by William Brackett 1999-2008
The Woodridge family name is of English origin. According to those who research name origins it comes from the Old English as a personal name, Wulfric, which was common after the Conquest (1066). Wulfric contains the elements wolf (Wulf) + (ric) power. As this name enters the Middle English period it is transposed into Wolrich or Wolfrich. Later it is transposed by the addition of an "intrusive 'd' ... to ease the passage" between the "l" and the "r" giving the name Wooldridge. There are several derivations of this name. Some are: Woldradge, Woldredge, Wooldreid, Woldridge, Woolridge, Woollderidge, Wolridge, Woolbridge, Wolbridge, Walbridge, Woolrich, Wolrich, Woolrych, Woolveridge, Wulfric and Wulfrich. Some would say that Woolbridge is a separate family, but I believe Woolbridge is only a misspelling of Wooldridge. I am certain that the name Woodbridge and Walbridge are separate English surnames indicating a wood bridge and a walled bridge as in people who lived near these structures.
There is a reference to a Wooldridge family coat of arms: “Ar. a cross quarter pierced sa. betw. four cresents gu. Crest-out of a ducal coronet or, an ass's head gu.” Coats of Arms are assigned to individuals and their direct descendants and not to families at large.
In England in 1212 there is a reference to William Wulfric in the Curia Regis for Berkshire, England. I have also seen a reference to Ralph Wolfrich in 1250, Robert Wolvrych in the Sudsidy Rolls for Sussex, England for the year 1296, a Richard Wolrich in 1307 and a Robert Wolryge in 1332. In the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk, England in the year 1524 there is a reference to John Woldrych. The parish registers for Suffolk, England mention a John Woolbridge in 1663.
In Cheshire, England in the year 1636, Ursula Penn, an ancestor of William Penn, names a Richard Wooldridge in her will. She gives him "Richard Wooldridge 10s (shillings) for a ring;". This will was dated 23 Dec 1636. This is of interest as there will be mention made of a Thomas Wooldridge/Woolrich who was involved with William Penn in his venture in Pennsylvania in 1682.
There were at least four distinct immigrants of the Wooldridge name who came to America at early dates. There were several by this name who came later. One of the earlier groups settled in Massachusetts, one settled in Maryland, one settled in Pennsylvania and the other settled in Virginia. There was also an immigrant by the Wooldridge name at an early date in New Jersey. It is not clear if this New Jersey Wooldridge was a separate individual or merely a member of one of these other groups.
There is a reference in The History of Massachusetts The Colonial Period in 1628/29 to “a second and more exteniseve emigration” ... “and now a large company from different parts of the kingdom was ready to embark;”. There were to be six vessels in this emigration; the Talbot, the George Bonaventure, the Lion's Whelp, "and three others were to follow the above: "the Four Sisters, the Mayflower" and the “Pilgrim, of London”, commanded by Capt. William Woolridge."
The earliest reference to a Wooldridge I have seen in America is to a John Woolridge/Woolrich in Dorchester, Massachusetts in the year 1630. John Woolridge requested to be made a "freeman" in that year. Under the charter, for the Colony to be considered a member of the political body you had to be accepted as a freeman.
The oath of a freeman was: "I John Woolridge being by the Almighty's most wise disposition become a member of this body, consisting of the Govenor, Deputy Govenor, Assistants and Commonalty of the Massachusetts in New England, do freely and sincerely acknowledge that I am justly and lawfully subject to the same, and do accordingly submit my person and estate to be protected, ordered and governed by the laws and constitution thereof, and do faithfully promise to be from time to time obedient and comformable thereunto, and to the authority of the said Govenor and Assistants, and their successors, and to all such laws, orders, sentences and decrees as shall be lawfully made and published by them or their successors. And I will always endeavor (as in duty I am bound) to advance the peace and welfare of this body or commonwealth, to my utmost skill and ability. And I will, to my best power and means, seek to divert and prevent whatsoever may tend to the ruin or damage thereof, or of any the said Govenor, Deputy Govenor, or Assistants, or any of them, or their successors, and will give speedy notice to them, or some of them, of any sedition, violence, treachery, or other hurt or evil, which I shall know, hear, or vehemently suspect, to be plotted or intended against the said commonwealth, or the said Government established. And I will not, at any time, suffer or give consent to any counsel or attempt, that shall be offered, given, or attempted, for the impeachment of the said Government, or making any change or alteration of the same, contrary to the laws and ordinances thereof; but shall do my utmost endeavor to discover, oppose and hinder all and evert such counsel and attempt. So help me God."
John Woolridge was admitted as a freeman in the year 1634 at Dorchester, Massachusetts. In order for John Woolridge to be admitted as a freeman he would have most likely have had to have been a Puritan.
There was a John Woolrich, believed to be the same person, and mentioned above in Charlestown, Massachusetts. John Woolrich is mentioned in several of the Charlestown land records as having property adjoining to his. This John Woolrich must have been deceased by 1647. In the year 1647 his house was sold. "A sale of house and Land by Richard Willson, Mason, of Cambridge, unto George Hodgshon of Camridge, the House and Land lying and situate in Charlestowne, at the west end thereof, made the 8th day of the 8th Mo: 1647" In this document it states that, "which said Richard bought of Mr. Aier, who married the wife of Mr. John Woolrych, whose house it was formerly".
In 1651 there was a Nicholas Wooldridge and in 1662 there was a Edward Wooldridge in Maryland. This group has not been researched to my knowledge.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania there was a Thomas Wooldrige/Woolrich who purchased 1000 acres of land in William Penn's venture. This purchase was made in England and in the year 1681 he laid claim to his lands in what would become Bucks County. There were in the records of Bucks County, Pennsylvania copies of a deed dated 22 Mar 1681 for Thomas Woolrich for his 1000 acres. In the History of Bucks County, there is a reference to the list of those to whom land was granted and this list contains, " Thomas Wooldridge, 1000". It is likely that Thomas Wooldridge was either a Quaker or a land investor. In 1745 there was a Michael Wooldridge who came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as an indentured servant. Michael was from Ireland and was indentured to James Payne, who paid his passage for the period of seven years and five months from 23 Oct 1745. He was to be taught to be a cooper and when finished was to be given two sets of clothing, one of which was to be new. In May of 1746 his indenture was sold to Adam Hoops of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for the remainder of his indenture from 23 Oct 1745. When his indenture was sold, it was stipulated that he be taught the trade of a cooper. The buying and selling of these indentures was considered a money making venture. In 1760-1771 there was a John Wooldridge who captained ships from Philadelphia. In 1760 his ship was the Schooner "Rebecca", in 1766 his ship was the Sloop "Sally", in 1768 his ship was the Schooner "Betsy" and in 1771 his ship was the Schooner "Sidney". He sailed to North Carolina and to St. Christopher.
In 1640 there was a Thomas Wooldridge, a John Wooldridge and a Timothy Wooldridge who held Land Patents in Virginia. This John Wooldridge is not the same John Wooldridge who was in Henrico County, Virginia at a later date. There was a John Wooldridge who came to Henrico County, Virginia as an indentured servant in 1690. He came from Ireland and was a blacksmith. This John Wooldridge married Martha Osborne in 1704 and later purchased lands that would give future generations some extensive coal interests. This branch of the Wooldridge family has an extensive genealogy in existence. They are connected to Lothian, Scotland and named several of their properties in Virginia for this town. There were many Englishmen who moved freely about Ireland and Scotland during the late 1600's and early 1700's. They owned lands there and even intermarried with the Scottish and Irish locals.
In 1680 there is mention of a John Wooldridge in what would become New Jersey. This area at that time was under the jurisdiction of the Governor of New York. The reference is interesting and is recorded in "Documents Relating to The History of the Dutch and Swedish Settlements on the Delaware River”, and is part of the New York Colonial History Collection.
