Saturday, January 4, 2014

Suggett Louis Edwards (1906-1944)

From the Official Manual of Missouri, 1939-1940.

   A distinguished citizen in Audrain County, Missouri, Suggett Louis Edwards accomplished much in his short life of 38 years, including involvement in newspaper publishing, being a Democratic club man, and serving two terms as a representative in the Missouri General Assembly. Edwards, like so many other young men of the time, volunteered for military service during WWII, and, like a great many of those soldiers, did not live to see the conclusion of the war, losing his life in a B-29 crash in the Northern Mariana Islands in December 1944. Although few details exist online in regards to Edwards' life, a small biographical snippet in the 1937-38 and 1939-40 Missouri State Manual aided in constructing the following summation of the life of this heroic Missouri political figure.
  Although a resident of Audrain County, Missouri for a good majority of his life, Suggett Louis Edwards was born in Callaway County in that state on July 23, 1906, one of six children born to Isham (name also spelled Isom) Lewis (1874-1947) and Janette Edwards. His education took place in public schools and he later attended the Missouri Valley College in the city of Marshall and the Washington University located in St. Louis. Edwards later removed to Mexico, Missouri to begin work in the publishing field, and is remarked as "being connected with the Globe-Democrat in St. Louis", as well as holding "various newspaper and publication positions." 
   Suggett L. Edwards first became politically active in 1934, when in that year he became a prime mover in the establishment of the Young Democrats Club of Audrain County. He served as the first chairman of this organization and in 1936 continued to rise amongst the ranks of the party when he was elected to the Missouri State House of Representatives, defeating Republican nominee John W. Ellis by a vote of 7, 309 to 2, 542. His first term in the assembly saw Edwards sit on the house committees on Appropriations, Federal Relations, Fish and Game, Penitentiary and Reform Schools, Purchasing Supplies, and the committee on the University of Missouri. In 1937 Edwards was selected by then Missouri Governor Lloyd Stark to sit on a special house committee that made "a study of Social Security legislation."

                                                  From the 1937-38 Official Manual of the State of Missouri.

    In November 1938 Suggett Edwards won his reelection bid for the assembly, soundly defeating Republican nominee John W. Ellis for a second time, winning by a vote of 3, 197 to 951. During his second term in the legislature Edwards served as chairman of the house committee on Probation and Parole, whilst also being a member of the committees on Appropriations, the Judiciary, Revisions, Municipal Corporations, Private Corporations, and the Committee on Justice of the Peace and County Courts. 
    Edwards' second term concluded in 1941 and in the following year signed on for military service, eventually becoming a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He is recorded as being a member of the "878th Bomber Squadron, 499th Bomber group", noted for being active in the Pacific Theater of Operations in late 1944. The 499th Bombardment Group was made up of the gigantic B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber, one of the largest planes ever to manufactured for use during WWII. Suggett Edwards' service in this group is quite sketchy, as little information could be found detailing his war service. What is known is that he lost his life in a crash of a B-29 bomber near Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands on December 13, 1944. Originally listed as "missing in action", the Moberly Monitor reported in its January 10, 1945 edition that Edwards had been killed in action in the December 13th crash, and gave no other details as to the plane's mission or how many other crewmen lost their lives when the plane went down. Edwards himself was survived by his mother and five siblings and is recorded as never having married. 
   In May 1946 Suggett Edwards was honored in a special memorial service given in the Missouri House of Representatives. The Moberly Monitor, which reported on the event, noted in its May 23rd edition that Edwards "was believed to be the only member of Missouri's house ever to have died while in active military service."

From the Moberly Monitor, January 10, 1945.

From the Moberly Monitor, May 23, 1946.

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