Marshall C. Woods

63rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Submitted by: John and Cindy McCachern

Marshall C. Woods (1912)

For somewhat more than twenty years prior to his death, Marshall C. Woods had maintained his home in Indianapolis and here he held that high personal popularity to which his fine character and ability justly entitled him. He was a man of splendid intellectual powers and attained to more than local repute in connection with journalistic work and other lines of literary production. His broad mental ken and mature judgment well fitted him for leadership in public thought and action and he wielded marked influence in political affairs in Indiana, both as a writer and as a zealous worker in behalf of the principles and policies which he believed to represent the best in practical governmental economics. He was a man of strong individuality and well fortified opinions; his sincerity and loyalty were of the firmest type; his integrity was impregnable; and his personality was such as to win to him strong and enduring friendships so that in his death, which occurred on the 29th of January 1895, the capital city of Indiana lost one of its sterling, talented and honored citizens.

Marshall C. Woods was born in Newark, the judicial center of Licking county, Ohio, and the date of his nativity was October 2, 1838, so that he was fifty-six years of age at the time of his demise. His parents, Uriah and Mary (Smucker) Woods; were numbered among the sterling pioneers of the old Buckeye state and were representatives of families founed in America in the colonial era. They continued to reside in Ohio until their death. Mr. Woods gained his preliminary education in the schools of his native town and thereafter availed himself of the advantages of one of the leading colleges of Ohio. Throughout his entire life, he contined a close and appreciative student and reader, and thus his education was of most liberal and symmetrical order, the while he developed literary powers of special excellence. After leaving college, he initiated his work in teh newspaper field, and he eventually contributed many short stories of distinctive originality and charm to the Chicago Inter Ocean and other leading papers of the country.

Mr. Woods was about twenty-three years of age at the inception of the Civil war and he promptly gave evidence of his youthful loyalty and patriotism by tendering his services in defence of the Union. Early in 1861, in response to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers, he enlisted in the Sixty-third Illinois Infantry, at Hutsonville, Illinois, and with the command he went to the front as a private. He participated with this regiment in a number of engagements and later he became identified with the navy arm of the government service. In this connection he was assigned to duty on the gunboat "Switzerland," of the ram fleet on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Impaired health finally necessitated his retirement, and he received his honorable discharge from the navy in February, 1863. In February 1865, however, he again entered the service, as second lieutenant in the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Indiana Volunteer Infantyr; with whichhe served until the close of the war. He took part in many of the important engagements incidental to the great conflict between the north and the south and proved a faithful and valiant soldier, his record in both the army and navy redounding in his lasting honor. He ever retained a deep interest in his old comrades and signified the same by his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic, of which he was an active and appreciative adherent.

Mr. Woods established his home in Indianapolis in the year 1873, and here he passed the residue of his life, secure in the high esteem of all who knew him. His first service in this city was in association with Enos B. Reed in the publication of a weekly paper known as The People, and he gave to the same a high editorial prestige. Later, he was a writer on the Indianapolis Sentinel and also on the Indianapolis News. Impaired health finally compelled his retirement from routine newspaper work, and for two years prior to his death he held a clerical position in the Indianapolis postoffice.

In political activities Mr. Woods was long a prominent and influential factor, and with the varying policies of the dominant parties he showed his independence and his fidelity to his convictions by one or more changes in partisan allegiance. In this connection the following statements, which appeared in an Indianapolis paper at the time of his death, are worthy of perpetuation: "He organized the Knights of Columbia, a strong Republican campaign club, in the Garfield campaign, and in 1884 he organized the Autocrats, in the support of Cleveland against Blaine. In 1888 he organized a large club of Democrats pledged to support Harrison, the Republican presidential nominee. In 1892 he took no active part in the campaign but supported harrison and was in the councils of the Republicans."

Apropos of his fine talent along literary lines, the same article gives the following statements: "Under the nom de plumes of "The White hand" and "Paul Pickett" Mr. Woods has been a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines, not infrequently turning his attention to poetyr. A number of years ago he was associated with Enos B. Reed in the publication of The People." Mr. Woods was actively affiliated with the Knights of Honor and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His religious faith, sincere and gentle in its manifestations, was that of the Christian church, of which he was a scalous member and with which his widow has long been actively identified.

At Hutsonville, Crawford county, Illinois, on the 9th of April, 1863, was solomnized the marriage of Mr. Woods to Miss katherine S. Fesler, this importnat incident in his career having occurred while he was on furlough from service on the mississippi river gunboat previously mentioned in this context. Mrs. Woods was born and reared at Hutsonville and is a daughter of Nicholas and Lucinda (Sweeney) Fesler, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Lexington, Kentucky. Mrs. Fesler was cousin of Rev. Zachariah Sweeney, who was one of the prominent and distinguished clergymen in Indiana and who maintained his home at Columbus, this state, for a number of years. The parents of Mrs. Wood passed the closing years of their lives at Bellair, Illinois, and her father was for a long period in charge of woolen mills at Hutsonville, Illinois. Of the seven children, of whom Mrs. Woods was the third in order of birth, there are living besides herself, three sons and one daughter. Mrs. Woods, as a woman of distinctive culture, proved the closer companion of her honored husband, as thier tastes and aspirations were thoroughly in harmony and their married life thus one of ideal order. She was afforded excellent educational advantages in her youth including those of the Terre Haute Female Seminary, at Terre Haute, Indiana, in which she was a student and in which she completed her course in 1861. She has a wide circle of friends in Indianapolis and has been active in the representative social life of the community. She has an attractive home at 1718 North Delaware street and the same is known for its gracious hospitality. In conclusion is entered brief record concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Woods: Elliott W. Woods, who married Miss Emma Brock, of Washington, D.C., has held governmental office in the national capital for more than twenty years and is now superintendent of the capitol building, in charge of the buildings and grounds. Frances Emma, the younger of the two children, is now the wife of William P. Johnston, who is engaged in the real estate business in Indianapolis, and they maintain their home at 2115 North Delaware street. They have two sons, Winant Pullis, who is now a student at the University of Pennsylvania, in the city of Philadelphia, and Russell Woods Johnston, who lives at home, having attended Wabash College.

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