It contains a letter, James Nevill to Governor Andros, relating to the proceedings of sundry fugitives from Virginia who pretended to belong to a wrecked "Guineaman". It says, Governor. About ye 12th ... a person in the habit of a seaman came to this place pretending himself to be mate of a ship called ye "Marygold" bound for "Gynny" and was to touch at New York to leave some passengers there with whom ye Master had conditioned and to have 100 lbs for their passage, which money was on board of ye ship with much goods for ye "Gynny" trade and coming to" Cape May" the ship struck ground and stuck fast; the seaman escaped in a "greenland shallop" that belonged to ye ship, the Master, his son and five passengers were drowned, and that he had left four seaman at "Cohanzy", and the shallop in "Morriss River", he desired assistance with men and boats pretending he could save much goods and rigging, if he could get help. I sent him to ye Magistrates at New Castle who made provission for his aide, but before they were ready, this pretended mate escaped away, they then suspected him, and sent "huy and cry" after him, but hitherto have not taken him; within 24 hours after his escape a person came to New Castle from Virginia, who came in pursuit after this seaman; I having notice thereof sent four men to "Cohazny", apprehended the four men that were there, and sent them to ye high sheriff at New Castle, where it appeared that ye pretended mate with theses four men were servants in Virginia and had stolen a shallop from thence and left her towards the mouth of Delaware River; at ye first report here of ye ship being fast in ye sand as before mentioned; William Maltster; Edward Lumley, Thomas Watson, John Salter and John Wooldridge went down from hence secretly in a great canoe to find out ye afore named shallop at "Maurice River" intending to take her to ye ship and to bring what they could from thence without being accountable to any, but coming where the shallop lay, they found her forepart burnt; they took her cable, grapling and rudder irons and a small "cook-boate" about eight feet by the keel and returned to William Malsters plantation where they had left them until they could make sale thereof; with I having notice of, have secured till thy pleasure be known concerning them; ye cable I suppose to be between twenty and thirty fathom, a large grapling, ye boat is supposed to belong to the shallop; I desire thee send an answer to thy true friend. James Nevill. This letter was written at New Salem ye 26th of ye third month 1680. It was for the Governor of New York.
At first glance this might seem to be an early reference to a Wooldridge in New York but upon closer examination this is not the case. This John Wooldridge was apparently from New Salem, which is present day Salem, New Jersey. Cape May is at the mouth of the Delaware River and is in present day New Jersey. New Castle is in present day Delaware; also on the Delaware River. During this time period the Governor of New York was in charge of this part of the settlements along the Delaware River. The Delaware Territory was a dependency of the Province of New York until the arrival of William Penn's deputy and the establishment of the Colony of Pennsylvania from about 1664 to 1682. The relationship of this John Wooldridge to others of that name has not been ascertained.
Of note is a reference I found in a book called The Original List of Persons of Quality 1600-1700. There is a William Wooldridge who is being sent to Barbados in the year 1685. He was from Tiverton, England but was being held as a prisoner at the prison at Bridgewater for being a "rebel". He was sent from Devonshire, England to Barbados on the "John Frigget" on 24 Oct 1685.
There was much religious upheaval in England at this time. Many Puritans came to Massachusetts in the years following 1620. Many seeking religious freedom came to Virginia as early as 1610. Many Quakers (Friends) came to Pennsylvania as early as 1680 at Penn's urging. It is obvious from the number of the Wooldridge name coming from England/Scotland/Ireland to New England during this time period that they were seeking one of two things; land or religious freedom or possibly both.
Some of those in Pennsylvania by the Wooldridge name were:
Thomas Wooldridge/Woolrich Bucks County 1681
Cuspard Woolrich 1732
Michael Wooldridge Lancaster County 1746
John Wooldridge (Capt.) Philadelphia 1760
Jonas Wooldridge Philadelphia 1800
Robert Wooldridge Philadelphia 1800
*John Wooldridge Clearfield County 1820
William Wooldridge 1820
Robert Wooldridge Philadelphia 1820
Henry Wooldridge Philadelphia 1822
William Wooldridge Philadelphia 1840
James Wooldridge Philadelphia 1840
Hery Wooldridge Franklin County 1850
Mary Wooldridge Philadelphia 1850
William Wooldridge Clearfield County 1850
* John Wooldridge of Clearfield County was the son of William Wooldridge who was born in England. This indicates Wooldridges were still imigrating from England in 1820.
One Wooldridge family from Pennsylvania indicated that they are descended from John Wooldridge who was born 31 Jan 1769 in Sussex County, England. This John Wooldridge married Sarah Watts in Surrey County, England. This John Wooldridge died 08 Jan 1849 in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. This family indicates that a son of this John changed the family name from Wooldridge to Woolridge, dropping the "d". They say that this occurred as a brother was an accused horse thief and in order not to be identified with him they dropped the "d" and became know by Woolridge.
There was a large group by the Wooldridge name in the town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. The name there is spelled: Wooldredge, Wooldridge, Wooldrige. These families were associated with the First Congregational Church of Marblehead and a few were associated with the Second Congregational Church. There are records of births, baptism, death and marriages available for 1720-1840s. Some of these early family groups were:
William and Sarah Woolridge. Their children were:
Thomas Wooldridge baptized 1725
John Wooldridge baptized 1727
Robert Wooldridge baptized 1729
Mary Wooldridge baptized 1733
Thomas Wooldridge baptized 1736
and probably others
John and Mary (Pittman) Wooldridge married 03 Oct 1750. Their children were:
Mary Wooldridge baptized 1751
Sarah Wooldridge baptized 1752
Margarett Wooldridge baptized 1755
Agnes Wooldridge baptized 1756
John Wooldridge baptized 1759
William Wooldridge baptized 1760
Robert Wooldridge baptized 1763
Thomas Wooldridge baptized 1765
Sarah Wooldridge baptized 1767
Anna Wooldridge baptized 1769
William and Margaret (Pittman) Wooldridge married 17 Aug 1747. Their children were:
William Wooldridge baptized 1748
Robert Wooldridge baptized 1750
Sarah Wooldridge baptized 1752
William Wooldridge baptized 1755
John Wooldridge baptized 1756
Thomas Wooldridge baptized 1758
Margaret Wooldridge baptized 1761
Margaret Wooldridge baptized 1762
Mary Wooldridge baptized 1764
Benjamin Wooldridge baptized 1769
Robert and Charity (Foot) Wooldrige married 20 Sep 1774. There is one child listed:
Robert Wooldrige baptized 1775
Thomas and Elizabeth (Carrel) Wooldridge married 13 Feb 1778.
William and Elizabeth (Barber) Wooldridge married 26 Dec 1778.
*Thomas and Mary (Gale) Wooldridge married 27 Feb 1787. There is one child listed:
Ambrose Wooldridge born 1802
*This may be the same person as Capt. Thomas Wooldridge mentioned later.
Benjamin and Rebecca Wooldridge. Their children were:
Rebecca Wooldridge baptized 1792
Benjamin Wooldridge baptized 1794
William Wooldridge baptized 1797 died 1821
John and Elizabeth Wooldridge. There is one child listed:
Robert Wooldridge baptized 1792
Capt. John and Tabitha (Pousland) Wooldridge married 11 Feb 1783. Tabitha died in 1833. Their children were:
Tabby Wooldridge baptized 1783
John Wooldridge baptized 1785
Mary Wooldridge baptized 1787
William Wooldridge baptized 1789 died 1813
Thomas Wooldridge baptized 1795
Elizabeth Wooldridge baptized 1797
Elizabeth Wooldridge baptized 1799
Sarah Wooldridge baptized 1802
Robert and Mary Wooldridge. There are two children listed:
Charity Wooldridge baptized 1792
Robert Wooldridge baptized 1795 died 1822
Capt. Thomas and Mary Wooldredge. Their children were:
Thomas Wooldredge born 1787
Samuel Wooldredge born 1791
John Wooldredge born 1795
Mary Wooldredge born 1797
Mary Wooldredge born 1798
William Wooldredge born 1800
Joseph Wooldredge born 1802
Margaret Wooldredge born 1807
William and Sarah (Clark) Wooldridge married 13 Jan 1787. Their children were:
Sally Wooldridge baptized 1787
Othniel B. Wooldridge baptized 1789
Mary B. Wooldridge baptized 1791
Thomas Wooldridge baptized 1793
Hannah Wooldridge baptized 1796
William Wooldridge baptized 1797
Some of those in Massachusetts by the name of Wooldridge were:
Cpt. Thomas Wooldridge 1765
Benjamin Wooldridge 1769
Thomas Wolldreidge Cambridge 1775
John Wooldridge Marblehead 1775
Thomas Wooldridge Marblehead 1775
John Wooldreidg Cambridge 1776
Robert Wooldredge Marblehead 1776
Nathaniel Wooldridge Boston 1777
William Wooldridge Marblehead 1776
*William Wooldridge Hampden County 1790
Samuel Wooldridge 1791
**Benjamin Wooldridge Essex County 1800
John Wooldridge Essex County 1800
Margaret Wooldridge Essex County 1800
Mary Wooldridge Essex County 1800
Rebecca Wooldridge Essex County 1800
Robert Wooldridge Essex County 1800
Thomas Wooldridge Essex County 1800
William Wooldridge Essex County 1800
Samuel G. Wooldridge Essex County 1800
William Wooldridge Marblehead 1822
Elizabeth Wooldridge (wife of Wm) Marblehead married 1822
Thomas Wooldridge Marblehead 1826
Lois Wooldridge (wife of Thomas) Marblehead 1826
Thomas Wooldridge Jr. Marblehead 1826
Sarah Wooldridge (wife of Tom Jr.) Marblehead 1849
William Wooldridge Marblehead 1829
Benjamin Wooldridge Marblehead 1829
Mary Wooldridge (wife of Ben) Marblehead married 1829
William W. Wooldridge (Ben's son) Marblehead born 1836
Thomas Wooldridge Marblehead 1838
Abigail Wooldridge (wife of Tom) Marblehead married 1838
William Wooldridge Marblehead 1837
Elizabeth Wooldridge (wife of Wm) Marblehead 1837
Elizabeth Wooldridge (dau. of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1837
Mary U. Wooldridge (dau. of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1837
Sarah H. Wooldridge (dau. of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1837
William Wooldridge (son of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1837
Harriet W. Wooldridge(dau. of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1840
Martha C. Wooldridge (dau. of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1840
William Wooldridge Marblehead 1838
Amanda Wooldridge (wife of Wm) Marblehead married 1838
William Wooldridge (son of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1840
Thomas Wooldridge (son of Wm) Marblehead baptized 1841
Joseph G. Wooldridge (a seaman) Marblehead 1839
Hannah R. Wooldridge (wife of Joe) Marblehead married 1839
Martha A. Wooldridge (dau. of Joe) Marblehead 1844
John Wooldridge (a shoemaker) Marblehead 1844
Elizabeth Wooldridge (wife of John) Marblehead 1844
Thomas Wooldridge (son of John) Marblehead 1844
Ann Wooldridge (dau. of John) Marblehead 1846
John Wooldridge (son of John) Marblehead 1849
Thomas Wooldridge Jr. Marblehead 1849
Sarah Wooldridge (wife of Tom Jr.) Marblehead married 1849
*This William Wooldridge was born in New York State and is believed to be the father of some of the New York branch of this family.
