Enoch Edwards was born in November 1840 in Birmingham. His father was John EDWARDS, a millwright and his mother was Sarah (from the 1851 Census).
On 7 June 1841, Enoch was six months old, living with his parents in Unett Street, in the Parish of St Georges in Birmingham. Although civil registration of births had started from 1 Jul 1837, neither Enoch nor his brother Stephen were registered.
It wasn't until March 1843 that "Andrew Enoch" and his brothers Reuben and Stephen were jointly baptized at the Roman Catholic St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham. This record also confirms that Enoch's mother was called Sarah REYNOLDS. Their Godmother was Susannah GRANT who lived 4 doors down on Unett Street, and who was the daughter of Daniel GRANT, a french teacher.
In September 1844 his father died of tuberculosis. By 1851 the family had moved to 47 Summer Lane, Birmingham and his mother was working as a mangler, sister Matilda as a dressmaker and brothers Reubin and Stephen were gun percussioners. Enoch, aged 9, was working as an errand boy.
Enoch's sister Sophia emigrated to the US as a Morman, with her husband and child. Another sister, Matilda, went on to marry Edwin EDDINGTON in September 1854.
In 1861 he was still living with his mother and brother Stephen and working as a button tool maker.
Enoch marriage to Emelia PARKER at St. Philips Church, Birmingham on 10th November, 1867, witnessed by his sister Matilda and her husband. . It is this that confirms the 1851 Census record. At this time of his wedding Enoch was a button tool maker living in Church Street.
On 27 Nov 1869, an Enoch EDWARDS placed an advertisement for a respectable servant GIRL, about 16 or 17 years of age, from the country preferred, to work at the Plume of Feathers, Potter's Hill, Aston.1
By 1871 he was a publican in Clifton Road where he ran a malt room & stable owned by George Bott, and in 1881 he was living at Bournbrook Tavern, Northfield, Worcester but described as a button tool maker again.
Enoch and Emelia had at least six children. Henry born in 1868, Ralph in 1871, both in Birmingham, Emily Mary, born in 1872, Garnet, and Albert Parker, who was born in 1876 in Small Heath and Ada in 1880 in Birmingham.
There were some other children born in Birmingham during this period to parents called EDWARDS/PARKER including Ada (1870-1871, who might have been a short-lived twin of Ralph Ernest, but who was registered at a different place and time, so almost certainly wasn't), Mary Sarah Louisa (1871, daughter of Henry and Mary Jane EDWARDS m 1869) and Joseph Harry (Q3 1876-Q1 1877, who was born too soon after Albert Parker's birth in Mar 1876).
Enoch refused to allow his son Albert Parker to go to King Edwards School in Birmingham, where he had been awarded a place. Instead, in October 1890 he made Albert Parker Edwards take an apprenticeship with a pawnboker in Tipton.
Towards the end of the 19th century Enoch kept The Pack Horse in Alcester Road, Hollywood, where a twist was 1ưd an ounce, and beer was 2d a pint. The children had to get up early to get breakfast at 6 o'clock for the hay and straw men on their way to the Birmingham hay and straw market. Enoch is listed as a member of "The Kingswood & Pack Horse Association for the Prosecution of Offenders", a kind of early Neighbourhood Watch, dated 25 October 1890.
The Edwards family later moved to Redditch where they kept The Rifleman Inn at 35 Park Road. They must have left the Pack Horse by 1895 as another publican was in place by then.
Enoch appears to have had a longstanding sideline in dog breeding and selling of grooming powders called "Edwards' Powders". An advertisement in the Needle District Almanack (below) boasts his 30 years' experience of breeding dogs and giving his powder and advice free to Lords, Members of Parliament, Ladies of Title and Clergymen! He was a noted breeder of St Bernards, including "Mount Leo" pictured who was bred from the famous Plinlimmon "the Emperor of Saint Bernards".
An Enoch Edwards went through US Naturalization on 24 Sep 1894 in New York and was living at 239 West 126th Street. Perhaps this was the same Enoch Edwards, aged 58 and English, who returned to Liverpool from Philadelphia in 1895 on board the Ohio. So perhaps Enoch made a trip to the US, but returned. It is possible that this trip was related to his dog breeding business. He was reported to have sent two puppies to Omaha and one of his stud dogs to America for a season.
