Sunday, April 26, 2015

WOODIN | 5. Will's Education, Marriage, Politics (Updated Oct. 28, 2016)

The Columbia School of Mines,
1864-1914. It was folded into the
Columbia Engineering School.

William Hartman Woodin, Clement and Mary Louise's only child, was born in Berwick on May 27, 1868.

Clement's son went by many names. In Berwick, where the Woodins were a kind of royalty because almost everyone either worked for them or sold something to them, the two were called "C.R."or "W.H." The custom persists to this day among people who remember working for ACF.

The name I prefer is "Will" because it was used for only one Woodin and is the name used by FDR (whom he called "Governor"), by his wife Nan, and by his music publisher.


Will received his early education in the Berwick elementary schools. At 14, he moved to New York City and entered New York Latin School and then the Woodbridge School at Madison Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets as well as a location at 25 West 119th Street. The sole purpose of the Woodbridge School appears to have been to prepare its students for the Columbia School of Mines, the first U.S. academic program for the management of mines.

The Woodbridge School was named for the mother of Dr. John Woodbridge Davis, the school's Principal. (From medieval days, the most common way of naming academic institutions is after the founder or someone the founder revered.)
Columbia Engineering School,
where the School of Mines
is now located.

Will enrolled in the Columbia University School of Mines after five years, at 19. If he had graduated he would have been in the Class of 1890. He completed his first semester but  did not go back because of a throat problem – an ailment that would recur 45 years later and, combined with the stress of his work, take his life.
He wanted to prepare to be a doctor but his father Clement Woodin insisted that he study mining in order to take over the family firm, as Clement had done for his father. It would turn out to be good career advice, as Will reached the highest level of his industry.

When Will was growing up, Clement Woodin was the chief executive of Jackson & Woodin, a middle-sized railway rolling-stock manufacturer in the company town of Berwick, Pa. Because of the death of Col. Clarence Jackson, Clement was running the company that had been a partnership. As Col. Jackson died with no sons, Clement looked forward to having his son Will become his partner.

Instead of going back to Columbia University, Will courted and won the heart of Annie (Nan) Jessup, daughter of Judge William H. Jessup of Montrose, Pa.

Annie Jessup Woodin

Annie (Nan) Jessup Woodin (1869-1941) was from a family that would be considered in the top rank of the legal and ministerial professions in any country.

The earliest Jessups lived in Southampton and East Hampton, N.Y.  A man named Zebulon Jessup (1755-1822) married Zerviah Rhodes Huntting, from the family after which Huntting Lane in East Hampton is named. They had a descendant Major Zebulon Jessup (1816-1865) who is buried in the Southampton Cemetery.

Nan Woodin in 1892.
William Huntting Jessup (1797-1868), Nan's grandfather, was born in Southampton, N.Y. and graduated from Yale in 1815. As the growth of industry created mining jobs in Pennsylvania, he moved in 1818 to Montrose, Pa., near Scranton, read law at a local firm and was admitted to the bar.

William Jessup chaired the Republican party platform committee at its 1860 convention in Chicago. A staunch abolitionist, he can be credited with making sure that the platform called for ending slavery. This became the basis for Abraham Lincoln's campaign for president and can be said to have helped end slavery in the United States. Jessup, Pa., is named in this Jessup's honor. He married Amanda Harris. In 1838 Jessup became the presiding judge of the Eleventh Judicial District of Pennsylvania until 1851. Jessup was selected in 1861 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to serve as a liaison with the Lincoln White House. The retired judge died in September 1868, having lived to see the end slavery and the granting of full citizenship to freedmen.

    A Jessup Family tombstone in the
    Southampton, N.Y. Cemetery.
Several of William Jessup's sons went to Yale. Two became Presbyterian missionaries to Syria – Samuel Jessup and Henry Harris Jessup (1831-1910, Yale 1851). William Huntting Jessup Jr. (Yale 1849) became a judge like his father. Judge William H. Jessup appears from records of the Daughters of the American Revolution to have married Sarah Wilson Jay, granddaughter of Lt. Joseph Jay who served in the Revolutionary War. William and Sarah had a daughter they named Annie.

