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Our History


From Germany to Sandy Level- The James Edwards Journey

 It was thewinter of 2008 and as the months droned down to a slow crawl, my boredom gave way to curiosity as I stumbled upon a website that lead me down a circuitous path-

The story begins like this:  In a far off place, in the year 1695, a son was born and christened Hans Jacob Krieder. His birthplace was Ittlingen, Germany.  He grew up in this small village and, as a young man; he fathered a son with a young maiden named Mary B. Christen. They named him John Michael.  Hans Kreider moved his family to the United States and settled in Philadelphia PA. There, John Michael grew up and married Catherine Truyson. From this union was born Daniel Kreider in 1744. When Daniel was of age, he married Catharine Berger, a native of Baden Germany, who had also migrated to Philadelphia.  At some point, young Daniel changed his name to “Crider” and moved his family from Philadelphia to the rural farming community of Pittsylvania County Virginia. In 1790, a son William was born to the Criders. Why do I care? Just wait- Stay with me.

Daniel died at the age of 95?  in Toshes, VA in 1836.   Catharine died in 1839. William grew up in Pittsylvania County VA and at the age of 24,  married Celia Young, age 19, on January 6, 1814. They had at least seven children and their youngest, Sarah, was born in 1837. She had several siblings: Susan, Peyton, Melissa, Camelia and Celia Adeline.  

At this point, the family tree appears to be of European extract with no indication of any race mixing or interracial marrying. Sarah is therefore a white woman of German extract and, although little is known of early life or her relationships, there is record of her having several children. There is no record of her husband or children’s father.  One of her daughters was Hopie Ann, born in 1860 in the Pigg River District of Pittsylvania County, VA.  

Hopie Ann grew up with several siblings: Homer, John, Louise, Mary and Sarah E.  The record shows that Hopie Ann, at age 16, married Benjamin F. Edwards, 17, on February 12, 1876. This appears to be where we believe the “mullato”element entered the family lineage.    

Who then was Ben Edwards?  Research on the Edwards side of the family begins with Wesley Edwards (born: 1830) and his marriage to Patience (born: 1829). Little is known about their predecedents. From that marriage were born Joseph, Ben, Josiah, Mary, Dollie S., and  Otha W.

Their first son Joe (born: 1856) married Sarah E. Crider (believed to be the daughter of Sarah Crider?)  They had four sons: John Wesley, Sampson, Reuben, and Zachariah. The second son Ben married Hopie Ann Crider on February 12, 1876 and proceeded to have ten children. From that union was born Victoria (1878), Aver, Henry, Betty, Pagie, Rose, Tom, Lucy, Beatrice and Otha. They all grew up in the Pigg River District which we knew as Ajax, VA. We have come to know and love these descendants as our ancestors- uncles, aunts, parents and grandparents. 

At an early age, Victoria, Hopie’s oldest daughter met and married John L. James (aka Willard). They settled in Sandy Level just above the old homeplace where Grandma Hopie and Grandpa Ben resided. Grandma Hopie was predeceased by her husband Ben. She lived to a ripe old age and shared the lives of Victoria and Willard’s growing family. 

Victoria and Willard had thirteen children- Morris, Annie, Bruce, Lucy, Edmonia, John, Doc, Dollie, Benjamin, Evelyn, Betty, Willie, and Raleigh. We are the children and grandchildren of these descendents and they are our beloved ancestors. We look proudly back to Hans Jacob and Mary Krieder  and Wesley and Patience Edwards as we honor their bloodline that flows through our veins today.


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