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Haden Edwards ( 1771 - 1849 )  Category ( Historical_Figures ) [suggest a correction]
 

Haden Edwards was born in Stafford County, Virginia, on 12 August 1771. In 1780 the family moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky (at that time part of Virginia), where John Edwards acquired 23,000 acres of land, worked for statehood, and was elected to the United States Senate. Haden was educated for the law, but, like his father, was more interested in land speculation. In 1820 he married Susanna Beall of Maryland, and they moved to the area of Jackson, Mississippi, where he and his brother Benjamin W. Edwards acquired a plantation.

Sometime after hearing the news regarding Anglo Colonization of Texas, Haden traveled to Mexico City where he joined forces with Stephen F. Austin, among others, in a three-year attempt to persuade various Mexican governments to allow Americans to settle in Texas. Because of his wealth Edwards was often called upon to finance Austin. Their efforts resulted in the colonization law of 1824 in Mexico City and of 1825 in Saltillo, which allowed empresarios to introduce settlers to Texas. Edwards suffered more than he profited from his relationship with Austin, at least in his own mind, since he believed that Austin claimed the best lands and tried to push his boundaries in every direction at the expense of other empresarios.

Edwards received a grant in the vicinity of Nacogdoches, where he could locate 800 families. Like other empresarios, he agreed to honor preexisting grants and claims made by Spanish or Mexican officials. Of all empresarios, Edwards probably had the most such claims, some over a century old. In 1825 he posted notices to inform all potential claimants that they must come forward with proof of their claims or he would consider the land his, subject to sale to new settlers. This angered the older settlers, who opposed Edwards until he was expelled two years later. He also became involved in an election dispute between the representative of the older settlers, Samuel Norris and Chichester Chaplin, Edwards's son-in-law. As empresario, Edwards certified the election of Chaplin. Norris then protested to Governor José Antonio Saucedoqv in San Antonio, and Saucedo upheld Norris's claim to office. However, Chaplin continued to hold the position until Norris requested aid from the local militia. Continued complaints from the area caused Edwards to come under suspicion, and his brother Benjamin, who handled business affairs while Haden was absent from Texas in 1826, addressed such strident correspondence to government officials that it resulted in the revocation of the Edwards grant in October of that year.

By his testimony, Edwards had invested $50,000 in his Texas venture and did not want to lose it. As a result, he led something called the Fredonia Rebellion in 1826, in which he proclaimed his grant area independent of Mexico as the Fredonia Republic. It lasted only until the arrival of Mexican troops, less than a year. Before an armed clash occurred the Fredonians dispersed, in early February 1827, and Edwards fled to Louisiana for safety. He returned to Texas during the Texas Revolution and made his home in Nacogdoches until his death, on August 14, 1849. Haden and his wife had thirteen children, and family descendants lived there for many decades.


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