Names Index
Portrait Index

   JOHN N. WOODBURY, a retired merchant, living in the village of Peterboro, holds high rank among the solid, enterprising, and influential citizens of Madison County, of which he is a native, his birth having occurred in the village of Peterboro, November 5, 1838. In early Colonial times a certain Hubbard Woodbury left his native home in England, and crossing the broad Atlantic, came to Massachusetts, and located in the town of Barre, where he was one of the earliest settlers. There he reared a family, and spent the remainder of his life. His son, Knowlton, grandfather of our subject, was born in Barre, Mass. In early life, accompanied by his wife and children, he emigrated to New York, and was one of the pioneer settlers of Herkimer County. He removed from there to Bloomfield, Monroe County, thence, after a short stay to Mendon, in the same county, where he passed his last years. He married Marion Gould, and they reared a family of eight children.
   Noah Woodbury, father of our subject, was born in Leverett, Mass., in 1805, and came with his parents to this State when a boy. He learned the trade of cabinet-maker, and began his work in Smithfield, following that business in the village of Peterboro for several years. He early became identified with the industrial interests of Peterboro, and was at one time proprietor of a meat market in this town; and here he passed the declining years of his life, dying in 1880, at the good old age of seventy-five years. In politics he was a Republican. The maiden name of his wife was Betsey Robertson. She was born in Fenner, Madison County, in 1810 and died in Peterboro in 1873, having passed a long and useful life. She was an estimable woman, and a consistent member of the Baptist church. To her and her husband were born four children: Mary, the wife of Charles Ostrander, of Peterboro; John N., our subject; Margaret, residing in Pasadena, Cal.; and Helen, wife of Elbert Place, of Buffalo.
   John N. Woodbury, the only son, was reared and educated in his native town, studying first in the district school, and afterward in the Peterboro Academy. He acquired a good education, and, having a practical turn of mind, when twenty years old began looking about for a good business opening, and in 1858 formed a partnership with William C. Ives, establishing a store for general merchandise, which they conducted most successfully for several years. In 1867 our subject sold his share of the store to his partner, and bought out the business of James Bennett, a merchant in the village of Peterboro. Mr. Woodbury prospered in his new store, his genial, courteous manners and straightforward business methods serving not only to retain the old patrons, but winning him many new ones. He carried on an extensive business, having a stock valued at five thousand dollars, with his sales aggregating fifteen thousand dollars per year, and continued thus engaged until the spring of 1893, when, desiring freedom from the cares of a mercantile life, he sold out his business, and now resides in his comfortable home in the village of Peterboro. He is still active, finding ample employment in superintending his farm of one hundred and sixty acres in the town of Fenner, which he devotes to general farming, and attending to the interests of his real estate in Peterboro.
   In 1864 our subject was united in marriage to Ann J. Morrison, a native of Lenox, born November 11, 1841, being a daughter of Alexander and Margaret Robertson Morrison. Mr. Morrison was born on board a vessel, off Sandy Hook, in 1806, and died in 1852, on his homestead in the town of Lenox, where he had lived, numbered among the prominent farmers of the place. Mrs. Morrison, who was born in Fenner, September 27, 1815, survived him many years, and died in Lenox, October 14, 1880. Both were members of the Presbyterian church, and he was a steadfast Democrat in politics. They reared two children: Ann, wife of our subject; and Mary Jane, who died when only five years old. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Woodbury has been blessed by the birth of one son and two daughters: Will Grant, born February 6, 1867, was graduated from Cazenovia Seminary in 1885, he is a commercial traveller, married, and lives in Council Bluffs, Ia.; Grace Morrison, born April 4, 1871; and Edith Louise, February 22, 1877.
   Mr. Woodbury has been a lifelong resident of Peterboro, and since arriving at manhood has been closely allied with the agricultural and business interests of Madison County, active in the support of schools and churches, and interested in the advancement of any enterprise devoted to the intellectual and moral well-being of the community. He is respected as a business man, noted for his integrity, and has filled various offices of trust with fidelity. In politics he is a Republican, and has served for five years as Town Clerk, eight years as Justice of the Peace, and three years Clerk of the County, having been elected to the latter office in November, 1876, and serving during the years 1877-78-79. For a period of twenty years has been a Trustee of Evans Academy.

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