First Cousins – John and Millie Edwards

John L. Edwards and Mildred L. Linton

The two photographs are in a little red velvet lined double case, a little larger than the others I have – 3 1/2 X 4 inches.  I took the delicate pieces of glass out of the container to scan.  The photos are very faint – especially John’s – but they did well when scanned and you can actually make out more detail. 
John has a very strong chin and direct, piercing eyes.  He has an elaborately tied cravat and shirt with a stand-up collar.  His vest appears to have a design, but nothing I can definitely make out. 
Millie, though very solemn (as is in keeping with photos of the time period), has her long hair platted and at the very top of her head is either a comb, or just her braid.  Her basque dress is a lovely example of the tightly fitted bust and waist, with the open, flaring sleeve and white undersleeve, indicative of the late 1840’s to very early 1850’s. 
These are hand-tinted daguerreotypes, with just a hint of color in the cheeks of both.  The case containing the photos is black, with a design on front, in gold, of flowers, with inlaid petals and leaves of mother-of-pearl.  It is the most elaborate case, as well as pictures I own.

John Linton Edwards and Mildred Lucretia Linton were both born in Loudoun County, Virginia in the first few years of the 19th century.  While still young they were part of the caravan of wagons and horses that moved to Washington County, Kentucky, in 1818 with their grandfather, Captain John Linton.  John’s parents were Edward Barber Edwards and Nancy Linton; Millie’s parents were Benjamin Franklin Linton and Lucy Crewdson.

In 1822 Benjamin Linton moved his family to Logan County, Kentucky, roughly 150 miles southwest.  Benjamin was a Methodist minister.  This was just the beginning of the westward expansion of the Linton family.  Benjamin Linton’s son Moses eventually moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and John moved to Garnavillo, Iowa.  Evidently it was fate that kept the two Linton cousins in contact, and they married in Logan County October 13, 1831.  After the marriage John Edwards brought his wife back to Washington County, and there they stayed until their deaths.

I have several of John Edward’s original receipts.  One states, ‘Received of John L. Edwards twelve dollars in full for his father’s coffin this 18 May 1824,’ signed by William E. Head.  Another is a tax receipt for 1838 in which he paid $3.51 on property worth $4,400.

John and Millie Edwards had only one child, Lucretia, who was named for Millie’s mother.  Lucy Edwards lived and died her 80 years in the house in which  she was born.  At the age of 41 she married her cousin, Benjamin Edwards, and they lived there together to a ripe old age.

At the deaths of John and Millie Edwards they were buried in the Linton Cemetery, along with Captain John Linton and several others.  As far as I know they were the last ones to be buried there.

Although today in many states it is illegal to marry your first cousin, in earlier times it was not frowned upon, many even thought it a good thing to marry within the family.  No European country prohibits marriage between first cousins and it is also legal in Canada and Mexico.

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