Slavery, Civil War, the Woodsmalls and After
Tithables and Tax List data from 1782 to 1796 appear to indicate that the Woodsmall patriarch, James, was not a slave owner. Whether he was not by conviction or economic circumstances is not clear. While many of his immediate neighbors on SimpsonÍs Creek, Nelson County, owned slaves, the census data corroborates that the Woodsmalls did not own slaves.
This issue affected the lives of James and Nancy Woodsmall and their children: George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr., Margaret, Henrietta, James William, Lettice, Elizabeth, Jefferson Hezekiah, John and Nancy.
The first indication found to date of a Woodsmall link to slavery is found in a January 20, 1813 Bill of Sale for a 28 year old male slave named Baccus who was sold for $400 by George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr., together with two partners to John Newland. It is not clear whether this slave was owned by the three partners for work or if this was a speculative venture.
Following the dispersal of the Miami Indians from central Indiana after the St. MaryÍs Treaty of 1818 and their cession of 6 million acres in 1820, Margaret Woodsmall and her husband, Thomas Halbert, left Hardin Co., Kentucky in 1822 and crossed the Ohio River to Gosport, Owen County, Indiana. The following year, 1823, Henrietta Woodsmall and husband Ezekiel Jenkins crossed the Ohio River to Rattlesnake Creek, Owen County, Indiana. These crossings were a rubicon for the family. They served to define attitudes toward slavery, and later, the secession of the south. Margaret was evidently joined in her crossing by her younger sister Nancy Woodsmall who, on November 23, 1825, married Thomas Allen in Owen Co. In 1832 brother Jefferson Hezekiah joined his three sisters in Owen County.
Three out of four sons of George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr. made the move from Kentuckey to Indiana: William A. Woodsmall, John Lloyd Woodsmall and Joseph Woodsmall. In 1836, William A. Woodsmall moved to Shelburn in Vigo Co., Indiana. In 1847, John Lloyd Woodsmall moved to Lawrence Co., Indiana. In 1850 he was with his aunts and uncle in Owen Twp., Wayne Co. Before 1850, Joseph Woodsmall moved to Daviess Co., Indiana.
The burial location of George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr. may be at Samaria Cemetery in Morgan Co., Indiana, meaning that he joined his sons and brothers and sisters in Indiana, before the outbreak of the Civil War.
Leaving the Woodsmalls in Kentucky, these Woodsmalls, many devout Baptists, established the second core of Woodsmalls and related families in Indiana (Jenkins/Allen/Gray/Halbert/Snodgrass/Moss/Thompson). These families were centered in Owen, Vigo, Clay, and Lawrence Counties.
The third Woodsmall grouping was created in 1836 by three offspring of James William Woodsmall. While he stayed and died in Kentucky, three of his children: William Guy (x Elizabeth Ellis), John (x Sarah Urbane) and sister Nancy (x Walter P. Ellis (brother of Elizabeth) migrated and founded what would become Scotland, Co., Missouri. While they crossed the Mississippi, they appear to have carried their fatherÍs attitude against slavery.
The fourth Woodsmall grouping came about in 1848 with the arrival from Henry Co., Kentucky to Boone Co., Missouri of George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr., married to Nancy McKinzie, and his sister, Tabitha, married to Nathaniel McKinzie, NancyÍs brother. These are the only children of George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr. who did not go to Indiana. While there is no evidence that these two families owned slaves, their attitudes may have derived from the evidence of George Lasley WoodsmallÍs 1813 slave sale„i.e., pro-slavery. However, George Jr.Ís three brothers, William, John Lloyd and Joseph as noted above, had earlier migrated to Indiana„setting the stage for a conflict between these four brothers and their sons.
The 1850 Slave Schedule (census) for District 2 of Jefferson Co. (Middletown) indicates that Stephen Woodsmall, son of Captain John Woodsmall, owned 10 slaves at his plantation. It appears that John owned slaves, as well. This plantation and the original plantation house still exist today in Middletown. On the grounds is the Miller-Woodsmall Family Cemetery where Stephen Woodsmall, his wife, Cynthia Baird, their children„and on the periphery of the cemetery„their slaves„are buried.
By 1860, there were four Woodsmall groupings: Kentucky (divided between the Oldham County anti-slavery group and the Jefferson County pro-slavery group), the Indiana concentration of anti-slavery and pro-Union families, and the Missouri group (divided between the Scotland Co. anti-slavery families and the Boone County pro-slavery families). The 24 miles from LaGrange to Middletown distance set the stage for an internecine battle that pitted cousins, brothers and grandsons against each other with the outbreak of the Civil War.
At least 27 Woodsmall and related family members fought in the Civil War (there are more to be identified), 22 for the Union and 5 for the Confederacy. Which side they were on was sealed by where the family had migrated. However, of the five Confederates, four were from one family: George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr. and three of his sons: Nathaniel, William M. and James H.
