The subject is now practically living retired in Salem, Illinois. Through
his long connection with agricultural interests he not only carefully
conducted his farm, but so managed its affairs that he acquired thereby a
position among the substantial residents of the community. Moreover he is
entitled to representation in this volume because he is one of the native
sons of Marion county, and his mind bears the impress of its early
historical annals, and from the pioneer days down to the present he has been
an interested witness of its development.
W. R. Woodard was born in Marion county, about five miles northwest of Salem, August 8, 1844, the son of Charles Woodard, a native of Ohio, who came to Illinois in 1840, settling on the farm where our subject was born, and he continued to live there until 1904, developing an excellent farm and reaping rich rewards for his toil from year to year, for he was a thrifty man of the best type of agriculturist. In 1904 he moved to Salem where he spent his old age, surrounded with the comforts of life, which his manhood years, in the youth and "noon" of life had accumulated, having passed to his rest in Salem, February 10, 1907, more than eighty-seven years old. He was at one time postmaster at Tonti.
He worked in a carding mill in Salem for some time, and had the weave made up into clothes. The paternal grandfather of the subject was Joshua Woodard, who was a native of Pennsylvania and who migrated to Ohio and then to Illinois with his son, the father of our subject. He made a success of whatever he undertook, being a man of sterling qualities, like most of the pioneers of the country of those early days. He finally went back to Ohio where he died.
The mother of our subject was Ann Allmon in her maidenhood, the representative of a fine old family in Tennessee. Her people finally moved to Marion county, Illinois, where she passed to her rest in 1884. Four children were born to the subject's parents, W. R., our subject; A. J., who lives on a farm near the old home place; Elizabeth Ann, widow of J. H. Scott, living near Tonti; Ann, who died in infancy.
Our subject was reared on his father's farm and attended the country schools in that neighborhood, having applied himself in such a manner as to gain a fairly good education for those primitive school days. He lived on the old farm where he made a decided success at agricultural pursuits until he moved to Salem in 1904. He erected a house on the old homestead for himself, where he spent his years of labor in comfort and plenty. Mr. Woodard was united in marriage in 1871 to Mrs. Martha N. (Deeds) Nichols, whose parents came to this state from Virginia when she was one year old. She was always known as a woman of many fine personal traits. Four children were born to the subject and wife, all deceased, three having died in infancy, and the fourth after reaching maturity. Our subject always took considerable interest in public affairs and he was appointed postmaster of Tonti after his father gave it up. He has also been honored with township offices in Tonti township.
Mr. Woodard is a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Salem, and his wife is also a consistent member of this church, both ranking high in the congregation of the same. Our subject has spent his long and useful life in Marion county, and it is interesting to hear him tell of the early days when Salem was a small hamlet with but a few houses and much wild game was in the great forests and on the uncultivated prairies roundabout. He has been a man of good business judgment and a hard worker, consequently he has made a success of his life work which has always been carried on in an honest manner. He owns a good residence in Salem, where he is regarded as a good law abiding citizen, and where he has many personal friends.
Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 375-377.