**Several of this family were reported as being lost at sea, indicating perhaps involvement with a sea trade? They are buried at the Pond Street Burial Ground on the Hill of Marblehead, Massachusetts:
Wooldridge, Rebecca, wife of Benjamin, d. March 27, 1800, aged 32 y. 5m.
Wooldridge, Benjamin, lost at sea Sept, 1800, aged 31
Wooldridge, Capt. Thomas. Aug. 20, 1809, aged 44 y., 25 d.
Wooldridge, William, son of Benjamin and Rebecca, at sea. Nov. 10, 1821.
Wooldridge, Benjamin, son of Benjamin. Nov. 26, 1852, aged 58 y., 6 m.
Wooldridge, Samuel G., son of Capt. Thomas and Mary, at sea. Aug. 1825, aged 34 y.
I will spend some time here looking at William Wooldridge who was living in Blandford Town, Hampden County, Massachusetts in 1790. This is the William Wooldridge who served during the Revolutionary War for Connecticut; who was born in "the narrows" of New York in 1759 and who later died in Cato, Cayuga County, New York on 03 Jul 1838. In 1812 he served in the War for New York and was living near Plattsburgh where he enlisted.
The 1790, 1800 and census indexes for New York do not have any by the Wooldridge name listed. The early Connecticut and Massachusetts census indexes do not include Wooldridge families either but do contain Walbridge families
In Oneida County, New York in 1832 William Wooldridge applied for a military pension based on his Revolutionary War and War of 1812 service. According to these Military Pension Records William Wooldridge was born in the "narrows of New York" in 1759. The narrows was a portion of the Hudson River where it was very narrow. This area is in Dutchess County, New York. William Wooldridge died in Cato, Cayuga County, New York on 03 Jul 1838. William's son Warren lived in Cato, New York in 1840. These records indicated William Wooldridge was drafted for Connecticut for service in the Revolutionary War. He was living in or near New Hartford, Connecticut at that time. In 1790 this William Wooldridge was living in Blandford, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. There is also a William T. Wooldridge who served in the war of 1812 for New York. These are believed to be the same person. In 1799 William Wooldridge was living in Dutchess County, New York, as his daughter was born there. In 1812 William Wooldridge was living near Plattsburg, New York. In 1820 he was once again living in Dutchess County, New York. He lived in Pine Plains, New York, Coxsackie, New York and Annsville in Oneida County, New York.
His recollection (1832) of his record of Revolutionary War service indicates: "In the year 1776 in the spring of that year he was drafted as within stated in Cpt. Pomeroys Company -Lt. Cowdrey-Col. Canfields Rgt-Connt Troops he marched from New Hartford to Horse Neck and continued to serve at Horse Neck and about then until the expiration of his service in the winter following having served the full term & period of Nine Months - The troops were stationed there in houses and barracks and acted as a guard and as patrols through the adjoining country -- Gen Putnam frequently at Horse Neck and a Col Sprauge- " "In April 1777 when Danbury in Conn. was burnt this deponent then being a minute man in a company which a Capt /or Lieut Lymour was connected and marched from New Hartford to Danbury and there served to his best recollection for one month - which time on reflection since he made his annexed declaration is the true time of his service - being called upon as a volunteer militia man." "In July of 1779 at the time Norwalk was burnt this deponent then being a minute man in Capt Lymours Co. of New Hartford aforesaid marched to Norwalk and there served according to his best recollection one month - this on reflection since he made the within; being what he believes is the true & exact time of his then service ... "One of these documents contains the signature of William Wooldridge. It is clear that he included the "d" in his signature even though he is often referred to as William Woolridge.
William Wooldridge married Catherine Phelps on "Thanksgiving Day 1796" according to his application for military pension in 1832 by his own statement. They were married in "Blandford State of Mass." by "one Mr. Smith Esq.". This is where it gets interesting. Catherine's name is reported as Phelps, Webb, Austin and Huston. In 1857 when Catherine applied for a widow’s pension she was living in Oswego County, New York and was 81 years of age. She stated her name before the marriage was Phelps. She signed with an "X", indicating her name was Catherine Huston. Her daughters, Mynervia Archer and Aurella Elbridge indicated she was Catherine Wooldridge, widow of William Wooldridge and also signed their documents with an "X". At one point in the record the name Phelps is crossed out and Webb is written in. Catherine reports she married William Wooldridge on 28 Nov 1796. Catherine states that "on the 1st day of January 1840 she married one Elihu Austin who died the 23 day of May 1855 that since the said Austins death she calls herself & is known as Catherine Woolbridge". She goes on to state that when they were married she lived in " Blandford Mass. that she lived there only three weeks after her marriage & then moved to Sandisfield Mass. where she resided one year & eight months she then removed with her husband to the town of Amenia, Dutchess Co. N Y to a village called Pine Plains from Pine Plains she moved to Coxsackie N Y that she does not remember the length of time she lived at Pine Plains & Coxsackie from Coxsackie she moved to the village of Gayburgh in the Town of Annsville Oneida Co N Y & while she resided at this place her husband the said William Woolbridge obtained his pension his papers were made out at home Oneida Co N Y she thinks by Judge Hathaway from Gayburgh she moved to Cato Cayuga Co N Y where her husband the said William Woolbridge died in 1838 that her residence is now in the Town of Oswego N Y and that she is now a widow." She goes on to state that " she was acquainted with Wm Woolbridge about one year before she was married to him That she knows of no public or private record proof of her marriage ... and that her oldest child Aurellia Woolbridge was born in August 1799 in Dutchess Co N Y." This document is signed with an "X". William Wooldridge was 37 years of age when he married Catherine Phelps who was 20 years of age. It is possible William Wooldridge was married prior to his marriage to Catherine Phelps and this may be where the reference to Catherine Webb originated.