Fighting for the Union (age in 1860, relationship to James Woodsmall):
Descended from Jefferson Hezekiah Woodsmall:
1) Harrison Hobart Woodsmall Ü (Age 19) 14th Regiment/115th Regiment (1863-64), Indiana Infantry. Major. James Woodsmall/Jefferson Hezekiah Woodsmall/Harison Hobart Woodsmall. Wounded. After the war, with the support of the Indiana Woodsmall families, he went south to uplift the freed slaves. In 1876 he founded the Alabama Normal and Theological Seminary, today Selma University.
2) William Hezekiah Woodsmall - (age 15) 5th Regiment Kansas Volunteers Cavalry. James Woodsmall/Jefferson Hezekiah Woodsmall/Sanford K. Woodsmall/William Hezekiah Woodsmall (nephew of Harrison Hobart)
Descended from George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr.:
3) Samuel F. Woodsmall Ü (Age 15) 133rd Regiment, Indiana Infantry/43rd Regiment, Indiana Infantry (100 days, 1864). James Woodsmall/George Lasley Woodsmall., Sr./William A. Woodsmall/Samuel F. Woodsmall
Descended from James William Woodsmall:
4) John Charles Woodsmall Ü (age 20) 2nd Regiment, Kentucky Infantry. James Woodsmall/James William Woodsmall+Sarah Mount/John Charles Woodsmall.
5) Amos G. Mount Ü (Age 19) Co B, 6th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry. James Woodsmall/James William Woodsmall/Charlotte Woodsmall+Amos Mount/Amos G. Mount. Fought at Shiloh, Murfreesborough, Woodbury, TN. Wounded.
Descended from Henrietta Woodsmall:
6) James Preston Jenkins Ü (Age ) Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Henrietta Woodsmall+Ezekiel Jenkins/John Preston Jenkins. Died at St. Louis, Missouri, 1862.
7) John Calhoun Moss Ü (Age 17) 12th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (April 18, 1861 enlisted at Paris, Illinois; 3 months); Co G, 43rd Regiment, Indiana Infantry (April 20, 1862 re-enlisted, organized company; Second Sergeant/First Lieutenant. Discharged December 14, 1864). James Woodsmall/Henrietta Woodsmall+Ezekiel Jenkins/Zorada Jenkins+Jacob B. Moss/John Calhoun Moss.
Descended from Margaret Woodsmall:
8) Isaac Thomas Holbert Ü (Age 27) 149th Regiment Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/James Woodsmall Holbert+Zarrilda C. Wood/Isaac Thomas Holbert
9) James F. Holbert - (Age 26) 3rd Regiment, Indiana Cavalry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/James Woodsmall Holbert+Zarrilda C. Wood/James F. Holbert (needs more confirmation).
10) Harrison Osborne Halbert Ü (Age 41) 115th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. 6 mos. 1863-1864. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/ Halbert, Jr./Harrison Osborne Halbert.
11) Ephraim Allen Goss Ü (Age 41). 27th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert, Jr./Margaret Minerva Halbert+Ephraim Allen Goss
12) Joseph Allen Goss - (Age 17) 115th Regiment, Indiana Infantry (6 mos. 1863-64). James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert, Jr./Margaret Minerva Halbert+Ephraim Goss/Joseph Arnold Goss
13) George Goss Ü (Age 15) 54th Regiment, Indiana Infantry (3 mos., 1862). ). James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/Margaret Minerva Halbert+Ephraim Goss/George Goss
14) Milton Asher Ü (Age 44) . Co B, 59th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/Henrietta Guy Halbert+Milton Asher. Killed in Action.
15) John Smith Snodgrass Ü (Age 15) Co G, 115th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. (6 mos. 1863-1864). James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/Sarah Ann Halbert+William Snodgrass/John Smith Snodgrass
16) Benjamin Thompson Ü (Age 31 ) Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/Hannah Carilla Halbert+John Thompson/Benjamin Thompson (tbc)
17) James Thompson Ü (Age 26) Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/Hannah Carilla Halbert+John Thompson/James Thompson. (tbc)
18) Milton Thompson Ü (Age 23) Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/Hannah Carilla Halbert+John Thompson/Milton Thompson. (tbc)
19) Thomas Marion Thompson Ü (Age 23) Indiana Infantry. James Woodsmall/Margaret Woodsmall+Thomas Halbert/Hannah Carilla Halbert+John Thompson/Thomas Marion Thompson.
Descended from Nancy Woodsmall:
20) William Henry Asher Ü (Age 16) 33rd Regiment, Indiana Infantry. James Wodsmall/Nancy Woodsmall+Thomas Allen/Sarah Allen+Allen Asher/William Henry Asher. Wounded. Lost eye.
