November 2: Lewis Allison Edwards (1877)

Lewis Allison Edwards was a U.S. Army Surgeon during the Mexican-American and Civil Wars. He was the son of James L. Edwards and his second wife, Ann Allison. The elder Edwards was a member of Epiphany’s original vestry. By the time the church was founded, the younger Edwards was at school, graduating from Princeton in 1842 and then receiving his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1845. He was appointed an Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army in 1846 and served with honor during the Mexican War. He was then stationed at Santa Fe, NM until 1850. He returned to the Washington area and served at Ft. Washington, MD. It was during this time that Edwards married Eulalia Emma Crawford at Epiphany. The couple’s first child, Clementina, was baptized at the church in 1852. Vestryman James L. Edwards served as his granddaughter’s sponsor.

Edwards was assigned to Ft. Towson, AR for two years and then ordered to duty in the Surgeon General’s Office in Washington in 1854, where he served as Attending Surgeon for officers’ families. For much of the Civil War, Edwards was in charge of the General Hospital at Portsmouth Grove, RI. Following the war, he was appointed chief medical officer of the Freedmen’s Bureau, created by Congress to provide temporary one-year assistance to former slaves and destitute whites in the war-ravaged south. Edwards was brevetted Colonel for faithful and meritorious services during the Civil War. Edwards’ daughter, Clementina, died at age 13 months. The parents contributed annually in her memory to the American Tract Society and the Children’s Fund for Educating Heathen Children. Edwards’ tombstone at Oak Hill Cemetery has the following inscription. “In all private relations, blameless and beloved. In all public, just and honored. He lived that he might die and died that he might live forever.”

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