Friday, May 21, 2010

William D. Wooden

It always amazes me that so many people are willing to preserve our history. I recently had the opportunity to look at a scanned and bound booklet of notes and information that had belonged to Winifred Cowles Glanville of Fleming, NY. This information had been gathered by a local family who found it at a barn sale in the 1960's. Fleming is adjacent to Scipio, and I found some Scipio names and information.
Chief among them was Winifred's notes regarding William D. Wooden. She states he lived in (Great) Lot 20, with a Post Office address of Scipioville. Apparently William wrote articles concerning early history of Cayuga County that were published on a weekly basis in the Cayuga County Independent in 1874.
Winifred's notes tell me that he also authored a historical sketch of Scipioville and vicinity that was published in the Auburn Daily Advertiser, the Auburn Journal and the Moravia Citizen in 1877.
I knew I had heard this name before so I took a look in Storke's 1879 History of Cayuga County and in the Scipio section on page 422 I found him. The entire page was given over to a lengthy article, a picture of William and one of his wife. Her name is not given other than as Mrs. Wm. D. Wooden. The pictures are of an older couple and the article states he is in his 77th year; as William was married twice it is likely this is his second wife who he married in 1857.
The article beneath the pictures is a thorough biography of William's life and work. It tells us he was born in Fishkill, NY in 1802 and came to Scipio in 1814 with his family. He was a teacher for several years in the area, beginning at age 16, and a prolific writer as well as a farmer. Many of the names mentioned as his students are familiar as early Scipio settlers - names such as Benoni Smith, Calvin Tracy, Wm. Howland and E. B. King to mention a few.
William was proud of his record of voting in every election and never missed a town meeting. The article gives a very good picture of a man of firm beliefs and actions.
Now I will visit to see if I can find any of William Wooden's articles about Scipioville!


Liz Brown said...

I was very interested in your comment as William D. Wooden was a brother of my greatx3 grandfather, Ira Wooden. The family originated in Dutchess Co. NY and seems to have moved to Cayuga Co. about 1810. My theory is that they were part of a group of Quakers who were going to the area of Norwich, Ontario; an account of that journey indicates that the group met travellers from Canada in the Finger Lakes area and were discouraged by their tales of the weather in Canada. I believe that Ira's family elected to stay in the Scipio area and he went on to Burford, Ontario, Canada. He married 3 times and fathered 17 children. There is a mention of his death in the Fulton Times. Interestingly, my own father wrote articles on the history of Burford for the local newspaper--must be genetic! Thanks for posting this item. Liz Brown, Stratford, Ontario

Sandie Stoker Gilliland said...

Thanks for sharing that, Liz! Have you seen Storke's book? It contains a drawing of William and his wife.
Your Quaker theory is likely correct. Scipio and environs had many early settlers who were Quakers. Do you know what meeting they may have belonged to? We still have an active Quaker population, perhaps they can help you discover if your theory is correct.

Liz Brown said...

Hi Sandie
I haven't seen the original Storke book but have a scan of the page with a picture of William & Mrs. Wooden. His father was also William, and he and his wife Mary Palmer were recorded as having moved to Scipio from The Oblong. (Don't have the source handy for that.)
Liz Brown