Thomas J. Woodworth (deceased), a younger brother of William, was born at Rensselaerville, Schoharie Co., N. Y., June 9, 1808. His parents removed to Madison County, N. Y., when he was about eight years old. When about nine he was afflicted with what was known as the putrid epidemic, and of a large number of cases in that region, he was the only one who survived. But from its effects he never recovered, his hearing being permanently affected and in other respects he suffered. Growing up amid the rugged activities of pioneer life, he was thrown upon his own resources, and was thus trained to habits of persevering industry and self-reliance. Having secured such intellectual training as was afforded by the district school, he entered Oneida Conference Seminary, Cazenovia, N. Y., where he spent some time in study. His name appears on the records of that institution for 1829. He was dissuaded from entering the legal profession, which he had contemplated doing, on account of his imperfect hearing. Some three years were then spent in the employ of Col. Hezekiah Sage, of Sullivan, a part of the time as foreman on his extensive farm. One fall he sowed 300 bushels of seed wheat by hand. With the means thus obtained in the employ of Col. Sage he made the first payment in the purchase of a farm in Fenner in the same county. In 1833 he was united in marriage with Sarah S. Wager, daughter of Philip Wager, Esq., of Sullivan. Her father was in early life a pioneer preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church He joined the itinerancy in 1790. In 1792 he was one of the eight ministers who formed the first New England Conference as organized by Bishop Asbury, with Jesse Lee as Presiding Elder. He was the first minister of this conference sent into the States of Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. He located about 1800. He was brother of Rev. David Wager, of Columbia County, N. Y., and of Henry Wager, father of Hon. David Wager, law partner of Horatio Seymour, and grandfather of Gen. Henry Wager Halleck. Immediately after his marriage Mr. Woodworth removed to his Fenner farm. Twenty-six years were passed here in the enjoyment of the respect of the community, shown by the many positions of honor and trust he held in township and county; among them Commissioner of Deeds and Magistrate for several years. One incident of his life exemplifies his indomitable energy and perseverance very forcibly. When he had nearly paid for his farm and began to feel in somewhat easy circumstances, he undersigned a friend and relative to a large amount, and by so doing lost heavily and was plunged into debt so deeply that his friends despaired of his saving his farm. But he at once sold off everything except the bare necessaries for farming purposes, and with an industry that knew no flagging, set to work to pay off the debt, a task which took more than ten of the best years of his life to accomplish. In 1859 he sold his farm and removed to Cazenovia in the same county, and from there to Windham, this county, in 1860. His deafness increasing, he led a more retired life in Windham than in former years. Home was the most attractive place to him and to make it enjoyable he gave his best energies. He was a keen observer of men and things, and all his actions and words evinced a sound judgment which was held in high esteem by all who knew him. From the days of his majority he was a Democrat in politics, voting for Buchanan, but supporting Lincoln in 1860, and ever after the Republican party with zeal. During the Rebellion he was a member of the War Committee of Windham, and did what lay in his power to support the Union cause. Mr. Woodworth was of an inquiring, active cast of mind, was a great reader during the intervals from more active duties, always seeking information. His knowledge of the political history of our country was extensive. He delighted in discussion, and his sword of argument was edged with a satire and wit which rendered it keen and cutting. Though firm and decided in his convictions, he extended to others in the sphere of thought the suffrage he secured to himself. In early life he became a Methodist, he while here holding a certificate of membership from the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Cazenovia, N. Y. Thorough honesty was his admiration, and for hypocrisy he entertained the highest contempt. To be more than he seemed rather than less was his highest aim. These traits were exemplified in his character. In business he was successful in spite of his misfortunes, and he accumulated a handsome competency, far in advance of those whose dishonesty robbed him of years of toil. To be a good farmer, according to his ideal, was his highest happiness as an occupation. On coming to Windham he bought Lot 33, then known as the Willis Strickland farm. It was ever after his residence. He made his home in Fenner an attractive place, and his Windham home will long bear the impress of his energy and love of order. He died suddenly of paralysis, January 30, 1884.

 

 

History of Portage County, Ohio, Warner, Beers & Co., Chicago, 1885