Orpheus S. Woodward

Orpheus S. Woodward
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Captain of Company F, 83rd PA. Infantry
Colonel of 83rd PA. Infantry
Lost his right leg in the Battle of the Wilderness
From "A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans", written & compiled by William E. Connelley

Orpheus S. Woodward

COL. ORPHEUS S. WOODWARD. The career of Colonel Woodward, who is past fourscore and is one of the most honored and respected citizens of Neosho Falls, represents a broad track of useful effort and service, beginning as a teacher, changing to the dangerous occupation as a soldier in the Civil war, subsequently as a rancher, business man, public official in Kansas, where he has lived the greater part of the last half century.
Colonel Woodward was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, May 1, 1835. The Woodwards were colonial Americans, tracing their original home to England. It is probable that the first point of settlement in America was in Connecticut. Oliver Woodward, grandfather of Colonel Woodward, was born April 12, 1772 lived in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois, and died at Barry, Illinois, about 1847.
Ebenezer Woodward, father of Colonel Woodward, was born in Ohio April 16, 1804. He grew up in his native state, was married in Erie County, Pennsylvania, where he spent many years as a farmer and carpenter and finally retired to San Diego, California, where he died January 25, 1882. In early life he became a whig, and from that party transferred his allegiance to the republican organization when it came into existence. He was a very active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church and for many years a pillar in his local society. Ebenezer Woodward married Cornelia Prindle, who was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, May 31, 1814, and died at Harbor Creek in the same county December 17, 1855. Her children were: Augustus G., who was born May 1, 1833, and is now a retired blacksmith living at Tulare, California. The second in the family is Col. O. S. Woodward. Caroline, born August 4, 1839, married Charles Keller, a rancher at Kaweah, California. Mary Cornelia, born March 23, 1848, was married April 8, 1866, to Robert Cowden, a farmer now deceased, and she now spends her time partly in California and partly in Pennsylvania with her children. Georgia is living at Los Angeles, the widow of John Desmond a farmer.
Orpheus S. Woodward spent his early life in that interesting and historic section of Northwestern Pennsylvania where he was born. He attended the public schools, also the Waterford Academy and the Northwestern State Normal School at Edinboro, Pennsylvania. His work as a schoolmaster was done through portions of about five years.
In 1861 Colonel Woodward enlisted in the Eighty-third Regiment of Pennsylvania Infantry. The record of that regiment during the war is practically the record of Colonel Woodward’s personal service. He was in nearly all the important battles of the Fifth Army Corps. He was at Antietam, at Fredericksburg, at Chancellorsville, at Gettysburg, the battle of the Wilderness, Gaines Mills, Malvern Hill, and during the hottest of the fighting in the wilderness in May, 1864, he was wounded and being incapacitated for further service was given an honorable discharge in the following September.
At the close of his military career he returned to Waterford, Pennsylvania, and while living there was twice elected a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, being chosen on the republican ticket. Colonel Woodward came to Kansas in 1868. His first location was at Humboldt, but he soon afterwards located on a ranch in Woodson County and directed its operations for a couple of years. He then came to Neosho Falls, and from the spring of 1870 for eight years was in the hardware business. Colonel Woodward then returned East to Erie, Pennsylvania, and spent three years in that city and in Youngstown, Ohio, but with that exception has been a resident of Neosho Falls for over forty-five years. Since locating there in 1883 he has given his time chiefly to the management of his farms and varied business interests. Colonel Woodward owns a farm of 420 acres near Yates Center and another place of 21 acres on the Neosho River, also in Woodson County. One of the landmarks of Neosho Falls is the Woodward home, situated on five acres of ground at Oak and Eighth streets.
His presence in Neosho Falls has not been without corresponding benefit to the community. For many years he was a member of the school board, served several terms as mayor, and also as a member of the council. He acted several times as master of Tuscan Lodge, No. 82, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and is past commander of Neosho Falls Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and belongs to the military order of the Loyal Legion. During the administration of Governor Humphrey Colonel Woodward served as a member of the Kansas State Senate. He was brevetted brigadier general.
About the time he went into the army Colonel Woodward was happily married at Waterford, Pennsylvania, September 9, 1861, to Miss Marietta Himrod. She was of an old and prominent family of Western Pennsylvania. She was born at Waterford February 12, 1837 and died at Neosho Falls, Kansas, April 11, 1887. Her parents were David and Abigail (Patten) Himrod. Her father died at Waterford, Pennsylvania, November 23, 1877, and her mother at Chicago, Illinois, January 29, 1899. Colonel Woodward has three children. Anna Cornelia presides over the domestic arrangements of Colonel Woodward and is also a very capable business woman and has the supervision of her father’s farm. Kate Abigail, who lives at Pewaukee, Wisconsin, is the widow of George Franklin Clark, who followed farming during his lifetime. Mary Alice first married James S. McDonald, a publisher, and is now the wife of Joseph B. Ruff, who is superintendent of a department of the firm of Hirsch-Stein Company at Hammond, Indiana.

