(Copied from papers found in the Woodruff attic at 695 Worthington Ridge, Berlin, Connecticut; probably written in 1884 or 1888 by Julius E. Woodruff, uncle of Arthur L. Woodruff)
John Woodruff, when a boy or a grown-up young man, ran away from home, going to Ireland. I do not know the date, or know his father's Christian name; but his father lived in the north of England and owned an estate there. John was the third son and was probably born about the year 1600. He was named Jacob or Joseph, which name he changed to John when he ran away
Who he married, when he married, or where he married , I do not know. The first I find in the records in this country of the name Woodruff is his son Nathaniel and reads thus: "Nathaniel Woodroofe was before the court in Hartford as Defendatn, June 1st, A.D., 1643" (Collonia Records of Connecticut, p. 88). The name is found spelt in three different ways in the "Collonial Records," viz. Woodroofe, Woodroff, and Woodrofe.
"At a Court of Electon held at Hartford May 11, 1671, Mathew Woodroffe was propounded for a freeman and accepted" (son of Nathaniel).
"May 8, 1684, Samuel Woodrofe" was made a freeman. He was son of Mathew.
About this time the town of Farmington was set off from Hartford and the Woodruffs, most of them, lived in that part of Hartford then named Farmingtown because most of the people were farmers (the spelling of the last syllable has been changed from town to ton).
The Farmington Town Records were burned about 40 years ago, and we cannot as well trace the family. I have in my possession the names of 89 male decendants of the Woodruff which was picked up on the Battlefield of Pitsburg in 1862 and was dated. "Safford, Genesee Co., N.Y." and signed "Jane Woodruff Hill, Stafford Society Soldiers Relief".
Jane was a daughter of John W. Woodruff. Her grandfather was Landon J Woodruff. Landon was son of Orange Woodruff and cousin to Solomon, Olion, and Charles.
Let us go back to 1684. Then Samuel Woodruff was made a Voter, or Freeman. Charles Woodruff was born in Farmington about the year 1692 (we suppose that year). He had 4 sons, the third being named Solomon. Solomon had 4 sons, the third being named Jeremiah. Jeremiah had 3 sons.
Aaron Woodruff, a son of the older Charles (the one born in 1692), was born in Farmington in 1723, and married Mary Mills of the same town in 1743, being then twenty years old.
Elisha, their oldest son was born march, 1746. When he was twenty four years old, he went for his father to Wethersfield after a horseback load of shad to salt for summer use. In those days, it was considered disreputable to eat pickeled fish, and if farmers were caught in salting shad, they were enquired of if they were out of pork. And to avoid being laught at, they used on these occasions to calculate to return home in the "fore" part of the night, dress and salt the fish before their neighbors were out in the morning. Young Woodruff, after baging the shad and securing them on the back of the horse, started for home necessarily at a slow gait and late hour. Before he was two miles from the river, there came up a thunder shower which proved quite severe. Therefore, he stopt at a farmhouse for shelter and as the storm continued long after dark he was envited to and did remain until the next morning. Here for the first time he saw the young lady whom he afterwards married.
She was short and small with very red hair, about six months younger than himself her name, Anna Griswold. He found occasion to travel the same road often after that night, and not being educated up to a ten years courtship, they were married the next spring, 1771.
He brought his bride to a new house in the northwest part of the town which house is yet standing about one-fourth of a mile south of Burlington Station, the West side an near the R.R. Here Eben Woodruff was born July 30, 1774, the oldest of five sons.
His education was quite limited: he learned to "read, write and cipher" a little and afterwards, when about sixteen years old, went four months to school in Farmington Village, boarding with Mr. Bodwell, a harness maker "doing chores" for his board. From this time untill twenty-one, he remained at home working on the farm.
