The Woods Family of Albemarle County VA, in Woods, 1901





Person:Michael Woods (1)


The first Woods who settled in Albemarle was Michael, who was born in the north of Ireland in 1684, and with his wife Mary Campbell, and most of his children, came to this country sometime in the decade of 1720. Landing on the banks of the Delaware, he spent some years in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, thence ascended the Valley of Virginia, and crossed the Blue Ridge by Woods's Gap in 1734. In 1737 he entered more than thirteen hundred acres on Mechum's River and Lickinghole, and the same day purchased two thousand acres patented two years before by Charles Hudson, and situated on the head waters of Ivy Creek. It is believed he was the first settler in western Albemarle, and perhaps anywhere along the east foot of the Blue Ridge in Virginia. His home was near the mouth of Woods's Gap. He died in 1762, and was interred in the family burying ground about a hundred yards from the dwelling. His tombstone was standing just after the Civil War, when it was broken to pieces and disappeared ; but a fragment discovered a few years ago indicated the year of his birth. His will is on record, in which are mentioned three sons and three daughters, Archibald, John, William, Sarah, the wife of Joseph Lapsley, of Rockbridge, Hannah, the wife of William Wallace, and Margaret, the wife of Andrew Wallace. Archibald, whose wife's name was Isabella, was one of his father's executors, and in 1767 joined with John, his co-executor, in conveying nearly seven hundred acres of the land on Ivy Creek to Rev. James Maury. In 1771 he purchased land on Catawba Creek in Botetourt County, now Roanoke, and removed thither about that time. He died in 1783. His children were James, who removed to Fayette County, Kentucky, John, Archibald, Andrew and Joseph. Joseph died in Roanoke about 1840, devising half of his property to the Presbytery of Montgomery. The descendants of John are still citizens of that county, his grandsons John W. being the present Judge of Roanoke City, and James P. its present Mayor.

John lived on Medium's River, not far above the Depot of that name. In 1745 he was sent as a Commissioner to prosecute before the Presbytery of Donegal in Pennsylvania, a call which the churches of Rockfish and Mountain Plains had given to Rev. John Hindman. He is the only one of the original family, the dates of whose life are certainly known. He was born February 19th, 1712, and died October 14th, 1791. He married Susanna,daughter of Rev. James Anderson, whom he knew as a child in Pennsylvania, and whom years later he returned to woo as his wife. His children were Michael, James, Susan, Mary, Luta and Ann. Michael lived on his father's place on Mechum's till about 1801, when he removed to a farm in Nelson on the south fork of Rockfish, recently occupied by Charles Harris. His wife was Esther Carothers, of Rockbridge, and his children were William M., Mary, the wife of Hugh Barclay, Susan, the wife of Nathaniel Massie, John, James and Samuel. William M. was twice married, first to Louisa, daughter of William S. Dabney Sr., and secondly to Martha, daughter of Charles A. Scott. He left eight children, who removed to Mississippi. His brothers, John, James, and Samuel, who married Sarah, daughter of John Rodes, emigrated to Marion County, Missouri. James (1748-1823) was an officer in the Revolutionary army, married Mary, daughter of James Garland, of North Garden, and removed to Garrard County, Kentucky, where he had a family of twelve children. Susan became the wife of Daniel Miller, who removed to Kentucky, and from whom descended General John Miller, who fell at Perryville on the Federal side, Mary, the wife of John Reid, Luta, of Samuel Reid, and Ann, of James Reid and afterwards the second wife of her cousin William Woods.

William, no doubt the oldest of the family and born in 1706, succeeded his father at Mountain Plains, the old homestead. He seems to have been unfortunate in his business affairs. Twice he mortgaged his property, first to Thomas Walker, and then to a number of Valley men, among whom were his brother-in law, John Bowyer, and his nephew, Samuel McDowell. At length in 1774 he made sale of it to Thomas Adams, of Augusta. At that time he was living in Fincastle County. His wife was Susanna, a sister of his brother-inlaw, William Wallace, and his children, Adam, Michael, Peter, John, Andrew, Archibald, William, Sarah, the wife of a Shirkey, Susan, and Mary, the wife of George Davidson. All the children except William emigrated to Kentucky, and from there some went to Tennessee, and some to Missouri. Adam, Peter and Andrew became Baptist preachers. Archibald is mentioned in Hening's Statutes as a trustee of the the towns of Boonesboro and Milford, Ky., and in that State he died in 1838, at the age of eighty - nine. William remained in Albemarle. He lived on Beaver Creek, about a mile north of Crozet; on this account, as there were two other William Woodses contemporaneous, he was commonly known as Beaver Creek Billy. In many respects he was a remarkable man, in his sphere somewhat of a born ruler, of fine sense, and great decision. Many amusing stories have been told of his management of men and things, particularly of his fostering care over Mountain Plains Church. He died in 1836, ninety-two years of age. He was married three times, first to his cousin Sarah Wallace, next to his cousin Ann Reid, and thirdly to Mrs. Nancy Richardson. He had one son, William, who married Mary, daughter of William Jarman, and died in 1829. Their children were James, who lived on Beaver Creek, married Ann Jones, of Bedford, and died in 1868, William, who lived near Crozet, married Nancy, the daughter of John Jones, and died in 1850, Peter A., who was a merchant in Charlottesville and Richmond, married Twymonia Wayt, and afterwards Mrs. Mary Poage Bourland, of Augusta, and died in 1870, Thomas D., who married Miss Hagan, lived near Pedlar Mills in Amherst, and died in 1894, and Sarah J., the wife of Jesse P. Key.

