Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Woods Family Papers, 1704-1994

Finding aid created by
M. L. J., April 1996

Summary Information
Title: Woods family papers
Creator: Woods family
Inclusive dates: 1704-1994
Extent: 139 items (0.5 linear feet)
Abstract:
The Woods family papers chronicle the establishment of an important family in western Virginia during the 18th and early 19th centuries. While the bulk of the collection pertains to Archibald Woods' (1764-1846) activities as a surveyor and land speculator in Ohio County, the collection also contains several letters from later generations of the family, and documents relating to military and public affairs, including the War of 1812.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1994. M-3191.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Provenance:

The collection was donated to the Clements Library in 1994 by Charles J. Moss in honor of his mother, Ruth, who lived at Woodsdale in Wheeling, W.Va.

Preferred Citation:

Woods Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.


Biography

Andrew Woods (1722-1781), of Scots-Irish descent, settled in the frontier region of Pennsylvania in the early 18th century, but emigrated to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he and his family were soon accepted among the local gentry. Throughout his life, Woods took a deep interest in his ever-growing family and community. He and his wife, Martha Poage (1728-1818), whom he married in 1750, raised six children, and at the same time, he contracted with his siblings Archibald (b. 1716) and Martha (b. 1720), to care for their mother and provide for her until death. In public life, Woods was commissioned by Patrick Henry to serve as sheriff of Botetourt County on October 18, 1777, serving for three years as a collector of taxes and fees and representative of order.

The youngest of Andrew and Martha's children, Archibald (1764-1846), extended the prominence of the family in the social and political circles of western Virginia. Born and raised in Albemarle County, Va., Archibald enlisted in the Virginia Militia at the age of only 16, and was under the command of Gen. William Campbell at Yorktown when he was wounded. At the war's end in 1783, he and two of his brothers followed their father's pioneering ways and emigrated to the Ohio Valley, a region then unsettled by whites that stretched to the Monongahela River and included parts of what today is West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Having received warrants for several thousand acres in the Ohio Valley in remuneration for his service in the war, Archibald, like many of his fellow veterans, availed himself of the lucrative opportunity to speculate in "western" lands, a business in which he was eminently successful. Over several years, he occupied himself in surveying and purveying lands in the Ohio Valley, and in the process, he accrued a very substantial estate.

Still only 22 in 1788, Archibald was sent as a representative to the U.S. Constitutional convention in Richmond, and for twenty years thereafter, he was president of the Northwestern Bank of Virginia and of the County Court of Ohio County. Despite his other activities, Archibald never flagged in his commitment to the military. In 1809, he was commissioned as Colonel of the 4th Virginia Regiment, and remained on duty until the end of the War of 1812.

In 1787, Archibald built the first wing of "Woodsdale," a home on Homestead Lane near Wheeling, W.Va., that would remain the family seat for over 160 years. Plans from 1815-1816 reveal a modest home consisting of "a frame house 26 feet by 34 in the clear two stories high..." It was here that Archibald Woods brought his bride, Anne Poage, in 1789 to live and raise a family, and succeeding generations added their own touches, extending the house and grounds. Archibald's son John J. (b. 1807) continued farming the land, and following his marriage to Ruth H. Jacob in 1848, began raising his own family on the John J. Woods Home Farm. In 1891, Ruth and her children ceded a portion of the original property to establish Woodsdale Park, and in 1897, John's heirs further subdivided the estate. Still, one of John's sons, Archibald (d. 1912), managed to continue the operation of the farm, and even after his untimely death in 1912, his wife, Rebecca, remained there to raise her three daughters.