The document that records William Wooldridge's War of 1812 service reads: "State of New York County of Oswego On this 15th day of April A. D. 1856 before me the undersigned, a Justice of the Peace duly authorized by law to administer oaths within and for the County and State aforesaid, personnaly appeared Catherine Woolbridge aged 78 years, a resident of the town of Oswego in the County of Oswego and State of New York; who being duly sworn by law, declares that she is the widow of William Woolridge deceased, who was a Private in the company commended by Captain Wallace in the regiment commanded by Col. Dolittle in the war with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th of June 1812. That her said husband enlisted or entered the service at Plattsburg about the first day of May A. D. 1814; for the term of time indefinite and continued in actual service in said war for the term of five weeks or about the middle of July A. D. 1814. She further states that she was married to the said William Woolbridge in Leyden Massachusetts on the Thanksgiving day of A. D. 1796 by one Squire Smith and that her name before her said marriage was Catherine Phelps" (Phelps being crossed out and Webb being written in it's place) "Webb that her said husband died at Cato, Cayuga Co N Y on the 3 day of July A. D. 1838 and that she is now a widow. She makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the Bounty Land to which she may be entitled on account of said service, under the Act approved the 3d day of March, 1855. She also declares that she has not received a Warrant for Bounty Land, under this or any other Act of Congress, nor made application therefor. She hereby appoints Franklin Hull of Syracuse, N. Y. her true and lawful Attorney, with power of substitution, to prosecute this her claim for land, to receive the Certificate or Warrent when issued, and to do all other acts necessary and proper in the premises to obtain from the proper authorities at Washington, or elsewhere, certified copies of Army or Navy records in which her said husband's service may be recorded, and to procure all evidence necessary to establish her claim." It is signed for her and she made her mark with an "X". It was witnessed: " We, Robert Acker and Clinton Acker residents of the town of Oswego in the County of Oswego and State of New York being duly sworn, do upon our oaths, declare that the foregoing declaration was signed and acknowledged by Catharine Woolbridge in our presence, and that we believe, from the appearance and statement of the applicant, that she is the identical person she presents herself to be." It is signed here by Robert Acker and Clinton Acker. It goes on to say: "The foregoing declaration and affidavit were sworn to and suscribed before me, on this day above written. And I certify that I know the affiants to be credible persons; that the claimant is the person she represents herself to be, and that I have no interest in the claim." It is signed here by John Pilling J. P.
William and Catherine Wooldridge had children:
Aurelius Wooldridge b. 13 Aug 1799 in Dutchess County, New York. She married ... Eldrege.
Walter Wooldridge b. 03 Apr 1801
Caroline Wooldridge b. 05 Mar 1803
Walker Wooldridge b. 10 Jun 1805
Warren Wooldridge b. 03 Mar 1807
Almond Wooldridge b. 25 Mar 1809
Mynerva Wooldridge b. 25 Aug 1815 She married Robert Acker.
Catherine stated that they had 11 children of which 6 were living in 1857. She said four died as infants so one of those above must have died when they were older. There are some conflicting statements in these records. These conflicts are accounted for by Catherine's advanced age, 80 years of age and the fact that the information was being written for her by a clerk. Pronunciations vary and therefore the words recorded may not be exact.
Some of the name of Wooldridge in New York were:
William Wooldridge "the narrows" 1759
*William T. Wooldridge War of 1812 1812
Charles Wooldridge War of 1812 1812 who was from Manilus, N. Y.
**George Wooldridge N.Y.C. 1st ward 1820
*John Wooldridge Dutchess County 1820
*William Wooldridge Dutchess County 1820
George Wooldridge N.Y.C. 6th ward 1830
Truman Wooldridge Ontario County 1830
William Wooldridge Oneida County 1830
*William Wooldridge Dutchess County 1830
*John Wooldridge Chenango County 1830
***William V. Wooldridge 1840
Jacob Wooldridge N.Y.C. 1840
George Wooldridge N.Y.C. 1840
John Wooldridge Chenango County 1840
****Warren W. Wooldridge Cayuga County 1840
*John Wooldridge Chenango County 1850
Abraham Wooldridge Oswego County 1850
Charles Wooldridge Onogada County 1850
Elica Wooldridge Onogada County 1850
Warren Wooldridge Oswego County 1850
Warren Wooldridge Oswego County 1850
*William Wooldridge Chenango County 1850
*William T. Wooldridge Dutchess County 1850
Philo Wooldridge Dutchess County 1850
George Wooldridge Sullivan County 1860
Philo Wooldridge Dutchess County 1860
*William Wooldridge Dutchess County 1860
Wilson Wooldridge Oswego County 1860
Amos Wooldridge Oswego County 1860
Henry Wooldridge Fulton County 1860
Warren Wooldridge Oswego County 1860
William Wooldridge Oswego County 1860
*William Wooldridge Chenango County 1860
Napoleon Wooldridge New York City 1870
*****Almond Wooldridge Oneida County 1890
* These are believed to be the same family and the movement pattern fits that theory. William T. Wooldridge is found in Pine Plains, Dutchess County, New York till 1872 when he died there. John Wooldridge died in Smyrna in Chenango County, New York and they appear to have been sons of John Wooldridge of Dutchess County.
** In a book Early New York Naturalizations, there was found, what I believe, is the record of George Wooldridge's naturalization: “Wooldrich, George, mariner, subj. of Emporer of France; rec. by Sebastian Michel, fruiterer - 23 Mar. 1811”. This indicates that George Wooldridge came to New York in about 1811. As it states that he was a subject of the Emperor of France, he may have come from France but also may have been living in French Canada. There were persons of the Wooldridge name in Canada at an early date. In this same reference there is note of, Wooldridge, John, labourer, subj. of G. B. (England); rec. by John Benham, brewer - 28 Aug. 1813. It also indicates; Christy, Joseph, fruiterer, subj. of G. B.; rec. by George Wooldridge, merchant, and Charles Delvecchio - 25 May 1830. I believe that George Wooldridge is a separate branch of the Wooldridge family who first came to New York City in 1811 and lived most of his life in that city. This family later removed to Wisconsin and then on to California.
***Relatives of William V. Wooldridge report his middle name was Van Rensselaer and that he was the son of Truman Wooldridge.
****It is known that Warren W. Wooldridge was the son of William Wooldridge (1759).
*****It is known that Almond Wooldridge was the son of William Wooldridge (1759). This notation is for service in the Civil War. As Almond Wooldridge was born in 1809, this may be one of his descendants, but could have been he himself?
It is my belief that the Marblehead, Massachusetts Wooldridge families (1720) are descendants of John Woolrich of Charlestown, Massachusetts (1630) and that John Woolrich was related to Capt. William Woolridge from London (1629). The French and Indian War (1753-1763) caused a number of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Colonials as well as Englishmen to serve the Crown and take areas of New York, Ohio and even Illinois from the French. I believe the Wooldridge families were a part of this confrontation. I feel this is how William Wooldridge (1759) was born in "the Narrows of New York" and why he lived in Massachusetts and Connecticut before returning to New York in 1799.
My interest in the Wooldridge family is due to Sarah J. Wooldridge and her brother William H. Wooldridge who were married in Hager Township, Berrien County, Michigan in 1890. Their parents are recorded as William Wooldridge and Jane Genet. The mother’s name was later determined to be Jane Jeanette Elwell. It is also recorded that they were born in New York. Sarah Wooldridge married Edgar Brackett, my great grandfather. In an attempt to link Sarah J. Wooldridge back to her parents in New York I searched several census records for William Wooldridge in New York. It would however appear that the John Wooldridge family that lived in Chenango County, New York is the most likely candidates. This family group lived in the towns of Plymouth and Smyrna in Chenango County, New York and may have been from Vermont as the 1850 census indicates or from Connecticut as one of his daughter’s death records indicate.
The 1810 census of Vermont includes a “John Woledge” as living in Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont. This may be the John Wooldridge mentioned above and below.
Many thanks to Robert Matteson, Smyrna Town Historian, from Smyrna in Chenango County, New York for his assistance in that area. He devoted many hours and much diligence to helping unravel this family in Chenango and Dutchess Counties.
John Wooldridge’s tombstone is in Eames Family Cemetery located in Mills Norrie State Park near Staatsburg, Dutchess County, New York 15 May 2007
Stone reads: John Wooldridge born at Essex Co. Eng. died at Staatsburgh May 11, 1829 aged 76 years & 11 months.
John Wooldridge was born in Jun 1752 in Essex County, England and died on 14 May 1829 in Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York. John Wooldridge is buried in the “Eames Grounds” at Staatsburg, New York. From the census records it appears two of his children were:
William T. Wooldridge who was born about 1790 and married Mary Tanner. William died on 26 May 1872 in Pine Planes, Dutchess County, New York. Mary Wooldridge died on 01 Jul 1864 at the age of 74 years.
William and Mary (Tanner) Wooldridge are buried in the Bethel Cemetery in Pine Plains, New York. William served in the War of 1812.
