Family located: Brownington VT, 1843; Barton VT, 1844, Derby VT, 1845; Newport VT, 1873
John Lindsey Edwards prepared for college at Newbury, Vt. Seminary and North Hampton, N. H. High School. For several winters he taught district schools. He entered the University of Vermont in 1840, where he remained only one year, as such training did not appear practical enough for him. He then studied law, being admitted to Orleans County Bar in 1843. He began practice in Brownington, Vt.; from which place he moved to Barton, Vt., and in 1845 to Derby, Vt.; which was his home until 1872, when he moved to Newport, Vt.
From 1843 to 1864 he practiced professionally, having at different times Hon. William Dickerman and Judge Edward Stewart as partners. In 1864 he contracted co-partnership with Hon. J. E. Dickerman. This firm proved to be the leading one in Northern Vermont. In 1881 John Young was admitted to the firm, its name being changed to that of Edwards, Dickerman, & Young.
In politics he was a Whig until 1856, when at the dissolution of that party he joined the Democrats. His affiliation with the non-popular party, no doubt, explains the small number of public positions held by him. He was, however, a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1850 and of 1857, and of the Council of Censors in 1862. He was State's Attorney for Orleans County in 1849. In 1867-68 he was the Democratic candidate for the Gubernatorial chair of Vermont. In 1874 and 1876 he was Democratic candidate for Congress in the Third Congressional District.
In 1872 he was appointed one of the four registers in bankruptcy of the State of Vermont, and satisfactorily filled that office until 1879, when all cases under his charge were brought to a final disposition. In 1880 he was tendered a position as one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the State, which he declined.
He probably saw more service as referee an special master than any other legal practitioner of his time in the State. He was one of the special masters appointed by the Court of Chancery of Franklin Co. to settle and adjust the accounts of the receivers and managers of the Vermont Central, and Vermont and Canadian Railroads. This work was of the most intricate and perplexing character, as it covered the accounts of both corporations for most of the time after their property was in the hands of receivers to the day of judicial hearing (July 1, 1861 to July 1, 1873). The aggregate amount involved on each side of the ledger account reached $48,000,000. His co-laborers on the commission were ex-Gov. Paul Dillingham and Hon. D. C. Denison. To Mr. Edwards was entrusted the writing of the voluminous report of one hundred and seventy-five pages. The evidence in the case filled two octave volumes. The report was so carefully drawn, and the work of the commissioners so thorough, that it has been uniformly quoted as final authority by both parties. No changes were asked by either party, which fact is the highest compliment to the work.
Mr. Edwards' reputation as a pleader and jury advocate was excellent, and his forensic ability made him as acknowledged formidable opponent. Sternly and ruggedly honest and of large social beneficence, he was held in the highest esteem by all the citizens of the state, particularly by those who knew him best. He was a gentleman of the "old school," with conservatism so intense that his contention for many years was for the old ways and customs; but a man with a kinder or more tender heart it would be hard to find.
1850 Derby (Orleans) VT
John Edwards 30 Attorney 900 VT
Elizabeth 23 VT
F C Herrington 21 M VT
1870 Derby (Orleans) VT
1880 Newport (Orleans) VT