Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
RANSOM BENTON WOODWARD. Life primarily is designed for what joy one can get from it. Happiness is the thing we all crave, the thing that we all need, for it best builds character; it comes from several causes, one a fine state of health. Happily the country affords the ideal place for bodily health and vigor. Happiness comes from the use of the body in vigorous and successful endeavor. Here is where life on the farm comes in strong; there is chance to develop the body perfectly in all manner of healthy work. And there is no need of overworking in the country. Happiness comes, too, from having an appreciative mind able to take in the beauty of the world and the delights of one's own environment. This application comes from training, largely. There are men who cannot see with any joy the most serene landscape and even view with utter indifference the splendor of the autumn woods. Ransom Benton Woodward is a farmer who fully appreciates the advantages for happiness in a rural life and beauty of the outdoors.
Mr. Woodward was born two miles north of Bois D'Arc, Greene county, Missouri, April 3, 1850. He is a son of Jacob and Susan Caroline (Robinson) Woodward. The father was born on September 13, 1819, in Calloway county, Kentucky, and was a son of Edward Woodward, who was born in Virginia about 1795. The latter's father immigrated to America from Scotland prior to the Revolutionary war, he and his four brothers working their way across the Atlantic on board an old-fashioned sailing vessel, the trip requiring several months, and they fought under Washington in the Revolutionary war. The father of our subject came to Greene county, Missouri, in 1837 and bought a distillery three miles northeast of Ash Grove, which he operated until about 1850. The first farm on which he lived after locating in this county was rented from Governor Polk. Early in the fifties Jacob Woodward entered one hundred and sixty acres from the government on the Leeper Prairie, now known as the Thorn place, and he remained there until 1857. In 1859 he bought the farm now occupied by his son, Ransom B. of this sketch. It lies in section 2, and consists of one hundred and sixty acres. He erected the family home here, which was at that time the only dwelling for miles around. The building is still standing and is used by our subject for storage purposes. During the Civil war Jacob Woodward enlisted in the state militia shortly after hostilities began, under Capt. F. S. Jones, and he remained in the service until the close of the war, and, being an excellent soldier, rose to the rank of orderly sergeant under Gen. C. B. Holland, with whom he fought at the battle of Springfield, January 8, 1863, when General Marmaduke and General Shelby attacked the place. After the war he continued general farming and stock raising. He devoted especial attention to mule raising, up to the time of the war.
Ransom B. Woodward was reared on the home farm and his schooling was limited to about fifteen months in the Kelley school, the only graded school in Greene county at that time. It was under the management of Major L. P. Downing and Professor Crane. Our subject lived at home and assisted with the general work there until he was twenty-seven years old, at which time he married, on October 3, 1877, Margaret Elizabeth McQuigg, a daughter of John W. and Elizabeth Jane (Robberson) McQuigg. The former died on August 16, 1883, but the latter is still living, having survived her husband thirty years. She was born on August 28, 1835. She makes her home with our subject, keeping house for him, his wife having died on September 27, 1911. She was a woman of many praiseworthy characteristics and was greatly beloved by all who knew her. She was a good wife and helpmate, and no small part of our subject's success was due to her counsel, encouragement and sympathy.
Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Woodward, namely: Freddy Elbert, born in 1881, died in infancy; Edwin Deams, born on October 1, 1882, was educated at Drury College, Springfield, and he returned to the farm in 1902; on September 16, 1904, he married Jessie C. Brower, a daughter of Jesse D. and Mary E. Brower of Center township, this county. He lives on a farm adjoining that of his father and follows general farming. Our subject has devoted a large portion of his time during the past thirty-five years to cattle and mule raising and has been very successful. He now owns two hundred acres in one farm in sections 2 and 3, East Center township, and eighty acres in section I, this township. The former place is one of the best in the township, has good drainage into Clear creek and is well improved in every way. On it is to be found a substantial residence and good outbuildings; in fact, two comfortable residences, one of which is occupied by his son.
In 1909 Mr. Woodward and wife made an extended trip through the West and Northwest, including visits at Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, Seattle, Spokane and Billings. After Mrs. Woodward's death our subject took another trip west as far as Los Angeles, where he spent two weeks, and then visited San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, on up the coast to Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, remaining six weeks in Seattle.
Politically he is a Democrat, and his support has never been withheld from any movement having for its object the general public good. He is a member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association.
Springfield-Greene County Library