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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 920~



(Source Book Includes Photo)


Few residents of West Union were as well known as the prominent business man whose name introduces this sketch and during his active and successful career few commanded in a more marked degree the confidence of the public. In Charles Woodard were combined many of the best qualities of the sterling New Englander and through a long and busy life he exhibited those qualities and characteristics in such a way as to impress his individuality upon the community and make the world better by his presence and influence. On both his father’s and mother’s side Mr. Woodard was descended from an old family of Maine, several representatives of which were seafaring men, among the number being his grandfather, a captain of a sailing vessel, who died many years ago in a foreign land. His father, Enos Woodard, whose birth occurred at Lisbon, Maine, October 31, 1799, was married, November 9, 1825, to Lucy Frost, who was born at Danville, that state, on the 8th day of December 1808. These parents had children as follows: Octavia, born July 23, 1827; Henry, born March 8, 1831; Fannie, born May 12, 1836, and Charles, who was the second in order of birth and who first saw the light of day at Westbrook, Maine, on June 18, 1829.


Charles Woodard was reared in his native state and received a practical education in the schools of his home town and the city of Portland, following which he began life for himself as a lumberman. After a varied experience in different places in New England and elsewhere, he came west and some time in the sixties located at West Union, Iowa, where he started a lumberyard, the first in the town, and due time built up an extensive and very lucrative business. Indeed, he was much more than ordinarily successful and by diligent attention and effective management succeeded in accumulating a handsome fortune, much of which consisted of valuable real estate in various part of Iowa.


On January 21, 1863, Mr. Woodard entered the marriage relation with Anna B. Washburn, whose parents, James and Betsey (Wright) Washburn, were natives respectively of Compton, Canada, and Bradford, Vermont, the former born February 21, 1814, the latter on July 5, 1815. James Washburn moved to Iowa with his family in 1858 and located at McGregor, with the business of which city he was long and actively identified and where he and his good wife lived to ripe old age. Of their children, nine in number, six survive, all of whom are highly esteemed in their respective places of residence. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. WOODARD resulted in the birth of one child, George, who died in infancy.


In addition to the lumber business, Mr. Woodard started the first wagon shop at West Union and for some time was also employed with the mercantile trade of the city. He came west with practically no means, but by judicious investments he realized handsome profits, so that in the course of time he became one of the solid and well-to-do men of Fayette county. He served during the late Civil war in a regiment known as “The Gray Beards” and saw active duty, earning an honorable record as a brave and gallant soldier. In politics he was a Republican, but never sought nor desired office, and as a citizen he was always public spirited, energetic and ever ready to lend his aid and influence to any worthy enterprise for the material advancement of his town and county or for the general good of his fellow men. Although reared under the influence of the Congregational church an acknowledging his indebtedness to the same, he never united with any religious body, having been liberal in his views and ready to accord the same right of opinion to others that he insisted upon for himself. In all that constituted a high standard of manhood and citizenship he was indeed a conspicuous example; his influence was always used to promote the welfare of the community and his name was ever free from the slightest taint of anything savoring of dishonor. He stood for everything that was good and was a man in all the term implies. His life, like an open book, read and known by his fellows, contained little to criticize and much to commend and imitate.


Mr. Woodard departed this life on the 17th day of July, 1908, at his home in West Union, and his death, which was widely and deeply mourned, removed from his family a faithful and loving husband and from his city and county a broad minded, successful business man and a public spirited citizen whose memory will be cherished by those he left behind, as one whose influence was ever on the side of right, as he understood the right, and whose efforts were always put forth to advance the interests of all with whom he mingled.



~transcribed by Mary Ann Strohmeyer for Fayette Co IAGenWeb.


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