W. B. EDSON, druggist, Villa Ridge, was born on Chautauqua Lake, New York, November 16, 1820, to Obed and Sarah (Scott) Edson. She was born on the east of the Green Mountains, Vermont, and was one of a family of thirteen children, all of whom reached maturity. He was a native of Madison County, N. Y., and was a descendant of one of three brothers who came to America previous to the Revolutionary war. Mr. and Mrs. Edson lived to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage. They were the parents of six sons and four daughters — two sons and three daughters still survive. During his life he had been engaged in different occupations, and resided in several States. While in Pennsylvania he represented his district in the State Legislature for some time. Was a member of the Board of Comity Commissioners in this (Pulaski) county. He died in his eighty-second year, and she in her seventy-eighth. When our subject was seven years of age, he moved with his parents to Pennsylvania, settling on the Conewango River. When he was nineteen years of age, he began the study of medicine. He attended one course of lectures at Geneva, N. Y., but did not like the profession, so never completed the course, but has been engaged in different business occupations since. In 1843, he began farming in Chautauqua County, N. Y. In 1852, went to California to mine, but remained only for a short time, and in the spring of 1853 engaged in the drug business at McHenry, Ill., also in general mercantile business, etc. March 10, 1863, he enlisted in the army for three years or during the war, and joined the Third Illinois Cavalry at Germantown, Tenn, as Hospital Steward. He remained only for about three months, when he was selected as First Lieutenant of a colored regiment, he being among the first to answer Gen. Thomas' call for men to officer a colored regiment. Mr. Edson was afterward promoted to the captaincy of his company, and all but twenty men in his company were killed at Fort Pillow. After coming from the service in 1865, he located in Pulaski County, and engaged in fruit-growing till 1870, when he again embarked in the drug trade, but still has a fruit farm on the west of the village. He was one of the charter members of the McHenry Lodge, I. O. O. F., one of the early lodges in the State, and is Lodge Deputy of I. O. of G. T. In politics, is Republican, and has held different offices in the county, being County Commissioner, and when his present term of office shall have expired, he will have completed fifteen years as Justice of the Peace. In religion, he is a member of the M. E. Church. In 1843, in Chautauqua County, N. Y., he was married to Cordelia Curtis. She was born in that county, daughter of Ransom Curtis, a native of New York. Mrs. Edson died in Pulaski County, Ill., August, 1866, the result of this union being two children, viz.: Ransom Curtis (deceased), and Mary, now Mrs. Henry Weaver, of Chautauqua County, N. Y. September 11, 1867, Mr. Edson was married to his present wife, Mrs. Catherine (Hosmer) Stoddard. She was born at Avon Springs, N. Y., daughter of George Hosmer. (See sketch of C. A. Hosmer.) By her first husband she has one son and one daughter, viz.: Edwin B. Stoddard, Villa Ridge; and Elizabeth, now Mrs. Charles Fosdick — "Harry Castleman," a writer of note.
Extracted 02 Nov 2014 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V - Biographical Sketches, pages 284-285.