Alexander Edens (circa 1750 VA to 1835 SC)

Written by Art Hall

In all probability, our Alexander Edens was born in Buckingham Co., VA, sometime around 1750. He was living there in 1773 and 1774 when he appeared in the tithe (tax) lists, living near his father, John, his brothers John and James, and his sister Frances Salle. At that time, Alexander was living on the plantation of Thomas Blakey and appears to have been working there as a hired hand. As he was the only person other than members of the Blakey family enumerated on the plantation, it is possible that he was the slave overseer since there were many slaves present.

By 1778, Alexander’s brother James Edens was in Bedford Co., VA where he and his wife, Martha Chastain, bought 400 acres of land on Orricks Creek. James and Martha sold this land the following year and moved to Pendleton Dist., SC where they appeared in the 1790 census living near our Alexander. The third brother, John Edens, also lived in the Shenandoah Valley after leaving Buckingham Co. In 1790 he was one of the “pilots” for a 4275 acre survey in Montgomery Co. for Thomas Patteson, probably a son of David Patteson for whom John had worked back in Buckingham. David Patteson’s plantation in Buckingham was located next to that of Thomas Blakey where Alexander had worked.

There are no records to indicate that Alexander made the move to the Bedford/Montgomery Co., VA area where his two brothers resided for a period of time. On the contrary, in 1781 during the American Revolution, Alexander was still living in Buckingham where he was listed on a militia list. He probably made the move to Pendleton Dist., SC between 1783 when his son John (our ancestor “Texas” John Edens) was born in VA and 1785 when he received the first of his several land grants in SC.

The Pendleton District was located in the northwestern part of South Carolina and was first opened to white settlement around 1784. Here Alexander received two land grants totaling over 900 acres in 1785, two more grants of over 900 acres in 1787 and a final grant of 163 acres in 1799. It is possible that one or more of these grants was for his revolutionary war service. This land is in what is today Anderson Co., SC, and is in the eastern part of the county on Wollenoy Creek near the Saluda River. Alexander sold small parcels of this land in 1786 and 1788 and sold over one thousand acres to various individuals from 1805 until 1813. Land records indicate that Alexander’s wife was “Molley”, probably a nickname for Mary. Unfortunately, no records have been located with would indicate her surname.

There is, however, a land transaction that may provide a clue to the name of an unidentified daughter or widowed daughter-in-law. On 9 November 1818 in simultaneous transactions, Alexander Edens sold 125 acres to James Prince and James Prince sold 300 acres to Matilda Edens. The same persons were witnesses to both transactions. Since Alexander had married his second wife, Mary Meens (or Meers) supposedly in 1816, it is not likely that Matilda was actually Molley. A more likely possibility is that Matilda was Alexander’s daughter or a widowed daughter-in-law. It is interesting to note that Texas John Edens named his first daughter “Matilda”. No other records have been found which would shed light on the relationship of Matilda to Alexander.

In a Revolutionary War widow’s pension application filed in 1853, Alexander’s second wife Mary Meers/Meens stated that she and Alexander were married in Pendleton Dist. on 16 November 1816. Mary at the time of filing was living in Union Co., GA. In her application, Mary stated that Alexander had died at home in Pickens Dist., SC on 28 June 1835. She also stated that Alexander had been a revolutionary soldier of Virginia or South Carolina, but because she did not provide any details or proof of this service, her application was rejected. She also stated that Alexander had no children, obviously meaning that she and Alexander had no children, but possibly an attempt to exclude Alexander’s children by Molley from any pension settlement.

Children of Alexander Edens and his first wife, Molley

  1. Elizabeth. b. 1771 VA. m. Joseph Carleton, brother of Rebecca Carleton.
  2. William. b. ca. 1773 VA. Was a messenger of Oolenoy Baptist Church in 1797. Lived in Franklin Co., GA after 1800. Died 1834 in Franklin, GA.
  3. Samuel. b. ca. 1776 VA. d. 1847. Married Rebecca Carleton.
  4. Jacob. Married Rachael Hamilton.
  5. Absolem.
  6. John. b. 1783 VA, d. 1857 TX. Our (Texas) John Edens who married Lavinia Langford.
  7. Mary. Married Eli Langford, Jr., the brother of Lavinia Langford.
  8. (Possibly) Warren Davis. May have died young.
  9. One unidentified son, and…
  10. One or…
  11. Two unidentified daughters

In the 1790 census of Ninety-Six Dist., Pendleton County, SC, the enumeration for Alexander Edens showed two males 16 and up (Alexander and probably son William), six males under 16 years (Samuel, Jacob, Absolem, John, Warren Davis, and one unidentified) and three females of all ages (Molley, daughter Mary and one unidentified). By this time, oldest daughter Elizabeth was married and living nearby with her husband, Joseph Carlton. Also living close to Alexander in 1790 was his brother, James Edens, and Eli Langford, Sr., the future father-in-law of his son Texas John Edens and his daughter Mary Edens.

In the 1800 census of Pendleton Dist., Alexander Edens was shown with four sons (Absolem, John, Warren Davis and unidentified) and two daughters, both unidentified, still in his household. Sons William, Jacob and Samuel were living nearby as were daughters Elizabeth Carlton and Mary Langford. Also living nearby was Eli Langford, Sr. By now Alexander’s brother James had moved to Carter Co., TN.
Our ancestor Texas John Edens married Luvinia Langford ca. 1802 in Pendleton Dist, Sc.

In 1808, John and Luvinia started on an “odyssey” that ended in 1831 with John moving into the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas. The birth dates and birth places of John’s children provide a good road map of his travels.

Name                          Birth Date       Birth Place
Banister                         1804                     SC
Balis                               1805                     SC
Matilda                          1807                     SC
Lucinda                         1808                     SC
Washington Earl         1810                      TN
Alfred                             1812                      IL
Lauriet M.                     1813                      IL
Darius                            1814                      IL
Olive                               1818                      IL
John Silas                     1820                     AR
Emily                             1822                     AR/LA
Calidonia                      1835                      TX
Melissa                          1837                      TX

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