Major Alanson W. Edwards

Major Alanson W. Edwards.

Alanson William Edwards was born in Lorain County, Ohio, on August 27, 1840. His parents moved to Illinois, where he was educated. He studied at McKendree College and was railroad express agent when he enlisted in the Illinois Infantry in the Civil War. Mustering out of the Army in 1865 as a Major, Edwards returned to Illinois where he revived the Bunker Hill Union Gazette. He later purchased another paper and he served as warden of the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet in 1871-2, where his only daughter Marie was born.

Edwards went into the insurance business in Chicago from 1875-1878. Edwards went to visit the Black Hills gold rush in 1878 and was favorably impressed by Fargo as he traveled through the town on his return to Chicago. Edwards approached his Chicago friend Dr. J.B. Hall about starting a newspaper in Fargo. Gaining the financing he needed, Edwards moved his family to Fargo in September 1878. On September 28, 1878, the first issue of the new paper, the Republican, was published.

Edwards and Hall were not amicable business partners and Hall bought Edwards interest in the paper within a few years. Edwards started another paper, the Daily Argus, which he first published on November 17, 1879.

Fire destroyed the Argus building on March 26, 1886. Edwards was not able to recover from the losses of the fire and James J. Hill (the Great Northern railroad magnate who held controlling interest in the paper) forced Edwards from the paper.

Edwards was elected Mayor of Fargo in 1886-1887 and was a member of the state legislature in 1895-96. Edwards went into partnership with H.C. Plumley and established the Fargo Forum. The first issue was published on November 17, 1891. Plumley had been the managing editor of the Argus until Edwards lost control of the paper in 1891.

Edwards continued to manage the Forum until March 1902 when he was made American consul general at Montreal. He died February 8, 1908.

Edwards had married Elizabeth Robertson at Carlinville, Illinois in 1870. They had six sons and one daughter.