John and Rachel Williams Woodward of Tennessee and Indiana

John & Rachel Williams Woodward

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John Woodward was the fifth child and third son of Abraham and Hannah Thornbrough Woodward of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Rowan County, North Carolina, and Jefferson County, Tennessee.

After years of searching, we have finally succeeded in locating a marriage record for John & Rachel Woodward (thanks to William Wallace, Alice Woodward Dean descendant). He made a trip to the Jefferson County archives and found the marriage of John Woodert to Rechel Williams in 1795. The spelling of John Woodward's surname had prevented us from being able to order the record from either Jefferson County or the State of Tennessee.

We have been in touch with Doris Johnston, a descendant of Allen Williams and have learned that Rachel Williams Woodward was sister of Allen Williams (see Doris's web page linked on the Amos Williams page Allen and Rachel were children of Amos Williams who was rumored to have lived to the age of 105 (it was a rumor!). In the 1820 Wayne County, Indiana, census Amos Williams is living two doors from John and Rachel Woodward. There is much confusing information on the Williams family, and we have posted a very tentative page on Amos Williams

John Woodward
born 4/6/1770 Rowan County, NC
died bet 1/4 & 2/24/1821 Wayne County, In
Rachel Williams
born about 1765 North Carolina
died after 8/1850 Wayne County, In

Married: John Woodert married Rechel Williams on August 1, 1795, in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Thomas Williams was bondsman and Adam Meek officiated. Thomas Williams was Rachel's brother. John & his brother Aaron had purchased 640 acres of land on July 7, 1795, near Panther Creek in Jefferson County and John & Rachel Williams Woodward were now ready to set up housekeeping.

Lydia Woodward, born Jefferson County, Tennessee; married Isaac Sutherland
Ann Woodward, born Jefferson County, Tennessee; married John Brown
Aaron Woodward, born 1802-3, Jefferson County, Tennessee; married Sarah Canaday
Patrick Woodward, born Jefferson County, Tennessee; married Elizabeth Gonover (Crownover)
Jane Woodward, born about 1808, Jefferson County, Tennessee; married Ezekiel Dicks
John W. Woodward, born 4/29/1810, Jefferson County, Tennessee; married (1)Mary Crownover (2) Elizabeth Leonard (3)Mary Miller (4) Isabella Dicks
Rachel Woodward, born about 1813, Jefferson County, Tennessee; married Harvey Welch
Eliza Woodward, born about 1816, Wayne County, Indiana, married Levi Jackson late in life (no children)

North Carolina and Tennessee records

There is no evidence that John or Rachel Williams Woodward ever followed the Quaker faith, although both their families were Quaker. John's birth is recorded at Centre Monthly Meeting in Guilford County, North Carolina, along with his siblings, and he was thus a birthright Quaker, but there is no further mention of John in Quaker records. Rachel's Williams family were evidently members of the old Nolichucky Quaker Meeting in Tennessee, and no records exist today. There are North Carolina Quaker records on the Williams family but none that we can tie directly to Rachel. Rachel is mentioned as having heard the guns of the Revolutionary War when she was a child. We suspect this was at the house of Richard Williams who lived very near the Guilford County Courthouse where a famous battle took place. Richard is well-documented in Quaker records and we suspect he was her uncle, but as yet have no proof. John and Rachel had a civil ceremony for their marriage. If they had been Quakers there would be records of their marrying out of the faith, but there are none. John served as bondsman at the civil weddings of his niece Mary Woodward to John Sutherland, and of his sister Jane Woodward to Allen Williams( bond) in Jefferson County, Tennessee (bond courtesy Doris Johnston).

The Family Moves to Indiana

There is little information about John and Rachel Woodward's children except in John's will (end of page), and in Indiana marriage records. Of the children, only Rachel Woodward Welch and John W. Woodward have been well documented. Rachel Woodward Welch is documented in Harvey & Rachel Woodward Welch of Wayne County, Indiana & Mercer County, Illinois, by Nadine Duguid Holder and Jill Martin, privately printed, December 1996. At that time we did not have information on Rachel's ancestors. The book is out of print. Pauline Woodward Montgomery and Colleen Arwine researched the family of John W. Woodward for many years, but the results have not been published, except in Pauline's membership papers in the Indiana Society of Pioneers. Pauline Woodward Montgomery died in 1982. She is best known for her book Indiana Weavers, and for her fine collection of coverlets which is located at the Children's Museum in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Colleen Arwine is still researching. We have recently heard from Pauline's nephew, Vance Woodward, and are working with him as well. Pat Tremps is another descendant of John W. Woodward. She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and has been most helpful in locating original records there.

