Biography of W. H. Woodin

W. H. Woodin, now living in the village of St. Joseph, has had a very active and useful career in Champaign County as a farmer, contractor, business man and public spirited citizen.

He was born at Catlin, Illinois, a son of Moses and Caroline (Walcott) Woodin. His father was born in New York and his mother in Indiana, and they were among the pioneers of Champaign County, coming from Indiana and locating east of St. Joseph, spending several years at Burr Oak Grove. Moses Woodin developed a large business as a farmer. Witlt his three sons he carried on an extensive estate. At one time he farmed the land where the village of St. Joseph now stands. The last time the site of that village was a scene of waving grain the fields were cultivated by the Woodin family. His son Ira drove a team helping grade the railroad through St. Joseph. Ira is now a prominent farmer in Southern Missouri. When the Woodin family came here most of the country was wild, and deer ran over the prairies in large droves. The hunters chased them with hounds, and furnished a sport which the little boys greatly enjoyed watching. The family of Moses Woodin consisted of six children, three sons and three daughters.

W. H. Woodin grew up in this county, received his education in the local schools, and at the age of thirty-four married Sarah J. Sperry. She was born north of Urbana, daughter of Elias and Serena Sperry. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Woodin located in St. Joseph Township and for several years he was engaged in farming. About that time the problem of drainage became acute and the efforts of individuals and communities were concentrated upon its solution. Large sums of money were invested in digging ditches, and Mr. Woodin and others took up ditch contracting. He kept several teams and hired men and built some of the largest ditches in the county. He also did contract work when the Interurban Railway was constructed through St. Joseph.

Always a very busy man, Mr. Woodin has at the same time possessed that public spirit which causes him to sacrifice some of his private interests in order that he may serve the public. He was elected to the office of constable and served sixteen years. He was many times called upon to perform his official duties in St. Joseph, Stanton and Ogden townships and had some trying experiences. He was oftentimes called upon to hunt down hardened criminals and arrest them. The most unpleasant task he ever had to perform was when a warrant was placed in his hands to arrest a woman. Mr. Woodin confesses that he would rather arrest five men than one woman. A woman invariably breaks down and cries, and he would rather confront physical violence than tears. At the present time Mr. Woodin is serving as assessor of St. Joseph Township. Three children were born to him and his wife, one son and two daughters, Lester, Isa and Maud. They were educated in the public schools of St. Joseph Township. Maud obtained a first grade teacher’s certificate and did some very successful work in the schools of Champaign County, teaching in the Argo, South Mayview and Tipton schools. She was much beloved personally and for the sake of her work. It is an old saying that death loves a shining mark, and this girl proved the truth of the rule when she was taken away at the age of twenty-two. She was an honored and active member of the Christian Church at St. Joseph. Everything was done by her parents to effect her recovery, but with no avail.

Before her death the Woodin family had been visited by the death angel, when Mrs. Woodin entered into rest. She was a loving wife and mother and a kind neighbor, and many grateful memories wreath her name.

Since the death of his wife Mr. Woodin has continued to live at the old home with his children and since his daughter’s death Isa has been his housekeeper. The Woodin family are attendants at the Christian Church, and Miss Isa is one of its active members.

Fraternally Mr. Woodin is a charter member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge and the only charter member of that order living in the village of St. Joseph. He is also a member of the Woodmen Order. In matters of politics he is a stanch Republican, having cast his first vote for that party and has never experienced a change of heart nor has he found a solid reason why he should deviate from the support of an organization which has done so much to maintain the integrity of this country.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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