Thomas Woodson, Jr. (c.1812 - 1846)

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Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Jackson, Ohio, United States
Managed by: Dan Cornett
Last Updated:

About Thomas Woodson, Jr.

  • ================================== From FindAGrave:

Reverend Thomas Woodson, Jr. and Reverend John P. Woodson -- Courage and Convictions

These two sons of Thomas and Jemima Woodsons were truly men of valor and ministers who lived what they preached.

Thomas Woodson, Jr., born in 1812, and John P. Woodson, born in 1819 in Virginia, came to Ross County, Ohio with their parents in about 1821 from Greenbrier County, Virginia. Soon after their arrival, Thomas and Jemima were among a group of People of Color that left the white Methodist Church and formed a new African American Congregation, that eventually became known as the Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Chillicothe.

While in Chillicothe, the Woodson family actively engaged in the work of the Underground Railroad (UGRR). Reverend Lewis Woodson, Thomas and John's older brother, is credited with the retrieval of a slave from Kentucky that had been stolen by patrollers from Chillicothe. At another time, a family member and a fugitive out-ran the patrollers astride one of the fastest horses owned by the Woodson and Leach families.

The family moved to Jackson County in 1829 when Thomas Jr. was 17 and John was 10. A few years later, in 1834, the AME Church (Berlin Mission) was organized in that community. John and Thomas became members, and the family's involvement in the UGGR continued.

The Woodsons, including Thomas and John drove the horses to Chillicothe and Washington Court House under the pretense of taking the horses to market. Fugitive slaves were hidden in the hay wagons or disguised as drovers, and taken to safety in Ross and Fayette Counties.

Thomas Woodson Sr. arranged for the education of all of his children and John and Thomas were no exceptions. Cincinnati seems to have been the place where many People of Color were educated. John and Thomas were sent there in the late 1830's.

In the 1840's, these young ministers began to serve churches in the Cincinnati as pastors.According to Bishop A. W. Arnett, they served the churches well.

Thomas and John both continued their involvement in assisting freeing runaways in this city. On one occasion, in 1842, John was forced to flee a crowd of anti-abolition proponents by hiding in the chimney of the house where he was living.

Quote: "In 1843, the conference sent that polished scholar and Christian gentleman, Rev. M. M. Clark. I find that he came in November, 1843, and signed a receipt in full for all demands………. The next minister in line in this church was the Reverend Thomas Woodson, a man of rare ability and eminent piety. When he arrived, the church was eight hundred dollars in debt. He told them that they must raise that amount in the year. Some shook their heads, others said they would see him when he had done it, while a few said they would do all they could to help him, and before the year was out, the debt was paid, and the whole congregation was singing the praises of Elder (Woodson), and the trustees for their good work."

Rev. Thomas Woodson further exhibited a proactive stand against slavery by editing a Cincinnati abolitionist newspaper: The Disfranchised American". According to the records of the A.M.E Church----------- "A part of the salaries of these teachers was paid by an educational society, composed of benevolent whites, many of whom survived to witness the triumph of principles which they espoused amid such obloquy. A number of coloured men co-operated heartily in this, among whom may be named Baker Jones, Joseph Fowler, John Woodson, Dennis Hills, John Liverpool, Wm. O'Hara, and others. These schools continued, with varying fortunes, until 1844."

Both John and Thomas served on the boards of the Colored Children's Asylum, which provided for the children of Cincinnati, Ohio. John was given charge of the Chillicothe Circuit in Ohio, pastoring Quinn Chapel and several small rural churches such as the Triumph AME Church in Pike County. He continued to be prominent in the Ohio State AME Conference, where he sought to improve the conditions at Union Seminary; now Wilberforce University.

John P. Woodson attended the A.M.E Ohio Conference of 1845. He was admitted on trial as a minister. A reference to him is in Daniel A. Payne's History of the African Methodist Church on page 140; 1891.

They both paid the ultimate price of standing up for the truth. They were beaten by pro-slavery advocates. Thomas, who was severely beaten about the head, died on September 27, 1846, a few months after his beating. When John was attacked has not been recorded, but it is known that John's wounds were so severe as to render him senseless. He died in Berlin Crossroads in 1853.

The record of the Ohio Annual A.M.E Conference reported his death thusly:

"Reverend John P. Woodson, who departed this life at the residence of his father, in Jackson County, Ohio on the 21 day of November 1853, age 34 years and four days, after a severe and lingering illness of most extreme suffering, for more than a year, which he bore with Christian resignation and died in full assurance of the faith."

Both men were married and were parents. Thomas, Jr. married Harriet A. and were the parents of 6 children. John married Eveline Clark and were the parents of 4 children.

Reverend Thomas Woodson, Jr. and Reverend John P. Woodson truly had the courage of their convictions.

  • ------------Beverly Gray, Southeastern Ohio Historian

Sources:

  • Langston, John M. From Plantation to the Nation's Capital Ca. 1878;
  • Arnett, Rev. B. W. Editor Proceedings of the semi-centenary celebration of the African

Methodist Episcopal Church of Cincinnati, held in Allen Temple 1874

  • Records: The Ohio Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: 1846, 1850,

1851, 1852

  • U. S. Census Hamilton County, Ohio
  • U. S. Census Jackson County, Ohio
  • Walnut Street Methodist Church, Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio 1818
  • Marriages of Pike County, Ohio
  • Marriages of Jackson County, Ohio
  • Christopher Brown, Newspaper article, Pike County Republican 1873
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Rev. Thomas Woodson, Jr.'s Timeline

1812
December, 1812
Virginia, United States
1834
1834
Age 21
Jackson, Ohio, United States
1838
June, 1838
Age 25
Jackson, Ohio, United States
1839
1839
Age 26
Jackson, Ohio, United States
1842
February 23, 1842
Age 29
Jackson, Ohio, United States
1843
1843
Age 30
Jackson, Ohio, United States
1844
March 5, 1844
Age 31
Chillicothe, Ross, Ohio, United States
October 6, 1844
Age 31
Jackson, Ohio, United States
1846
June 6, 1846
Age 33
Jackson, Ohio, United States
June, 1846
Age 33
Jackson, Ohio, United States