CALEB A WOODWORTH
On the pages of Kansas history the name of Major Caleb A. Woodworth stands conspicuously forth as one of the prominent pioneers who opened up to civilization the region comprised within the northeastern part of this commonwealth. He is numbered among the early frontier settlers who laid the foundation of the great prosperity and progress of Atchison county, and is equally distinguished in military and political circles. The history of this section of the commonwealth would be incomplete without the record of Major Woodworth, whose labors have largely promoted the material, educational and moral welfare of this section of the state.
The Major was born in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, April 14, 1838, and is a son of Caleb Woodworth, a native of Tyre, New York, whose father, also named Caleb, was a captain of artillery under General Scott in the war of 1812. Gresham Woodworth, the great-grandfather of our subject, was a colonel in the Continental army during the war of the Revolution, and took part in the battle of Saratoga. The family were of English origin, the original American ancestors coming from the Isle of Man to the new world at an early period in its upbuilding. Caleb Woodworth, Sr., the father of our subject, was a farmer by occupation, and married Miss Ellen Gordon, whose home was in Goshen, New York, a daughter of Cornelius Gordon, who was of Scotch-Irish lineage. He was born on the Emerald Isle, but at an early day came to America, taking up his abode in Virginia. Mr. Woodworth died at the age of seventy-four years, and the mother passed away in December, 1898, at the advanced age of eighty-six years. Both were members of the Congregational church, and the former was a loyal adherent of the Odd Fellows' society. In their family were five children: Caleb A., Gilbert M., who came to Kansas at an early day and enlisted in the Kansas regiment, in which he served three years. He first became corporal and then sergeant, and later was captain of a company of the Fourth Arkansas Infantry. In 1864 he was made lieutenant-colonel of the Twelfth Kansas Militia. In political life he was also prominent, serving as state senator in Colorado. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 8, 1899, leaving a son, Charles G., who is now residing in Onanga, Oklahoma. Ben F., the next of the family, is a resident of Downs, Oklahoma. During the Civil war he served for three years, being part of the time bugler of Company A, Fifth Kansas Infantry, while during the remainder of the time he was a captain in the Fourth Regiment of Kansas Volunteers. David G., who for a number of years was a member of the state militia, resides in Atchison county; Sarah Elizabeth became the wife of B. A. Colville and died in Muscotah, Kansas, leaving one son, Frank Colville, who became a physician and recently died at St. Joseph, Missouri.
Major Woodworth spent his boyhood days in Virginia, and acquired his educated (sic) in the schools there. In 1857 he accompanied his father and the family to Kansas. They located at Muscotah, where the Major remained until 1861, when he responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting in Company B, Fourth Kansas Infantry, in which he served for nine months. On April 19, 1862, he was mustered out, but soon afterward re-enlisted for three years in Company F, Thirteenth Kansas Infantry, in which he was promoted to the rank of major. He served under Generals Blount, Schofield, Steele and Reynolds.
Since his return Major Woodworth has been called upon to perform other service for the people of his state. In 1876 he was elected to the senate, where he served for four years, and in 1892 he was chosen to represent the third Kansas district in the lower house of the legislature. He was also superintendent of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home.
In June, 1867, Mr. Woodworth was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Shaw, of Valley Falls, Jefferson county, Kansas, a native of Akron, Ohio, and a daughter of William and Louisa Shaw, both of whom were natives of Ohio. Three children have been born of this union: Nora, who is now the wife of E. M. Wilcox, of Muscotah, and has three sons: Herbert, Moses C. and Frank; Ed. S., who married Sarah Surr and has a daughter, Margaret; Jennie, the youngest, is at home. The Major has given his children excellent educational advantages, thus preparing them for the practical and responsible duties of life. Mrs. Wilcox is a graduate of the University of Holton, Kansas, and Ed Woodworth is a graduate of the high school of Atchison.