He then went again to the Village, or as it was then called "Farmington Street", and lived with Mr. Bodwell on year learning the trade of harness-maker. Next he hired himself to his unkle (by marriage) Solomon Richards, who then owned a farm and a sawmill, remaining with him for one year. Here he gained some knowledge of taking care of, and running, a sawmill, and found that he had more taste for the sawmill than for harness-making.
In the spring of 1797, he came to Barkhamsted in company with Samuel Merwin, also of Farmington. They bought land of Jonas Weed, Jr. The land was described as "lying in Barkhamsted at the East end of the Mast (?) Swamp, tier of lots being an island in the Farmington River known as Sugar Meadow". The deed was acknowledged before "Seth Spencer, Justice of the Peace", and is recorded in "Barkhamsted Book of Records", page 300. Recorded by Israel Jones, Town Clerk.
The next day, April 28, 1797, they bought land of "Daniel Benitt" and is discribed as "lying west of Sugar Meadow". They went immediately to work and erected a log house on or near the ground where Mr. Alford's barn now stands about a half mile south of Daniel Young's residence. (In the fall of 1883, there was an apple tree, nearly dead, standing a few feet south of Mr. Alford's barn which came up from the seed, south side of this house near the door when occupied by Mr. Merwin and Mr. Woodruff. A few rods north of the house was a spring of nice water.)
In this house they kept "Bachelders Hall;" here was their home for one year or more.
They sometimes, and perhaps often, went to their parents' home for an "over Sunday visit", a distance of 14 miles, usually walking, but sometimes in a canoe of their own manufacture, "dug out" from a pine log sailing down the river. And in this their downward course, they found danger; for, as they came near the entrance of "Satan's Kingdom", there was a narrow rocky gorge when the water flowed swiftly through, splashing, foaming, and frothing, like mad. And, this is the entrance to "Satan's Kingdom" from the north, or from Barkhamsted. Notwithstanding, "Broad is the way that leads to death". This way, narrow, is to the old fellow's domain, and dangerous as well.
To avoid this danger and pass safely on, they always took their canoe out of the water and employed a man with a pair of oxen to haul their boat up and over "Indian Hill", launching it again at "the Unkle Tom Bidwell Place", after paying twenty-five cents to the farmer as the price for hauling the craft over the hill. Here, they re-embarked and proceeded on their voyage, rejoicing that they had thus easily escaped entering his Satanic Majesties domain, perhaps to go no more out forever.
After arriving at their journies end they delivered their canoe to parties for whom it had been built. Thus they made canoes, always making their trip down the river on Saturdays and returning to their log cabin on Mondays, walking the whole distance back and frequently carrying cooked food home with them.
To supply themselves with provisions, they also did some hunting, sometimes bringing down a wild turkey with one of the old long guns of Revolutionary fame, which had done service in the War.
In the course of human events, their sawmill was built and put in running order and lumber was produced, the first boards sawed being used to cover the mill, which stood near where "Bakers Shop" now stands; and there, for nearly half a century, Mr. Woodruff could be found cutting out different kinds of lumber.
In the spring of 1798, Mr. Merwin sold out his undivided half o fth property to Miles Curtis, a brother-in-law of Mr. Woodruff's, having married his sister Deborah.
They built this summer a small framed house which stood near where Mrs. John Baker's house now is, and in front of some apple trees and a pear tree now standing there. Into this house, Mr. Curtis moved his family from Burlington in the fall of 1798, occupying if for five years. Mr. Woodruff boarded with him three or four years, the two working together in getting out lumber and in clearing farm land. They also built a barn the same year (1798). The barn was moved in 1820 and again in 1834 to its present situation, and now stands at the foot of the hill a few rods west of the Pleasant Valley bridge. The house, or a portion of it, now stands the east side of the river about four rods north of the bridge and is occupied by Mr. John Merrell.
In 1802, Mr. Woodruff removed his boarding place to Mr. David Lee's (who kept the turnpike gate between Pleasant Valley and Riverton almost half a century), crossing the river to and from his work "paddling his own canoe". He continued to board here until his marriage in 1803. Mrs. Lee made his wedden pants of home spun and hand-woven and dyed indego blue, the short "bretches" worn with knee buckles.