21) Thomas Allen Asher Ü (Age ) 59th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. James Wodsmall/Nancy Woodsmall+Thomas Allen/Sarah Allen+Allen Asher/William Henry Asher. Killed in action.
22) David Asher Ü (Age 15) 57th Regiment, Indiana Infantry. James Wodsmall/Nancy Woodsmall+Thomas Allen/Sarah Allen+Allen Asher/William Henry Asher.
As noted above, there were four members of the family in the same 115th Regiment: Harrison Hobart Woodsmall, Harrison Osborne Halbert, Joseph Allen Goss, and John Smith Snodgrass.
In total (count to date), 4 grandsons and 18 great grandsons of James Woodsmall and Nancy Guy fought for the Union in the Civil War.
Fighting for the Confederacy (age in 1860, relationship to James Woodsmall):
Descended from George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr.:
1) George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr. (58) PoindexterÍs Regiment, Missouri Cavalry. James Woodsmall/George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr./George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr. (Enlisted from Boone Co., Missouri)
2) Nathaniel Woodsmall (Age 23) PoindexterÍs Regiment, Missouri Cavalry; 1st NE Missouri Cavalry. James Woodsmall/George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr./George Lasley Woodsmall,Jr/Nathaniel Woodsmall. Killed in action, 1862. Son of George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr.
3) William M. Woodsmall (Age 21) Co C, 6th Regiment Missouri Infantry. 3rd Battalion, Missouri Infantry. James Woodsmall/George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr./George Lasley Wodsmall,Jr/William M. Woodsmall. Son of George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr.
4) James H. Woodsmall (Age abt 15) PoindexterÍs Regiment, Missouri Cavalry. James Woodsmall/George Lasley Woodsmall, Sr./George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr./James H. Woodsmall. Son of George Lasley Woodsmall, Jr.
Descended from John Woodsmall:
5) Henry May Woodsmall (Age 37) captain, Col. CoffeeÍs Regiment, 6th (11th) Missouri Cavalry. James Woodsmall/John Woodsmall/Henry May Woodsmall. (Enlisted from Parkville, Missouri).
In total (count to date), two grandsons and three great grandsons of James Woodsmall fought for the Confederacy.
The 1930 census lists the following five African American Woodsmalls in three states„all originating in Kentucky:
s: 1930 Federal Census OH. Woodsmall, William, 36 (1894), Negro. Born: KY, Res: Dayton, OH. (Census roll: T626-1852, p. 35A, ED: 60)
s: 1930 Federal Census PA. Woodsmall, James, 24 (1906), Negro. Born: KY, Res: PA. Census roll: T626-1961, p. 5B, ED: 219)
s: 1930 Federal Census KY. Woodsmall, Hanna, 25 (1905), Negro. Born: KY, Res: Louisville, KY. (Census roll: T626-755, p. 19A) (note: appears this is her married name; living with brother. Could be spouse of James).
s: 1930 Federal Census KY. Woodsmall, Washington, 43 (1887), Negro. Born: KY, Res: Shelbyville, Shelby Co., KY. (Census roll: T626-778, p.18A, ED: 6)
It appears that all of these African American Woodsmalls are the children or grandchildren of the 10 slaves of Stephen M. Woodsmall enumerated in the 1850 Slave Schedule. Their relationship to George Woodsmall of Shelbyville is not established.
For the deafeated Confederate Woodsmalls, the war appears to have been a personal disaster. Henry May Woodsmall had apparently moved from Spencer Co., Kentucky to Parkville, Missouri sometime before 1862. Following his wife, Mary Elizabeth BeauchampÍs, death in 1869, he headed for Texas. He remarried and his son by Fannie Bennett would go on to become the third Woodsmall to reach California (around 1909). He died in Sulpher Springs, Texas in 1883.
William M. Woodsmall, whose brother Nathaniel was killed in 1862, also headed to Texas after marrying Elizabeth ñLizzieî Palmer in Boone Co., Missouri in 1871. He died in 1902 in Clinton, Texas. They are both buried at the Clinton Cemetery in DeWitt Co., Texas.
Thus it appears that neither of the original Woodsmall settlers of Texas left Woodsmall offspring in Texas. Nevertheless, Woodsmalls would return to Texas. Hayes Garfield Woodsmall, son of Union veteran William Hezekiah Woodsmall, died in Nueces Co., Texas 25 October 1968. Samuel Otis Woodsmall, grandson of William Hezekiah Woodsmall and nephew of Hayes Garfield Woodsmall, also died there April 19, 1969. Hugh Charles Woodsmall, grandson of Union veteran John Charles Woodsmall, died in Harris Co. June 29, 1969
(Comment: The impressions and data in this paper are current as of 26 February 2003 and are subject to further revision/correction).