With the steady growth of the small communities around Woodsdale in the late 19th century, by 1919, the Home Farm had become completely engulfed by the city of Wheeling. Prior to the marriage of Archibald and Rebecca in 1905, several parcels had been sold as building lots for residential purposes. The Woodsdale Children's Home, along with several private residences were built on portions of the Home Farm between the 1890s and 1910s. The original homestead was torn down in 1949, though the entrance and the streets bearing the names of early settlers remain.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Woods family papers chronicle the establishment of an important family in western Virginia during the 18th and early 19th centuries. While the bulk of the collection pertains to Archibald Woods' (1764-1846) activities as a surveyor and land speculator in Ohio County, the collection also contains several letters from later generations of the family, and documents relating to military and public affairs. A series of land surveys of the Ohio Valley, prepared by Archibald Woods, has been arranged and placed at the end of the collection.

The most important individual document in the collection is a petition relating to the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. Addressed to the Senate and House of Representatives of Virginia from the citizens of Ohio County, the petition includes thirty nine signatures protesting the Acts. The signers expressed their concern regarding what they saw as a violation of the Constitution, and asserted that the acts were a "serious cause of alarm" for the citizens of Ohio County, whom, they noted, continued to adhere to the Democratic principles of the American Revolution.

During the time that Andrew Woods served as sheriff of Botetourt County, 1777-1780, he kept a small, deerskin-bound notebook that presents an important picture of his activities. Two interesting threads emerge from this notebook. First, Woods kept receipts and notes regarding the collection of taxes and fees, providing some elusive details on the activities of a rural sheriff in Virginia during the Revolutionary years. Secondly, Woods also kept sporadic records of family business, unrelated to his public activities. Included are a copy of the contract for the care of his mother and arrangements for the purchase of a slave for Elijah Woods. The contract specifies that Woods agreed to provide clothing, food, and shelter and, if his mother chose "to go back over the mountains," to provide a slave to care for her. In an addendum, he commanded his heirs to fulfill the contract if case of his death.

Over fifty surveys and treasury warrants document Archibald Woods' importance as a surveyor and land speculator in the Ohio River Valley. Many of these can be positively traced to land that today lies in the state of West Virginia, mostly in the panhandle, but, Woods owned property throughout Ohio County, which then included parts of Ohio and a corner of Pennsylvania. A contemporary range and township map assists in situating Woods' land holdings.

Seven printed orders, each unique, or nearly unique, include information about troop recruitment and deployment during the War of 1812, and about demobilization at the end of the war. Among other documents in the collection are Archibald Woods' commissions and resignations.

There is little true correspondence in the Woods family papers, although one item, a letter from Joe Woods, is of some interest. In this letter written to his mother, Woods summarizes his reasons for transferring to Princeton, assuring her of his sound character and his decision.

Finally, the collection contains useful information about the Woods family estate, Woodsdale. Three documents from 1815-1816 provide floor plans and a record of construction costs, and there are two copy photographs of the house as it stood before its demolition in 1949. In 1976-77, Ruth Moss described the physical layout of the home and grounds as she recalled them, as well as her memories of life at Woodsdale in the early part of the century.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Alien and Sedition laws, 1798.
    • Ohio--History--1787-1865.
    • Ohio--Surveys.
    • Taxation--Virginia.
    • United States--History--War of 1812.
    • Virginia. Militia.
    • West Virginia--Surveys.
    Genre Terms:
    • Cartes-de-visite.
    • Contracts.
    • Floor plans.
    • Land surveys.
    • Military commissions.
    • Orders (military records)
    • Petitions.
    • Receipts (financial records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
     
    Woods family papers [series]
    Box   1  
     1700-1795
    Box   2  
     1796-1994 and undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    Fifteen cartes de visite have been transferred to the Photographs Division (C.3.8.1-15). Eight of these were taken in Wheeling, W. Va., with others taken in southwestern Pennsylvania.

    Printed orders and documents from the period of the War of 1812 are cross-catalogued in the Book Division.

