – William, Charles, Alberta, Otis, and Thaddeus emigrated to Riverside, San Bernardino County. In 1889 their youngest Eugene, was the first Black born in Riverside. Of the six children only four reached adulthood, Charles, Thaddeus, William and Eugene. The Edwards also assisted other Blacks from the South when they arrived in the Riverside area providing them with a place to stay and helping them get settled.
In 1898 Prince was a member of the Odd Fellows Organization. In addition to his participation in Black organizations, Prince was one of the few Blacks who was a member of a predominantly white organization, Riverside Post #118, Department of California and Nevada Grand Army of the Republic.
Mr. and Mrs. Prince Edwards were charter members of the Second Baptist Church when it was organized in 1890. The Edwards were a very enterprising family. Mrs. Edwards was known for her culinary skills, serving southern dishes at social functions and fair in the surrounding areas.
The Edwards children were musically talented and their parents provided piano lessons, and the sons continued to play into adulthood. Charlie joined the Ringling Brothers Circus as a Drum Major traveling all over the United States. Charlie was also a comic and tap dancer, performing locally.
Eugene moved to Los Angeles and after his first marriage that produced a daughter Irene, he met and married Anna Wilma Jackson from Brownview, Oregon, producing four children – Alice, Eugene Jr., Jeannette, and Elizabeth. At the turn of the century, Eugene was the chauffeur for the Mayor of Los Angeles and a fireman.
William served with the 24th U. S. Infantry at Fort Baird, New Mexico and was a musician in his Regimental Bank. He was in the engagement at Dan Juan Hill, Cuba.