As a sidebar testifying to the distinction of the Jessups in law and the ministry, it is worth noting a few other famous Jessups:
  • Nan's uncle Henry Harris Jessup became fluent in Arabic and wrote several books about his missionary work - 53 Years in Syria and The Women of the Arabs, both of which bear looking at again in light of the current war in Syria. He was married three times - to Caroline Bush, daughter of Wynans Bush, MD, three children; Harriet Elizabeth Dodge, daughter of David Stuart Dodge, five children; and Theodosia Davenport Lockwood, with no children surviving to adulthood.
  • Henry Harris Jessup had four sons, who attended Princeton, classes of 1886 (two), 1891 and 1897. They would have been first cousins of Will Woodin. It is not clear to me why Henry H. Jessup transferred his allegiance from Yale to Princeton. One can speculate that it was the influence of one of his in-laws or some falling-out with Yale over admissions (has been known to happen).
  • One of Henry Harris Jessup's sons, Henry Wynans Jessup, became a Law Professor at NYU; he died in 1986. He would be a second cousin to Will Woodin's four children.
  • Henry Wynans Jessup's son Philip Caryl Jessup (1897-1986) attended Hamilton College, graduating in 1919, then Yale Law School 1924. He earned a Ph.D. in International Law from Columbia in 1927. FDR appointed him to UNRRA in 1943, Bretton Woods in 1944 and then Technical Adviser to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco in 1945 (which my father also attended on behalf of the Budget Bureau). Columbia Law School appointed him the Hamilton Fish Professor of International Law in 1946. He was investigated for defending Alger Hiss against Senator Joe McCarthy. President Truman appointed him U.N. Ambassador at Large in 1949-53. He served at the International Court of Justice by U.N. appointment from 1960 to 1969. The popular Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is named after him. He would be a third cousin to Will and Nan's grandson Charlie Miner, Jr.
  • Henry Wynans Jessup's son, Philip C. Jessup Jr., became a Washington lawyer.
  • Annie Jessup had three sisters who continued to live in Montrose. One was Mary Louise, who did not marry, and with whom her great-nephew Charlie Miner, Jr. says he played a lot of backgammon.
  • The two other sisters married and took the names Leisinger and McCreary. Charlie's mother Mary stayed in touch with them all her life.

Will's Courtship

Annie Jessup, as the daughter of highly regarded Scranton Judge William H. Jessup, was used to attention. The Jessup homestead in Montrose, Pa. was a long way from Berwick, but in those days there was a regular train from Berwick to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and from there the service to Scranton was frequent. 

Mrs. Woodin appears to have been won over by Will's music. In 1933 she told a reporter, who was interviewing her as the wife of the newly appointed Treasury Secretary, that she  likes to attend concerts, but 43 years after her marriage, she still "much prefers to sit at home in the evening and listen to her husband play his guitar. She remembers when he came wooing with a violin."

Charlie Miner told me his grandfather wooed his grandmother in the romantic orchard in the back of the house. Charlie's son found a poem that appears to have been written to Annie by Will during their courtship days. It refers to the orchard as a trysting spot.
                 TO ANNIE
Dig in the depths of any soul,Beneath the tangled skein of life,You'll find a memory ever sweet.You'll find an altar at whose feetThe wearied heart, alone, harrassed,Worships the memory of the past. 
There is a memory clings to meAn hallowed spot from trouble free;The green of an old orchard dear to me,Our trysting spot, sweet scented. Howe'erGnarled, leafy tree, our courtship bower.No greater hope, no sweeter faceThan thine adorned with every graceWhose welcome wanted, made the place. 
Thy dear face, ever calm and sweet,Oh may it never fail to greetMy home return to each retreat.As years along their courses flowOh! May it always greet me so,As in the orchard long ago. 


Will and Annie Jessup, who would become known as Nan, were married on October 9, 1889.

Will had a great sense of humor. His new wife’s family included many strait-laced Presbyterians with missionary zeal. Down-to-earth Will couldn’t wait to puncture their self-righteousness. His granddaughter Anne Harvey Gerli told me this story:
When cousins of Nan paid her a visit at “The Heights” in Berwick for the first time, the Woodins’ coachman picked them up at the Berwick train station and dropped them off at the front door to be met inside by Nan. After being greeted, the cousins nervously suggested to her that the Woodins might consider hiring a new coachman because he, ahem, reeked of alcohol, drove erratically and was rude. (At the time, Berwick was actually a dry town thanks to the Methodist and Presbyterian leaders of the town, including Will's father Clement, who went so far as to buy out the saloons to ensure that alcohol would not be sold.) Will joined them later and expressed deep sympathy, but Nan was puzzled because they didn’t have a coachman. In fact the “coachman” was Will, dressed up, playing a trick on his proper new in-laws.
European Trip

Annie Jessup ("Nan") Woodin, c.
1933. Photo courtesy of Charlie 
Miner, Jr.
Possibly as a wedding present or as a promised incentive for joining the family business, Will Woodin’s father gave him $10,000 to spend, hoping his son would invest it wisely and set him on a path of prudence. Instead, Will used the money to travel in Europe.

