Born: January 1, 1816 in St. Louis Missouri.
4th daughter into a family of 7 living children, Edna was referred to about town as one of the pretty Smith girls. Also intelligent, the diminutive girl wanted to be a steamboat captain like her father. Said this repeatedly until age 7, when she was forbidden by her parents to say this. Held the belief until age 12 when she realized this was not going to happen. Edna loved the river and St. Louis. She wanted to be an artist. She had talent as was allowed to use it to make needlepoint designs and small watercolors - however, spending the hours she wished down by river painting was not to be.
Father died in steamboat accident, Edna age 14, casting the family into financial ruin. Mother remarried shortly thereafter, family saved, merging with widowed stepfather's family of 6.
Children did housework and chores, no servants.
Edna married age 18. Bore 6 children, losing twin girls to cholera in 1849. Husband a philanderer. Loses oldest son, Eugene Junior an officer, to Civil War. 3 remaining children, Wyatt the only "successful" one - daughter Henrietta, an unwed writer who travels with a female companion, another son, Roswell, unsteady in work, also unwed and alcoholic.