Woods family papers  1704-1994
full text File Size: 43 K bytes


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.