From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
LUCIUS A. WOODWORTH, proprietor of the Ripley House in Hunter, was born in Jewett on January 18, 1833, his parents being Abner and Sophronia (Judson) Woodworth. The family, which is of Scotch descent, was a pioneer one of Jewett, living there first in a log cabin and clearing the wild forest land. Mr. Woodworth’s grandfather, Lemuel Woodworth, was born in Jewett, and live there to a good old age. His wife, whose maiden name was Lydia Winters, lived to be seventy-five years old. Their children were as follows: David; Alanson; Hiram; Lemuel; Reuben, who died young; Lydia, who married a Fuller; Nancy, who married a Fairchild; and Sally, who married a Slater.
Abner Woodworth was born in Jewett. He was reared on a farm, and was interested in agricultural labors as long as he lived. When about eighteen years of age he became the owner of a farm, and this he carried on until his death, a period of nearly sixty years. He was a very earnest Christian man and an active worker in the Methodist church, of which he and his wife were member. Mrs. Sophronia Woodworth, who died at the age of forty-seven, was born in Jewett. She was the daughter of Dr. Judson, and old-time physician of Windham, who is believed to have come from Hartford, Conn. Abner and Sophronia Woodworth were the parents of six children.
Lucius Woodworth lived with his parents until he was twenty-one years old. He was educated in the common schools and at Fergusonville Collegiate Institute. He taught school one winter in Hunter, and worked in this vicinity at carpentering with his brother-in-law during the summer. At twenty-one years of age he went out to Wisconsin, where he stayed for three years, working at his trade in the summers. One winter he taught school at Elkhorn, in that State; one winter he attended school; and the third he worked in a shop. In 1861, in company with two other men, he started for Colorado, journeying in his own conveyance, which was a large covered emigrant wagon. The distance was eleven hundred miles. Indians were often seen, but they were not hostile, and the trip was made in safety. Arriving in Denver, Mr. Woodworth remained there a short time, and then went up to Black Hawk, forty miles farther, into the mining region. There for a year he was engaged in building quartz-mills, and at the end of that time he became himself proprietor of a mill, which he operated for the next three years. The country was then almost a wilderness, and this mill was one of the first started in that locality. At the end of three years he sold out his mill and returned East, but only to remain for a short time. The Western fever was on him strong, and he returned to Wisconsin and purchased a farm. Not long after he had an opportunity to go to Nashville, Tenn., to do carpentering for the Northern army; and, when some time later he returned to Wisconsin, he sold out his farm and decided to push on farther west to Montana. Going down to Chicago, he bought twenty mules, loaded a wagon train with freight, and started westward. The freight was to be delivered in Denver. This was in the dead of winter, and the undertaking was most perilous. For two months Mr. Woodworth travelled without seeing a spark of fire, except for cooking purpose. But he reached Denver safely, delivered his load, and then returned to Council Bluffs, where he hired his mules kept until spring opened. Then securing a load in Omaha for Denver, he carried it out there, a distance of six hundred miles, and upon delivering it reloaded in Denver for Salt Lake City. After covering the eleven hundred miles, he camped for about ten days, and then sold out his mule train, and went to work for another man to drive a freight team to Helena, Mont. With a wagon drawn by four mules he traversed the five hundred miles in twenty-five days. Artisans were scarce in Montana, and Mr. Woodworth went to work at his old trade, building a mill, and receiving in payment his board and ten dollars a day in gold. After a time he formed a partnership with a Mr. Hendricks, bought a quartz mine and put up a quartz-mill, which he operated for three years. Upon selling out his own business he took charge of a quartz-mill for Daler & Larkey at Iron Rod, on Jefferson River, and was superintendent there for six years. In 1882, after a varied and a hazardous experience in journeying through the Far West, he returned East, and the following year began business at his present occupation. The hotel of which he is now proprietor was built in 1886. It has accommodations for fifty guests, and during the summer months he has a large number of boarders. Since 1883 he has conducted a livery stable, having been the first man in town to open one.
Mr. Woodworth has been twice married. The first Mrs. Woodworth was born in Big Hollow, and her maiden name was Adele Hitchcock. She was the daughter of Anson Hitchcock, a leading farmer of Big Hollow. Her death occurred at the age of thirty. The second Mrs. Woodworth was born in New York City, her maiden name being Mary Ranson. She was one of a family of four children, the others being: Gussie, who married John Coreja; Addie, who lives in Brooklyn; and Georgiana, who married Bert Allen. Mrs. Mary Woodworth died at the age of thirty-five. She was a member of the Methodist church. Mr. Woodworth has one daughter, Ada C.
Politically, Mr. Woodworth is a Republican. For two years he was a member to the Board of Education, and in 1894 he was Assessor. He is one of the most popular men in Hunter and one of the most popular landlords in this section of the State. He is a man of remarkable intrepidity, as shown by his daring journeyings to the West.