The subject of this sketch is a man of courage, self-reliance and of the
utmost integrity of purpose, as a result of which he has, during his entire
life stood high in the estimation of his neighbors and friends and is
therefore deserving of a place in this book.
H. N. Woodward was born in Des Moines county, Iowa, in 1855, the son of Abner M. and Silvia (Scogin) Woodward. His paternal grandfather was born in New Jersey. He moved to Ohio and devoted his life to farming. Like all his people, he was a Quaker in his religious affiliations. Grandmother Scogin was born in Kentucky, and lived to be eighty-two years old, rearing a large family of fifteen children. She was twice married. Grandfather Scrogin was born in November in the memorable year in our country's history 1812.
The father of the subject of this sketch was born in Ohio and received his early education in the public schools there and after that he received an academic education. He left Ohio before he was twenty-one years of age and went with his mother to Iowa, and settled on a farm near Burlington, where he remained for some time. He later went South about the close of the war to the Polk plantation, for the purpose of managing negroes under the Freemen's Bureau, and from there he went to Mississippi, later spending two years in Tennessee, having spent one year in Mississippi in a very responsible position, which was filled to the entire satisfaction of the Bureau. They gave him fine letters commending his course and the results of his work while there. He then bought a farm in Marion county, Illinois, in 1866, and farmed with much success for a period of thirteen years. He then formed a partnership with Colonel Morrison, in Odin, for carrying on a grain business which partnership continued for a period of eight years, when he bought out Colonel Morrison's interests and Mr. Woodward retained his interest until his death.
In 1886 the Odin Coal Company was put in operation, and Mr. Woodward financed the corporation. He was secretary and later treasurer of the same and always a director, having remained such until his death which occurred in 1890. He was a loyal Mason. The mother of the subject is living in 1908, at the age of eighty years. She is a fine old lady with many beautiful attributes. There are six children in this family, four of whom lived to maturity.
H. N. Woodward, our subject, first attended the public schools in Marion county, but thirsting for higher learning he entered the University of Illinois, where he made a splendid record for scholarship. After leaving college he decided to continue the work which he knew the most about farming, and he followed this until he was twenty-seven years old. He went into the grain and hay business by purchasing Colonel Morrison's business. He was successful in this from the first, more so, in fact, than at farming; however, every year he devoted to farm work added to his competence, for he was a careful and conservative manager. He has enlarged his latter line of business until he now carries on a general merchandising establishment. In 1902 the same was incorporated since which time Mr. Woodward has been president and is the largest stockholder, being the active manager, under whose able direction the business has increased to a satisfactory state and is rapidly growing.
After the death of his father, our subject was director and treasurer of the Odin Coal Company, which position he ably retained for a period of twelve years. He is at present connected with the Marion County Coal Company, of Junction City, a corporation. Mr. Woodward was a director in the same, but is not at present. In all his business dealings he has been regarded by everyone as a man of unusual tact and shrewdness and ever fair and honest. Success seems to attend his efforts in whatever line he undertakes.
Mr. Woodward was united in marriage in 1883 with Agnes Ferguson, daughter of William and Eliza (Hildreth) Ferguson, natives of Ohio, where they lived on a farm. Five children have been born to the subject and wife, named in order of birth as follows: Grace, born in 1884, is living at home with her parents; Lucile, the second child, was born in 1886, is single and living at home; Nelson was born in 1888, and is deceased; having died in 1890; Edwin was born in 1893, and is attending high school in 1908; Agnes, who was born in 1897, is also a pupil in the Odin schools.
Mr. Woodward, in his fraternal relations, is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Woodmen. In politics he is a Republican, taking considerable interest in the affairs of his party, especially in reference to the local officials. Both he and his wife are faithful members of the Methodist church. The former takes a great interest in educational matters. He is known as a man of industry and frugality. He has a beautiful home at Odin.
Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 353-354.