Edward Padelford was a prominent and respected businessman that lived in Savannah from the early 1820’s until his death in 1870. Padelford was born in Massachusetts but made his way south in 1820. He is one of the most diverse and talented businessmen and leaders in Savannah’s history. He was involved in the cotton industry, shipping, banking, insurance, railroads, and construction. Padelford was one of the founding members of the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. He was one of the wealthiest men in the southeastern United States in the years just before the Civil War. During the War Padelford served as a Confederate officer and after the War he was a part of a delegation to visit President Andrew Johnson to share the concerns of Savannahians regarding Reconstruction. Tragically, during the Civil War Edward Padelford lost both of his sons. George Padelford died at the age of 26 during the First Battle of Bull Run. Edward Padelford, Jr died of Typhoid Fever in June of 1863 while serving in the Confederate Army in Virginia.
Among his closests friends in Savannah were Isaiah Davenport who was a well known architect and builder, Stephen Elliott who served as the Episcopal Bishop of Georgia, Hugh Comer who served as the President of the Central of Georgia Railroad, and Willard Preston, an educator and pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah for 25 years.
Padelford was a founding member of St. John’s Episcopal Church and was the first person to purchase a family pew in the congregation. Two of his children were married in the church and he was a faithful attendant of services. Padelford gained a reputation for being an upright Christian man and leader in Savannah. He was also very charitable, donating thousands of dollars to the Bethesda orphanage as well as thousands of dollars to the construction of a home to assist elderly and poor African-Americans in Savannah.
Edward was married to Elizabeth Farnum for 46 years. They had six children and four grandchildren. The Padelford Family plot is located in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.