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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 611~


Peter Woodring

(photo in source book)


One of the most conspicuous characters in the Hawkeye state who is laboring for the uplift of the boys and who has done a noble and commendable work in fostering the basic principles whereby the American youth may become useful and leading citizens of the future generation is Peter Woodring, of Oelwein, Fayette county, who has also won the plaudits of his fellow men as a temperance worker, often laboring with disregard to his own interests if he could thereby aid ever so little in eradication that dangerous traffic in souls, the blackest gangrene in our body politic.


He has prosecuted many cases against violations of liquor laws and done much toward law enforcement at his own expense, and in this work he has had an able ally in his wife, who is president of the Womanís Christian Temperance Union in Oelwein and a very active temperance worker.


Peter Woodring was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania, in 1844, the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Heil) Woodring, both natives of Pennsylvania and both of German descent. When Peter Woodring, Sr., was five and one-half years old the family moved to Stevenson county, Illinois, locating near Freeport. The father was a local preacher in the German Evangelical church, and he followed the trade of cabinetmaker in Cedarville, near Freeport. He was a good and useful man and he took delight in assisting worthy causes. His death occurred in 1859, having been preceded to the grave in 1855 by his wife.


One of the interesting chapters in the life of Peter Woodring is that bearing on his military career, which began the 1st of September, 1861, when he enlisted in Company H, Thirty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, General Blackís regiment, in the Army of the Frontier. He was in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, an Prairie Grove, both hotly contested engagements; he was slightly wounded at the siege of Fort Blakely, one of the defenses of Mobile. After that Mr. Woodring was sent to Texas, where he remained until a year after the war closed. He saw active service throughout the siege of Vicksburg and at the capture of Mobile. He was mustered out at Springfield, Illinois, May 30, 1866. Mr. Woodring them came directly to Waverly, Iowa, and learned the cabinetmakerís trade with his brothers, who had located there, under the firm name of Woodring Brothers, who then conducted an extensive furniture business there, with whom he remained until 1876, becoming proficient in this line of work.


In the winter of 1868 and 1869 he maintained a shop at Plainfield for a few months. Owing to an explosion in the engine of the saw-mill where he obtained his lumber, he moved to Clarksville, Butler county, Iowa, and remained there one year, then sold out his shop and returned to his brotherís establishment at Waverly. In the spring of 1876 he started in business at Sumner, in the furniture and undertaking business. Ten years later he sold out and came to Oelwein. He was then an ordained minister in the United Brethren church and he traveled for several years, doing a great deal of good wherever he went, for he was always an earnest and forceful speaker. He has recently been following the carpenterís trade, but is now devoting a great deal of his time in his work as state organizer for Boys Trimmer Clubs, an organization having for its object the "trimming off" of bad habits; encouraging boys to earn and save money-an entirely benevolent association which costs the boys nothing.


He is arousing a great deal of interest in the work and, being a man whom the young people naturally like, he is undoubtedly the right man in this work. Mr. Woodring was married in 1868 to Mary Jane Fague, who at that time lived near Waverly, Iowa, her people being well established in Bremer county. She is the daughter of Daniel and Delilah (Murphy) Fague. Her maternal grandfather, Rev. James Murphy, was one of the oldest Untied Brethren ministers in Iowa.


He traveled over the state when it was a wild prairie, he being one of the best known of the pioneer ministers. To Mr. and Mrs. Peter Woodring ten children were born, eight of whom are living, namely: Clara E. married Christopher B. Biggle, residing in Oelwein, and they are the parents of six children, Norma, Lloyd, Myrtle, Glen, Lola and Paul; Alberto I. married Martha Wismer, superintendent of the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern railway, with headquarters at Waterloo, and they are the parents of three children, Galie, Alberta and Ruth; Nora lives in Oelwein with her parents; Lila married Joseph L. Blunt and has two children, Clara and Zella, and they live in Oelwein; Ada lives at home with her parents; Pearl married D. B. Miller, living in Lamar, Missouri, and they are the parents of three daughters, Naomi, Leta and Maxine; Mr. Miller is a piano tuner; Henry Edward Woodring married Byril Muckler and lives in San Jose, California, and this union has resulted in the birth of one daughter, Allene; he graduated form the Oelwein Business University, and is in the office of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Laura Ethel Woodring married W. D. Rohrback, an engineer on the Chicago Great Western railroad; they live at Clarion, Wright county, Iowa, and are the parents of one son, Duane.


The ninth child born to Mr. and Mrs. Peter Woodring died in infancy, and Etta, the youngest child, died when about eighteen months old. Since 1881 Mr. Woodring has been a Prohibitionist, and has attended many conventions, having been a delegate to the national convention at Columbus, Ohio, in 1908, a most memorable political gathering.


Mr. Woodring is an elder in the Christian church; he teaches a class of boys there and takes a great deal of interest in the same. He is also manager and president of the local Boys Trimmer Club, consisting of about seventy members. He has won hosts of friends wherever his lot has been cast, owing to his genuine worth, his readiness to assist his fellow men, his kindness, generosity, and the good he has done. The seeds of help he has sown and the sunshine he has scattered broadcast over the land cannot be adequately measured, yet he is unassuming and meek in the performance of the Masterís business.


~trancribed for the Fayette Co IA USGenWeb Project by Mary Aldrich



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