Born in 1850 to an upper-middle-class family in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Edwin Chasen succumbed to influenza at the age of 12 while attending boarding school. He awoke in his coffin buried quickly so as to reduce the chance of an outbreak, disoriented. He was rescued by another immortal named Priscilla duPlessis, a Frenchwoman who worked at the school and knew the signs. She took pity upon his plight, and while she knew he could get out on his own, she aided him, unearthing him and taking the boy to live as her 'son' in the small town of Chawton. He grew older emotionally, but on the exterior, his frame was that of an adolescent boy his love for his benefactress grew with each year, but it was never returned. She thought of him as a son, so he took what he could and was as loyal as any son could be. Neither knew of Watchers then instinctively, Priscilla taught Edwin to live completely below the radar whenever possible.

In 1921, they moved to New York after several British agencies became suspicious of the two, even though they moved every fifteen years or so. It was simply too small a nation to avoid bumping into old acquaintances. New York provided a haven, until Priscilla's death in 1923 she was followed late one night and killed by another immortal. Edwin would have followed for certain had he been there, but as he was not, he had to put to use all the resources Priscilla had taught him over the years.

He worked in carnivals and stole the rest of what he needed, keeping as low a profile as possible before finally choosing Los Angeles as his residence during the era of civil unrest, the '60s. He found it easiest to wander unnoticed over the next forty-odd years, though he did find it became increasingly more difficult to keep the law and Social Services off his back as time went on. He never saw any Watchers, but finally had heard tell of them in the '80s it seemed hard not to pick up rumors here and there. While he met a few friendly immortals before the superflu hit, he still feels threatened by them, as Priscilla spent most of their time together warning him of the danger other immortals posed him.

When the superflu made its judgment upon Los Angeles, the dreams beckoned him towards an elderly black woman in Boulder who assured him peace, rest, and shelter from harm. His help would be required when the time came, but he had earned some quiet time, his dreams told him.

He met Jack near the Vasquez Rocks one night, having spotted his campfire and approached. He later chided Jack for having such a visible fire in an area possibly traveled by 'unfriendlies'. Since then, it was often Jack who feels like the child, and Edwin the man.