Daily Archive: January 14, 2014

Jan 14

52 Ancestors: #3 Oscar H Woodward

Oscar and Sara (Waddell) Woodward

Oscar and Sara (Waddell) Woodward

“I watch my vegetables very carefully, I take a can off the shelf and look at them every day,” was one of my paternal grandfather’s favorite sayings. The truth of the matter was that he had a great dislike for many vegetables, but my mother frequently reminded him that he needed to eat them daily.

Grandfather’s passion was writing stories. He wrote them one after another and submitted them to magazines in hopes of getting one in print. I don’t think that every happened. I recall his dismay whenever he received one of those polite letters indicating that the story was not a good fit for the magazine. He also enjoyed singing in the church choir and was particular proud during the two years that my father and I participate in the choir as well at the Congregational Church in Walpole, New Hampshire.

O.H. Woodward was born 18 January 1880 in Franklin, New Hampshire, son of Daniel Russell and Laura (Davis) Woodward.  He married Sara Waddell on the 28th of September 1907, in Belmont, Massachusetts.[1] The ceremony was conducted by Charles U. Day a minister in Watertown. The marriage register indicates that he was working as a needle maker in Franklin, N.H., and she as a nurse.

1940 Reunion #1Oscar and Sara had four children all born in Franklin, Merrimack County, New Hampshire

  1. Virginia Woodward, born 15 October 1908 and died 7 March 2008 at York Harbor, Maine.[2] She married George Mason Smith.
  2. Richard M. Woodward, born 26 May 1910 and died 13 January 2007. He married Bernice Iris Ford.
  3. Douglas Russell Woodward, born 4 October 1911 and died 8 March 1970 at Rye, New Hampshire. He married 1st Geraldine Hayward and 2nd Mrs. Beverly Powell.[3]
  4. Oscar H. Woodward, Jr., born 1 January 1915, and died 4 June 1965.

My paternal grandparents also raised Jean Collins who was listed in their home in the 1930 census as five years old until her graduation from high school marriage in the 1940s.[4]

Grandfather took part in two selective service acts, but in each case dodged military service because he was too old.

On the 25th of April 1942 he registered with the World War II Selective Service at Local Board No. 8 in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, in what is now commonly called the “Old Man’s Draft. At that time he was a sixty-two year old working in the engineering department of the Boston and Maine Railroad in Concord.

When he registered with the World War I Selective Service on the 12th of September 1918, he was thirty-eight and working as an agent for the B&M Railroad at North Station in Boston.[5]

Following his retirement from the Boston & Maine, grandfather received a pension from the Railroad Retirement Board. His file[6] contains over one hundred pages. The file is considerable thicker than most of the files—didn’t take long to discover the reason. Whe he retired, my grandparents were residing in a studio apartment at 11 Green Street, Concord, New Hampshire. I barely remember it, but I remember thinking it was strange. One room with a tiny kitchen county with tiny stove and sink behind roll-away doors and a Murphy bed for sleeping. Maybe they were ready to head for more open spaces. Retirement meant traveling from the home of one relative to another (I believe they gave up their little studio apartment soon after retirement)…  back to the packet with the files of the Railroad Retirement Board. I’d guess that ninety-five percent of the pages consisted of letters from my grandfather to the retirement office, telling them a new address they needed to use to mail check or complaining that the check had not arrived even though he’d “given them plenty of notice.” None-the-less the file provides a detail of their visits a few months hear with that child, a few months there with a niece or nephew. It will take me a while to get the chronology together, but I’m excited to have images of this wonderful file!

By the 1950s, Oscar and Sara had given up their nomad life style and moved in with their daughter and son-in-law in West Hartford, Connecticut. Aunt Virginia and Uncle George lived in a tiny four room flat on Farmington Avenue. The apartment had a small kitchen, one bedroom, a bath, and a living room and dining room that were separated by a large arch. A daybed at one end of the dinning room served as the sleeping arrangements for my grandparents. Grandmother died in Hartford in 1955 and from that time on my grandfather divided his year into segments when he lived with my aunt and uncle in the small flat and Walpole, N.H. where my family lived. While in Walpole, grandfather sometimes rented a small apartment.

3 generations of Woodwards sang in the choir, 1959

3 generations of Woodwards sang in the choir, 1959

Oscar H. Woodward, Sr., passed away at the Rockingham Hospital in Bellows Falls, Vermont, 25 August 1962.[7]

[1] Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841–1910. (From original records held by the Massachusetts Archives. Online database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2004.)

[2] Obituary of Virginia W. Smith, Concord Monitor, Concord, New Hampshire, 14 March 2008.

[3]  Obituary of Lt. Col. Douglas Woodward, U.S. Army (Ret.), Manchester Union Leader, Manchester, New Hampshire, 17 January 2007.

[4] 1930 U.S. Census, Concord, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Enumeration District 8-11, sheet 2A; dwelling  27, family 36; National Archives microfilm T626, reel 1304; and 1940 U.S. Census, Loudon, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Enumeration District 7-57, sheet 3A,  household 43; National Archives microfilm T627, reel 2294.

[5] World War I Draft Registration of Oscar Herman Woodward, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, Selective Service Records, Record Group 163, National Archives-Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia.

[6] Railroad pension of Oscar H. Woodward, Sr., Claim #A249658; Railroad Retirement Board, Record Group 184; National Archives at Atlanta.

[7] Certificate of Death of Oscar H. Woodward, Sr., Rockingham Town Clerk’s Office, Rockingham, Vermont.

© 2014. Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL. All Rights Reserved.

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