He loved the fantasy world of Rider Haggard. When he realized that becoming a doctor was out of reach, he considered the jobs of a newspaperman and a composer of songs and marches. Fortunately for his family, his respect for familial duty called him back to the business that made him very wealthy.

He spent the money his father had given him ostensibly to write articles on Armenia’s plight during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. But he had a great interest in gypsy music and family lore is that he spent some time living with and learning the music of gypsies.

Although he returned to the family anthill in Berwick, Will’s musical and writing talent disposed him to be a cricket. After his marriage he voyaged to Europe and the Near East to report for the New York Herald and other papers on Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s killing of Armenians, foreshadowing later mass killings. His granddaughter Anne Gerli tells the story from Nan’s perspective:
Nan was jealous of Will’s love of music and resented his going off to Europe to play music with the gypsies. The family recalled him early because his father and the business were ailing. He dutifully hurried home to help out in the business and support his family.
The business conditions that generated the 1893 Panic and ensuing Depression doubtless played a part in Will's father's appeal for his son to come home.

At any rate he was called back, through a combination of appeals from his newly wed wife about her loneliness and appeals from his father that he was sick and the business was hurting - in part because of the difficulties of meeting payrolls during the frequent financial panics in the late 19th Century.

Three years after Will Woodin returned from Europe, Clement Woodin decided he was too sick to continue running Jackson & Woodin. His partner Col. Jackson had died in 1880. Since Jackson's death, Clement had been running the company for 14 years, and Clement felt he couldn't continue. In those days, factory smoke was associated with productivity, progress and prosperity. Today, we are more aware that it also meant pollution. The fact that Clement built a residence, "The Heights",  above the smoke of the valley where the plant was located may help explain his recovery and eventual long life. Whatever the reasons, Clement and Mary Woodin lived on until the 1930s, dying just a few years before their son.

Will Woodin took over Jackson & Woodin from his father in 1894. Five years later the company was rolled up into American Car & Foundry - ACF - with Will Woodin stayed for three years in charge of the Berwick plant before he headed up to New York to apprentice as assistant to the President of ACF. 

Charlie Miner, Jr., remembers going back to Montrose.
I had asthma at five years old [1926] and for several years my mother [Mary Woodin Miner] took me to her mother's home in the summer, in Montrose, Pa., to get "better air" [Montrose is 1,400 feet above sea level.] From Montrose we would drive to Berwick and visit my Woodin grandparents. They had a tennis court. What I liked most about The Heights was the large farm on the property, on the side of the mountain. We would go there to buy vegetables and so forth.
[Follow-on question: Any idea when people started worrying about "bad air" - i.e., air pollution? Was Will Woodin's asthma possibly caused by the air in Berwick, back when people didn't know that the fumes from a foundry furnace were not good for one's health?]

In Montrose, Miner says, there weren't a lot of choices of activities.
I used to caddy at the golf course in Montrose for 10 cents a hole [do I have the amount right??-JTM]. To go swimming we would drive to a lake where we had a cabin. I had a boat with an Evinrude motor and use to race my neighbor Quadcotost [sp?], who had a Johnson-powered motorboat. My motor once fell off the boat and I remember people dragging a chain through the bottom of the lake to recover my motor. My mother and I went to Montrose in the summer for five years [1926-1931] and then my asthma got better. One of the things I did in Montrose was play backgammon with Aunt [Sarah] Louise Jessup, my grandma's sister that never married, when she was there. We also played backgammon a lot when she was in New York City. I remember being 13 when Aunt Louise was 95. She had been a Presbyyterian missionary along with her brothers in Syria. The Jessups created Jessup Hall there – it became a university. She was a constant companion of my grandma and my mother. Other relatives we visited were cousins - the children of grandma's sisters or nieces, the Leisenrings and McCrearys. The Leisenring parents died in 1923 and 1926. Their children continued to visit and one of them married a McCreary, and they had in turn had children we saw a lot.
I asked Miner how religious his parents were compared with their parents.
They were all staunch Presbyterians. My grandma's family were Presbyterian missionaries in Syria. My mother [Mary Woodin Miner] wanted to go to Syria as a missionary as well but her parents wouldn't let her. Grandpa and Grandma gave money to the Presbyterian churches in New York and East Hampton. Grandma gave a prayer rug to the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and always checked to find out if it was in the window on display.
Nan Woodin as Homemaker 

