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Gad and Anne Woodruff Family

Mercer Home Page
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Alternate Spellings - Woodruff, Woodroff, Woodroof, Woodrop, Woodrough, Woodruf. The Mercer County family is consistently spelled Woodruff.

Links - Poffenbarger, Smith, Hoover, Gibson, Greer

Contacts - We have received wonderful information from two relatives of Marinas and Anna Marie Woodruff Smith. Claudette Stevenson is a descendant of Marinas and Anna Marie. Sharon Busch Freeland is a relative of Charles Arthur Butsch who married a daughter of Marinas and Anna Marie. Sharon has a Rootsweb Page that includes information on Marinus and Anna Marie. She sent a photo of the tombstone of Marinus and Anna Marie Woodruff Smith. Also a newspaper photo and article about Marinus from the Boulder [Colorado] Sunday Camera, Dec 23, 1001. June Carroll is researching the Hoover family and is interested in Sarah Murphy Woodruff Hoover. She sent Sarah's obituary. 6/2008 Kim Davis contacted us with additional information on Daniel Grant who married Sabra Woodruff, daughter of Gustavus.

Woodruff ancestors came to America in the 1600's so descendants have proliferated. In the 1790 census there were 144 heads of families listed ; 1 in Maine, 2 in Vermont, 8 in Massachusetts, 93 in Connecticut; 17 in New York; 9 in Pennsylvania; 5 in Virginia, 2 in North Carolina and 7 in South Carolina. Fortunately Gad's given name was unique and it is of great assistance in tracing the family.

Gad Woodruff, wife and one child are found in the 1810 census in the Town of Avon, Ontario County NY: 1 male under 10 [Truman], 1 male 26-44 [Gad], 2 females 16-25 [one of these was Anne and the other probably some female relative of either Gad or Anne]. Gad may have been born in Connecticut as he is found in the Connecticut census in 1790. We also noticed that the name "Truman" is found in many records in Connecticut. Claudette located a record for him in the War of 1812: Blakeslee's Regiment NY Volunteers, private.

The Woodruffs stopped in Indiana on their way to Mercer County, Illinois, as several of the children were born in Indiana. At present we do not know where in Indiana. They arrived in Mercer County sometime before 1840 as they are found in the 1840 census in T14NR5W (future New Boston Township): 1 male 15-20 [Robert Clarke], 2 males 20-30 [Gustavus and L. F.], 1 male 70-80 [Gad], 2 females 5-10 [Ladema and Unknown], 1 female 10-15 [Eliza], 1 female 20-30 [Anna Marie], 1 female 50-60 [Anne]. Nearby in 1840 we find their oldest son : Truman Woodruff, 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 30-40 [Truman], 1 female under 5, 1 female 5-10 [Evaline], 1 female 20-30.

Gad Woodruff purchased the E/2 SW of Section 35 in Township 14 North Range 5 West on 9/18/1839 [80 acres at $1.25 per acre]. The New Boston Township plat shows the land under other ownership in 1875.

Gad Woodruff died January 17, 1848, age 78 yr, 8 mo and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. Widow Anne is found in the town of New Boston in 1850: #298 Ann Woodruff, 69[?], born New York; Clarke Woodruff, 23, laborer, born Indiana; Lodema Woodruff, 21, born Indiana.

The children found in Mercer County are proven in various ways through census and marriage records. Before discussing the families of the various children, we will recount a couple of stories about daughter Eliza Woodruff, indicating she had a pretty hot temper. These came from relatives of the Poffenbarger family (Eliza's second husband). One is a court case record indicating Eliza was arrested for assault and battery in 1894 and was fined $3.80 plus court costs. Another is a bit of family lore indicating Eliza ran a man with a buckboard of gold off with a shotgun. He had come to buy the family farm. We mention these stories as we noted several failed marriages among the Woodruffs and wonder if the hot temper ran in the family!

