John W. Edmonds married a woman named Sarah. She died on Nov. 12, 1850 at age 52. Hence Sarah was born about 1798. Sarah and John’s daughter Lydia died on Apr. 6, 1878 at age 57. She was thus born about 1821.^ John Edmonds returned from Albany to Hudson in 1820. Edmonds and his wife had been married for more than 30 years when she died in 1850.^ John and Sarah probably married about 1820.
John and Sarah had at least five children. Their son Samuel died on June 10, 1826 at age 2.^ They had three daughters living in 1851.^ About that time Edmonds had married daughters taking care of their families and the youngest daughter in boarding school.^ About 1852, Edmonds referred to his dead “children.” Evidently he had, in addition to his son Samuel, at least one other child who had died before then.^
Edmonds specifically requested that he be buried with his wife. About 1873, he wrote directions for his burial:
I wish to buried in Hudson, in the same grave with my wife, not by her side, but in the same grave, that our ashes may mingle, and be one on earth, as our souls will be one in the spirit world. In the monument to her memory, erected there by the Bar of New-York, there are two vacant spaces left purposely for me. In one of them I want this inscription:John Worth Edwards [sic], Born in Hudson, 13th March, 1799. Died in ---,---, 187
On the other I want simply these words:Death joins the ties Which death destroys.
These instructions reflect Edmonds’ deep love for his wife and his firm belief in spiritualism.
Edmonds’ youngest living daughter was named Laura. She was in boarding school in Dec. 1850. “Miss Laura Edmonds” became a famous medium. She eventually converted to Catholicism and had a Paulist Brother exorcise demons that were obsessing her.^ She subsequently married James Robert Gilmore. Gilmore was close to Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln and had contact with many other leading nineteenth-century figures. In addition to being a businessman, Gilmore wrote novels about the Civil War under the pen name Edmund Kirke.