Nan Woodin made clear through her actions that she was much more interested in being a wife and mother and grandmother than in being a public person - whether as the wife of the top corporate leader or as the wife of a Cabinet Secretary. She was interviewed by a newspaper reporter soon after Will's appointment as Treasury Secertary. The story, on March 11, described Nan as follows:
Mrs. Woodin, who has humorous blue eyes, fluffy white hair, and a shy reserve, was married 43 years ago. ... She is fond of playing backgammon with him. ... She and her husband used to ride and golf together. Those activities are off their program now, but she still excels as a fisherwoman. ...
But she does not like formal entertaining. She will fulfill her social duties in Washington with the minimum amount of formality.
The story notes that the Woodins' eldest daughter Mary was living with her parents in the apartment  along with her two children, Anne and Charlie Miner. The story goes on:
Mrs. Woodin's hobby consists in collecting Staffordshire china. She is interested in unemployment and missionary activities of the Woman's Association of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. She is also occupied with her duties as an active member of the Colonial Dames and the D. A. R.

The wife of the new Treasury head is noted for her poise, serenity, and sympathetic interest in other people's problems. She never grows angry, her husband says. She doesn't make speeches or write books but she is interested in history and biography.

She has been abroad many times. As her three daughters [Mary, also known as   "Perky"; Annie Jessup or "Anne"; and Elizabeth or "Libby"] finished their courses at Dobbs Ferry, she took them to Europe, one by one.

There are feminine touches about the Woodin apartment. The maid wears an orchid uniform. Roses fill the bowls and vases. The library is carpeted, in rich soft blue, and the velvet draperies catch the same rich shades. The personality of the woman who prefers home life to public life is manifested everywhere.

Just at first the Woodin family will live in a hotel at Washington. Later they will take a house. 
Besides Mary Miner and her two children, one of whom survives, the story mentions "four other" grandchildren. Two of these would have been the two children of Wally and Libby Rowe, one of whom survives. The other two would be Anne Harvey Gerli and and William Woodin III.  

Annie Jessup ("Nan") Woodin, born March 3, 1867, died on May 17, 1941 at 74, seven years after her husband. (Will Woodin, his parents and wife all died within a ten-year period, 1931-1941.)  She died in Atherton (San Mateo County), California, at her son Willy's home in California. She is entombed near her husband in the Woodin mausoleum in Berwick.

A Note on the Jessup Family

JESSUP, ZEBULON, generation5, Major. Ancestors Dea Thomas gen4 Henry gen3 John gen2 (came from England) gen1. While there is no record of his having removed from LI yet, he served in the 3d Line G 46 having previously served in Col Smith's Regt G 7. The title Major probably came after the Revolutionary War. He signed the Association in 1775, H 12. He loaned money to the State of N.Y. in the Revolution, Spt p. 195. He was b. Sept 15 1755 m. Dec 6, 1780 Zerviah Huntting d. June 8, 1822. Among his eight children was:

