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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Judge Thomas Woodle
Judge Thomas Woodle. This volume would be incomplete without at least a brief notice of the gentlemen whose name heads this sketch, whose ability, business capacity, benevolence and honesty made him a prominent citizen, and honored member of society during the days of the early history of this county. He was born in Fayette County, Pa., about 1818, and educated in the common schools of his native State. In 1839 he came with his father's family to the West, locating in Green County, Wis., which was then almost a trackless wilderness. Having attained to mature years, he was there married and began the development of a farm which eleven years later, in 1850, he sold prior to coming to this county. Accompanied by wife and children he again started upon a westward journey and at what is now known as Dunham's Grove, near the geographical center of Fayette County, made a location. He entered land and opened up a farm which he continued to cultivate until 1851, when he was elected to the office of County Judge, and in the autumn of that year removed to West Union, the county seat of that county. The office of County Judge, during the then existing code of laws was a very important and responsible position. All the probate business of the county, all the duties now performed by the County Auditor as well as those of the Board of Supervisors, were at that time a part of the duties of the County Judge. Mr. Woodle filled the office with credit and ability and continued to serve in that capacity until his death, which occurred in 1854, at the early age of thirty-six years.
With other leading and prominent interests of the county our subject was also identified. In company with Rev. H. S. Brunson in the spring of 1852, he opened the second dry-goods store in West Union and continued business in that line until his death. Any enterprise calculated to upbuild or benefit the community received his hearty support and co-operation. He entertained deep religious convictions and was a consistent member of the Baptist Church. He aided in the erection of the first house of worship of that denomination in this city and labored untiringly for the upbuilding of the cause. In politics, he was an anti-slavery Whig. Mr. Woodle was a man of fine personal appearance, being six feet and two inches in height and well proportioned. He was possessed of more than ordinary intellectual ability, was a good neighbor and citizen, a kind-hearted and benevolent man and generous almost to a fault. He is lovingly remembered by all who knew him for his friends were many, his enemies few.
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