Peyton Forbes Edwards, Civil War combatant, lawyer, Nacogdoches county treasurer, Texas state senator, and district judge, was born on September 28, 1844, in Nacogdoches County, Texas, the eldest of eight children of Sarah M. (Forbes) and Haden Harrison Edwards. Sarah Edwards was the daughter of Col. John Forbes. Peyton Edwards was the grandson of Hayden Edwards, a leader of the Fredonian Rebellion. He volunteered as a private in August 1861 and served in the Confederate forces in the Fourth Texas Cavalry. He later served in Company A of the Seventeenth Texas Cavalry and became a brigade quartermaster.
Edwards was the clerk of his father's estate in 1866 and received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1867, when he returned to Nacogdoches and practiced law. After serving as county treasurer, he represented the district in the state Senate of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth legislatures (1876 to 1879), during which time he was known as the "Red Rooster of Nacogdoches." He and Amory Reily Starr were friends and law partners in Nacogdoches until Starr moved to Marshall in 1873. In 1867 these two friends collected oil from Oil Springs Branch and sold it in Nacogdoches to soften leather. Edwards was judge of the Third Judicial District from 1874 to 1884. He was a Democratic party presidential elector in 1884. In 1886 he moved his family to El Paso.
He was married to Odelia Arnold, granddaughter of Hayden S. Arnold, on December 24, 1867. Their son Peyton F., Jr., was sheriff of El Paso County at the time of his father's death; they also had two daughters. Edwards later married Minnie Arnold, his wife's sister; he subsequently married Callie Myrna Stewart. He was a member of Sigma Chi, the Knights of Pythias, and United Confederate Veterans. He was a Freemason and an Episcopalian. He died in El Paso in 1918.
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W. B. Bates, "A Sketch History of Nacogdoches," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 59 (April 1956). H. L. Bentley and Thomas Pilgrim, Texas Legal Directory for 1876–77 (Austin: Democratic Statesman Office, 1877). Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Founders and Patriots of the Republic of Texas (Austin, 1963-). Clement Anselm Evans, ed., Confederate Military History (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing, 1899; extended ed., Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot, 1987–89). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Members of the Texas Legislature, 1846–1962 (Austin, 1962). Buckley B. Paddock, ed., A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis, 1906). E. W. Swindells, A Legislative Manual for the State of Texas (2 vols., Austin, 1879–83). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Linda S. Hudson,
“Edwards, Peyton Forbes,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 03, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
September 11, 2019