Eben Woodruff was a man who traveled but little; he never saw the salt water, was never in any state of the union save Conn and Mass, until he was seventy years old, when he visited his oldest daughter in Ohio, and again two years after in company with his wife, Rhoda Coe (they were married Aug. 23, 1803.
Rhoda Coe Woodruff was born in 1777 and died June 20, 1849. Her husband, Eben (Ebeneezer?) was born July 30, 1774, and died May 16, 1851.
Elmira (or Cemira) b. May 15, 1804
Rhoda b. Nov. 19, 1805
Ann b. Oct 4, 1807
Huldah b. July 14, 1810
Eben Coe b. July 28, 1817 d. Oct 11, 1893
Eben Coe married Elizabeth Lee Eggleston, Barkhamsted. She was born in 1820, died April 29, 1860. Were probably married April 21, 1842.
Huldah (daughter of Eben and Rhoda Coe Woodruff) married George H. Clark of Riverton, merchant. He died Feb. 22, 1852, since which time she has lived a widow; now resides in Forestville, Ct.
Their children: George H., he married Sophie T. (or J.?) Avery of Barkhamsted, settled in Forestville. They had 2 children, Mary and George H. Mary m. Milo Philips Miller of Granby, farmer.
Hulduh m. Waldo Forbes of Forestville, clock-maker
Harriet m. Geo Whitaker, a Methodist Minister, whose parish is the World; they are now in Somersville, Mass.
Robert E. and
Charles both married, have been manuffatchum (?), recently moved to West Tiverton (?)
When Huldah was a school girl, she went into the house of "Capt. Daniel Richards" with his daughter Sarrah (?) Anne. One noon there she saw a young man sitting by the fire. As she was standing near him, he suddenly thru his long arms around her and she found herself in the embrace of the since-famous John Brown.
Olney Allen and his wife, Cemira Woodruff Allen, moved from Barkhamsted to Ohio and settled in Lafayette, near Medina, in the spring of 1833, going from Albany N.Y., on the "Grand Wetern Canal" the called, to Buffalo, N.Y., thence to Cleveland by steamer and by private conveyance to Medina.
Eben C. Woodruff and his brother-in-law Orvill Jones carried them and their goods to Albany and assisted to put them aboard a "Packet" (or Packer?). On the return of Woodruff and Jones from Albany, as they stopped for dinner one day, they noticed a sign "Congress Water".
"What is Congress Water?" says Young Woodruff.
"I Don't know" says Jones.
"Well, I'll know," says he. "Landlord, give us two glasses of Congress Water".
Seeing is believing, and tasting is knowing, and drinking causes us to remember the article. E.C.
Returning to Eben Woodruff
(husband of Rhoda Coe, see pp. 2-4)
Having decended from Puritanical stock and brought up among people who always Remembered the Sabbath day to keep it holy, and having been punctual in attending church, now finding himself in Winsted Society, he sought the assembly of God's people in Winsted.
How Winsted Society was formed: The Connecticut Legislature, February Session, 1778, formed of the east part of Winchester and that part of Barkhamsted lying west of the Farmington River a Society to be taxed for the support of the Gospel' and gave it the name of Winsted, taking the first syllable of Winchester and the last syllable of Barkhamsted for the name. Hence, she is sometimes called their daughter.
The first Meetinghouse was built on Wallers Hill (Wallens Hill) in 1793. It was 50 ft. in length and 40 ft. in width, two stories high, without tower or steeple.
In this house, Mr. Eben Woodruff commenced to attend meeting in Barkhamsted, the distance four miles; and he walked this distance, nor did it seem long, for he had been accustomed to walk with his parents five miles to church.
