Alanson W. Edwards

Alanson W. Edwards.

Mayor from 1887-1888

Alanson William Edwards was born in Lorain County, Ohio on August 27, 1840. He moved with his family to Macoupin County, Illinois in 1848. He was a student at McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois from 1856-1857.

After college, he worked as a railroad express agent and telegraph operator in Gillespie, Illinois. When the war broke out, he enlisted as a private with Co. I, 122 Illinois Infantry. He served in the Western Army beginning in Columbus, Kentucky and was later a clerk in the office of Gen. Grenville M. Dodge at Corinth, Mississippi.

In April 1863, Gen. Dodge was given the order to organize the 1st Alabama Union Cavalry, made up of refugees from the mountains of northern Alabama. Edwards was appointed 1st Lieutenant and adjutant, and later appointed captain of the L troop of this group. He served with this unit at Rome and Marietta, Georgia and marched on Savannah. At Savannah he was detached from the unit and was made the assistant adjutant general of the 4th Division, 15th Army Corps and served in this position until the end of the war. On March 13, 1865 he was made major for his gallant service.

After the war, he settled at Bunker Hill, Illinois where he operated the Union Gazette newspaper. At Bunker Hill he was inducted into the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1870 he married Elizabeth Robertson and they had seven children. From 1871 to 1872 he served as warden of the Illinois Penitentiary at Joliet. He spent some time in Chicago after the Great Fire, and moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1876.

In 1878 he came to Fargo and was editor of the Republican newspaper. He started the Daily Argus in 1879. He was elected mayor of Fargo on April 8, 1887. Under a new incorporation plan the mayor presided over council meetings, instead of council president. Mayor Edwards was the first to preside in this new, more powerful position. He served as mayor until 1888.

He lost the Daily Argus In 1890, and started a new paper, the Daily Forum. He then purchased the Republican and consolidated the two newspapers. He served in the ND State Legislature from 1895-1896. In 1902, he was made American consul-general at Montreal, a position he held until 1906 when his health began to fail. He returned to Fargo, and died on February 14, 1908.