This wonderful CDV of two sweet young boys, most likely brothers, from Ashland, Ohio is a great example of 1870's photography. The boys who appear to be about six or seven years old, are leaning on a fringed chair which was used as a prop mainly in the 1870's and the boy on the left is wearing a tailored adult-style suit. Also, note the bowler-style hats each boy is holding in his hand. Both boys have such a serious expression on their face they almost appear to be ready to cry. The picture could have been dated as early as the mid to late 1860's but for the information I learned about the photographer.
Willis L. Edwards (1843 - ?) was born in Bucyrus, Ohio to Dr. L. M. and Susan Edwards. He was adopted at six months of age by Rev. William Hutchinson after the death of his parents and spent the early years of his life in Tennessee. He returned to Bucyrus in 1860 where he began his photography career. He served four months in the 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in 1862. After his service he interned as a manager with Budtorf & McCormick in Ashland. According to Diane VanSkiver Gagel in Ohio Photographers: 1839-1900 he was listed as photographer in Ashland between 1870 - 1884*. This also concurs with the information I found in the 1870 and 1880 Ashland, Ohio censuses. He married Mary J. Sauer in 1864 and they had three chilren, Ida M. Charles, and Milton L. Edwards. Mary died in 1873 and Willis remarried Mary A. Heifner. I was unable to find any information on him after the 1880 census.
*Ohio Photographers: 1839 - 1900. Diane VanSkiver Gagel, 1998, Carl Mautz Publishing, Nevada City, CA, pg 14.