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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM W. WOODMANCY is now living retired from active life at his home on section 13, township 46, range 24, Johnson County. He is a veteran of the late war, having enlisted as a private and later rising to the rank of Lieutenant. His service in the Union army covered a period of nearly four years, extending from September 11, 1861, until January 9, 1865. He was a soldier on whom his superiors felt that they might safely rely, for he was never absent from his post of duty and his bravery was unquestioned.

The fifth child born to David and Esther (Hurd) Woodmancy, our subject is a native of Tompkins County, N. Y., the date of his birth being March 16, 1835. His parents were likewise natives of the Empire State, where they spent most of their lives, and where their deaths occurred. The mother died in 1857, aged sixty years, and the father died in 1882, at the venerable age of fourscore and two years. When in his seventy-first year, he came to visit his son William, who had often urged him to do so, and he remained a member of his household for ten years, at the end of which time he desired to return to his native state, and carried his resolution into effect. The Woodmancy and Hurd families were among the pioneers of New York, and were noted for their worthy and sturdy qualities of character.

As his father was in straitened circumstances financially during his boyhood, William W. Woodmancy was obliged to assume the responsibilities of life at an early age, and worked for farmers from his eleventh year. In 1854 he went to Bloomington, Ill., and three months later moved to Wisconsin. For a short time afterward he lived in New York, but in 1857 returned to Wisconsin. Thence he proceeded to Nebraska, and two years later landed in Jefferson, Mo. With the exception of the time spent in the army, he has since had his time and attention occupied in farming near Knobnoster.

While a member of the Johnson County Home Guards Mr. Woodmancy was one of the one hundred and fifty men who volunteered to go to Lexington, Mo., for the purpose of securing arms and equipments which had been reported as being transported to that city by steamer from St. Louis. After two days of patient waiting the steamer arrived and preparations were being made to turn them over to the volunteers, when a man well supplied with pistols, knives and firearms appeared on the scene. He defied any man or number of men to arrest him for anything that he might say or do. He went so far in his bravado that it became necessary for the boys of “Hoop Pole” County to arrest him. This was, done adroitly, without the shedding of blood, and the man was sent to Jefferson Barracks. After an absence of nine days the detail party returned with the arms to Warrensburg and distributed them to the Home Guards, after which they made another trip of similar importance. This kind of military manoeuvre did not suit Mr. Woodmancy, who much preferred the regular service. Going to Jefferson City, he learned that G. B. Boomer was then trying to form a regiment, but had so far only recruited six men. He joined him September 11, 1861, and after studying tactics and drilling about ten days, they organized a camp rendezvous at the old town of Medora, twenty miles east of Jefferson City. After four months of hard service our subject was mustered in for three years, and was in all the actions of his regiment until the expiration of his term, when he was mustered out at Savannah, Ga. Once while in camp at Medora one of his associates in the “Boomer Battalion,” R. C. Crowell, who was on recruiting service at Fulton, was captured by the Confederates. In order to secure his safe return, it was agreed among his comrades that three prominent Confederate citizens should be made prisoners. To do this it was necessary to have a detail of fifty men, supplied with knapsacks and sixty rounds of ammunition. Thus furnished, they proceeded cautiously under cover of the darkness across the Missouri River and without much difficulty secured two of the men, who were unarmed. On reaching the remaining victim, he feigned sickness, but Captain Koops, a German, told him they would haul him away, and when he asked how this would be done, received the answer, “Mit the bayonet.” The man at once concluded that he was able to walk without such assistance. After holding these men captive for a few days they were released and permitted to return home.

Upon the termination of his army service Mr. Woodmancy went on a visit to his old home and friends in New York State. On coming back to Missouri he purchased the beautiful farm upon which he still lives, in July, 1865. The place comprises sixty acres, conveniently located for all purposes, and is one of the most fertile farms in this neighborhood. Soon after settling here our subject chose Miss Laura V. Askren to be his future companion and helpmate, their marriage being celebrated October 9, 1865. The lady is a daughter of William Askren, of Cole County, Mo.

Since becoming a voter Mr. Woodmancy has adhered to the doctrines of the Republican party. He had two brothers in the Federal army, one having enlisted from New York and the other from Colorado, and both of them, as well as our subject, were fortunate in escaping serious wounds or falling into the hands of the enemy.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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