Jessup, William, gen6, b June 21 1797 graduated at Yale College in 1815 and removed to Montrose Pa in 1818 where he was a Judge of the Susquehanna County Court. In 1848 Hamilton College gave him the degree of LL D. He returned to the practice of the law, one of his notable cases being the defense of Rev. Albert Barnes before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church on the charge of heresy. Judge Jessup m July 4 1820 Amanda Harris d. Sept 11, 1868.
Their children were Jessup, William H, 7 below Jane 7 Mary 7 Harriet 7 Rev Henry H, 7 below Samuel 7 a Missionary in Syria d June 1912 Fanny 7 Phebe Ann 7George A 7 and Huntting 7Mrs WH McCartney, Phebe Ann 7 m Sept 11 1861 Hon Alfred Hand of Scranton Pa He was a son of Ezra 7 Hand Shed Apr 25 1872 See Hand See Addenda I 16  7 Apr 25 1872.
Jessup, Judge William Huntting, gen7, b Jan 29 1830 graduated from Yale in 1849 and taught in the Montrose Pa Academy. He began the practice of law and was County Judge of Susquehanna Co for several terms. He m Oct 5 1853 Sarah Wilson Jay, b 1834 d Jan 16 1902. 
Their six children were (Name, age in 1870, year of birth) Jessup, Lillian Jay gen8, age15, 1855 - married Leisenring - see belowJessup, William Henry gen8 age11 1859 - married Stotesbury - see below Jessup, Mary Chandler gen8 age9,1861 - married Jessup, George Scranton C gen8 age8 1862 Jessup, [Sarah] Louise gen8 age6 1864 - didn’t marry. Jessup, Annie gen8 age3 1867 - married Woodin see below Their servants in the 1870 Census were Silas Perkins 60 1810 . James B Simmons 47 1823 .Joshua H Corwin 27 1843 . James Baldwin 43 1827 . James Zerfass 21 1849 .William H Dennis 23 1847 .Cecelia Kearney 27 1843.
Jessup, Lillian Jay, gen8, m May 25 1883 Albert C Leisenring 
Their children were Leisenring, Mary P 9 b July 9 1884 m in 1910 William H McCreary  Leisenring, Sarah Louise 9 b July 21 1885  Leisenring, William Jessup 9 b Apr 27 1888 and  Leisenring, Albert C Jr 9 b June 16 1894 
Jessup, William Henry, gen8, a lawyer in Scranton Pa., m Oct 21 1890 Lucy Stotesbury 
Their children were Jessup, William H 9 b Oct 15 1891  Jessup, James M 9 b Dec 23 1893 and  Jessup, Christine K 9 b Dec 26 1894 
Jessup, Annie, gen8, m. Oct. 9 1889 William H [Will] Woodin of Berwick, Pa. and NY City. 
Their children were Woodin, Mary L [Perky] 9 b Nov 1 1891, m. Charlie Miner Sr.Woodin, Annie J [Anne] 9 b Apr 10 1894, m. Olin Harvey Woodin, William H [Willy] Jr 9 b May 14 1899, m. Carolyne Hyde Woodin, Elizabeth H [Libby] 9 b Jan 29 1901, m. Wally Rowe.
Jessup, Rev Henry H gen7 DD b Apr 19 1832 d Apr 28 1910 m 1-Bush m 2-Harriet E Dodge of NY City m 3-Theodosia of Binghamton NY. He was a Missionary in Beirut 54 years.
Their children were Anna H 8 and Rev William DD 8 Missionary in Syria Henry W 8 below Stuart D 8 a physician in NY D 8 m Prof Alfred E Day of the Syrian Protestant College 8 m Rev Paul Erdman Missionary in Syria Ethel H 8 m Dr Frank of the Syrian Protestant College and Rev Frederick N 8, Tabriz Persia.
Jessup, Henry W gen8 m Mary Hay Stotesbury
Their children were Herbert gen9, b in 1891; Theodore Carrington gen9, b in 1892; John Butler in 1894; Philip Caryl gen9, b in 1897 and Richard Stotesbury gen9, b in 1907. Mr William Henry Jessup Also Mr Henry W Jessup 
Sources: Ancestry.comJessup board, book by Jessup.

Woodin Runs for Congress

This section has been written but is not yet posted. But here is a campaign quilt:

Quilt from Woodin's 1898 Campaign for Congress.

End Notes

The Name Will: Suzanne Phipps Hyatt, e-mail of May 6, 2015, saying that her mother told her that Nan called her husband Will. FDR: News story, citation to come.

Woodbridge School. Naming, from medieval days - see John Tepper Marlin, Oxford Today, Michaelmas issue 2015.

Columbia School of Mines: The Wikipedia entry on Woodin and the Federal Reserve Gateway biography both incorrectly say Woodin graduated in 1890. One possible source of confusion is Will Woodin's biography in the Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia  and Montour Counties, p. 489 (, which implies that Woodin finished his course and graduated. Two sources get it right–The Miller Center at U.Va. and David Tripp in Illegal Tender; they say that Will left before finishing. I wrote to Robert Hornsby and Jessica Reyes, asking if they could settle this. A response came back from Stephanie Rodriguez "William Hartman Woodin Jr. ... attended the School of Mines from Oct. 1887 – Jan. 1888 [one semester only] but did not graduate from Columbia University." She is Media Relations Coordinator, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Columbia University, 402 Low Library, 535 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027, 212-854-7425.

Jessup Family: Records of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Nan Woodin: Story is from the Washington Post.

Candidate for Congress: Michael J. Dubin (1998) United States Congressional Elections, 1788-1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st Through 105th Congresses, 
McFarland and Company. ISBN 978-0786402830. pp. 327, 329.

ACF: American Car & Foundry Company, statement of Incorporation, 1899 - the company is organized under the laws of the State of New Jersey. Thanks to Frank Evina of Mocanaqua, Pa., for sending me a copy of this document, relating to the formation of ACF. It was a worrisome year for the Berwick workers of Jackson & Woodin, who were concerned that their plant might be closed or curtailed. Among those who were concerned, says Evina, were his father and grandfather.

More: More about the Woodin Family here short version, if you are typing, If you can add or correct something, e-mail me at

Links to Chapters:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  7  8  9  10  11  12  13 14 15 App. A  App. B