Judge George Cunningham Edwards

from Connie Leaman

George Cunningham Edwards  (Edward7, Timothy6, Jonathan5, Timothy4, 
Richard3, William2, Richard1) is my great great grandfather, and a great 
grandson of Rev. Jonathan Edwards. He was the first Judge of Steuben County, 
New York.

He is the son of Edward Edwards (1763-1845) and Mary Ballard (1764-1824).

He was a trustee of the Bath Presbyterian church, originally called the 
Church of Christ in Bath, Presbyterian Congregation.

In 1893, it was reported that the only monument still standing in the old 
cemetery on the grounds of the Presbyterian church was "one in honor of 
George C. Edwards, erected by the bar of the county, and bearing this 
inscription, ‘A just man, an able lawyer, a good citizen, an honest man.' On 
the other side of the monument, ‘The richest legacy to leave to posterity is 
a good name.' At the age of fifty he had wrought out a character that 
commanded such recognition on the part of those who knew him best."

Charles H. McMaster, his grandson, wrote the following for the Bath, Steuben 
County Centennial:

"Hon. George C. Edwards was born in Stockbridge, Mass., September 28, 1787. 
He came to Bath and engaged in the practice of law in 1818. In 1825, he was 
appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, which office he held until his 
death in 1837. He published, in 1830, A Treatise on the Powers and Duties of 
Justices of the Peace, which had a large circulation at that time. Judge 
Edwards was a familiar figure in early days in Bath, and was universally 

He is mentioned in History of the Settlement of Steuben County, New York  by 
Guy H. McMaster: "Gen. Vincent Matthews resided for many years in Bath. He 
was said to be at the head of the bar for legal knowledge, but was not much 
of an advocate. Judge Edwards, Schuyler Strong, Jonas Clark, Jonathan 
Haight, John Cook, and Leland and McMaster, are all that I can remember of 
the old stock. Ah, yes! there's one more of my old friends--Cuthbert 
Harrison, a Virginian, a young man of good sense, and whether drunk or 
sober, he was a good natured clever fellow."

Although William H. Edwards reports his death as in 1851, his grandson, 
Charles H. McMaster, reports that he died in 1837, his will was written the 
day he died and was probated December 25 that same year. The newspaper 
obituary tells us:

"DIED At Bath on the 18th inst. after a brief  but painful illness of 48 
hours the Hon George C. Edwards first Judge of the county of Steuben, 
formerly a resident of this village."  He is buried at Nondaga Cemetery in 
Bath. His will, apparently written on the day he died:

He is mentioned in:

Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) Edwards, George Cunningham 
A Dictionary of North American Authors Deceased before 1950. Compiled by W. 
Stewart Wallace. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1951. Reprint. Detroit: Gale 
Research, 1968. (DcNAA)
American Biographical Library, The Biographical Cyclopædia of American 
Women, Volume II, American Biographical Notes, The Chicago Historical 
Society, page 127

The following is quoted from an old manuscript by general McClure, one of 
the first settlers in Bath: "General Vincent Mathews resided for many years 
in Bath. He was said to be at the head of the Bar for legal knowledge, but 
was not much of an advocate. Judge Edwards, Schuyler Strong, Jonas Clark, 
Jonathan Haight, John Cook, and Leland and McMaster are all that I remember 
of the old stock..."

He wrote at least one book:

Title :  A treatise on the powers and duties of justices of the peace and 
town officers in the State of New York, under the revised statutes : with 
practical forms / by George C. Edwards.
Author :  Edwards, George C. (George Cunningham), 1787-1837.
Edition :  3d ed., rev. and improved.
Publisher :  Ithaca : Mack, Andrus, and Woodruff, 1836.
Description :  408 p. ; 24 cm.
Subject Heading(s) :  Justices of the peace--New York (State)
Local government--Law and legislation--New York (State)
Notes :  Includes index.
LCCN :  76363245//r84
Original Number :  RLINCCSL88-B3567

His children were:

1   George Cunningham Edwards, Sr. 1787 - 1837
    +Hannah Carpenter 1791 - 1875
 2   Mary Edwards 1814 - 1890
 2   George Edwards 1815 - 1875
 2   Clarissa Edwards 1817 - 1819
 2   Jesse Edwards 1819 - 1866
 2   Clarissa Roe Edwards 1820 - 1910
 2   Alexander Edwards 1823 - 1900
 2   Mason Edwards 1825 - 1844
 2   John Edwards 1828 - 1903
      +Rose Hill Murphy 1825 - 1881
     3   George Cunningham Edwards, Jr. 1852 - 1930
     3   Clara Dudley Edwards 1855 - 1946
      +Constance Lucretia Hunter 1853 - 1936
     3   Mary Constance Edwards 1888 - 1978
 2   Sarah Edwards 1830 - 1842

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Last Update February 15, 2020