The Neosho Falls Post, Thursday, July 3, 1919, Pg 1

Colonel Orpheus S. Woodward


Our distinguished citizen and our good friend has been called hence, and life after a great loss can never be quite the same again.

But it is a genuine consolation to recount the leading characteristics of this loyal and courageous soldier, this manly man, this refined and cultivated gentleman. We have been so fortunate in having such a character among us through the long years. It is such a high privilege to pay such tribute as we may.

Orpheus S. Woodward was born May 1, 1835, at Harborville Pennsylvania. He was fortunate in his birth in a sterling Christian home. He had good educational advantages for the time, and had achieved success as a teacher when the first call came for the Civil War in April of ’61. He enlisted at once as a private on the ninety day provision. Then the 83rd Pennsylvania regiment was organized, he was selected as a captain in this unit, and was married in September of that year to Marietta Himrod, a woman of rare quality and a war-bride most worthy of her chosen man.

Captain Woodward went at once to the front after this great event, and during the war participated in a score of great battles. After Gettysburg he was promoted to a colonelcy, and during the battle of the Wilderness he was so severely wounded that the amputation of his leg was necessary. He was brevetted brigadier-general for his conspicuous courage and efficiency, and upon his return to private life he heard the call of Kansas, and engaged in farming on Cherry Creek in this county in ’68. He later secured a place on Owl Creek, and also entered into the hardware business at Toronto and Neosho Falls with D. W. Finney, who had also served in the Civil War, and until his death two years since, one of our most prominent citizens.

In ’71 the Woodward family moved into our favored town and became at once a strong factor in the life of the community. The business prospered, but after some years was sold out to Mr. Finney in order to enter into a better opening in Pennsylvania. But the family returned again to Neosho Falls, and though Mrs. Woodward passed on thirty years age, the three daughters remained. Miss Kate and Miss Alice went into homes of their own in the process of time, but Miss Anna has been her father’s constant companion and stay, and the home has stood during all this period for high thought and fine feeling and cordial hospitality.

This latter part of Col. Woodward’s life has been spent in farming interests and cattle breeding, and he was very fond of his garden, his poultry and his bees and his flowers. He was a notable figure in the politics of the state, and served with honor, as he did in all things, at one time in the State Senate. And in all local matters his fine judgment and ready action could always be depended upon. The more recent years were filled with accession of pain and suffering, but he strove to keep in touch with public matters with all his native courage, and he endured his deprivations with such a fine spirit that those who tried to strengthen and cheer him received fare more than they ever gave.

And finally the time came, surrounded by the most loving and efficient care, for his long sleep. The sun goes down at the close of the day, but the night is full of stars. It was an unusually long and distinctive life, and all life has been greatly enriched thereby. He sleeps beneath the flag he loved, and it is our flag, too. He was ready to make the supreme sacrifice for his country, and we enjoy the benefits he gained for us. How shall we best perpetuate the vital forces he employed?

A very simple and appropriate funeral service was held at the home on last Sunday afternoon at five o’clock, and it was largely attended by old and devoted friends from Yates Center, Iola, Emporia and Independence, as well as an interested concourse from town and country side.

The casket, draped in the Loyal Legion flag, was placed in the reception hall in a bower of luxuriant flowers redolent of the general sympathy, and Miss Florence L. Snow, out of her long intimacy with the family, read the nineteen Psalm as her choice of the finest expression for the occasion, following it with a brief appreciation of the beloved character.

The beautiful song “Calling Me” as rendered by John McCormick, was played on the victrola, and after the last look into the face to be seen upon the earth no more, interment was made in the Cedarvale cemetery. The impressive ceremony of the Grand Army of the Republic was used at the beautifully prepared grave, conducted by Commander Jackson of the Neosho Falls Post and Chaplain Daymude of the Yates Center Post. Every heart was especially touched by the part taken by Col. W. L. Parsons, so long the heart-friend and comrade of Col. Woodward, his voice trembling with his emotion, and his face reflecting the light that shines from the other side. Taps was sounded by Mr. Ray Pyke in the uniform of the late war, and Orpheus S. Woodward waits the reveille of the morning.

The two surviving daughters, Miss Anna Woodward and Mrs. Alice Ruff, who has returned to the old town for a permanent home, with one grand-child, Mr. Ben Clark of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, were all the immediate relatives present at the obsequies. Mr. Clark has but recently returned from war service in France, and another grandchild, Miss Helen McDonald has also arrived safely on this side after two years Red Cross hospital work overseas, being like her mother, Mrs. Ruff, a registered nurse. Miss Marietta Clark, is still in University training. What a blessed thing it is to live in a little good town like this where we are all like one big family and take an endless interest in each other. F.L.S.

