NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
Matthew Woodruff, the immigrant ancestor, was born in England and settled early in Hartford, Conn. He moved to Farmington in 1640-41, and died there very aged, about 1662. His will mentions his wife, three sons, and a daughter Hannah, wife of Richard Seymour (2nd), and the court added daughter Elizabeth, wife of John Broughton, of Northampton, Mass. Have these webpages helped you?
He was one of the eighty-four proprietors of Farmington in 1672, and was a freeman in 1657. His wife Hannah was admitted to the Farmington church April 2, 1654.
John, born 1643.
Matthew, 1646, mentioned below.
Mary, Nov. 5, 1654, died young.
Samuel, Aug. 26, 1661.
(II) Matthew (2), son of Matthew (1) Woodruff, was born at Farmington, in 1646. He settled in Milford, but returned to Farmington. He married (first) June 16, 1668, Mary, daughter of Robert Plum; (second) Sarah, daughter of John North. She died in 1692, and he died in November, 1691.
Matthew, born at Milford, Feb. 8, 1669.
Mary, Dec. 27, 1670.
John, Feb. 1, 1672.
Nathaniel, May, 1687, mentioned below.
Joseph, baptized May 19, 1689.
(III) Captain Nathaniel, son of Matthew (2) Woodruff, was born in May, 1687, and died Nov. 13, 1758. He married in 1709, Thankful, daughter of Benjamin and Thankful (Woodward) Wright, of Northampton, Mass. She died Jan. 31, 1774.
His epitaph reads: "In memory of Mr. Nathaniel Woodruff, captain, who died November 13, 1758, in the 72nd year of his age."
Children, born at Litchfield:
Benjamin, mentioned below.
Sarah, Dec. 27, 1725.
Nathaniel, May 3, 1728.
(IV) Benjamin, son of Nathaniel Woodruff, was born at Litchfield in 1715 and died there March 9, 1782. He married there, Nov. 20, 1739, Eunice Martin, who died Oct. 30, 1758.
Simeon, born Sept. 9, 1740, died young.
Rhoda, born May 26m 1742.
Simeon, Jan. 30, 1743-44, was with Captain Cook when he was killed in the Sandwich Islands.
Patience, Nov. 3, 1745.
Thankful, May 3, 1747.
Jonah, mentioned below.
Rachel, Aug. 31, 1750.
Benjamin, Jr., Nov. 1, 1752.
Eunice, Feb. 16, 1751 or 1754.
Hannah, May 11, 1760.
Nathaniel B., January, 1762.
Elizabeth, March 29, 1764.
Chauncey, Aug. 27, 1766.
(V) Sergeant Jonah, son of Benjamin Woodruff, was born at Litchfield, Feb. 8, 1748. He was sergeant in Captain David Wheelock's company, in 1775, in General David Wooster's regiment.
He married, Nov. 27, 1769, Mary Olmstead, born 1750, and died 1826. He died in 1823.
They came from their native town of Litchfield to Oneida county, New York, and thence to Watertown, Jefferson county, N.Y.
Ursula, born at Litchfield, May 8, 1771.
Simeon, June 8, 1773, mentioned below.
Benjamin, May 12, 1778.
Also daughters Rhoda, Eunice and Mary (called Polly).
(VI) Simeon, son of Sergeant Jonah Woodruff, was born at Litchfield, June 8, 1773. He married Rosanna Adams. The following newspaper account of her life gives much of the family history:
"Death of Mrs. Rosanna Woodruff, almost a centenarian. Died, at the residence of her daughter Mary, widow of the late John Clark, of Ellisburgh, in this county, in Vineland, New Jersey, on the 15th day of June, 1876, Mrs. Rosanna Woodruff, relict of the late Simeon Woodruff, of Watertown, N.Y., aged ninety-nine years, one month, May 9, 1777. She was the daughter of Roderick Adams, who served his country in its struggle for independence during the entire war of the Revolution, under General Washington. He subsequently removed, with his family, to Onondaga county in this state, where the balance of his days were spent.
Mr. Woodruff found Rosanna, while she was visiting friends in Oneida county, and there she became his wife in 1797. Mr. Woodruff, a farmer by occupation, in company with his younger brother, Benjamin, in October, 1799, made an exploring excursion into the 'Black River' country, then an unbroken wilderness, and with a view to purchase lands for a future home and participate in the realities of pioneer life, and finally located in the eastern section of the present town of Watertown (subsequently known as "Woodruff settlement") and returned to their home in Oneida county after having erected a rude log shanty to be ready for their future coming.
In February, 1800, Mr. Woodruff, his wife and a daughter, together with his father, mother, two brothers and four sisters, numbering eleven persons, left Oneida county for their forest home, which they reached by the aid of a team of oxen, on the fifth day of March, and entered the rude structure previously prepared for their reception. Here, Mrs. Woodruff became the mother of the first male child born in Watertown, the late Felix Woodruff, the memory of whom is still fresh in the minds of our older citizens. The Messrs. Woodruff soon found themselves surrounded by neighbors, to whose energies the forest rapidly receded and gave place to cultivated fields. Rustic school houses were erected and children taught therein; religious meetings were held in neighbors' cabins and often in barns.
It is worthy of special mention that the first Methodist class formed in this county was organized at the residence of Mrs. Woodruff as early as 1804, and she has been the lone survivor of the worthy ten who composed it for many years. The names of the members of the little band deserve a place in this imperfect notice of the last of the number to be welcomed to the 'shining shore.' They were: Mr. and Mrs. Simeon Woodruff, Mr. and Mrs. David Mills, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Butterfield, Mr. and Mrs. Zachariah Butterfield, and Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Dodge.