Truman Woodruff Family

We have little information about the Woodruff part of this family. Truman is found nowhere in the 1850 census and we believe he died sometime before 1849. The date makes us curious as to whether he served in the Mexican War as did his brother-in-law, Marinus Smith. Truman's widow, Sarah, married Michael Poffenbarger on 4/26/1849 in Mercer County. We do not know Sarah's maiden name - we did not find a marriage record for Truman and Sarah in Indiana and believe they must have married in New York. From Michael and Sarah's census records (on the Poffenbarger page) we learn that Sarah was born about 1810 in New York. The tie that Gad and Anne Woodruff were parents of Truman is found in the 1860 census where Michael and Sarah Woodruff Poffenbarger are caring for 71 year old Annie Woodruff.

We have no idea who the children of Truman and Sarah Woodruff listed in the 1840 census were as without their names, it is impossible to trace them in 1850. We do know there was only one of them in the 1850 census in Mercer. Daughter Evaline Woodruff is found, age 16, born Indiana, with Michael and Sarah Poffenbarger in the 1850 census.

Evaline Woodruff married Willard C. Austin on 9/8/1853 in Mercer County. Willard C. Austin was a son of Duttee Austin and his first wife who was deceased by 1850. Duttee Austin was a carpenter, born Rhode Island, and Willard followed in his footsteps as a carpenter. Willard and Evaline are not found in Mercer County in 1860 but had returned by 1870: New Boston #91 Willard C. Austin, 38, carpenter, born Connecticut; Evaline, 37, born In; Edna, 11, born Il. They had another daughter, Jesse E., who died November 11, 1857, age 1 yr 5 mo, 18 days, and is buried in New Boston Cemetery.

Evaline Woodruff Austin died April 26, 1871 and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. Willard C. Austin married Mrs. Vashti Gibson Sellers, widow of James Sellers, on 4/13/1875 in Mercer County. They are found in the 1880 census in New Boston: Willard C. Austin, wagonmaker, 48, born Ct, father born RI, mother Ct; Vashti, 35, born Il, parents born NC; Rose Austin, daughter, 11, born Il. Rose Austin was actually Rose Sellers, daughter of James and Vashti Sellers. She married Nelson Wheeler Tieman on 18 September 1888 in Mercer County. Vashti Gibson Sellers Austin died in 1925 and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. We did not find a record there for Willard. Curiously Vashti is buried in the same plot as Linda Jay, wife of Marshall Austin, so there may be a relationship between Marshall and Willard, but if so we could locate no evidence.

Edna Austin, daughter of Willard and Evaline Woodruff Austin is found in New Boston in 1880 with Michael and Sarah Poffenbarger: Edna Austin, granddaughter, 21, born Illinois. Sarah at that time owned a millinery store and Edna was working in the millinery store. On 8/15/1882 Edna A. Austin married Charles O. Swan in Mercer County.

Gustavus Woodruff Family

Gustavus was born about 1817 in New York. He married Margaret Elizabeth Swarts [Swartz?] on 11/9/1845 in Mercer County. They are found in the 1850 census in New Boston Township: #333 Gustavus Woodruff, 33, farmer, born NY; Elizabeth, 22, born Pa; Emily, 4, born Il; Henry C., 2, born Il, Evaline 4/12, born Il.

Gustavus is found in the 1860 census in New Boston Township: #1895 Gustavus Woodruff, 37, laborer, born NY; Mary C., 25, born Md; Henry, 12, Il; Eveline, 10, Il; Sabrieu [Sabra], 7, born Il; Franklin, 2, Il; Edward, 6/12, Il. We did not find a second marriage for Gustavus in Illinois or in Iowa but he apparently has a different wife in 1860. The gap in the births of the children also suggests she is a second wife. Daughter Evaline, age 10, is also censused with Eliza Woodruff Poffenbarger in 1860, so may have been staying with her aunt.

Gustavus is listed on the delinquent tax list in the Aledo Weekly Record, May 14, 1861: Gustavus Woodruff spt SW 15 14N6W, 34 acres, delinquent $1.26. Such delinquencies were not unusual in those cash poor times but people actually seldom lost their land. This parcel was next to the Mississippi River in New Boston Township where people typically owned small parcels of timber that they used for firewood and lumber.

