EDWARDS, WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM

Steven Collins

William Cunningham Edwards (1879–1957).
State legislator and newspaper publisher William Cunningham Edwards. Courtesy Legislative Reference Library of Texas and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

EDWARDS, WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM (1879–1957). William Cunningham Edwards, newspaper editor, state legislator, and founder of the Denton Record-Chronicle, son of Dr. James Randall Edwards and Elizabeth (Cunningham) Edwards, was born in Courtland, Alabama, on August 1, 1879. His father, James, had served as an assistant surgeon in Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and subsequently practiced medicine in Tennessee and Alabama. In 1883 the Edwards family moved to Denton, Texas, where James Edwards began a thirty-five-year general practice. In the 1890s, William C. Edwards possibly attended the University of Texas, where he was active in sports. He was on the roster of Denton’s baseball team, the DACs (Denton Athletic Club) and served as manager. The Denton Athletic Club was one of the best amateur baseball teams in the country and played some of the greatest teams in the Southwest, defeating even professional clubs of the Texas League.

On November 30, 1899, William Edwards married Nettie M. Williams of Denton, and together they had three children: James, Virginia, and William, Jr. That same year, Edwards purchased and consolidated the Chronicle (founded in 1882) and the County Record (founded in 1898) to form the weekly newspaper Record and Chronicle. The periodical became a daily in 1903 and in 1915 was published as the Denton Record-Chronicle. He served as an officer for the Denton County Farmers’ Institute, as a director of the Denton Chamber of Commerce, and was on the local committee that wrote the city of Denton’s 1914 charter. Edwards was an active member of the Denton County Democratic party and a frequent delegate to the county’s Democratic convention.

William Edwards served one term in the House of the Thirty-eighth Texas Legislature from 1922 to 1924 and lost the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in a primary runoff in 1924. He was the vice chair of the Commerce and Manufacturers Committee and sat on the committees of Appropriations, Education, Penitentiaries, and Criminal Jurisprudence. In 1923 Edwards served on a committee that investigated the status of the University of Texas’s purchase of expansion properties, funded by the appropriation of $1.3 million in 1921. In 1927 his brother, Robert Edwards, became publisher and managing editor of the Denton Record-Chronicle when William moved to Edinburg, Texas, to work for the Hearst newspaper chain. The Edwards family owned a controlling interest in the Denton Record-Chronicle until it was bought by Riley Cross in 1945. William C. Edwards died in Edinburg on September 13, 1957, and was cremated in San Antonio, Texas. His remains are located at Mission Burial Park South in San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

C. A. Bridges, History of Denton, Texas, from Its Beginning to 1960 (Waco: Texian Press, 1978). Denton Record-Chronicle, February 3, 1957. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Will C. Edwards (https://lrl.texas.gov/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=2398&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=edwards~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed June 27, 2018.

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Handbook of Texas Online, Steven Collins, "EDWARDS, WILLIAM CUNNINGHAM," accessed July 23, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fedwa.

Uploaded on June 30, 2018. Modified on July 10, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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