James H. Edwards, legislator and county judge, the son of Dr. Augustus Lawson and Susan C. (Roquemore) Edwards, was born on December 24, 1855, in Butler, Georgia. His father served in the Confederate Army and after the war practiced medicine along the Rio Grande from Mier and Camargo, Tamaulipas, to Brownsville, Texas, until his death in 1909. In 1875 Jim Edwards moved to San Angelo and a year later to Rio Grande City, where he served first as deputy county clerk and then as Starr County district clerk. In 1880 he went into the abstract business with Judge J. H. Monroe in Starr County. He studied law under Judge James B. Wells, Jr., of Brownsville, was admitted to the bar on October 19, 1888, and practiced law with Judge Wells for several years. Later he moved to Hidalgo and in 1896, on the Republican ticket, was elected state representative of District 85. He served on five legislative committees during his term. In Hidalgo he went into partnership with R. A. Marsh to establish the Hidalgo County Advance, an early newspaper. In 1898 Edwards held the post of internal revenue and customs collector for the federal government. Later he became an attorney for the Texas-Mexican Railway Company and lived in Monterrey, Saltillo, and Torreón, Coahuila. He and his family returned to the Valley in 1910, when the Mexican revolution broke out. Edwards became Hidalgo county judge on November 15, 1910, and served in that capacity until January 1914. He signed the order changing the name of the county seat from Chapin to Edinburg on February 14, 1911.
Edwards married Jane Elizabeth (Lizzie) Savage on June 2, 1898, in Travis Park Methodist Church, San Antonio. They had four children. Judge Edwards was instrumental in clearing land titles in Hidalgo County by securing data from old records and early settlers. Often he traveled into Mexico to find missing heirs to the Spanish land grants. In 1905 he went to the archives in San Carlos, Mexico, for that purpose. Deciderio Flores, Sr., acted as interpreter. Although Edwards could read and write Spanish, he never felt comfortable speaking the language. He practiced law and operated the abstract business with his wife until his death on March 3, 1925, in Edinburg.