Edmund marries Mary Elliot, the young daughter of a Waterford tanner in 1787. Tragically Mary dies only two years later in 1789, at the same time their daughter, Mary, is born. His daughter would live with disability for the rest of her life. Edmund invites his step sister, Joan, to become his housekeeper and to help in the care of Mary.
This event seems to mark a profound change in Edmund’s life, as his desire to reach out to the disadvantaged takes root.