We do know that John and Rachel Woodward and children went to Wayne County, Indiana, in 1814. Rachel Woodward, Jr's census records indicate she was born in 1813 in Tennessee, and when Abraham Woodward wrote his will in Tennessee on the 18th day of 2nd month 1814, he named John Woodward coexecutor of his will, so it seems plans to go to Indiana were not afoot at that time (or perhaps Abraham was attempting to dissuade John from going!). John Woodward made an $80 down payment on a quarter section of land in Wayne County on August 16, 1814, so we know the family traveled sometime between February and August. He finished paying for it 28 February 1819 and Certificate No. 7643 was issued for the SE/4 Section 28 T16NR13W Cincinnati District (note this varies from the land description in John's will but it is directly from the certificate in the National Archives). Cousin Jill Martin visited John's land in the spring of 2006 and took this photo. The house was removed in about 1875. Curiously, the land is still owned by a relative of John's lifelong friend, Patrick Beard.

Many of the early settlers in Indiana traveled there on foot but many came by horseback. John and Rachel probably came by horseback, as in his will John leaves each of the children a saddle. In the many dozens of wills we have examined over the years we have not seen a similar bequest. We feel that John's talents included saddlemaking and that the children each had a saddle at a very young age. Travel would have been difficult with small children down to the age of one year, but it could have been done. Families usually did not travel into the wilderness alone so others no doubt came with them. Niece and nephew, John & Mary Woodward Sutherland, probably went with them, as they are found in Wayne County at a very early date. Isaac Sutherland, who married John's daughter Lydia probably went with them. John Longacre, a Tennessee resident, may have gone with them as he handled John's land payments in Indiana, and stood bond for John's son Aaron when Aaron administered John's probate in 1824. Canadays from Lost Creek are found in Indiana at an early date and may have gone with them.

It was the custom for earlier settlers in Indiana to provide hospitality to newcomers until they could build their own cabin. John's boyhood friend and brother-in-law Patrick Beard preceded John to Wayne County, and no doubt offerred such hospitality, since they lived very near each other in Wayne County. Patrick also served as coexecutor of John's will.

There is an interesting letter written back to North Carolina from a member of a group of Quakers who traveled to Indiana in 1815 (See our Journey Page.) This is no doubt the same route that John and family took to Indiana since it was fairly well traveled by that date.

Rachel Woodward is found in 1830 in Jackson Township, Wayne County, living next to Ezekiel Dix who married daughter Jane. Rachel Woodward: 2 males 20-30 [Patrick and John]; 2 females 15-20 [Rachel and Eliza]; 1 female 50-60 [Rachel, Sr.]

Lydia Woodward Sutherland

John and Rachel Woodward's daughter Lydia Woodward married Isaac Sutherland on 9/2/1819 in Wayne County, Indiana. Isaac Sutherlandis found next door to John Woodward in the 1820 census and does not show a wife, so Isaac & Lydia had apparently not yet gone to housekeeping. This was not unusual in early days as a young man could not bring a bride home until he had a proper cabin built and was well established on his farm. John Woodward names his daughter as Lydia Sutherland in his will so she was still alive in 1821. Isaac Sutherland is not found in the 1830 census, and a Lydia Sutherland appears as head of household in Wayne Township, Wayne County, Indiana: 1 female 15-20, 2 females 20-30, 1 female 50-60. If she is the female 50-60 it is another Lydia Sutherland, but if she is 20-30 then it could be Lydia Woodward Sutherland.

In 1840 Wiley Sutherland, probable son of John and Mary Woodward Sutherland, is living next door to John W.Woodward, Aaron Woodward, and Harvey Welch in Wayne County. Wiley has a female age 70-80 living with him, who may be Rachel Woodward. We find no further record of Lydia Sutherland and she was probably deceased. Unfortunately the death rate was very high in Wayne County in the early 1800's. The land was swampy and unhealthful, and there was a disease called "milk sickness" (Tyre's disease) that came from cows eating poisonous plants. It was not unusual for entire families to die at one time.

