The Edwards Brothers Fight Tyranny Together
Today we have a three for one on Founding Fathers.
The Edwards brothers were raised just north of Philadelphia and all dedicated themselves to the Patriot Cause.
Marshall, Enoch and Evan Edwards all served their country in varying capacities and with different results. Let’s take a look at their story.
Marshall Edwards, the oldest of the three brothers, was the first to join the war effort.
The following year, Marshall returned to the County Militia. By August of 1777, he was chosen as Pay Master of Philadelphia’s soldiers.
Unfortunately, Marshall passed away in early 1778 at just 31 years of age. The actual cause of death is difficult to determine and the only information I can find states that he died ‘in service of his country.’ This quote comes from Samuel Jones who was responsible for Marshall’s estate and orphaned children.
Though it is implied he died in battle, ‘in service of his country’ could also referred to a soldier who passed away from disease while encamped with his battalion.
Fortunately, his brothers lived on to fight for the cause.
Enoch Edwards was one of the first medical students to learn from Dr. Benjamin Rush.
After obtaining his degree, he became an American Revolutionary. He served in the Pennsylvania Provincial Congress and began associating with many of the more notable Founding Fathers.
On July 4, 1776, several of the men who approved the Declaration of independence (most notably, Thomas Jefferson) went to Enoch’s summer home for a celebratory dinner.
Soon after, Enoch joined Marshall in the Philadelphia Battalion of the Flying Camp as a Surgeon. This was followed by a promotion to aide-de-camp for General Stirling. During his service to Stirling, Edwards was captured at the battle of Fort Washington, though he was soon paroled and released within the year.
Enoch proceeded to have a successful career as a Common Pleas Judge. Additionally, he served in the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention and the State Constitutional Convention of 1790.
Enoch lived longer than any of his brothers, who all seemed to have bad luck, as he only reached 50 years of age.
Evan Edwards has, perhaps, the most interesting story of all the brothers.
Evan started his military career by, you guessed it, joining the Pennsylvania Militia. For a brief time in 1776, all three of these siblings served together in the Revolutionary War.
This brother, however, soon moved over to the Continental Army (technically different than a State Militia) and bounced around until he worked his way up to the rank of Major. Evan spent seven full years in the Army and participated in almost every major battle of the war.
He followed Enoch’s lead in becoming an aide-de-camp, his General being Charles Lee. Evan and Lee would remain close for the rest of their lives, with Edwards even naming one of his sons Charles Lee Edwards.
This relationship was particularly important because Lee participated in a duel with John Laurens regarding certain insults cast toward General Washington. Evan was Lee’s ‘second’ while Alexander Hamilton was Laurens’.
The event led to an interesting letter co-written by Hamilton and Edwards outlining the results of the duel. The letter can be read here. (Also note, the song Ten Duel Commandments from the ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack is an interesting take on this duel, however, the author used creative license to replace Evan with Aaron Burr).
After the duel, Evan spent time working as an Adjutant General for General Nathaniel Greene.
After the war, Evan was given land by Charles Lee and relocated to South Carolina. He spent several years serving in the General Assembly but passed away in 1798 at just 45 years old.
Since this article ended with Charles Lee (and I’ve recounted here pretty much all there is to know about the Edwards Bros) I recommend you check out ‘Renegade Revolutionary.’ I read it recently and it portrays Lee in a much more favorable light than I expected, focusing on his early hope for the Revolution. It can be purchased through our Amazon affiliate link below.
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