The Edwards Family
Alice Edwards Ferguson (1844-1921)
Alice was the middle daughter of Benjamin and Helen Edwards. She was educated in local schools. In 1861 she became engaged to Benjamin Ferguson. The outbreak of the Civil War put a hold on their plans to marry, and Benjamin joined the Union Army as a Captain in the 114th Illinois Infantry. They were married in 1864. Like her sister Helen before her, Alice lived at Edwards Place with her husband after their marriage. Unlike Helen, Alice was so comfortable living at home that she and Benjamin did not move out until 1883. They constructed a large brick mansion next door to Edwards Place. Dubbed the Ferguson Mansion, it was torn down in the mid-1990s amidst great controversy.
In 1913, Alice was approached by the president of the Amateur Arts Study Club, who asked if the Club could rent a room in the now-vacant Edwards Place for its meetings. Alice, not wishing to see her childhood home remain empty, countered by offering to deed Edwards Place to the art club. The transaction was finalized on September 30, 1913. Alice's generosity is the reason that Edwards Place survives to this day.