Mrs. Woodruff's friends and neighbors in youth and during active life have crossed life's Rubicon. Of the heads of fourteen families of primitive settlers of the school district now comprising the territory early known as "Woodruff Settlement," but one survives her, the widow of Frederick Woodruff, now with her son Gilbert at Rockford, Illinois, ripe in years, truly great because truly good.
In 1817 Mr. Woodruff changed his residence to the present town of Pamelia, then a portion of Brownville, where he remained until 1841, when he returned to Watertown, where he died Sept. 5, 1853, a valued citizen and an honorable and respected man.
Mrs. Woodruff was the mother of twelve children, all of whom lived to be the heads of famlies, eight survive her, the last to precede her 'in crossing the river' being the late Colonel Jonah Woodruff, president of the Palace Car Company of Philadelphia.
Mrs. Woodruff was remarkable for her intelligence; was a thorough Biblical student and thoroughly conversant with the current literature of the age; was positive, and strong testimony was required to change her convictions - none failed to be interested in and few to be instructed by listening to her conversation.
As a mother she ably filled the dignified and responsible position, as the reputation, character and standing of her entire family of children will attest. As a neighbor and friend, none knew her not to love and respect her; enemies she had none; as a Christian, she was devoted, and a faithful member of the late Methodist society organized in this county, her religious theory and practice in everyday life being harmonious. She was free from hypocrisy and deceit. For the past twenty years Mrs. Woodruff has been entirely blind, and her inability to gratify inclinations to read has been her greatest cause of grief in declining years. During her last few weeks she had much of the physical suffering, which added to her cheerful greetings to Death's welcome messenger. A mother's legacy of a well-spent life is her children's inheritance.
At the request of the deceased, made August 28, 1853, I append the statement made by her huband to me while sitting at his bedside, from which he never arose, in which statement she concurred: "I shall die at peace with God and all mankind, in the firm belief in the final happiness of the whole human family in a future world; that the fancied idea of endless misery in a future state is destitute of proof, either in the works of creation, reasons or the holdy scriptures - in the truth of which I have implicit confidence.'
The remains were brought to Watertown, accompanied by her daughter, Mrs. Clark, and her son, Chauncey Woodruff, of Toledo, Ohio, and buried in Brookside Cemetery with appropriate ceremonies."
Children of Simeon and Rosanna (Adams) Woodruff:
Charles T., mentioned below.
(VII) Charles Taylor, son of Simeon Woodruff, was born in the town of Pamelia, N.Y., Dec. 25, 1814, and remained upon his father's farm until he was eighteen years old, when he began an apprenticeship at the trade of carpenter and joiner. He worked at his trade for thirty-odd years, and enjoyed the respect and friendship of all who knew him. In 1870 he began to manufacture brick, and achieved much success in the venture. He passed the business over to his son John in 1888. Two of his brothers were Jonah, the artist, and Theodore T. Woodruff, the world-famed inventor of the sleeping car, whom Andrew Carnegie, in his "Triumphant Democracy," recognizes as the founder of his own success and fortune.
After an illness of several months, followed by paralysis, he died.
He was an old and honored member of Jefferson Union Lodge, I.O.O.F., which had charge of his funeral. At the time of his death the Watertown Times said:
"Mr. Woodruff has been associated with the history of Watertown from its earliest times, and was one of those who had witnessed the successive changes from a little settlement to the important village and from that to a growing and prosperous city. Mr. Woodruff was a consistent Republican, an honest man, a faithful friend and an exemplary citizen."
He married Mary Ann Clark, who died Dec. 16, 1888, daughter of John and Abigail (Paul) Clark. John Clark died Sept. 11, 1862, aged seventy-eight years. Abigail (Paul) Clark died May 30, 1848, aged fifty-six years, six months. John married (second) Mary Clark. Children: Rose E., married Daniel C. Henderson of Joliet, Illinois; Abba M., married (first) William Andrus (second) Edwin Irwin, of Chicago, Illinois; John Clark, mentioned below; Charles E., married Jennie Robinson, resides in Joliet.
(VIII) John Clark, son of Charles T. Woodruff, was born at Watertown, N.Y. Jan. 22, 1852. He attended the district and graded schools in his native place. He became associated with his father in business and followed brick-making until 1894. Since then he has been state gatetender at Moose River, on the Fulton chain of lakes.
In politics he is a Republican.
He is a member of Watertown City Lodge of Odd Fellows, and was its treasurer two terms. His family attends the Universalist church.
He married, Feb. 11, 1873, at Rutland, N.Y., Ada Estelle Otis, born at Philadelphia, Jefferson county, N.Y., Nov. 30, 1852, daughter of George and Cynthia Amelia (Eddy) Otis. Her father was a farmer. She had one brother, John Delbert Otis, and two sisters __ Frances Hannah Otis and Della Ruett Otis.
Children of Mr. & Mrs. Woodruff:
1. May D., born Dec. 16, 1873; married Joseph Godkin, brick maker, Dec. 31, 1896.
2. Frederick Clark, Dec. 28, 1876; married, Nov. 27, 1901, Kathryn Hughes; he graduated from the Watertown High School; children: John Carlton and Frederick Clark Woodruff.
3. Maude Della, Feb. 13, 1881; married William Tracy, merchant, Dec. 17, 1904; children: Dorothy Elizabeth Tracy, Sept. 10, 1904; Frances May Tracy, Oct. 13, 1907, died July 6, 1909.
4. Charles Francis, March 27, 1883, bookkeeper and cashier for Armour & Company, Chicago meat dealers.
Under the firm name of Woodruff Brothers, Fred C. and Charles F. Woodruff are extensively engaged in the flour, feed, hay, cement and coal business, wholesale and retail, supplying the towns of the Fulton chains of lakes and vicinity.
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