John W. Wooldridge who was born about 1789 possibly in Dutchess County, New York and married Sally Gilbert. John died in 1858 in Smyrna in Chenango County, New York. J. W. Wooldridge is buried in the Smyrna East Cemetery in Smyrna, New York. John also served in the War of 1812. John Wooldridge had children:
Patience Wooldridge born about 1808 in Vermont, died 16 Jul 1886, never married
Polly Wooldridge born about 1810, died 20 Nov 1862, married James Scarritt
Eliza Wooldridge born about 1819, died May 1863, married Minor Cyrus Wedge
Hannah Wooldridge born 06 Jun 1822, d. 04 Sep 1896, married Sanford Chaffee
William Wooldridge born about 1826, died after 1885, married Jane Jeanette Elwell
The 1810 census of Amenia in Dutchess County, New York contains the John “Waldridge” family. There was one male under 10 years of age, one male 16-25 years of age, one male 45 plus and one female 10-15 years of age. This family appears to have been John Wooldridge (Sr.) as he would have been 56 years of age by this time but there is no wife. John Wooldridge (Jr.) would have been about 20 years of age at this time but was married and had one daughter about 2 years old and does not appear to be in this household. On this same census page up fourteen names is a John Wooldrig with the same numbers in the same columns. It is not clear if this is an error or which of these individuals may be our John Wooldridge but it is likely he is one of them. They may actually be John Sr. and John Jr. They lived very close to Gilbert families.
The 1820 census of North East in Dutchess County, New York includes the William Wooldridge household with one male 0-10 years of age, one male 26-45 years of age, two females 10-10 years of age and one female 26-45 years of age. This census also includes in Clinton, the John Wooldridge household with one male 0-10 years of age, one male 16-26 years of age and one male 45 years or older, two females 16-26 years of age and one female 45 years or older.
The 1820 census of Smyrna in Chenango County, New York contains the John “Woolridge” family. There was one male 26-45 years of age, 3 females under 10 years of age, 1 female 10-15 years of age and one female 26-45 years of age. This would be John and Sally (Gilbert) Wooldridge with Patience, Polly and Eliza their daughters.
Chenango County, New York Deeds: On 10 Apr 1821 John Wooldridge bought 80 acres of land in lot # 29 of Smyrna, New York from Daniel McCormick who was from New York City.
Book CC page 117, Thaddeus Gilbert Jr. bought land from John and Sally Wooldridge on 19 Jul 1821
Book PP page 396, Thaddeus Gilbert sold the same land to William Whipple.
There is a record at the www.familysearch.org website that indicates Thaddeus Gilbert married Patience Whipple. Thaddeus Gilbert Sr. may have been Sarah/Sally Gilbert’s father as she named her first daughter Patience. Thaddeus Gilbert was from New Haven, Connecticut. Thaddeus Gilbert Sr. also appears in the 1790 census of Amenia, Dutchess County, New York.
The 1830 census of Smyrna, Chenango County, New York includes the John Wooldridge household with one male 30-40 years of age, one male under 5 years of age, one female 5-10 years of age and one female 10-15 years of age. Apparently there was not a wife in this census. It appears John was widowed and had his children, William, Eliza and Hannah Wooldridge with him. This census indicates Sally (Gilbert) Wooldridge had died, possibly when their son, William, was born about 1826. Sally Gilbert may well have been a sister of Thaddeus Gilbert Jr. There was a Thaddeus Gilbert Sr. and Jr. in Dutchess County and once John and Sally (Gilbert) Wooldridge move to Smyrna in Chenango County there is a Thaddeus Gilbert there also. Thaddeus Gilbert Sr. married Patience Whipple in 1775 in Amenia in Dutchess County, New York. John and Sally named their daughter Patience and these land transaction include all three names, Wooldridge, Gilbert and Whipple.
The 1840 census of Smyrna, Chenango County, New York includes the John Wooldridge household with one male 50-60 years of age, one male under five years of age, one male 10-15 years of age, one male 20-30 years of age, one female 15-20 years of age and one female 20-30 years of age. The changes here are the addition of the less than five year old boy, a female of 20-30 years of age and a male of 20-30 years of age. Apparently John a married member of his family had moved in with him.
The 1850 census of Smyrna, Chenango County, New York includes:
John Wooldridge age 60 Farmer b. in Vermont
Patience Wooldridge age 42 b. in Vermont
Eliza Wedge age 32 b. in New York
and on the property next door
William Wooldridge age 24 Farmer b. in New York
John Wedge age 10 b. in New York
Gilbert Wedge age 9 b. In New York
Eliza Wedge was John’s older daughter who had married Minor Cyrus Wedge. This William Wooldridge fits the profile of the future husband of Janette Elwell. It has also been discovered that their daughter, Polly Wooldridge, was born about 1868 in Chenango County, New York and their son William H. Wooldridge was born 18 Jul 1867 in Plymouth, which is in Chenango County, New York. This is likely the J. W. Wooldridge who died in 1858 and is buried in the East Smyrna Cemetery. The towns of Plymouth and Smyrna are less than seven miles apart and the townships adjoin each other. There are records in Smyrna of a “Polly Woolridge” who married James Scarritt.
There is a record on www.rootsweb.com that indicates Polly Wooldridge who married James Scarritt was born in Dutchess County, New York. After contacting the author of this record she provided me with the following information. Polly’s surname is given in the obituary of her son, Nelson J. Scarritt, as “Polly Woolridge”. Nelson J. Scarritt died on 12 Aug 1919. In a biography of another of her sons, James M. Scarritt, it says that James M.’s maternal grandfather “was John Wooldridge, a soldier of the war of 1812-14. He married Sally Gilbert, and removed from Amenia, Dutchess Co., NY to Smyrna in Chenango County, where he spent his last days.” And also that Polly was born “near Poughkeepsie, New York”. This Biography is contained in the Portrait and Biographical Album of Lenawee County Michigan, published in 1888 in Chicago by the Chapman Brothers. These references directly link the John Wooldridge of Smyrna in Chenango County to the John Wooldridge of Dutchess County, New York. His brother William T. Wooldridge also served in the War of 1812.
Hannah (Wooldridge) Chaffee died on 05 Sep 1896 in Smyrna. The Sherburne Death Register includes her. Her age is given as 74 years 2 months and 18 days. She is recorded as being retired. Her birthplace is given as Smyrna, New York. Her father is recorded as John Wooldridge and her mother as Sarah Wooldridge, both who were born in Connecticut. The names Sarah and Sally are often interchanged and I am assuming this notation for her mother was still for Sally Gilbert.
Checking the genealogy website for Dutchess County, New York I found three burials for Wooldridge family members. In Bethel Cemetery in Pine Planes there is William T. Wooldridge who died on 26 May 1872 at the age of 82 years, Mary Wooldridge who died on 01 Jul 1864 at the age of 74 years and in the “Eames Ground” in Hyde Park there is a John Wooldridge who was born in Essex County, England and died on 14 May 1829 at the age of 76 years and 11 months. This William Wooldridge is very close in age to John Wooldridge of Smyrna, Chenango County, New York. I assume they were brothers and sons of this John Wooldridge of England. It would appear that our Wooldridge connection is to England and not to the Marblehead Wooldridge families mentioned earlier. Since the “Eames Ground” was used by the Eames family one has to wonder if John Wooldridge was somehow related? Perhaps his wife was an Eames.
In 1855 New York took a census. In this census they asked two interesting questions. They asked “In what county of this State or in what other State or Foreign Country” were you born and the number of “Years resident in this city or town.”. Looking at this census for the known Wooldridge family members the following information is included on this census of Smyrna, Chenango County, New York:
Name Age Relationship to Where born Married or # of years in
head of family Widowed this location
John Wooldridge 67 Dutchess Co. W 35
Patience Wooldridge 45 Daughter Dutchess C. 35
Eliza Wooldridge 35 Daughter Dutchess Co. 35
William Wooldridge 27 Son Chenango Co. 27
John Wedge 15 Grandson Chenango Co. 15
Gilbert Wedge 13 Grandson Chenango Co. 13
Sanford Chafee 46 Chenango Co. M 12
Hannah Chafee 33 Wife Chenango Co. M 33
William Chafee 10 Son Chenango Co. 10
Francis Chaffee 6/12 Son Chenango Co. 6/12
James Scarritt 57 Conn. M 45
Polly Scarritt 46 Wife Dutchess Co. M 40
George Scarritt 25 Son Chenango Co. 25
Nelson Scarritt 19 Son Chenango Co. 19
Sylva Scarritt 17 Daughter Chenango Co. 17
Looking at these entries it appears that When Polly (Wooldridge) Scarritt was about six years or seven of age she moved to Chenango County from Dutchess County. That would have been about 1815/16, although John and Patience Wooldridge say they had lived here only 35 years. The John Wooldridge family appears in the 1820 census of Chenango County. Both John and William Wooldridge are included in this census as farmers. Hannah (Wooldridge) Chafee was born in Chenango County about 1822. It would appear that John Wooldridge was born 1787/88 in Dutchess County, New York. John Wooldridge’s tombstone indicates he died in 1858 and was 68 years of age making his birth year 1789/90.
