ers, and of German descent. In 1831, Peter Whitmer, with his sons, Christian, Jacob, John, David, and Peter, settled in Jackson county, Missouri, with their families. They soon moved to Clay county, Missiouri, where Christian and Peter died. Thence they removed to Caldwell county, and, remaining there till 1838, they all moved to Richmond, Ray county, where the living yet reside, excepting John Whitmer, who has for many years been a citizen of Caldwell county. Peter Whitmer, Sr., died in Richmond, Missouri, at the age of 82, August 13, 1865. His wife survived him but a short time. They were all plain, honest men, and good citizens. Like most of the early settlers of Ray county, they were all poor when they came to Richmond, but their highest aim seemed to be to live above reproach, "unspotted from the world," and they inculcated these principles into their children. When the subject of this sketch was in his twelfth year, his father, Jacob Whitmer, was taken sick, and for three years was able to do but little work. David, being the oldest son large enough to work, became the main-stay of the family— cultivated a rented farm, got up wood, and went to mill and to market. When his father became able to work again, his limited means were well nigh exhausted. But, in 1845, by close economy, he had saved enough to buy two and a half acres of land in the suburbs of Richmond, and erect thereon a small brick dwelling. Here he lived till the day of his death, April 26, 1856. Before his death, our subject's father built a small shoeshop on the land mentioned, which he kept up till the time of his death, the son working with his father in the shop during the winter, and on a farm in summer, cultivating some rented land, and thus continued until the boy was about seventeen, when, having become expert as a boot and shoe maker, his father, from that time, kept him in the shop summer and winter. Thus the young man grew up in obscurity and poverty, and inured to toil. But by close application, he did at least a third more work than any other hand, and found considerable time to read and prosecute his studies at home. In the spring of 1849, he informed his father of his long contemplated intention of qualifying himself for a lawyer, and arranged with his father to start to school. After attending school two weeks, the man upon whom his father relied to do the work in the shop, got on a spree and quit work; whereupon young David left school, and went back to work with his father at his trade. Meanwhile he pursued his studies diligently, working early and late at night. He did sufficient work in nine months to save three months of his last year of minority for school. On starting to school he found that he had, by his study at home, kept fully up with his classes. He continued at school two years at the old Richmond Academy, with Professor A. C. Redmon as his preceptor. Until the last year of his attendance at school, he was ably assisted by Colonel James W. Black, who engaged with Professor Redmon as a teacher, and who has proved himself to be one of the finest literary critics in Ray county, where he still resides.

While at school, the Judge included in his studies all the common school branches, together with the higher mathematics; Latin, logic, and astronomy. When he left school, he entered the study of the law with Hon. Aaron H. Conrow as his preceptor, at Richmond, Missouri. Finding, at the end of twelve months that his purse needed replenishing, he taught a six months' school for that purpose, at the same time continuing the study of law. On the 4th of September, 1854, he obtained a license to practice his chosen profession, from Hon. Geo. W. Dunn, judge of the fifth judicial circuit. He opened a law office at once, in Richmond, accepting the kind offer of ex-Governor Austin A. King, to put his law library in the young attorney's office, and office together. Young Whitmer rapidly grew in repute as a lawyer, and soon secured for himself the confidence of the public, and a lucrative practice. In 1857 he was elected the first city attorney of Richmond, and the following year was again elected to the same position. In 1858 he was elected commissioner of common schools for Ray county, and served two years. He was the only man on his ticket who was elected. In June, 1859, he entered into a law partnership with Hon. Aaron H. Conrow, his former preceptor. They continued together in business till the commencement of the civil war, in 1861, when they dissolved partnership, Mr. Conrow enlisting with the Missouri state guards, afterwards becoming a member of the confederate congress. Judge Whitman took the position that the cause of the Union was paramount to all other considerations, and should rise above all party and sectional issues. He, therefore, espoused the Union cause, and since that time has acted with the republican party.