According to credible evidence, Michael Woods and his wife Mary Campbell had two sons and two daughters in addition to those just mentioned, Michael, Andrew, Magdalen and Martha. Michael lived southwest of Ivy Depot till 1773, when with his wife Ann he removed to a plantation in Botetourt, on the south side of James River, a few miles below Buchanan. He died in 1777, leaving eleven children, among whom were Samuel, from whom descended Rev. Neander M. Woods, of Memphis, and Rev. William H. Woods, of Baltimore, and William. William remained in Albemarle, and became a Baptist minister, on which account he was known as Baptist Billy. His home was also southwest of Ivy. He represented the county in the House of Delegates in 1799, and in 1810 removed to Livingston County, Kentucky, where he died in 1819. His wife was Joanna, daughter of Christopher Shepherd, and his children Micajah, David, Mary, John, and Susan, the wife of Henry Williams. Micajah resided in Albemarle, was appointed a magistrate in 1816, served as Sheriff in 1836, and while filling that office died at his country seat near Ivy in 1837. He was twice married, first to Lucy Walker, and secondly to Sarah, daughter of JohnRodes, and widow of William Davenport. His children by the first marriage were Martha, the wife of John Wilson, Mary, the wife of James Garth, Elizabeth, the wife of John Humphreys, and Henry, who died young, and by the second William S., who died unmarried, and Dr. John R., still pleasantly remembered in the community.

Andrew lived at the foot of the Blue Ridge near Greenwood Depot, a few hundred yards south of the brick mansion, long the home of Michael Wallace's family. He owned nearly five hundred acres in that vicinity, and nearly nine hundred at the foot of Armor's Mountain. He sold his property in 1765, and removed to Botetourt. He was one of the first magistrates of that county, and was appointed its Sheriff in 1777. His home was about nine miles south of Buchanan, not far from the Mill Creek Church. He died in 1781. His wife was Martha, daughter of Robert Poage, of Augusta, and his children James, who lived and died in Montgomery County, on the north fork of Roanoke, and whose descendants removed to Nashville, Tenn., Robert, Andrew, Archibald, who all removed to the vicinity of Wheeling in Ohio County, Elizabeth, the wife of David Cloyd, of Rockbridge, Rebecca, the wife of Isaac Kelly, of Bedford, Mary, the wife of James Poage, who removed to Mason County, Kentucky, and then to Ripley, Ohio, and Martha, the wife of Henry Walker, of Botetourt. Archibald married his cousin Ann, daughter of Thomas Poage, of Augusta, represented Ohio County in the House of Delegates, and the Constitutional Convention of 1788, and when he died in 1846, had been for many years the senior magistrate of that county. The writer of these notes is his grandson.

Magdalen Woods was married successively to John McDowell, Benjamin Burden Jr., and John Bowyer. She is said to have lived to the age of one hundred and four years. Her children were Samuel, James, and Sarah McDowell, the latter the wife of George Moffett, and Martha Burden, the wife of Benjamin Hawkins. Martha Woods was the wife of Peter Wallace.

Another branch of the Woodses, though beyond question of the same stock, came to the county a few years later. James, Samuel and Richard Woods were most probably brothers. James first appears in 1749, when he patented two hundred acres on Stockton's Creek. He lived on the north fork of Rockfish, and at his house the District Committee met in 1775 to devise measures in furtherance of the Revolution. Samuel lived in the same section. He was one of the original purchasers of lots in Charlottesville. He died in 1784. His children were Barbara, the wife of George Martin, Margaret, the wife of Richard Netherland, who removed to Sullivan County, Tennessee, John B., Mary, the wife of Benjamin Harris, Jane, the wife of Joseph Montgomery, and Elizabeth, the wife of William B. Harris. Richard lived north of Taylor's Gap, on the road from D. S. to Rockfish Gap by way of the Miller School, a road which he is said to have laid out, and which is still called by his name. He dealt largely in real estate both in Charlottesville and the county. He was twice married, first to Margaret , and secondly to Eliza Ann, a sister of Colonel John Stuart, of Greenbrier. His children were William, George Matthews, Richard, and Elizabeth, the wife of James Brooks. He died in 1801. William succeeded his father at the homestead near Taylor's Gap. He was the County Surveyor from 1796 to 1828, whence he was generally known as Surveyor Billy. He was appointed a magistrate in 1816, succeeded Micajah Woods in the Sheriffalty, and was a ruling elder in Mountain Plains Church. He and his brother George gave much attention to improving the breed of horses, bringing to the county a number of sires from the stud of John Randolph of Roanoke. His wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Warwick, of Bath, but he died without children in 1850. George lived on the opposite side of the road from his brother, filled for many years the office of Commissioner of the Revenue for St. Anne's, and died in 1847. He married Jane, daughter of Sampson Matthews, of Bath, and his children were John, Sampson L., William, Andrew, J. Warwick, George, Mary, the wife of Tillotson Janney, and Martha, the wife of Dr. Day. The daughters and their husbands removed to Lewis County. Richard was deputy Surveyor under his brother, and died unmarried in 1822. His place was near the Miller School, and is now in the possession of Thomas G. Michie.