By 1860 the only Wooldridge listed on the census in Western New York was a William Wooldridge living in Smyrna in Chenango County:
Wm Wooldridge 32 year of age a farmer born in New York
Patience Wooldridge 55 years of age housekeeper born in New York
Note: This was the son of John Wooldridge of the 1850 Chenango County, New York census. Patience Wooldridge died on 16 Jul 1886. In the 1880 census Patience was living with Gilbert Wedge’s family and is listed as his “Aunt”. If this is true then she may have been a sister to Eliza (Wooldridge) Wedge Gilbert’s mother. She was too young to have been the mother of these Wooldridge children. Robert Matteson helped me clarify this relationship. He found a notice in the Sherburne News dated Saturday 17 Jul 1886 which reads: Miss Patience Wooldridge age 78 died July 16 in Smyrna, funeral was Friday at 1pm.” This notice indicates she was still a “Miss” and had not married so that would make her the daughter of John and Sally (Gilbert) Wooldridge and Eliza’s sister.
The 1870 census of Plymouth, Chenango County, New York includes:
Wm Wooldridge 42 years of age a laborer born inn New York
Jane J. Wooldridge 22 years of age born in Connecticut
Polly Wooldridge 1 year of age
Note: This is the William and Jane Jeannette (Elwell) Wooldridge family. Jeannette is often seen in other records as Jane Jeannette or as Jane J. and we know Polly was their daughter. In the 1869-70 directory of Plymouth you can find a William Wooldridge, carpenter living there. It is odd that William H. Wooldridge born 1867 is not included in this census? Smyrna and Plymouth are adjacent towns/townships. There is a deed in Chenango County, New York Land Records Volume 127 page 64 from Gilbert Wedge of Smyrna to William Wooldridge of Plymouth, selling land in Plymouth.
There were persons by the name of Wooldridge in Ohio as early as 1850 and it is known that some of the pioneers in Berrien County, Michigan had moved from New York into Ohio prior to coming to Michigan. There is a William and Jane Wooldridge in Summit County, Ohio as late as 1880 but upon further investigation they were not Sarah J. Wooldridge's parents as they were too old in 1870 to have given birth to her. Sarah J. Wooldridge was in Berrien County, Michigan in 1890 at the age of 20 years and this Jane Wooldridge was 59 years old in 1870. This William Wooldridge also stated he was born in England.
By 1860 the only Wooldridge listed on the census in Western New York was a William Wooldridge living in Smyrna in Chenango County:
Wm Wooldridge 32 year of age a farmer born in New York
Patience Wooldridge 55 years of age housekeeper born in New York
The 1870 census of Plymouth, Chenango County, New York includes:
Wm Wooldridge 42 years of age a laborer born inn New York
Jane J. Wooldridge 22 years of age born in Connecticut
Polly Wooldridge 1 year of age
Note: This is the William and Jeannette (Elwell) Wooldridge family. Jeannette is often seen in other records as Jane Jeannette or as Jane J. and we know Polly was their daughter. In the 1869-70 directory of Plymouth you can find a William Wooldridge, carpenter living there. It is odd that William H. Wooldridge born 1867 is not included in this census? Smyrna and Plymouth are adjacent towns/townships. There is a deed in Chenango County, New York Land Records Volume 127 page 64 from Gilbert Wedge of Smyrna to William Wooldridge of Plymouth, selling land in Plymouth.
William Wooldridge married Jane Jeanette Elwell in New York about 1865 and their children were:
William H. Wooldridge b. 18 Jul 1867 in Plymouth, Chenango Co., N.Y.
Polly M. Wooldridge b. 11 Nov. 1869, Chenango Co., N.Y.
Sarah Jane Wooldridge b. 11 Aug 1873 in Michigan
Berton E. Wooldridge b. 26 Sep 1878 in Michigan
Isaac Wooldridge b. Apr 1880 in Nebraska
Martha Wooldridge b. 31 Aug 1886 in Michigan
Page 83 of Liber "G" of the Berrien County Marriage Records includes the marriage of Edgar L. Brackett and Sarah J. Wooldridge. It states the license was issued on November 01, 1890. On November 03, 1890 they were married and had both been living in Hager Township of Berrien County, Michigan. It reports that Edgar's father was John W. Brackett and his mother was Sarah Brant. Sarah's father is recorded as William Wooldridge and her mother as Jane Genet*. The record also indicates that Sarah Wooldridge was born in New York. The witnesses to the marriage were William H. Wooldridge and Olive Powell. Edgar L. Brackett was 21 years of age and Sarah Wooldridge was 18 years of age.
Page 83 of Liber "G" of the Berrien County Marriage Records also includes the marriage of William H. Wooldridge and Olive Powell. William is reportedly 21 years of age and Olive Powell is 18 years of age. Their license was also issued on November 01, 1890 and they were married on November 03, 1890. This was a double ceremony as Edgar and Sarah Brackett witnessed this marriage. William H. Wooldridge's father is listed as William Wooldridge and his mother is listed as *Jane Genet. Olive Powell's mother is listed as Sarah Brant and her father as John Powell. Olive Powell is listed as being from Royalton Township and William H. Wooldridge is listed as being from Hager Township. William H. Wooldridge is listed as being born in New York and Olive Powell as being born in Iowa.
The Justice of the Peace who performed both these ceremonies was, Talma Hendrick. They took place in Hager Township.
Edgar Brackett and Olive Powell were half brother and sister. They had the same mother, Sarah Brant.
*The name Jane Genet was in error. It has been found that William H. Wooldridge and Sarah J. Wooldridge's mother's name was Jane Jeanette Elwell. Her given name is also seen as Genette.
Page 323 of Liber "J" of the Berrien County Marriage Records includes the fourth marriage of William H. Wooldridge. On 01 Nov 1909 in Benton Harbor, William H. Wooldridge married Mary Negus Chaddock. It would appear from the record that she had also been married before and that her maiden name was Negus. Her father is listed as W. H. Negus. William was 42 years of age and Mary was 23 years of age. This record indicates William had been married three times before. William H. Wooldridge's father is listed as William Wooldridge and his mother is listed as ... Elwell. It appears from later records that Mary’s maiden name was Chaddock not Negus and this record seems to be incorrect. Her father was W. H. Chaddock. Her married name must have been Negus and this may only have been William’s 3rd marriage.
I have searched in 10 states to find William and Jeanette Wooldridge in 1880 with no success. Every William Wooldridge I found did not fit this family’s profile. Their son, Isaac, was born in Nebraska in 1880 but I cannot find them there. There were three William Wooldridge families in Iowa in 1870 who may provide a link. Edgar L. Brackett was raised in Iowa. His sister Olive Powell was born in Iowa and her father's name was John Powell. There are John Powell families in Iowa in 1870, some in the same counties as the William Wooldridge families. It is possible that this is was Sarah J. Wooldridge and her brother William H. Wooldridge met Edgar L. Brackett and Olive Powell. Sarah J. Powell, Edgar Brackett and Olive Powell's mother, Sarah Brant Brackett Powell, returned to Michigan and they may have accompanied her. Both the William H. Wooldridge and Sarah J. (Wooldridge) Brackett families lived in Michigan. Their connection to New York, other than through the Elwell family leads to Chenango County there.
Where William Wooldridge died also remains a mystery. This family was in Nebraska when Isaac was born in 1880 and their last child, Martha, was born in Bangor in Van Buren County, Michigan in August of 1886. William may have died in Nebraska but then Jeannette would have traveled while pregnant back to Michigan in 1886 with five children in tow or he may have died in Van Buren County, Michigan after December of 1885. No record of his death has been found but by 1900 Jeannette was a widow.
The 1900 census of South Haven in Van Buren County, Michigan shows the Wooldridge family living on Lagrange Street:
Woldridge, Genette b. Jan 1846 in Connecticut who was 54 years of age day laborer
Woldridge, Polly b. Nov 1866 in New York who was 33 years of age day labor
Woldridge, William b. Jul 1867 in New York who was 32 years of age day labor
Woldridge, Berton b. Sep 1875 in Michigan who was 24 years of age Basket Maker
Woldridge, Isaac b. Apr 1880 in Nebraska who was 20 years of age Basket Maker
Woldridge, Martha b. Aug 1885 in Michigan who was 14 years of age at School
The birth years in this census are off. According to later records Polly was born in 1869, William in 1870, Berton in 1878 and Martha in 1886. By this time Polly who was married to Solomon Arbogast had her own family in Ogle County in Illinois. William Wooldridge and his 2nd wife Francis have also been found in the 1900 Ogle County census. It is unclear as to why Polly and William are included in the 1900 Michigan census and were back home at this time and working.