Anna Woodward Brown

John and Rachel's daughter Anna Woodward married John Brown on 1/17/1821, in Wayne County, Indiana. In the 1840 census they have a male and female age 50-60 in their household who may have been John Brown's parents. John and Ann Woodward Brown are not found in the 1850 census, although some orphan Brown children are scattered among various families in Wayne County that may be theirs. If they left Wayne County, the name is too common for further research.

Aaron and Sarah Canaday Woodward

John and Rachel Woodward's son Aaron Woodward married a cousin Sarah Canaday on 12/11/1823, in Wayne County, Indiana. Sarah Canaday Woodward was born 7/18/1803 at Lost Creek in Jefferson County, Tennessee, and was daughter of Charles and Sarah Russell Canaday who lived nearby in Wayne County. The 1830 and 1840 censuses in Wayne County show Aaron & Sarah with a small family and then they disappear completely. The family in 1840 in Jackson Township, Wayne County, consisted of one male under 5 [John], 1 male 30-40, 1 female under 5, 1 female 5-10 [Eliza Ann], 1 female 10-15, two females 15-20, and 1 female 30-40. A totally unrelated person found a scrap of paper with the deaths of Aaron and Sarah Woodward recorded on it among her family's research. She was kind enough to look us up on the internet and forward the information. The paper read "In Memory of Sarah daughter of Charles & Sarah Canaday and consort of Aaron Woodward, who was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, July 25, 1804 and died in Madison County Indiana on September 6, 1846, aged 42 yrs 1 mo 11 dys; Aaron Woodward, died Mar 11, 1849, aged 45 yrs 10 mo 6 dys; John Woodward, son of Aaron and Sarah Woodward, died July 30, 1852, aged 15 yrs 11 mo 25 dys."

We located tombstone information in Mendon Cemetery, Fall Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana: Sarah Canaday Woodward, July 25, 1804-Sep 6, 1846, and Aaron Woodward, 45 y 10 m 8 d, March 11, 1848. The birthdate does not quite match Sarah Canaday's birthdate from Quaker records, but it would not be at all unusual to see this difference on a tombstone or in family records such as a bible (thank you Cheryl Hadden Kesterson wherever you are!). There are two of their children in 1850 in Madison County, Green District, John Woodard, 12, and Eliza Ann Woodard, 19. John is living with a T. W. Houstain family and Eliza Ann is living with a John Houstain family (the family surname spelling is not clear). We were unable to identify the other daughters as they were likely married and we did not find marriages in either Wayne County or Madison County that looked feasible. Both of the Houstain families were young and the wives could have been Woodwards but we were unable to verify it.

Patrick and Elizabeth Crownover Woodward

John and Rachel Woodward's son, Patrick Woodward married Elizabeth Gonover on 12/22/1831 in Wayne County, Indiana. (The names Crownover & Gonover are used interchangeably from very early days so the name was probably actually Crownover.) She was born about 1816 in Virginia. Patrick and Elizabeth had at least one child, Patrick Woodward, Jr., born about 1836. Patrick, Sr., died sometime before 1844 when Elizabeth Gonover Woodward married William Crownover 1/23/1844 in Wayne County. The Crownovers are found in the 1860 census with Patrick Woodward, Jr., living with them. This is the same William Crownover that purchased the Woodward land from Rachel in 1850 (below), so son Patrick Woodward, Jr., would have continued to farm the old place. He is listed in the Centreville Directory in Wayne County in 1859 as a farmer.

Eliza Woodward Jackson

In the 1850 census Rachel Williams Woodward, age 85, is again shown on her own, living with daughter Eliza Woodward, age 34, unmarried. This census record indicates Eliza was born when Rachel was 51 years old, again not unusual in pioneer days - women often having a last child in their 50's. On 4/5/1850 Rachel sold the land that had belonged to her and John for so many years to William Crownover. This is verified in the History of Wayne County, 1872 which mentions William Crownover living on land that formerly belonged to John Woodward. Pat Tremps found a copy of the deed in the Wayne County records. At that time William Crownover was married to the widow of Rachel's son, Patrick Woodward.