Pages 882-884, from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901

ORPHEUS S. WOODWARD, who is practically living a retired life in Neosho Falls, has met with creditable success in business, his honorable career having gained for him the high regard of all with whom he has been associated. He was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, on the 1st of May, 1835, and is a son of Ebenezer Woodward, whose birth occurred in New York on the 15th of April, 1804. When a young man the father went to Pennsylvania and was there married to Miss Cornelia Prindle, who was born in Erie county, May 31, 1814. Through the greater part of his business career he carried on agricultural pursuits. The wife died December 17, 1855, at the age of forty-one years, and in 1876 he went to California where his death occurred July 25, 1882, when he was seventy-eight years of age. This worthy couple were the parents of seven children, five of whom are now living, namely: Augustus G., a resident of Tulare, California; Mrs. Caroline Keller, a resident of Oregon; Mary, the wife Robert Cowden, who resides on the old homestead in Pennsylvania; Mrs. Georgia Desmond of Santa Paula, Cal., and O. S., of this review.
In taking up the personal history of Mr. Woodward we present to our leaders one of the most prominent men of Woodson county. In this community not to know him is to argue one’s self unknown. No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life for him in his youth. He was reared on the old homestead in Pennsylvania and pursued his studies in the country schools, completing his education in the Academy of Waterford, Pennsylvania. After leaving that institution he engaged in teaching for four years in the public schools and was then chosen principal of the Northwestern Normal School of Pennsylvania, in which capacity he served for a year and a half. When the war broke out he put aside all personal considerations, for his patriotic spirit was aroused by the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union. He therefore enlisted as a private in McLain’s Erie regiment on the 16th of April, 1861, and served for three months. On the expiration of that period he returned home and again entered his country’s service in September, 1861, at which time he was assigned to Company D, of the Eighty-third Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers and was chosen captain, serving in that capacity until 1863, when on the 8th of July he was promoted to the rank of colonel, and subsequently brevet brigadier general for gallant and meritorious services. He participated in many battles and skirmishes, among which were he important engagements at Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gain’s Mills, Malvern Hill, Fair Oaks, Mine Run, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, where he commanded the corps skirmishers, and the Wilderness. He was in every battle in which his regiment was engaged except at Second Bull Run and Fredericksburg. Colonel Woodward was wounded through the left arm at the battle of Malvern Hill and at the battle of the Wilderness he lost his right leg, sustaining injuries which necessitated its amputation above the knee. He was never captured and on many an occasion his own personal valor inspired his men, his bravery proving an important factor in winning the day. His was a noble record of which he has every reason to be proud.
When the war was over Colonel Woodward returned home to his young wife, whom he married in the interim between his first and second enlistments. It was on the 9th of September, 1861, that Miss Marietta Himrod of Waterford, Pennsylvania, became his wife. She is a daughter of David and Abigail Himrod. Their marriage has been blessed with three children: Anna, who is at home: Kate, the wife of G. F. Clark, now of Pewaukee, Wisconsin; and Alice, the wife of J. S. McDonald, jr., who resides in Chicago. Mrs. Woodward died April 11, 1887, and is buried in Neosho Falls cemetery.
Colonel Woodward has ever been prominent in public affairs. Immediately after his return from the war in 1865 he became a recognized leader in political circles in Pennsylvania and served in the house of representatives through the session of 1865-6. In the latter year he was re-elected for a second term and did much towards shaping the legislature of his state in the epoch which followed the Civil war. In April, 1868, he arrived in Kansas and Woodson county gained thereby a valued citizen. He purchased a farm and continued its cultivation until 1871, when he removed
to Neosho Falls and embarked in the hardware business, continuing in that enterprise for twelve years. He has been very successful in his business transactions and today owns five hundred acres of valuable land in Woodson county, all improved and bringing to him a handsome income. He had not been long in Kansas when his ability for leadership gained him prominence in the republican ranks of this state, and in 1888, he was elected to the senate where he served for four years, representing Woodson and Allen counties. He has ever been a stalwart republican and his services in office have won for him the highest commendation and have demonstrated beyond doubt his fidelity to the best interests of his constituents.
Mr. Woodward holds membership in the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Neosho Falls lodge, and also in the G. A. R. He has a very pleasant home presided over by Miss Anna Woodward and celebrated for its gracious hospitality which is enjoyed by a very extensive circle of friends. The colonel’s career illustrates the possibilities that are open in this country to earnest and persevering young men who have the courage of their convictions and are determined to be the architects of their own fortunes. When judged by what he has accomplished, his right to a first place among the representative citizens of Neosho Falls cannot be questioned. He has ever been true and loyal to principle and in the legislative halls of two states, as well as upon the battle fields of the south, he has manifested his love for the old flag and the cause which it represents.

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