After a few months he went one Sunday to the Methodist meeting in a schoolhouse, and here he saw and here became acquainted with the lady of his choice, Miss Rhoda Coe, the daughter of "Ensign Johnathan Coe" of Winsted, who he afterwards married.
She was a decendant and seventh in line of Robert Coe, who came to New England from Suffolkshire, England, in 1634 at the age of 38 years with Anna, his wife, and settled successively in Watertown and Westfield, Mass., in Wethersfield and Stamford, Conn.; thence , to Long Island, N.Y., thence to Durham, Ct.
The young lady (Rhoda Coe) was good form, tall and straight, with fine features, and then called "A handsome girl". Was a good singer and had a much better education than her beau. They were married in 1803. Their son, now of Berlin, Ct., has in his possession their marriage certificate.
He brought his bride to the little house by the mill, not riding on the "back of a steer", for he had previously become the owner of a horse and wagon.
His brother-in-law, Mr. Curtis, previous to the marriage, had sold to Mr. Woodruff and moved out into a house of Dea. William Taylor's, which stood the north side of "The Green". From Barkhamsted, Mr. Curtis moved to Thompson, Ulster Co., N.Y., in 1805, where he lived until 1823, when he moved to Savanna, Geo. They had five children, two of whom were born in Barkhamsted. One of their sons was a General in the Rebel Army.
To return to Mr. Woodruff:
In this house their children were born. They had five daughters and each of the daughters had a brother.
Elmira (or Cemira) b. May 15, 1804
Rhoda b. Nov. 16, 1805
Ann b. Oct 4, 1807
Huldah b. July 14, 1810
Eunice b. July 16, 1815
And last of all, a son came also to gladden his parents' hearts:
Eben Coe b. July 28, 1817
In 1818 Mr. Woodruff built the house now standing at the west end of the Pleasant Valley bridge. In this house, they spent the remainder of their lives and here were their five daughters married.
Eben (Ebeneezer?) and Rhoda Woodruff were both members of the M.E. Church in Winsted before their marriage, and continued to attend church there quite regular; seldom was their place vacant on the Sabbath. For forty years, they gave liberally of their means to support the ordinances of the church; their home was always the preacher's home in his travels of his visits. Nearly all their children became members of the same church.
When the Methodist Church in Pleasant Valley was built, Mrs. Woodruff gave the building lot on which it stands, while he gave liberally of his money and his time, he being chairman of the building committee. When the church was organized here, they removed their membership from the church in Winsted to this palace and continued to give this church their support by their presence and by their means until called home by their Great Creator
They were also liberal supporters of the public schools, and were often found with their neighbours when in sickness they needed assistance or when in affliction they needed cumfort and sympathy. Were both hard-working people, Mrs. Woodruff spinning and weaving flax and wool of her husband's raising, for bed and table linens and for the clothing of her family, some of which is still in existence, kept as a remembrance of former days and past generations.
(Continuing about Eben (Ebeneezer?) Woodruff, who was born in 1774 and died in 1851, husband of Rhoda Coe Woodruff and father of five daughters and one son, Eben Coe).
Mr. Woodruff, having a knowledge of harness-making, tried his hand at shoemaking in the long winter evenings, making shoes for himself and family for everyday wear and sometimes for others also. He has often in those early days of Barkhamsted history worked all day in the forest cutting logs with some man he hired by the day, and before he retired to rest made that man a pair of shoes to pay him for his day's work.
In those days, the pioneers of the town, those of them who owned sawmills, used to saw and, sell in Hartford lumber for building purposes; and he hauled lumber of his own, getting there with a team consisting of one pair of oxen and one horse on the lead , the lumber being loaded on a two-wheeled oxcart of those days, driving the whole distance there and back in what they called one day, but the day included part of two nights. Mr. Asa Gilbert often accumpanied him on those trips with similar team and cart with lumber loaded, carrying food for their teams and a lunch for themselves. Population of Hartford in those days was less than 8,000.
