Names Index
Portrait Index

   GEORGE B. WOODMAN was born December 15, 1827, on the farm which he now owns and occupies, it having been in the family for three generations. His father, Brownell Woodman, was born on the same farm, September 12, 1799, his father, Sylvester Woodman, having been born at Little Compton, R. I., March 24, 1760, where his parents, William and Mary (Pearce) Woodman, had spent their entire lives. Sylvester Woodman was reared in his native State, and, when young, was apprenticed to learn the trade of cordwainer, but in 1777 ran away, enlisted, and fought for independence in the Revolutionary War. For six years he was in the army, and was at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered. He returned to Rhode Island, where he remained until 1796, when he decided on coming to New York State, and, with his wife and five children, made the journey by boat through Long Island Sound, then up the Hudson River to Albany on a sloop with Captain Gifford. From there he came by team, and purchased a tract of timber land in what was then the town of Paris, Herkimer County, but is now Madison County. Here he erected a log house and cleared a farm, enduring toil and privations,--the nearest market being at Albany,--and being obliged to raise the necessaries of life for his family off the farm. The mother of a family in these days had very few idle moments. Besides cooking, washing, caring for and tending her family, she had to card, spin, and weave the clothing for them; and their richest dressing was this homespun fashioned into garments by her deft hands. To these sturdy pioneers in the deep-tangled wild woods of the head-waters of the beautiful Chenango were born six more children, making eleven; namely, William, Borden, Mary, Lusannah, Pearce, John, Brownell, Rebecca, Isaac, Falley, and Betsey. Among these pioneer women Mrs. Sylvester Woodman proved herself in every sense a worthy helpmate, bearing without murmur the many burdens laid upon her. She came of sturdy New England stock, having been born in Rhode Island, the daughter of John and Lusannah (Borden) Brownell, her name being Merebah Brownell.
   The father of our subject, Brownell Woodman, was a carpenter, and followed that trade a few years, when he turned his attention to farming. He purchased a tract of land from his father, where he built a house and lived for some years; but, succeeding his father in the ownership of the homestead, he resided there until his death, in April, 1861. He was one of the first to declare political action in the anti-slavery movement as the only effective lever in the overthrow of the institution, and his voice was often heard in private and public debate. His wifeís name was Ann Brownell. She was born in Dutchess County, New York, and died in the village of Hamilton in 1870. There were eight children born to this marriage; namely, Edmund B., George B., Enoch B., Abigail B., Merebah B., William B., Ann B., and Ruth B.
   George B. Woodman was educated at the common schools of his district, afterward at Hamilton Academy, and at eighteen commenced teaching in his home section, receiving fourteen dollars per month and boarding around. Concluding that in the growing West there were better chances for a young man, in 1849 he went to Michigan, and taught for six months at Saginaw; but, the longing for his old home being too strong, he returned to his native State, and taught three terms in the village of Hamilton, Madison County, continuing to teach for a part of each year until 1859, when he directed his whole attention to the management of the farm. After his motherís death he bought the interest of the other heirs in the old homestead, and is there engaged in general farming, hop-growing, and dairying. He has erected good and substantial buildings, and otherwise greatly improved the place. He married Miss Mary Janette Simmons in 1855. She was born in the town of Madison, May 2, 1833, the daughter of Zarah and Rebecca Simmons. She died May 18, 1890. There were four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Woodman: namely, Jay M., Zarah S., Mary Janette, and Seth J. Jay M. married Francena I. Stowell, and has four children. Zarah S. married Hannah M. Morgan, and has three children. Seth J. married Cornia H. Clark, and has one child.
   Mr. Woodman was formerly a member of the Free-soil party, but has belonged to the Republican organization since its formation, having filled several offices of trust, such as District Clerk for a number of years, and also Assessor. Being a man of considerable learning, he takes great interest in educational matters, in connection with his other affairs. His position as one of the representatives of the pioneer families makes him an interesting and competent authority on matters pertaining to the history of his county; and there are very few better posted or more entertaining in narrating those events than is Mr. Woodman.

©1999- All rights reserved.