    Partial Subject Index
    Actions and defenses.
    • [ca. 1795]
    • [ca. 1800]
    • [1819]
    Alien and Sedition laws, 1798.
    • [ca. 1798]
    Alternative medicine.
    • [ca. 1936]
    Appellate procedure--West Virginia.
    • 1816 April 25
    Architecture, domestic--Designs and plans.
    • 1815-1817
    • [1815]
    • 1816 November 16
    Architecture--Designs and plans.
    • 1976 December 27
    • 1976 December 28
    • 1994
    Banks and banking.
    • 1842 December 22
    Bell, J.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Bereavement--Religious aspects.
    • August 24
    Biggs, Benjamin.
    • 1814 August 11
    Boone, Rebecca A.
    • [ca. 1891]
    Boyd, Flora V.
    • [ca. 1891]
    Brothers and sisters.
    • [ca. 1868]
    Caldwell, James.
    • [ca. 1795]
    • [ca. 1800]
    Caldwell, John.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Cartography--West Virginia.
    • [ca. 1800]
    • 1806 February
    Clemans, James.
    • [ca. 1800]
    College students--New Jersey.
    • [ca. 1868]
    College students--Pennsylvania.
    • [ca. 1868]
    Contracts.
    • 1759 August 3
    • 1832
    Contracts for deeds--Indiana.
    • 1838 April
    Contracts--Virginia.
    • 1757 August 30
    • 1779 March 11
    Count of Tilton.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Croghan, William.
    • 1786 June 23
    Cully, John.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Debt.
    • 1779 August 9
    Debts--Virginia.
    • 1780 March 9
    • 1783 March 25
    Deeds.
    • 1805 March 10
    Depositions.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Eagleson, A.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Eagleson, Andrew.
    • 1803 July
    Fugitive slaves--Virginia.
    • 1778 March 7
    Gallion, Nat.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Genealogy.
    • 1976 December 28
    • 1994
    Glan, Thomas.
    • 1786 June 23
    Green, Moses.
    • 1812 June 26
    Greeting cards.
    • [ca. 1930]
    Hamer, Nathan.
    • [1815]
    Hamilton, Archibald.
    • [1819]
    Hening, W.W.
    • 1812 June 26
    Hollister, J.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Homesickness.
    • [ca. 1868]
    Hull, Francis.
    • 1786 June 23
    Inventories--West Virginia.
    • [ca. 1901]
    Johnston, William.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Kibbin, Richard W.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Knox, Franklin W.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Land settlement.
    • 1805 July 5
    Land settlement--West Virginia.
    • 1704 June 7
    • 1787 July 2
    Land subdivision.
    • 1822 July 30
    Land subdivision--West Virginia.
    • 1806 February
    Land titles.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Land titles--Kentucky.
    • 1796 February 2
    Land titles--Ohio.
    • 1804 May 15
    Land titles--Virginia.
    • 1795 March 9
    • 1795 December 1
    Land titles--West Virginia.
    • 1704 June 7
    • 1784 October 30
    • 1785 February 5
    • 1787 July 2
    • 1796 July 25
    • 1833 November 10
    Land use.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Lane, Noah.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Levins, John.
    • 1805 July 5
    Love poetry.
    • [ca. 1759]
    Madison, James, 1751-1836.
    • 1812 April 19
    Martin. A.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Mayers, Lizzie.
    • [ca. 1868]
    McAnall, W.
    • [ca. 1795]
    McClury, William.
    • 1787 July 2
    Millin, Norman W.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Mitchell, Julia.
    • 1803 July
    Moore, J.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Moss, Charles.
    • 1994
    Mothers and sons.
    • 1759 August 3
    • [ca. 1868]
    Ohio--History--1787-1865.
