Genealogy Ramblings

My Share of the Edwards’ Fortune?

I’m sure everyone has heard the story of the Edward’s fortune.  On June 1, 1778, Robert Edwards leased to John and George Cruger 77 acres of land on Manhattan Island for 99 years, at 1,000 pounds and one peppercorn yearly.  Then ‘at the expiration of the 99 year lease said land together with all improvements shall revert to my lawful heirs, which will be descendants of my brothers and sister which are as follows: William Edwards, Jacob Edwards, Leonard Edwards, Joshua Edwards, John Edwards, Thomas Edwards and Martha Edwards’. 

My great-grandmother, Frances Barber Linton Montgomery, loved genealogy.  Her passion was passed down to me – even though it skipped two generations!  And I am very fortunate to have most of what had been handed down in the family through her.  I have her several years of correspondence with her Linton cousins, plus the family stories and lists she wrote down.  And in her writings she talks of this lease – and that it was hidden in the sugar chest brought from Loudoun County, Virginia, when Captain John Linton and family made the long journey to Washington County, Kentucky.  I now own said sugar chest – and it has nothing in it – not even a little leftover sugar!  I love to tell this story to visitors and show them the chest.  Invariably they want to take it apart – certain there is a hidden drawer!

This is the little bit of spice that we find peppered throughout family histories.  The ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe it is true’ reasonings we keep in the back of our mind.  We know they really aren’t, but it’s the possibilities that keep smiles on our faces – and make us search a little harder!

The attached picture is a page Frances Linton filled out for the Edwards Heirs Association in Wichita, Kansas, in the 1920’s.  At the bottom of the page it says, “All information to be typewritten or in a very plain hand and sworn to before a Notary Public and sealed.”  Frances must have sent her Edwards lines to be published since I have a couple of pages from the book that have her information listed.  Her grandmother was Susan Clark Edwards who married John Cotton Taylor.

I feel privileged to carry on the genealogy torch and will strive to make my great-grandmother proud – even though I may never have that elusive Edwards’ fortune within my grasp!

10 replies »

  1. I love the story and maybe you should have the canister x-ray just to make sure. Cotton Taylor? I will have to see if he is in my tree.Also, the Carrico /Montgomery wedding picture is a fantastic picture. My Montgomery relative married into the Carrico’s,
    Keep writing these wonderful pieces as I am enjoying them

  2. my mother maiden name was Edwards from s.c. I remember her telling about the Edwards Fortune when I was a LITTLE GIRL. there as bing a lot of injustice done to the Edwards FLamiLys ‘what about world trade center the twin towers and now the storm? Evil brings sorrow.

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  4. I’ve come across your blog before and always enjoy reading it. Googling “Edwards Heirs” brought me to this post. I have a paper similar to yours above. Thanks for sharing your family’s story!

  5. My grandpa and great aunt can remember when they were children of a man telling them if the parents signed this paper that they would never have to work again. But that was the final contacts they ever had again.

  6. Hi, Phyllis– I’m an Edwards heir as well by way of Uriah Edwards (Spotsylvania County, VA, 1700s) who may have been a son of John’s. Uriah’s family later settled around Frankfort, KY, which is where my family is from.

    I’m currently conducting a lot of research on the legend while I work on the book (and possible documentary film). I also have a group on Facebook dedicated to determining which lines of certain Edwards families are connected to that of Aaron Burr’s in the North, as well as Wales, through DNA. We would love to have you join if you’re interested. If so, you can find the group here:

    Otherwise, you can reach me at if you’re so inclined.

    Best wishes,

    –Brijit Reed

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