His wife Emelia (aka Amelia or Emily) died in 1895 at the Rifleman Inn of consumption with Enoch at her side.
Family accounts have it that Enoch EDWARDS fell out with all his family, and at about the age of 60, he left all behind and emigrated to the U.S.A. Enoch was described as being an active man, and it is believed that he had another family when he settled in the U.S.A. Esmor STOKES has it that a postcard was received by the family from Enoch at Niagara Falls, which border Canada and the US.
We now know that Enoch remarried in 1897 to a much younger woman, Florence Ethel HEDGES. Enoch was 57 and Ethel 21, the daughter of a retired surgeon and/or commercial traveller. At the time of the marriage Enoch was living on Short Heath Road in Erdington. Their daughter, Muriel Constance Freda Edwards, was born on 12 Oct 1898 and chistened on 9 Nov 1898 by "Andrew" Enoch and Florence Ethel EDWARDS at St John the Baptist, Deritend. They were then living at the King's Head, 56 & 57 High Street, Bordesley where Enoch was a publican until 1900.
Through this period Enoch was prospering in his St Bernard breeding. He sold he dog, the Speaker, for £1000 to an American in Omaha in 1897 and sent dogs to stud there.2
In the 1900 edition of Kelly's Directory for Worcestershire, Enoch Edwards is listed as a beer seller of 36 Park Road, Redditch. It doesn't mention the name of the inn but this would have been The Rifleman Inn. In 1901 his son Ralph was living at 36 Park Road and is listed as an innkeeper.
By 1901 "Andrew" Enoch and Florence Ethel themselves had moved to Trindle Road, Dudley where Enoch was listed as a publican. Their house was not far from Tipton where his son was apprenticed.
On 11 June 1902 Harry Wright (the local postmaster responsible in those days for licensing) brought an Enoch EDWARDS to the Bedfordshire Petty Sessions in Biggleswade regarding "Hole in the Wall", believed to refer to the now defunct "Hole in the Wall" public house at 76 Shortmead Street, Biggleswade with Enoch being granted "temporary authority". On 9 July 1902 the transfer was granted. A year later in the 1903 edition of Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire, Hunts and Northamptonshire there is an Enoch EDWARDS running the Wheatsheaf Public House, Church Street, St. Neots, Huntingdonshire which is 14 miles south of Biggleswade. It's not known for certain whether this was the same Enoch EDWARDS, but one of the major breeders of St Bernards, Mr F Gresham, was based at Shefford, 2 miles from Biggleswade.
According to Redditch public house historians, Enoch was the proprietor of the Rifleman Inn from 1896 to 1905, however as Emily had died there in 1895 that can't be accurate unless he retained the license as part of a portfolio of public houses.
In 1904, Enoch's wife Florence was fined 9s 6d in Linton, Cambridgeshire, for buying a hare from an unlicensed vendor. Enoch EDWARDS, the licensee of the Five Bells in Balsham, was named as the husband. This reinforces the theory that Enoch and Florence had moved to the Huntingdonshire/Cambridge area in the early years of the 20th century.
Enoch and Emelia's daughter, Ada, was married in 1906, but it is not clear that he attended. If he had it may have been the last time he saw his family.
In 1906 he and his new family travelled to Canada with Enoch travelling first and Ethel and Frida joined him in Quebec on 25 June 1906 on board the 'Canada' from Liverpool.
Their immigration record suggests that they were planning to travel to Winnipeg, but five years later in 1911, Enoch, Florence Ethel and Frida were still living in St James, Montreal. Enoch was employed as a machinist by Canadian Government Railways working 50 hours. It is the 1911 census record that confirms his birth as November 1840. It also states that Enoch could neither read nor write but managed to earn $500 in 1910 for activity other than his main profession, although this may be referring to his innkeeping business interests.
In 1821 a 'William' EDWARDS, 81, appears in the census living in Hochelaga, Montreal with his wife Ethel, 46, and daughter 'Frelida' aged 22. He is described as an 'mechaniste'.
There is an obituary for a Enoch EDWARDS of the right age who died on 27 Feb 1924 and who is buried in the Cimetiere Mont-Royal, Outremont, Montreal, which states: "EDWARDS - In this city, on Feb. 27. 1924, Enoch Edwards, in his 84th year. Funeral (provate) from William Wraqy's Chapel, 617 University street."