The Woods family emigrated from Tyrone County, IRE around 1800. Many settled in Mercer County, located in northwestern Pennsylvania. According to the family, Helen Woods, never talked much about her family history, even though considerable interest existed on her husband’s Baker side of the family. Maybe it was a Ireland vs England thing. Maybe she was not interested in her family history. Whatever the reason, we must rely on written accounts of others to piece together the puzzle. One important work is “History of Mercer County, Pennsylvania : its past and present..”, 1888. It discusses Alexander’s grandfather, John W Woods, as well as his great grandfather, William Woods who first settled the area.
To move one generation back, one must utilize “The history of the Woods family : with a genealogy of Alexander Woods and his descendants” by Roy Cleo Woods. The author finds that Alexander Woods and Jane Wilson were likely the parents of several Woods family member that settled in West Pennsylvania and Ohio in the early 1880’s. He describes a series of letters saved by various family members that indicated that the sons. This evidence is persuasive enough that branches have been drawn for each of these sons.
If it is OK to generalize, these family share some interesting characteristics. They remained farmers for a very long time, and they remained clustered in the midwest in states like Iowa, Kansas, Indiana and Missouri. Due to their farming heritage, many of the family remained quite large for several generation with 8-10 children not uncommon. Much of their written history remains captured in rural towns and newspapers. Several of these small town newspapers are making their way on-line, opening a view of their lives.
The Woods Challenge
I am throwing down the gauntlet, and will buy a CUP OF COFFEE to anyone who can show me a male Woods born before 1940 that belongs on this list. Email the name and your proof, and I will email you back a certificate for coffee, courtesy of Starbucks.