The History of Mercer County 1882 lists G. C. Woodruff as pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1863 in Aledo. This is not quite credible for Gustavus and given the proliferation of the name Woodruff, it may be a totally different person.

Gustavus and family are found in Oquawka, Henderson County, Illinois in 1870: #32 Gustavus Woodruff, 50 (estray? stray?) hunter, born NY; Mary, 35, Ohio; Edward, 10, Il; Addie, 6, Il; William, 1, Il. We are unable to locate them in 1880.

There is a marriage listed for Evaline Woodruff to William Wells on 10/19/1870 in Muscatine County, Iowa. In the 1880 census we find in Rock Island County, Illinois in South Moline: William Wells, 31, teamster, born Ohio, parents born Ohio; Evelina, 27, born Il; father born In, mother born Il; Edward, 9, born Ia; Flora, 7, Ia; Charles, 4, Ia; Lena, 1, Ia. We urge caution for Eveline as there were other Woodruff families in both Iowa and Rock Island, but the naming of a son Edward, perhaps for her brother, indicates she may have been daughter of Gustavus.

We find a marriage for Sabra Woodruff in Muscatine County on 6/02/1870 to Daniel F. Grant. They are found in Ward 1, Muscatine Iowa in 1870: #471 F. D. Grant, 25, carriage trimmer, born New York; Sabra Grant, 18, born Illinois, keeping house. By 1880 they had moved to Troy, Rensselaer County, 2nd Ward, New York: Daniel F. Grant, 36, carriage trimmer, born NY, parents born England; Sabra, 26, born Il, parents born Ky; William Grant, 3, born Iowa. Kim Davis tells us that Daniel F. Grant was first married to Margaret Crouse (verified 18 Jul 1867 in Muscatine County Marriage Records) and divorced in 1868 in Muscatine. They had one daughter Jessie Francis Grant born 28 June 1868.

Lucius F. Woodruff Family

L. F. Woodruff, was born about 1820 in Indiana and married Nancy Greer on 3/21/1844 in Mercer County. They are in Millersburg Township in the 1850 census (Township 14 North, Range 4 West): John Greer, Sr., 80, farmer, born Ireland; L. F. Woodruff, 30, born In; Nancy, 23, born In; Hannah M., 3, born Il, John M, 1, born Il. There is another child in the 1850 mortality schedule, Mary Jane Woodruff died May 1850, age 5, of brain inflamation. Given the location and the correspondence with L. F.'s family this was probably another child of theirs. By 1860 they are found in Woodson, Kansas Territory: #288 L. Y. Woodruff, 41, farmer, Ind; Nancy, 82(yes that is what it says!32?), Ind; Anna, 14, Il; John, 10, Il; James, 8, Il; Sarah, 6, Il; Minerva, 4, Il; Franklin, 3, Mo; Matilda 4/12, Ks. Could not locate them in 1870 but in 1880 they are in Reville, Logan County, Arkansas: Lucius F. Woodruff, 61, farmer, born In, father Ct, mother Ma; Nancy, 56, In, parents born Ireland; John, son, farm laborer, 27, Il; Minerva, 21, Il; William, 14, Ks; Thomas, 12, Arkansas; Calvin, 8, Arkansas.

Anna Marie Woodruff Smith

Anna Marie Woodruff was born about 1822 in Indiana and died in 1874 in Boulder, Colorado. She married Marinas G. Smith 12/8/1840 in Mercer County. They are found in 1850 in the Warren County, Il census: #1315 M. G. Smith, 32, tinner, born NY; Ann M., 28, born In; Walter H., 8, born Il; Jessie L, 5, Il; Sarah Ann, 2, Il. More children are documented on the Rootsweb page of Sharon Busch Freeland (link at the top of the page). In the 1840 census in Mercer County there is a Richard Smith living next door to the Gad Woodruff family. There is an extra male in the household, engaged in trade, and we think this was possibly Marinus.

