Isaac S. Woolley, retired merchant and a pioneer of Ogle County of 1838, residing at Oregon, is a son of William and Susannah (Peterson) Woolley. He is a native of New Jersey, having been born near Tuckerton, Dorchester County, Nov. 4, 1805. When four years of age he removed with his parents to Philadelphia, and in 1817, to Urbana, Ohio. On reaching manhood he engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes, also in merchandising at Urbana.
Our subject was married at Urbana, Dec. 25, 1828, to Miss Elizabeth Parkison, daughter of David and Jane Parkison. Mrs. Woolley was born in North Carolina in 1801, of English descent. Three children were born to them, two daughters and a son. The eldest daughter, Mary E., is the wife of Barnabus Brundage and resides in Oregon Township. The younger, Amanda J., is the widow of Daniel W. Peck and was formerly the widow of Charles H. Stone, at present residing at Oregon. The son, John P., was born May 4, 1841, at Oregon, and was a merchant at this place, he died Feb. 14, 1867.
Mr. Woolley first came to Oregon in 1836, but did not move his family to this place until 1838. He engaged in hotel keeping that winter pursuing this calling only one year. On the division of the county, he was appointed County Treasurer by the Board of County Commisioners, March 8, 1838, to fill a vacancy. He was elected to the same office, in 1843, holding it until 1846. He was Justice of the Peace in an early day and discharged the duties of the office so acceptably that the law business of the primary court was principally transacted at this office. During his long term of service, upward of 10,000 cases were brought before him. He has held various offices and established the first school in the county under the present school law.
Mr. Woolley engaged in mercantile business at Oregon, with Mr. Thomas H. Potwein, which connection continued several years when he sold out to his son-in-law, Mr. Charles H. Stone, the former husband of Mrs. Daniel W. Peck. Mr. Potwein subsequently withdrew and Mr. Stone continued the business along until his death, July 28, 1865, when Mr. Woolley's son, John P. became proprietor. He conducted the business until Feb. 14, 1867, when he, too died. Mr. Woolley came into possession of the business again and conducted it several years, when he closed it out and retired from active business. He has a fine farm of 160 acres lying across the river opposite the city. He has made Oregon his home continuously since coming to Ogle County and has been prominently identified with its growth and development. Mrs. Woolley died Feb. 4, 1871, after 43 years of married life.
Mr. Woolley was a Republican in Lincoln's time, but left the party in the Greeley Campaign of 1872, and in 1884, cast his vote for Grover Cleveland. He has always maintained an independent course in politics, having more regard for men than party platforms.
Message from Ed Parkison, October 12, 2009:
I am very appreciative that the Ogle County Genealogical website has chosen to include the biography of Isaac S. Woolley that had been originally published in the "Ogle County Portrait and Biographical Album," by Chapman Brothers, Chicago, in 1886. It has corroborated nearly every fact concerning the Woolley family that I have found by my own research. This biography is correct in almost every fact presented, which is rather remarkable based on some of the biographies I have seen. However, there are just two facts which need correction, if that is possible to do by reference or other means.
I am a 3rd great-grandson of David and Jane Parkison, who were the parents of Elizabeth (neé Parkison) Woolley, wife of Isaac Woolley, of Oregon, Ogle County, Illinois. Elizabeth was a sister of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Parkison, who was born in Kentucky in 1799.
However, the biography states that Elizabeth was born in North Carolina, whereas a careful tracking of the David Parkison family begins in Washington County, Pennsylvania. From there, the family came down the Ohio River and settled in Mason County, Kentucky a year or so prior to 1796 and remained there for several years. This fact is substantiated by the Mason County tax rolls for the years 1796 to 1805. This of course matches the information contained in the various census enumerations taken during the lifetime of Elizabeth (neé Parkison) Woolley.
The family then moved north across the Ohio River to Champaign County, Ohio in or around the year 1805 (according to the published histories of that county). There is no evidence of them ever having lived in North Carolina. In fact the Federal Census enumerations for the years 1850 & 1860 both indicate that Elizabeth was born in Kentucky in about 1802. It is only in the 1870 Census where she is listed as having been born in North Carollina in about 1803.
Thus, we feel that the listing of her birthplace as North Carolina is incorrect. Also the biography states that she was of English ancestry. In fact, the Parkison family has been traced back to Scotland.
In all other respects, the biography seems to be quite correct, even in the correct spelling of "Parkison" (which is very often misspelled as "Parkinson").
Ed H. Parkison
1211 Brandford Road
Baltimore, MD 21228
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