Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


EDWARD WAYNE WOOLDRIDGE. Practical industry, wisely and vigorously applied, never fails of success. It carries a man onward and upward, brings out his individual character and acts as a powerful stimulus to the efforts of others. The greatest results in life are often attained by simple means and the exercise of the ordinary qualities of common sense and perseverance. This fact having been recognized early in life by Edward Wayne Wooldridge, for many years one of the well-known members of the Frisco office force in Springfield, he seized the small opportunities that he encountered on the rugged hill that leads to life's lofty summit where lies the ultimate goal of success, never attained by the weak, ambitionless and inactive.

Mr. Wooldridge was born at Stockton, Cedar county, Missouri, on Friday, August 10, 1866. He is a son of Madison Brasher and Ann Eliza (Morgan) Wooldridge, the father a native of Christian county, Kentucky, where his birth occurred on December 22, 1832; and the later was born in eastern Tennessee, October 27, 1847. His great-grandfather was Edward Wooldridge, born on April 30, 1789, and his maternal great-great-grandfather was Thomas Brasher. Each side of the house may be traced back to sterling old Southern ancestry. The parents of our subject grew to maturity in Dixie land, received such educational advantages as, the times afforded, and in pioneer days joined the numerous train of emigrants to southwest Missouri, locating in Cedar county, where they became well and favorably known for their industry, old-fashioned hospitality and general spirit of altruism. The father, who was born and reared a Southerner, was at heart a stanch Unionist, and, like many another during the polemic civil drama of the early sixties, had conflicting opinions as to his duties. He first served six months in the Confederate cause, then enlisted in Company A, Fifteenth Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He always said the hardest battle in which he ever took part was the "parting of the ways," when having to decide between love for the South and its traditions and institutions and his conscience. A physician by profession, he served at the front as surgeon, was in many of the great battles of the war and was several times wounded. He once performed the operation of trephining on a wounded comrade, with only an ax for an anvil, a pair of old scissors and an old-time half-dollar which he shaped to nearly fit the broken skull; a shell from the enemy's ranks had just destroyed what crude surgical instruments he then possessed. But the patient recovered and is at this writing living at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, strong and healthy. The wound was washed in dirty water through which a cannon had but recently been drawn, but the same kind of water often made a very fine cup of coffee, an experience which thousands of soldiers on both sides had. After the close of the war Doctor Wooldridge returned to Stockton and resumed the practice of his profession and for many years his name was a household word in Cedar county, throughout which he enjoyed a good practice. His death occurred in 1899, and his wife passed away in 1892. They were the parents of the following children: Edward Wayne Wooldridge, Clara May Davis, Carrie Lee Harris, Lula Margaret Wooldridge, John Franklin Wooldridge and Madison Bruce Wooldridge.

Edward W. Wooldridge grew to manhood at Stockton and received his early education in the public schools there and the Stockton Academy, later attending the Southwestern Telegraph Institute, in Sedalia, Missouri, the Southwestern Business College in Springfield, Missouri, the Berlitz School of Languages in St. Louis, Missouri, the Strasburg Conservatory of Music, Washington University of St. Louis, and the Cincinnati Phonographic Institute. He thus obtained a high education, making an excellent record in each of these institutions, in fact, he has remained a student all his life and is familiar with the world's best literature, the sciences, the arts and the current topics of the age.

The major portion of Mr. Wooldridge's life has been spent in railroad service; however, when a young man he was a banker, a mine owner and a teacher. He is now interested in the Joplin lead and "Jack" (zinc) fields. He always taught young men who could not afford the expense of special training. His specialty was rapid mathematical calculations, in which he is commonly spoken of as one of the highest proficiency. He entered the employ of the Frisco System in 1891, filling various positions in the general offices at Springfield and St. Louis until promoted to his present position, chief clerk of the car service department. Owing to his fidelity, accuracy and trustworthiness he has always been regarded by the head officials of the road as one of their most efficient and worthy employees.

Mr. Wooldridge was married on December 18, 1909, to Beatrice Van Derford, a lady of many estimable characteristics. She is a daughter of Monroe and Belinda (Britton) Van Derford, a prominent family of Neosho, Missouri. To this union one child has been born, namely: Wayne Wooldridge.

Politically, Mr. Wooldridge is a Democrat, but always votes independently in local elections. He never aspired to any political office, not even having been judge or clerk at elections. Religiously, he is a member of the Christian church, or Disciples of Christ. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic order, both branches of the York and Scottish Rites, a past potentate of Abou Ben Adhem Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, a past master and past high priest in the Masonic Blue Lodge and Chapter. He holds beautiful jewels presented by each of these bodies in honor of long years of devoted service to the cause and in recognition of his having been presiding officer of the several bodies. He is one of the best known and most influential Masons in southern Missouri, and one would judge from his daily life that he endeavors to live up to the high precepts of this time-honored order. He is also a member of the Woodmen of the World and a vice-president of the Frisco Railroad Club of Springfield. He was offered a Carnegie hero medal, for what his modesty calls "alleged," heroism in rescuing a boy and an old man from drowning in icy waters at St. Louis in the year 1898, when he plunged into the stream and after two trips brought them safely to shore; however, the experience was a dear one as he was not only badly cut and mangled by the heavy pieces of floating ice, but he suffered a long time from the exposure. Personally, he is a plain, unassuming gentleman of genial and courteous address, makes and retains friends readily, being esteemed for his true worth by all with whom he comes in contact.

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