Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Woodruff Ancestors (Williamson Lines)

From the Fortress of Solitude

Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons!
Today we gather in our digital reunion to talk about several of our Great Grandparents with the last name of Woodruff. This line springs from our Great Grandmother Effie Helen Victor then through her mother’s Morris line. You can follow this line on the family tree (click on the tree at the top of the right side bar).

Relationship Chart

14th Great Grandfather Thomas Woodrove
William Woodroffe
Robert Woodroffe and Alice Russel
John Woodruffe and Elizabeth Cartwright
John Woodruff and Ann ?
John Woodruff and Mary Ogden
John Woodruff and Sarah Cooper
Timothy Woodruff and Mary Baker
Katherine Woodruff and Benjamin Haines
Hannah Haines and Mathias Spinning
Mary Spinning and Benjamin Morris
Isaac Morris and ?
Nancy Morris and Whitty Victor
Effie Helen Victor and William Jonathan Williamson
Charles Williamson and Elda Vercellino and Elsie Jensen
Charles, Raymond, William, Kriss

We start with our 14th Great Grandfather, Thomas Woodrove, the first member of the Woodruff family of whom we have definite information. He first appears on record in the town of Fordwich, County Kent, England, in 1508. He died in 1552. In 1538 he was one of the magistrates who arranged for the conveyancing to some favored individuals of a portion of the possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, which had been despoiled and desecrated by King Henry VIII. The family name has been variously spelled in different generations.

Monastery of St. Augustine Today

In 1535, Henry VIII dissolved all monasteries found to have an annual income less than £100. St Augustine survived this first round of closures, as its income was found to be £1733. But on July 30, 1538, the abbey's fate was sealed when it fell to the dissolution of Henry VIII. The abbey was systematically dismantled over the next fifteen years, although part of the site was converted to a palace, ready for the arrival of Anne of Cleves, from Germany.

Our 13th Great Grandfather William Woodroffe, son of Thomas, died in 1587. He was a jurat or magistrate of Fordwich in 1579.

...during its life time Fordwich, now freed from the restrictions imposed by the Abbot of St. Augustine, was encouraged to rebuild its Cort Hall, and the unpretentious little building of timber and plaster, on the banks of the Stour, remains to-day in much the same condition, both outwardly and inwardly, as when it was completed in 1555. William took an active part in municipal affairs, and became a Jurat. From his generally signing the minutes of the Court, he apparently presided, perhaps as senior Jurat, in the frequent absences of the Mayor. He was also a 'Key Keeper of the Town Chest', a very honorable office conferred upon 'the two best men of the Liberty'.

The 'Chest' was for the safe custody of deeds and other important records, fees being charged for the service. There is little further mention of him in the annals other than the entry in the Fordwich muster roll of 1573 that 'Willyam Wodruf the elder wt his men Robert Woodrufe and Edward Parker wt his furniture' is credited with 'one calyver furny shed one almon rivett furny shed'. (The caliver was a handgun that was fired from the shoulder, the heavier musket of the day requiring a rest).

Our 12th Great Grandfather, Robert, son of William Woodroffe. died in 1611. He and his brother William, whose family became extinct in 1673, were freemen of Fordwich in 1580, and Robert was church warden and jurat in 1584. He married Alice Russel at St. Mary, Northgate, in 1573.

Our 11th Great Grandfather John, son of Robert and Alice (Russel) Woodroffe, was born at Fordwich, in 1574, died in 1611. On reaching manhood he took up his residence in Northgate, where his uncle, William Russel, was church warden. He married Elizabeth Cartwright in 1601.

Our 10th Great Grandfather John Woodruff was the only son of John and Elizabeth (Cartwright) Woodroffe, was baptized at St. Mary, Northgate, in 1604, died in May, 1670, in Southampton, Long Island. In 1636 he was church warden at Fordwich, and a year or two later he accompanied his mother and step-father to America, being in Lynn, Massachusetts, and Southampton, Long Island, in 1639 and 1640. In 1657 his step-father deeded him his own homestead. He married Ann, conjectured to have been the daughter either of his step-father, John Gosmer, or of a Mr. Hyde.

Our 9th Great Grandfather John was the eldest son of John and Ann Woodruff, was baptized in the parish of Surry, county Kent, England, in 1637. He died at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in April or May, 1691. He accompanied his parents and grandparents to Southampton, and April 30, 1657, is included in the list of arms-bearing men. May 1, 1663, he was elected constable, and between August 29 and September 7, 1665, he sold his Southampton lands, preparatory to removing to Elizabethtown, in which latter place he soon became one of the leading citizens, holding the offices of ensign, high sheriff, magistrate and one of the most prominent opponents of the lords proprietors. His only brother was, like himself, named John, a fact proven by their father's will, but as the latter remained in Southampton, where he inherited the bulk of his father's estate, the two lines have had distinct histories.

Our 9th Great Grandfather John Woodruff and wife Mary and John Ogden came from England to New Jersey, settling in Elizabethtown. He disposed of his property at Southampton in the summer of 1665 to Robert Voolley, husband of his sister Anne. On arriving at Elizabethtown he was accompanied by his two men and one maid servant, he purchased a town lot of one and one half acres on the corner of Elizabeth avenue and Spring street. He was granted a farm of three hundred acres in lieu of settling at Elizabethtown, which was later known as the Woodruff Farms. He also had extensive properties besides some six hundred acres, and was among the well-to-do of the settlement and a prominent factor in the government of the town. His land was next to Governor Carteret the largest landowner in the township.

Our 8th Great Grandfather John served as constable of Southampton from December 11, 1674, and was high sheriff November 28, 1684. He had a gallant career as an ensign. John Woodruff, gentleman, was commissioned ensign of the Elizabeth foot company under Lieutenant Luke Watson by Governor Phillip Carteret, August 4. 1668; commission revoked October 31, 1670. He was recommissioned an ensign of Elizabethtown militia under Captain Knipp by the council of war of New Netherlands during the Dutch occupation. On September 14, 1673-74, on recommendation of Governor Phillip Carteret, he was recommissioned ensign of same company.

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