Daughter Eliza Woodward may have lived with her sister Rachel Woodward Welch after the death of Rachel Williams Woodward. She apparently accompanied Harvey and Rachel Woodward Welch to Mercer County, Illinois in about 1856. On 12/24/1857 she married a widower, Levi Jackson, in Mercer County, Illinois (see Jackson page on Mercer County site). There were apparently no children of this union. In 1870 Eliza Jackson was housekeeper for her niece Sarah Welch Carr. Levi Jackson married again in 1876 and had more children. We do not know if that means Eliza died by 1876 or if she was divorced sometime before 1870.

The Last Will and Testament of John Woodward

In the name of God amen
To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting
The last will and Testament of John Woodward of Wayne County State of Indiana
I John Woodward of Wayne County and State aforesaid being sound of intellect and having a right knowledge of and for my self, do declare this to be my last will and testament hereby revoking annulling and making void any will or instrument of writing to that effect, dated this fourth day of January in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one.
I do request first that all my just debts may be settled and adjusted out of my Estate Real or personal.
Secondly, I do bequeath unto my beloved wife Rachel Woodward in trust one hundred and fifty five acres of land together with the appurtenances thereto belonging being known by the South west quarter of Section 23 Range 13 Township 16 for her own use and benefit in the maintenance of my children by the said Rachel Woodward to have and to hold said premises and all thereto belonging during her natural life or while she remains my widow.
Thirdly I do further bequeath that if the said Rachel Woodward should die before the youngest child becomes of age then and in that case the said premises to be equally divided amongst my three sons to wit Aaron Woodward Patrick Woodward and John Woodward and they and each of them are severally bound to see to the maintenance of the remainder of the children until they shall respectively become of age.
Fourthly it is to be understood that the said Rachel Woodward has choice of what quantity of the now cleared land she wishes for her own use and benefit towards the maintenance of the children and that they boys vizt Aaron Patrick and John make what improvements they please of the now uncultivated part of the premises for their own use and benefit. Nevertheless neither of the said boys have liberty to sell or any ways dispose of any part or parcel of said land until the youngest child becomes of age.
Fifthly I do further bequeath, that as each of the boys becomes of age they each and severally shall be entitled to a Horse of the value of fifty dollars with a Saddle and Bridle provided. There should be sufficient after all demands are satisfied. Sixthly I do bequeath unto my Daughter Ana Woodward one bed and furniture one Saddle one Cow and two Sheep to be delivered to her on application. Unto Lydia Sutherland one Saddle to the value of fifteen dollars. I do further bequeath unto Jane Woodward when she shall become of age one Bed and furniture one saddle, one Cow, and two Sheep. And I further bequeath to Rachel Woodward when she shall respectively become of age one Bed and furniture one Saddle one Cow and two Sheep. And I further bequeath to Eliza Woodward when she respectively becomes of age one bed and furniture one Saddle one Cow and two Sheep. The above bequests to my daughters for the fulfilment of which I request my wife Rachel Woodward and the Executors hereafter named to see carried into effect as they respectively become of age or on the day of marriage.
Seventhly I further request that if my said wife Rachel after my decease should marry again then and in that case she shares equally with my daughters in the Household furniture the Cupboard furniture I leave to my wife Rachel for her use and benefit.
Eighthly I do further bequeath all the stock now on the place for the joint use of the family except one Horse which I give unto my wife Rachel for her own use and benefit, and I further request that none of the said stock be sold unless to pay my just debts, and I further request that after the above Legacies are paid that should there be any overplus then and in that case to be equally Divided between all the children.
Lastly I do request and name Patrick Beard my trusty friend and Aron Woodward my Son when he shall become of age Executors to this my last will and testament jointly with my wife Rachel Woodward as Executrix and that they each and severally will faithfully and strictly see to the fulfilment of the above recited bequests.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this fourth day of January in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one.
John Woodward (seal)
Signed and sealed in the presence of
John Sutherland
Charles Stanley

24 Day of February 1821 Will proven by oaths of John Sutherland & Charles Stanley. Letters testamentary to Patrick Beard & Rachel Woodward.
16 Day of February 1824 Aaron Woodward filed bond $500, security Joseph Longacre. Aaron appointed executor when reached age of 21.


2/10/2005 Linked to daughter Rachel Woodward Welch page that has been moved to this site. Added a brief note to Eliza Woodward Jackson about her whereabouts in 1880.
7/7/2006 added a photo of the Woodward land in Wayne County, Indiana