In February, 1862, he was commissioned circuit attorney for the fifth judicial circuit, the old incumbent having failed or refused to take the oath prescribed by what was known as the convention ordinance. He at once entered upon the discharge of his duties. Judge Austin A. King was, at the same time, and for similar reason, appointed judge of the fifth judicial circuit, and entered upon his duties, simultaneously with Mr. Whitmer. In the fall of 1863, Judge Whitmer was called by a convention of Union men of Carroll county to make the race for judge of the fifth judicial circuit. At first declining, he finally yielded, and at the polls received a majority in each of the counties of Carroll and Caldwell, but was defeated, his able and distinguished friend, Judge Dunn, being his successful competitor. When the enrolled Missouri militia were organized July 29, 1862, he was elected and commissioned captain of company F, fifty-first regiment, E. M. M., and was at once ordered into active service. Remained on duty until December, when he, with fifty men and two lieutenants, was detailed for active service during the winter, holding post at Richmond, Missouri, Lieutenant-colonel J. W. Black, commanding post, the regiment being relieved from active service till further orders. In April, 1863, he was detailed as captain of company D, fourth provisional E. M. M. In the summer of 1863, he was detailed by Colonel Chester Harding, commanding department of northwest Missouri to wind up the unsettled business of Provost Marshal Hemory, removed. He accepted the position, and found on hand some twenty-five or thirty citizen prisoners, together with a detachment of U. S. troops, occupied as provost guards. He returned the provost guards to their regiment and in a short time disposed of the prisoners and all the business pertaining to the office, restoring confidence and giving general satisfaction. In November, 1863, his company and regiment were relieved from active service, excepting Captain Tiffin, with part of company C, who were retained in charge of the post during the winter months. In June, 1864, Captain Whitmer, with one lieutenant and thirty men, was ordered into active service as commandant of the post at Richmond. Marauders began to infest the country, troubles thickened and raids became frequent. Early in July Captain Whitmer received information that some three hundred men, under Thrailkill, had engaged and defeated a battalion of Colorado troops near Fredricksburg, fourteen miles west of Richmond. He issued orders immediately, calling on all good citizens who were willing to aid in the defense of their homes, to report to his headquarters at once, with such arms as they could command; at the same time, he sent a message to Col. McFerren, commanding post at Lexington, to send reinforcements at once, that, although his force was small he intended to fight, but not to surrender. In the evening Captain Colly arrived with his command. The citizen force was stationed on and about the college grounds, while the soldiers on duty, were placed to guard the approaches from without. Thrailkill, however, nearing the city, avoided it by turning north, and made a raid through Caldwell county. From that onward, till the fall of the notorious Bill Anderson, in 1864, near Albany, Ray county, the cloud of war lowered, hanging dark and gloomily over all this part of the state. In order to make the citizen force more efficient, Captain Whitmer organized them into a company of home guards, under command of Captain C. T. Garner.

Captain Whitmer and the various companies of his regiment were generally engaged in the field, on scouts and often in pursuit or in contact with raiders, until they were honorably discharged in November, 1864. During all this period Captain Whitmer was circuit attorney, and had leave of absence when necessary to attend the courts and look after the prosecution of criminals. After the war—in March, 1867—a common pleas court being established in Ray county, Judge Whitmer was commissioned as judge thereof, and served till the next general election, in 1868, when he was re-elected, receiving the largest vote of any candidate on the ticket, except the vote for Grant. Judge Whitmer concluded his term as judge of this court, which had probate, as well as common law and equity jurisdiction, with a complete index to the probate records from y the beginning. After the expiration of his term of service upon the bench, . Judge Whitmer again devoted himself to the practice of law. During all this time he has been a citizen of Richmond, Missouri. Though frequently solicited, he refused to run for any political position other than city offices; and although a Mason and Past High Priest of Royal Arch Chapter, A. F. & A. M., has always opposed all secret political organizations as dangerous to the liberties of the people. April 20, 1859, he was married, by Elder James A. Garfield, now president of the United States, to Miss Vashti Whitmer, daughter of Peter Whitmer, deceased. She is a lady of culture and refinement, and together with her husband, enjoys the confidence of her numerous friends. They have no children living. Judge Whitmer ranks high as a lawyer, and is in the prime and vigor of manhood.