    • 1803 February 22
    Ohio--Maps, manuscript.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Ohio--Surveys.
    • [ca. 1795]
    • 1803 July
    • 1804 May 15
    • 1822 July 30
    Paull, Alfred.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Paull, James.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Pergrine, Nicholas.
    • 1805 March 10
    Petition, Right of--Virginia.
    • [ca. 1798]
    Province, Robt.
    • 1787 July 2
    Province, Samuel.
    • 1787 July 2
    Receipts (Acknowledgments)
    • 1778 February 19
    • n.d.
    Receipts (Acknowledgments)--Virginia.
    • 1778 December 5
    • 1779 April 8
    • 1779 April 10
    • 1779 December 24
    • 1780 February 28
    • 1780 March 10
    • 1780 March 20
    Rent--Virginia.
    • 1816 November 16
    Resignation.
    • 1816 April 20
    • 1816 June 8
    Ruggles, B.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Rutherford, Robert.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Scott, Joseph.
    • 1803 July
    Sharp, George.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Sheriffs.
    • 1778 February 19
    Shields, S.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Sisters--West Virginia.
    • August 24
    Skinner, Walter.
    • 1790 September 15
    Slave traders--Virginia.
    • 1846 August 14
    Slaveholders--Virginia.
    • 1846 August 14
    Slavery--Virginia.
    • [ca. 1759]
    Slave-trade--Virginia.
    • 1759 July 30
    • [1759]
    • [ca. 1759]
    Smith, John.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Stephenson, John.
    • 1704 June 7
    Stocks--West Virginia.
    • 1895 August 23
    Surveys.
    • [ca. 1795]
    • n.d.
    Surveys--West Virginia.
    • 1832
    Taxation--Virginia.
    • 1778 December 5
    • 1779 April 8
    • 1779 April 10
    • 1779 June 23
    • 1779 December 24
    • 1780 February 28
    Telephone companies--West Virginia.
    • 1895 August 23
    United States. Congress. House.
    • 1803 February 22
    United States. Congress--Elections.
    • 1803 February 22
    United States--History--War of 1812.
    • [ca. 1812]
    • 1812 April 19
    • 1812 June 26
    • 1812 September 3
    • 1814 July 20
    • 1814 August 11
    • 1815 January 13
    • 1815 February 16
    • 1815 February 20
    Virginia--Militia.
    • 1812 April 19
    • 1812 June 26
    • 1812 September 3
    Visiting cards.
    • [ca. 1874]
    Walker, Andrew.
    • n.d.
    West Virginia--Surveys.
    • 1700 March 6
    • 1704 June 7
    • [ca. 1781]
    • 1786 June 23
    • 1787 July 2
    • 1790 September 15
    • [ca. 1795] (2)
    • [ca. 1800]
    • 1805 March 10
    • 1805 July 5
    • 1806 February
    • [ca. 1815]
    • 1816 April 25
    • 1820 May
    • n.d.
    Whitzells, John.
    • 1704 June 7
    Williamson, David.
    • [ca. 1795]
    Wills--Virginia.
    • 1846 November 10
    Wills--West Virginia.
    • [ca. 1891]
    Woods Ann.
    • 1846 November 10
    Woods, Anna.
    • 1803 July
    Woods, Annie, 1859-1879.
    • [ca. 1868]
    Woods, Archibald.
    • 1757 August 30
    • [ca. 1770]
    Woods, Archibald, 1764-1846.
    • [ca. 1795]
    • [ca. 1800]
    • 1804 May 15
    • 1806 February
    • 1812 June 26
    • 1816 November 16
    • n.d.
    Woods, Archibald, 1849-1912.
    • [ca. 1891]
    Woods, Edgar.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Woods, Edgar W.
    • 1846 November 10
    Woods, George W., 1854-1919.
    • [ca. 1891]
    Woods, Hamilton.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Woods, Hamilton, 1857-1892.
    • 1846 November 10
    Woods, Joseph.
    • [ca. 1759]
    • [ca. 1770]
    Woods, Martha.
    • [ca. 1759]
    • [ca. 1770]
    Woods, Robert.
    • [ca. 1800]
    Woods, Ruth, 1823-1919.
    • [ca. 1891]
    Woods, Theodore.
    • [ca. 1800]