Lake County Ohio GenWeb
This biography is taken from Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio, Embracing the counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake; Lewis Publishing Company, 1893.
Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.
Benjamin H. Woodman, senior member of the well-known lumber firm of Woodman & Son, Painesville, Ohio, a progressive business man and estimable citizen, was born in New London, New Hampshire, November 16, 1827. His parents, Captain Benjamin E. and Mary (Train) Woodman, were both native of New Hampshire and descended from old and respected families of New England. The father followed various pursuits throughout his life, gaining by his uniform industry and uprightness the highest regard of his fellow men. He received his military title from having been commander of a company of militia in his native State. The mother was a typical New England woman, possessing all the thrift for which people of that vicinity are noted. This worthy couple, in company with their children, removed from New Hampshire to Painesville, Ohio, in 1830. They settled on new and unimproved land in the woods near the city, cultivated the land and improved it with good buildings, making of it a comfortable home and valuable piece of property. Here the parents resided in peace and plenty until their death, the father dying in 1854, at the age of sixty-three years, and the devoted mother in 1873. Three of their four children are now living, all of whom fill honorable positions in business and society.
The subject of this sketch was the youngest child and was but three years of age when his parents cast their fortunes in Ohio. He was reared on the home farm near Painesville and attended the district schools in those days held in log houses. He remained at home assisting in farm work until 1845, when he secured a position before the mast of a schooner plying the lakes, and for about five years followed this calling, experiencing all the perils and hardships of lake navigation. He visited in this manner all the principal ports between Buffalo and Chicago, and has many reminiscences of these early days when Chicago had not yet dreamed of her present greatness. At the end of this time, Mr. Woodman returned to Painesville, where he accepted a position in a machine shop, and acquired, in six years he stayed there, an excellent knowledge of practical engineering and mechanics. He then, in 1858, again returned to his first love, the lake, this time as assistant engineer on a steamer, and before the year had elapsed was promoted to the position of head engineer, in which capacity he served about seven years. At the end of this time, in 1866, he and a brother-in-law purchased a stock of lumber and established a yard in Painesville. They successfully continued the enterprise until 1884, when Mr. Woodman's only son became a member of the firm, the other gentleman retiring, from which time the firm has been known as B.H. Woodman & Son. They have a well stocked yard near the Lake Shore Railroad tracks and enjoy a large and lucrative trade, their prosperity being entirely due to the energetic and upright manner in which their business is conducted.
Mr. Woodman, of this notice, has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Mary Taft, an estimable lady, a native of Painesville and daughter of Amasa and Hannah Taft, early pioneers of this city. By this marriage there was one son, who is now associated with his father in business in Painesville. After the death of the worthy wife and devoted mother, Mr. Woodman was married, in 1880, to Mrs. Jennie M. Jewell, a highly respected lady and a native of New York.
In politics, Mr. Woodman is a Republican, and has served his fellow citizens as a member of the City Council, bringing to that position all the business energy and integrity for which he is famous. He has been an active member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for forty years.
Few men are thoroughly conversant with the early development of the country generally than the subject of this sketch, who has caught wild turkeys within the corporate limits of Painesville, and who has taken a prominent part in insuring the substantial growth of the city.
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