You may well be right.I'm certainly no expert on this family.
I have not seen the estate papers for John Edwards.A Mr. Scott Carson reported on 1-3-2001 that the widow had "made her mark" in two separate places.I see now that this posting was not here, but was on the Bond County IL genforum. I assumed that this meant that she was illiterate, but perhaps not.And the 1850 census enumerator in Bond County did not flag her as such. (Daughter Lorinda Lee Winters is flagged as illiterate in 1850.) However, it's not clear that the Bond County enumerator put anyone in this category.
As for John Lee and his wife Mary -- it's a mystery. If the man in Jasper County in 1850 is the same man who's in Barton County MO with the rest of the family in 1860, then he probably is a son of John and R. Elizabeth Lee, and the age on the 1850 census must be an error.Did Mary Jane go back to Bond County from Missouri? I could not follow your postings on this couple.
Given how common the names "John Lee" and "Mary Lee" are, this may be one of those puzzles that never get solved. Fortunately, most members of this family had somewhat unique names and are therefore easier to track.
I wonder why there are no guardianship records. I do get the impression that Jasper County was "the wild west" in the first part of the 19th century. Maybe there were no guardianship proceedings.After all, as far as I know, John Lee's death was not recorded.