of Jefferson County
(Black Hawk Township)
"WOOLSON. Sec. 3, Black Hawk Township, A station on the Burlington
and Western RR. Named for John S. Woolson, once senator from Henry
and Jefferson Counties, and who died a U.S. District Judge. P.O.
Est. 5 Feb 1883; Richard W. Shelley, first postmaster; replaced in 1895
by J. W. Argo, who erected a building and put in a good stock of general
merchandise. Richard Shelley had a lumber yard; Oliver Draper, feed
mill; L. D. Smith, Blacksmith shop. C. P. Sater had a stock of general
merchandise; building burned Apr 20 1893. P.O. disc. 15 Jul 1909.
Nov only the Woolson Friends Church remains. It dates from 7 Jul 1864.
(Ledger, Jul. 17, 1964.)"
The above information was compiled by Mary Prill and published in the Hawkeye Heritage, July 1967.
The following information comes from the book "Glimpses of Yesterday" by Dixie Richardson, published in 1999 and copied here with her permission. The book contains histories and personal memories of Richland, Iowa, and the surrounding area. Copies of the book are available from Dixie Richardson, 556 South Davis, Ottumwa Iowa 52501-5301 for $13.00 and this covers postage and handling as well.
Woolson was located in section 3 of Blackhawk Township. Woolson came into existence when the Burlington and Western Railroad came through the area. Woolson was a little more than a mile south of Richland and two and a half to three miles west of Veo. Woolson was named after John Woolson a U.S. District Judge who had been a senator from Jefferson and Henry Counties. The Woolson post office was established in February 5, 1883. The First postmaster was Richard Shelley. J. W. Argo succeeded Richard Shelley as Postmaster.
A depot was built at Woolson. Some of the depot agents were Richard Shelley, Julia Hinshaw Shelley. C. P. Sater built a store at Woolson and sold general merchandise. The store building was destroyed by fire in on April 2 1893. J.W. Argo built the second Woolson store a shortly after becoming postmaster. The store was about a block north of the railroad tracks. On the west side of the road. Other owners of the store were Will Rice and Bert Bray who ran the store as "Rice and Bray". Bert Bray later bought out Will Rice. He sold the store to Ralph Eck. Eck along with running the store built a building and purchased and sold eggs. He established wagon routes to buy and sell poultry and eggs. In July 1929 the Woolson store was destroyed by fire. The fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring. After the fire started several oil containers exploded. The store and $7000.00 worth of merchandise were destroyed. The building was rebuilt. 0ther owners of the store after Ralph Eck were a Mr. Pfeifer, Clifford McCracken and Ben Young who was the last to own the store. After the store closed it was used as a storage building for feed. The building later was empty and in disrepair until it was torn down. In addition to the store and depot there was also a lumberyard started around 1895 by Richard Shelley. A feed mill operated by Oliver Draper, a stockyards with Richard Shelley and his father, W.D. Hadley, Osa Johnston known as OZ Johnston, and Charles Greeson were stock buyers. There were 2 blacksmiths at Woolson. They were L.D. Smith and Ora Caviness. North of the Woolson store there was a cheese factory operated by Austin Sasseen. The cheese factory was well known for the fine cheese it made. It was made into a private residence in 1909. The Huckster and his wagon were quite popular in the Woolson area. The post office was discontinued July 15 1909. Shortly after the turn of the century the Burlington Western railroad was purchased by the C.B.&Q. railroad. It was later sold to the M&ST L railroad. The last train came through the Woolson Community in October of 1971. All of the businesses at Woolson have been gone for several years.
EDUCATION AT WOOLSON
Most of the children in the Woolson area attended school at Blackhawk No. 2 Philadelphia School. This school building was located a half mile south of Woolson. After it closed it was moved to the Kenneth Nordyke farm and used as garage and shop.
WOOLSON FRIENDS CHURCH
The First Friends Church in the area was a log church located in the new addition of Richland Friends Cemetery in 1846. The first records show that a committee from Salem Quarterly Meeting established this meeting. On June 11, 1863 a request was made for a Friends meeting to be set up south of Richland. A committee consisting of Isaac Jones, William Hobson, George Stalker, William Hadley, Adonijah Gregory, William Beals, Obadiah Jones and Seth Warner was appointed to consider establishing the meeting. The committee at the next meeting gave a report saying they were not all in unity on the request. Because of this the request for the meeting was not granted. In 1858 Joseph and Mary Hinshaw Hadley deeded 4 acres of land to the Trustees of the Richland Meeting. Joseph Hadley was a pioneer of the community having come from North Carolina to Jefferson County Iowa in 1839. Joseph purchased 2200 acres of ground near Richland. It was 4 acres of this ground that he gave for the Woolson church to be erected. In 1864 the motion was again requested to set up a meeting south of Richland. The motion was approved in February 1864. The meeting was to be located one and half miles south of Richland and called Elm Grove meeting. It was later changed to Woolson after the railroad came through. A church building was erected in 1864 on the land given by Joseph and Mary Hinshaw Hadley. On April 2 1892 William Mc Cracken, Jesse Hinshaw, Pleasant Hoskins, Clark Hadley and Eli Jones were appointed to oversee the construction of a new church building. Elwood Hadley and Elvin Hadley were the carpenters who built the new church building. In the 1880's a Christian endeavor society was formed at the church. In 1945 a basement was put under the church building and a vestibule added. In 1953 Woolson became a separate monthly meeting.
The church was extensively remodeled in 1973. Since 1973 a new fellowship hall was built next to the church. The first pastors to serve at Woolson Church were Henry and Beulah Pemberton 1889-1893. Until 1953 Woolson was part of the Richland meeting and both shared the same pastor. In 1953 during the pastorate of Orin and Oshea Hutchins that Richland became a separate meeting. A house near the church was purchased and moved to the church grounds for a parsonage. Pastors who have served at Woolson since it became a separate meeting are Oren and Oshea Hutchins, Tom Good, Naomi Olsen Lock, Keith Lamm, Wes Davis, Carl and Janet Ratcliff, Ned Van Nostrand.
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