Claudette Stevenson also has some fascinating history on the Marinus Smith family who pioneered in Boulder, Colorado. A short history and a photo of Marinus is included on the newspaper clipping linked at the top of the page. Claudette tells us that Marinus served in the Mexican War in the 1st Illinois Infantry (1846-1847) which makes us wonder if Truman Woodruff accompanied him and either died there or never returned to Mercer County. Claudette has the military record of Marinus.

Robert Clarke Woodruff Family

Robert Clarke Woodruff was born about 1827 in Indiana. He married Sarah F. Murphy, daughter of William and Anne Canaday Murphy, on 6/21/1850 in Mercer County. This was evidently just after the census was taken as Clarke is found with his mother, Anne Woodruff, in New Boston Township in 1850, Clarke Woodruff, laborer, age 23, born Indiana. Clarke and Sarah are not found in Mercer County in 1860. R. C. Woodruff is on the delinquent tax list in the Aledo Weekly Record May 14, 1861: R. C. Woodruff SWNE Sec 22, 36.2 acres 45 cents taxes due and hfNWNE Sec 22, 25.62 acres, 94 cents taxes due. His land was also along the Mississippi River and was timber land.

Robert Clarke Woodruff died before 1867 (Civil War??) as his widow Sarah Murphy Woodruff married James Hoover, son of Michael Hoover, on 6/17/1867 in Mercer County (we will be putting up a Hoover page). James Hoover had been a school teacher in Eliza Township in 1850 but was not in Mercer County in 1860, nor is the family found there in 1870. James Hoover died about 1879. His family is found in Plymouth County, Iowa, Washington Township in 1880: Sarah Hoover, 45, born Indiana, father born Virginia, mother born Pennsylvania; Mary Hoover, 12, born Dakota Territory; Eva Hoover, 16, born Il (if age is correct she is not Sarah's child unless she was a Woodruff); Ansil Hoover, 10, born Iowa; Jasper Hoover, 8, Ia; James, 6, born Iowa. Sarah died in Wisconsin in 1917 (obituary courtesy June Carroll).

Eliza Woodruff Hoover Poffenbarger Family

Eliza Woodruff is the daughter about whom there are several stories of her legendary temper (see paragraph at the top of the page). She apparently was small and feisty according to Poffenbarger researchers. Eliza married first to John Hoover on 1/12/1846 in Mercer County. He was son of Michael Hoover and brother of the James Hoover who married Robert Clarke Woodruff's widow. The marriage apparently didn't "take" as both later married other people. John Hoover married Delilah Ann Dobbins in Mercer County in 1860 and Eliza married Elias Poffenbarger, son of Michael and Barbara Putnam Poffenbarger, on 2/2/1859 in Mercer County.

John and Eliza Woodruff Hoover are found in New Boston Township in 1850: John Hoover, 27, laborer, born Virginia; Eliza, 21, born Indiana. Apparently John and Eliza had no children.

Elias and Eliza Woodruff Hoover Poffenbarger are found in New Boston in 1860: #1946 Elias Poffenbarger, age 36, blacksmith, born Ohio; Eliza, 32, born Indiana. Eveline Woodruff, daughter of Gustavus Woodruff, age 10, born Il is living with them, and Eliza's sister Ladema Woodruff, age 28, born In, is working as a domestic for them.

They are found in New Boston in 1870: #63 Elias Poffenbarger, 36, blacksmith, born Ohio; Eliza, 41, born Indiana, Frank, age 7, Il; Burt, age 5, Il. Apparently they also had a daughter in the early 1860's who died but for some reason her tombstone was never placed. There is more about the family on the Poffenbarger page.

Ladema Woodruff

Ladema Woodruff and William Hays took out a marriage license on 7/18/1852 but either the marriage never took place or they separated as Ladema is found as Ladema Woodruff, working in the household of her sister Eliza Poffenbarger in 1860. We have nothing further on her.

9/30/2007 Added information on the parentage of Willard Austin, husband of Evaline Woodruff, daughter of Truman.

Updates: 7/3/2008 Updated information for Sabra Woodruff Grant, daughter of Gustavus Woodward. Added 1870 census for Gustavus and family.