Hotels on the Albany Turnpike were numerous, one every two miles. All sold rum. A drink then cost tow or three cents. Turnpike gates one every seven miles; the gate-keepers sold small beer. Drink was plenty.
In January, 1826, Mr. Woodruff while at work on the mountain, in company with Alanson Mills (now of Twinsburg, Ohio) cuting logs, was so unfortunate as to break his knee badly by having a large log roll onto it and slide endwise off it. Then came long days and nights of pain and suffering and constant care for Mrs. Woodruff. He was attended by Dr. Amos Beecher. He never fully recovered from the hurt, but was somewhat lame for twenty five years until his death.
Cemina, their oldest daughter, married Olney Allen from Central, N.Y. in February 1833. They moved to Ohio the next spring, going to Albany with teams. Here they put the goods and themselves into a "Packet" (a canal boat for carrying passengers and freight) for Buffalo. Then via the lake to Cleveland, and from thence via the forest for Medina, where they settled, buying land and living in a log house. He became a successful farmer, living on the same premises until his death, which occurred in 18880. She is living on the farm, and old lady of 80 years, smart and spry as a young girl. She visits her old home, Barkhamsted, about every two years. At first, when they came to Connecticut, they drove their own team, which occupied them twenty-four days; now they come in less than twenty-four hours. They have a son, Even W., who is married and lives Cleveland, Ohio; a second son died when about sixteen.
Rhoda, their second daughter, married Orville Jones of "East Mountain" Barkhamsted and commenced their married life on the farm that was his father's and is situated about half a mile south from the flat rock which the first settlers used to thresh their grain. On this farm were many orchards and he made much cider (had a cider mill and a distilery), making cider brandy often. Remaining about twelve years on this farm, they moved to Pleasant Valley, Mr. Jones buying the Chancey Ives farm. From Pleasant Valley to Winsted, from thence back to Pleasant Valley, where he died in February, 1880. Mrs. Jones died December 31, 1883, her life closing with the close of the year. They had six children; three sons and three daughters.
1. Evelin married William J. Ripley of Blanford, Mass. They settled in Pleasant Valley. Mrs. Ripley buried her husband in January 1884; she lives in Pleasant Valley. They had 2 sons:
A. Edwin, a physician of Unionville, Ct. Dr. Ripley has two boys who are great, great grandsons of Eben Woodruff, the Pleasant Valley pioneer.
B. Orivill, at home with his mother.
2. Philem W. Jones, second child and oldest son, married Elizabeth Parsons of New Boston, Mass., settled in Winsted, is in Heavy Express business. One son:
A. Roderic, is married and in business with his father.
2. Orvil Jones, Jr. married Carrie Cutter of Boston, Mass. He is in the grocery business in New Britain, Ct. One daughter, Louise.
3. Daniel, Their third son, married Emma Roberds (Emiline Roberts- per note written in by Doug Roberts), a grand-daughter of Eno Roberds of Riverton, whom every Barkhamsted man knew seventy-five years ago. They (Daniel and Emma) settled in Danielsonville, Ct. where he practiced dentistry successfully for a few years. Died there many years ago, leaving a widow and a son and daughter. (page torn) dentistry in the same village for some years, when she moved to New Haven to educate her children.
A. Eva married Fred Street, a wholesale grocery man
B. Daniel is a graduate of Yale Colledge
5&6. Twin daughters died young.
Ann, the third daughter of Eben and Rhoda Coe Woodruff, married William Healy of Pleasant Valley. They had but one child, a daughter. She died when about 16 with typhoid fever. Mr. Healy died with the same disease a verry few days later. Ann, after living a lonely life for a few years died Nov. 14, 1873, suddenly in Berlin, Ct., while on a visit to her brother at the age of 66, and family lie side by side in the cemetery at Pleasant Valley.
These notes were probably written by Julius Woodruff, perhaps in the year 1884 or 1888.
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