“Genette” Wooldridge was a widow and had been married 34 years. She had six children and all six were living in 1900. Polly had been married for 16 years and had seven children and all seven were living in 1900 but not at this address. According to this record “Genette” would have married in 1865 or 1866. This record indicates her husband was born in New York State. They were renting the place they were living in. Records indicate Polly Wooldridge married “Soloman Hobogart” on 02 Jan 1884 in Allegan, Michigan. Solomon’s last name was actually Arbogast. The Basket Factory in South Haven was the Pierce-Williams Company and they made baskets for the fruit industry around South Haven. Fruit was sent via ship to Chicago from there.
The 1900 census of Oregon Township, Ogle County, Illinois includes:
William H. Wollridge who was 30 years of age, born Apr 1870 in Illinois, parents born in New York a day laborer
Francis Wollridge who was 37 years of age, born Jul 1862 in Michigan, parents both born in Pennsylvania
Sarah Wollridge who was 7 years of age, born Feb 1893 in Michigan, father born in New York, mother born in MI
Luther W. Wollridge who was 3 years of age, born Oct 1896 in Illinois, father born in New York, mother born in MI
From this record it looks like Francis was the mother of both these children. They had been married 7 years and Sarah was 7 years of age. William’s first wife, Olive Powell must have died before 1892. Oregon Township, Ogle County, Illinois is also where Polly (Wooldridge) Arbogast, William’s sister, lived with her family.
The 1910 census of South Haven shows the Wooldridge family living on Eagle Street:
Wooldridge, William 42 years of age who was born in New York, Engineer, Basket Factory
Wooldridge, Mary J. 23 years of age who was born in Michigan
Wooldridge, William H. 2 months of age who was born in Michigan
Wooldridge, Isaac 30 years of age who was born in Nebraska, Laborer, Basket Factory
Wooldridge, Burton E. 31 years of age who was born in Nebraska, Laborer, Basket Factory
Wooldridge, Eva J. 18 years of age who was born in Michigan (his wife)
and also at another address
“Woolridge”, Sarah 17 years of age who was born in Michigan, “Top Maker” Basket Factory
This census record indicates William had been married three times not four.
Sarah “Woolridge” was living in the household of Josiah and Justeena Arbogast and is listed as a niece. Looking at the age of this Justeena she could be Justine Elwell, Jeanette’s sister. She was born in Connecticut. They had been married 30 years but this is listed as her 2nd marriage. She was 53 years of age in 1910 so she would have been born in 1856. Josiah Arbogast was a brother to Solomon and Francis Arbogast who had married Polly and William Henry Wooldridge respectively.
This Sarah Wooldridge married Major Allen Dingman and in 1910 lived in the 2nd Precinct of Kalamazoo, Michigan:
Dingman, Allen 47 years of age born in Michigan
Dingman, Sarah 26 years of age born in Michigan
Wooldridge, Berton 5 years of age “cousin” born in Michigan
Wooldridge, Isaac 7 years of age “cousin” born in Michigan
This Berton, who is later seen as Earl B. and Isaac’s Wooldridge’s mother, Eva (Chaddock) Wooldridge, had died in 1915. By 1920 Sarah and Major Dingman were living in Benton Harbor, Berrien County with their daughter Margaret. Sarah Katherine Dingman died in Benton Harbor on 26 Jul 1947 and was buried in the Crystal Springs Cemetery there. This record give her birth date as 23 Feb 1893 and place of birth as Grand Junction, Michigan. Her father’s name is given as William Henry Wooldridge and her mother’s name as Frances L. Arbogast.
The records of the Lakeview Cemetery in South Haven list the following Wooldridge burials:
Andrew Wooldridge b. 1873 d. 1893
Frances Wooldridge b. 1864 d. 1908
Jennett Wooldridge b. 1849 d. 1916
William H. Wooldridge b. 1867 d. 1910
William H. Wooldridge (Jr.) b. 1910 d. 1935
Eva J. Wooldridge b. 1891 d. 1915
Jennett (Elwell) Wooldridge’s tombstone reads: “JENNETT Wooldridge 1849-1916” and is located in Lakeview Cemetery South Haven, Michigan Block A.
Note: It is not clear who Andrew was but he may have been another child of William and Jeannette (Elwell) Wooldridge. But, if he was he does not appear in census records as such. This Frances Wooldridge was the 2nd wife of William H. Wooldridge (Sr.). William H. Wooldridge (Jr.) was only nine months old when his father died.
The Van Buren County Clerk’s Office holds the following Wooldridge records:
Liber D page 22 has the Death Record of William H. Wooldridge he was 43 years, 4 months and 25 days old when he died on 26 Nov 1910. He would have been born 01 Jul 1867. He died in South Haven and was listed as a “Fireman”. The record says his father was William Wooldridge and his mother was Jeanette E. Elwell. It also indicates he was born in New York and that he was married at the time of his death. His wife at this time was Mary Chaddock) Wooldridge.
The Daily Tribune of South Haven, Michigan carried an obituary of William H. Wooldridge on the front page on Monday November 28, 1910 and it reads: “TUMOR ON BRAIN CAUSES DEATH Had Previously Brot Blindness and Epilepsy to Its Victim, Wm. H. Wooldridge, Who Was Buried This Afternoon William Henry Wooldridge who passed quietly and peacefully away Saturday morning, was buried this afternoon in Lake View cemetery, services having been conducted by Rev. A.F. Nager at 2:30 at the home, 520 Phoenix St. W.H. Wooldridge had been afflicted for the past two years with tumor on the brain. From this cause he gradually became totally blind and subject to epilepsy. Since last February he has been as dependent as a young child upon some one to guide his footsteps and to look after his welfare, and the past four weeks the epileptic paroxysms have increased in number and intensity. Two years ago this coming May Mrs. Wooldridge was taken to the hospital at Ann Arbor for an operation from which she died. Although his eyesight was then falling him he continued to work as engineer in the Pierce-Williams factory which position he had held since coming here five years ago. His sight gradually grew dim however and he gave up his work about a year ago. A trip was made to Ann Arbor to learn if anything could be done, but he was given no hope. Mr. Wooldridge was born at Plymouth, N.Y., July 18, 1867, and was therefore not much past 43 years of age, young for such an affliction to have fallen upon him. There are left to mourn, four children, Sarah, aged 18, who remained with her father, Luther, aged 15, who lives with an uncle at Oregon, Ill., and did not arrive for the funeral; Esther, aged ten, who has been adopted by a cousin, Mrs. Swan Nelson, living near this city, and William Henry, a nine months old babe, the child of a young woman he married a few months after the death of his wife. There is also the aged mother who has been her son’s constant attendant for the past several months. The pall bearers this afternoon were relatives, Isaac Wooldridge, a brother of Kalamazoo, Geo. and Phil Arbogast, cousins of this city, W.B. Abrams of Kibbe, Edgar Brackett of Galien and Mr. Elwell of Grand Junction”
Note: Plymouth is in Chenango County, New York. Mr. Elwell would have been Frances Elwell. The wife who died in “1909” was William’s 2nd wife Francis Arbogast. It appears his children may have been by three different wives. It is not known when his 1st wife, Olive Powell, died but she may have been the mother of Sarah Wooldridge as her mother was Sarah (Brant) Powell. The death record for Francis Wooldridge records her death as 25 May 1908 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was 44 years, 10 months and 7 days old when she died. Her father is given as Christopher “Arbogott” and her mother is listed as Catharine “Heffler”. This death record indicates she was the Frances Arbogast, the daughter of Christopher and Catharine Arbogast. She would have been a sister of Solomon Arbogast who married Polly Wooldridge, William Wooldridge’s sister.
Van Buren County death records contain in Liber D page 123 the Death Record of Eva Wooldridge she was 24 years, 1 month and 23 days old when she died on 05 Jul 1915 in South Haven. She was the daughter of William and Cynthia (Stevens) Chaddock. The name of her husband was not listed but is known to have been Berton E. Wooldridge.
The Daily Tribune of South Haven, Michigan carried a brief death notice for Eva Wooldridge on 06 Jul 1915 and it reads: “ Mrs. Wooldridge Died Monday Night. Mrs. Eva Wooldridge died at ten o’clock Monday evening at her home near the Experiment Station of Bright’s disease. Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the home, and at 2:30 o’clock at the Free Methodist Church, conducted by Rev. A.R. Hamilton. Mrs. Wooldridge was a little past 24 years of age, having been born May 13, 1891. She is survived by her husband and three children, mother, two sisters and grandmother” No follow-up to this death notice was found. Their three children were: Isaac, Earl and Mildred Wooldridge.
Van Buren County marriage records contain in Liber C page 335 the marriage record of Martha Wooldridge and Warren B. Abrams. He was 20 years of age and she was 18 years of age. They married on 31 Oct 1904. The ceremony was performed by Alijah E. Ketchum, Justice of the Peace. Her father is listed as William Wooldridge and her mother as Janette Elwell.
