Oliver Edkins (1864-?) was born at Wickhamford in 1864, the youngest of eight children and only son of George Edkins and his wife, Elizabeth (née Neal). Some time in the late 1860s, his father took up market gardening in Wickhamford. Oliver would have attended the National School in Badsey, and would have walked across the field each day with his sisters to get to school.
In 1874, Oliver’s two eldest sisters, Emma Jelfs and Ellen Edkins, emigrated to America. The following year, 11-year-old Oliver and his parents and four of his siblings left Liverpool in steerage class on “City of New York”, arriving in New York on 15th October 1875, so now the whole family was in America. They settled in the state of Ohio, where a number of Badsey and Wickhamford families were already living. By 1880, they were living in Bainbridge, Geauga County, Ohio, where Oliver’s father was a farmer. In 1888 at Cuyahoga, Ohio, O G Edkins was naturalized as a US citizen.
Oliver’s mother, Elizabeth, died in the late 1880s and his father married again in 1891 and moved to Illinois. It appears that Oliver went too, as an Illinois newspaper report of 23rd May 1893 records:
Oliver Edkins, who three weeks ago shot Fred Heller, a saloon keeper at Maywood, Illinois, was before Justice Doyle charged with assault with intent to kill. Heller is still confined to his bed suffering from a wound in the abdomen. The case was continued until June 1 in $5,000 bonds.
And on 9th July 1893:
Oliver Edkins, who on the night of May 8 shot and seriously wounded Fred Heller at the latter’s home in Maywood, was yesterday morning held to the Criminal court in $1,000 bonds by Justice Doyle on a charge of assault with intent to kill. The men quarrelled and Edkins alleges that Heller made several attempts to strike him an ax, and in order to save himself he shot him.
The outcome is unknown, but it appears that Oliver may have moved to Michigan. An advert in the Detroit Free Press of 16th February 1899 read:
BOY (white) wanted to ride and exercise horses; weight 90 to 105 lbs; previous experience preferred. Apply OLIVER EDKINS, trainer for George Hendrie, Highland Park track.
After this, there is no further information on Oliver Edkins.
- George Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Elizabeth Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Betsey Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Caroline Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Jane Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Alice Edkins – emigrated 1875
- Ellen Edkins – emigrated 1874
- Emma Jelfs (née Edkins) – emigrated 1874
- Thomas Jelfs – emigrated 1874
- Jesse Jelfs – emigrated 1874
- George Edkins – Wickhamford’s First Market Gardener