It is not alone among military heroes; nor in the cabinet; nor among the luminaries of literature, of science, or of art, that we are to look for great and good men. There is another and larger class of citizens, not so dazzling, to be sure—whose fame, indeed, is circumscribed; who have never been renowned for achievements in war, nor for eloquence, great learning, or statesmanship, but who are, nevertheless, entitled to grateful recognition for the parts they have taken in sustaining society, religion, and the economy of government, who are really more useful to the world than many of those whose fame has extended far and wide. Such men, we mean, as quietly pursue the various necessary vocations of life; who live honorably, discharge the duties of citizenship, and by liberality, christian deportment, and individual effort contribute to the happiness of all. Thomas D. Woodson, son of Robert S. and Hulda Ann (Young) Woodson, was born in Woodsonville, Hart county, Kentucky, March 10th, 1828. His father was born in Goochland county, Virginia, November 26th, 1796, and moved with his parents to the present site of Woodsonville, then in Barren county, Kentucky, in 1804. His grandfather, Thomas Woodson, was born in Goochland county, Virginia, on the River James, twenty miles above the city of Richmond, December 2d, 1772, and died in Woodsonville, February 14th, 1857. His grandmother, also a native Virginian, born May 2d, 1776, died in the same village, July 21st, 1844. His mother was born January 14th, 1801, in Rockingham county, Virginia, and is still (1881) living, and resides with the subject of this sketch in Richmond, Missouri. His great grandfather, Matthew Woodson, was born in 1731, and married Elizabeth Levilian, only child of John Peter Levilian. His maternal great grandfather, Jesse Saunders, married Mary, only child of Anthony Levilian. His paternal great grand parents, grand parents, and his father were Old School Baptists. This faith, extending back to John Peter Levilian, making the fourth generation, reminds one of the faith of Paul and also of Timothy, which extended backward to the third or fourth generation. The parents of our subject had nine children, three of whom died in infancy. The rest are as follows, arranged with respect to their ages:. Jane Ann, who married John H. Ardinger, Esq., a merchant of Woodsonville, Kentucky, who subsequently moved to Lexington, Missouri, where he was a prominent citizen a number of years; he is now living in Texas; Philip J.; Martha A., who became the wife of the late Governor Austin A. King, of Missouri; the subject of this sketch; Elizabeth Levilian, wife of Shelby A. Jackson, M. D., of Ohio county, Keno tucky, and Robert Hyde, who joined the Confederate army at the commencement of the civil war, and receiving a wound at the battle of Champion Hills, Mississippi, fell into the hands of the enemy and died. His grandfather Thomas was the founder of Woodsonville, once a bright and attractive village, situated on a high plateau, overlooking the surrounding country, on the south bank of Green river, in Hart county, Kentucky. Thomas D. Woodson was a soldier in the war against Mexico. He volunteered in 1847, joining the 4th Kentucky infantry, and served till the close of the war, in the company of which, at first, Pat Gardner and afterwards Thomas Mayfield, was captain. At the close of the Mexican war, he came to Missouri and located at Kingston, in Caldwell county, where he engaged in the mercantile business. He remained in Kingston until in the spring of 1852, when he crossed the plains, with a train of ox wagons, to California. Continuing in California till January, 1854, he returned to his home in Missouri, and pursued his former vocation at Kingston till in 1863, when he removed to Richmond, Ray county, where he resumed merchandising, and conducted a store till the fall of 1878, at which time he closed out to Messrs. Holt & Hughes. In 1868, he participated in the organization of the Ray County Savings Bank, and was chosen its vice-president. He held this position till he disposed of his mercantile house, as above stated, when he turned his attention to banking exclusively. In 1879 he was elected president of the Ray County Savings Bank, and still holds that position. Mr. Woodson has also been extensively engaged in dealing in live stock, farming, etc. He owns several well improved and fertile farms in Ray and adjoining counties. He was married December 5, 1854, to Miss Sabina L. Hughes, a native of Clark county, Kentucky. They have three children living, viz. Lydia Annie, born September 27, 1855; Harrie Philip, born March 23, •

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