Van Buren County Marriage records contain in Liber D page 375 the marriage record of Mary Wooldridge and Alfred Leader. She was 37 years of age and he was 56 years of age. They were married in South Haven on 31 Jul 1925. Her maiden name was listed as Chaddock. This was the third marriage for each. It appears she was the sister of Eva (Chaddock) Wooldridge and she was the 3rd wife of William Henry Wooldridge. They had married in 1909 and he died in 1910 and they had one son William H. Wooldridge (Jr.).
Record #6840 of the Allegan County Death Records is for Jenette (Elwell) Wooldridge and they have her last name spelled Woolbridge. “Jeanett Woolbridge” died on 09 Jun 1916 in Casco Township. The record indicates she was born in Connecticut, as were her parents. The record indicates her father was “Isaac Elwel” and her mother was “Thankful Wilson”. Jeanette (Elwell) Wooldridge was 69 years, 4 months and 24 days old when she died. This record would make her birth date, 16 Feb 1847.
The South Haven Daily Tribune carried a brief death notice for Jeanette Wooldridge on Saturday 10 Jun 1916 and it reads: “DIED FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT HOME NEAR KIBBIE Mrs. Jeanette Wooldridge died at her home, one-half mile west of Kibbie Friday afternoon at 4 o’clock. The funeral will be held Sunday afternoon Rev Milton Gruber officiating.” No follow-up to this death notice was found. Jeanette (Elwell) Wooldridge died in Casco Township of Allegan County, Michigan. Kibbie is in Van Buren County but literally if you cross the street you are in Casco Township of Allegan County. Jenette’s daughter Martha married A. B. Abrams and you can find Burr and Martha Arbrams in the 1910 census there and in the 1920 census they are listed as Warren B. and Martha Abrams. It does not appear that they had any children.
Polly Wooldridge married “Solomon Hobogart” in Grand Junction on 02 Jan 1884. He was born in Birstol, Indiana and she was born in “Shenango” (Chenango) County, New York. Polly was 16 years of age at the time of her marriage so she would have been born about 1868. Grand Junction is in Van Buren County today and maybe they were married there but recorded the marriage in Allegan County? This name should be recorded as Solomon Arbogast. Solomon and Polly (Wooldridge) Arbogast moved to Ogle County, Illinois where they raised eleven children.
The 1910 Polk’s Directory of Benton Harbor, Michigan includes:
Woodbridge, Berton E., mechanic, G.B. Thayer & Company resides at 135 Summitt (should read Wooldridge)
Wooldridge, Isaac, laborer, G.B. Thayer & Company boards at 347 Lavette
Wooldridge, Jennette (widow Wm), resides at 347 Lavette
Wooldridge, Wm H., handle maker, boards at 347 Lavette
Note: The 1910 census of Kalamazoo County includes Jennette and Isaac as living as living in Kalamazoo and working for a Basket Factory. The 1910 census of Van Buren County includes Berton and Isaac as living in South Haven with William H. Wooldridge.
The 1920 census of Otsego, Allegan County, Michigan includes:
Wooldridge, Isac 40 years of age
Wooldridge, Pearl 31 years of age
Wooldridge, Charles Albert 3 months old
This is the son of William and Jeannette (Elwell) Wooldridge of South Haven.
The 1922 Polk’s Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and Niles Directory includes:
Wooldridge, Berton E., machinist, residing at 1164 Bishop Avenue in Benton Harbor
Wooldridge, Earl B., boards at 1164 Bishop Avenue
Wooldridge, Isaac E., student 1164 Bishop Avenue
Wooldridge, Mildred, student 1164 Bishop Avenue
This is also the son of William and Jeannette (Elwell) Wooldridge of South Haven.
Martha (Wooldridge) Abrams died on 11 Mar 1945 in Casco Township of Allegan County, Michigan. Her death record gives her birth date as 31 Aug 1886 and says she was born in Bangor, Michigan. She had married Warren B. Abrams and was the youngest child of William and Jeannette (Elwell) Wooldridge.
These are obituaries for Isaac and Earl Wooldridge:
“Isaac E. Wooldridge, 66, died early this morning at Berrien General Hospital, Berrien Center. Graveside services will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at Crystal Springs Cemetery. Local arrangements are by Dey-Florin Chapel of Florin Funeral Service. Mr. Wooldridge was born Feb. 6, 1912, in South Haven. Survivors include a brother, Earl, Benton Harbor, and a sister, Mrs. Mildred Gale, Benton Harbor.” The date of this obituary was 03 Oct 1978.
“Earl B. Wooldridge, 64, of 700 East Britain Ave., Benton Harbor, died Tuesday at Mercy Hospital. Funeral services will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Dey-Florin Chapel of Florin Funeral Service with burial in North Shore Memory Gardens. Friends may call at the chapel after 4 p.m. Thursday. Mr. Wooldridge was born June 26, 1914, in South Haven. He was a custodian at Calvin Britain School and was formerly employed as a repairman for Interstate Motor Freight. Survivors include his wife, Margaret; two daughters, Mrs. Ruth McNeill, St. Joseph, Mrs. Rick (Betty) Head, Riverside; one sister, Mrs. Mildred Gale, Benton Harbor; and seven grandchildren.” This obituary was dated 03 Jan 1979.
These are the sons of Berton E. Wooldridge. I have been informed that Berton E.Wooldridge married, Eva Chaddock, a sister of his brother William’s 3rd wife Mary Chaddock. Eva (Chaddock) Wooldridge died in 1915. Berton and Eva were married in South Haven, Michigan on 28 June 1909. Looking at the obituaries of their sons apparently Isaac E. Wooldridge did not marry. In St. Joseph, Michigan Earl B. Wooldridge married on 27 Feb 1939 to Mary Ward and they had two daughters and seven grandchildren. Mary Ward was the daughter of John and Ellen (Lawson) Ward. In Benton Harbor, Michigan Mildred Wooldridge married Harvey Gale on 25 Nov 1929. There was a Berton E. Wooldridge who died in the “State Hospital” in Kalamazoo County, Michigan in 1953.
There is a marriage record for Luther Wooldridge in Berrien County, Michigan. On 14 Oct 1921 he married Evelyn Parr in Galien, Michigan. Witnesses were Mrs. Esther Drake and Mr. Walter Brackett. Luther’s father is listed as Wm Wooldridge and his mother as … Arbogast. This may have been a son of William H. Wooldridge by his second wife? The Arbogast name is mentioned earlier. Luther would have been as cousin of Walter Brackett.
Sarah (Wooldridge) Brackett was born on 11 Aug of 1873 and it is recorded that she was born in Michigan. This family was in New York until about 1870, in Michigan until about 1880, in Nebraska until about 1884 and then returned to Michigan by 1886. It has been found that Sarah Wooldridge has Native American ancestors of the Narragansett Tribe through her Mother’s side and the Elwell family of Barkhamsted, Connecticut. The ancestor was James Chaugham of Rhode Island and later Barkhamsted.
Edgar L. Brackett and Sarah Jane Wooldridge married in Berrien County, Michigan. Sarah (Wooldridge) Brackett died on 22 Dec 1926. Her obituary was found in the Benton Harbor News Palladium on 23 Dec 1926 and reads: “New Troy. Dec. 23-Mrs. Sarah Brackett, wife of Edward Brackett, who with her husband, has been a resident of New Troy for 25 or 30 years, passed away Wednesday evening at 9 o’clock. She had been ill and confined to her bed for some time with erysipelas and heart trouble. She was 52 years old. The deceased leaves a son, Walter and a daughter, Mrs. Peter Ferry, both of New Troy, two brothers in Muskegon, and two sisters, one in South Haven and the other in Illinois. The Bracketts have been known here where they have resided on the same farm three miles southeast of New Troy for many years. Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Brethren church, of which the deceased was a member. Rev. John English, will officiate. Burial is to be in the New Troy cemetery.” Her death record says she was 54 years 4 months and 11 days old when she died on 22 Dec 1926 and this would make her birth date 11 Aug 1873. This death record also gives her father’s name as “William H. Woldridge” and he mother’s name as “Jannette Elwell”.
Front row, Walter Lavern Brackett, Sarah Brackett, Harold Earl Brackett Circa 1922
Their son Walter Madison Brackett married Cora Elizabeth Upson in Berrien County, Michigan in 1915.
Their son Harold Earl Brackett married 2nd Arvena Ula Daniel (nee Hambrick) in Berrien County, Michigan in 1947.
Their son William Brackett married Jane Hauch in Lakeside, Berrien County, Michigan in 1970.