Senator James H. Woods
Marker Dedication
Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


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Dedication Service of The Historical Marker for Senator James H. Woods Home
Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", 1967
Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society

Mr. Patrick, Mr. Ross, members of the Navarro County Historical Society, Mr. and Mrs. Edens, my good friends: -

It is with a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction that I am present to witness the awarding of a historical plaque to the house built and occupied by my father and where I spent my early days.

As to my father's life and career, I would like to read excerpts from a resolution presented by a committee of attorneys in the District Courtroom of the Navarro County Courthouse on the Sunday following his death in May 1931:-

"To Hon. Beauford H. Jester, President, and Members of the Navarro County Bar Association:- Your Committee begs leave to submit the following:-

James Hollins Woods was born April 30, 1858, in Coffee County, Tennessee.  He came to Navarro County and Corsicana with his parents, brothers and sister, in November 1873, where he lived the rest of his life.

In 1877, Mr. Woods became a student of law in the office of Hon. Bryan T. Barry, a distinguished lawyer of that day.   In May 1879, he was admitted to the practice of law after examination by a committee of lawyers, consisting of E. J. Simkins, Col. Wm. Croft and R. C. Beale.

Shortly afterward, he was associated with H. A. Halbert in law practice, under the firm name of Halbert & Woods.

In 1882, he was married in Brenham, Texas, to Miss Bettie Wood, a native of Virginia.

In 1886, he became associated in legal and clerical work with the Texas Loan Agency, a pioneer land mortgage corporation in Corsicana founded by H. G. Damon and W. R. Bright.  In 1902, he and S. M. Kerr, who had likewise been connected with the Texas Loan Agency since 1886, composed the firm of Woods & Kerr, in practice of law, which continued until 1918 when the firm was dissolved by mutual agreement.

Mr. Woods was a member of the House of Representatives of the State of Texas from Navarro County from 1911 until 1919 and State Senator from 1919 until 1923, and as such achieved such distinction, respect and confidence of his colleagues that few members had ever achieved.

During his career, he served the public and the City of Corsicana faithfully and efficiently not only in the Legislature but as President of the Commercial Club, City Councilman, City Commissioner, Mayor, School Trustee, Director of the Library, Commissioner of the Fire Department, Member of civic clubs, progress and welfare.  He was a Steward and lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

Mr. Woods passed to his reward from his home in Corsicana May 23, 1931, after an eventful, helpful, upright, sincere and successful life of 73 years.

This committee was composed of S. M. Kerr, C. L. Jester and C. W. Taylor.

As to the house receiving this plaque, it was built in the year 1900, when my father was Mayor of the City of Corsicana.   As you see, it is a large house of two stories and attic, with large, high-ceilinged rooms, designed for coolness in the style of that day, with transoms over the doors for circulation of air; four large bedrooms upstairs; porches on both floors; floored attic for recreation and playroom for four boys, often used as a roller skating rink - and very noisy, as I recall; with swinging rings, parallel bars, boxing gloves and dumbbells for exercise.  Downstairs, a large entrance hall, a formal parlor, a library or sitting room, large dining room, kitchen and hall.  A row of sycamore trees and a picket fence enclosed the entire area.  A neat servant's house was in the backyard, also the necessary stable and lot in those horse and buggy days.

The house was occupied by my father and his family until my parents' deaths in 1931, then by myself and my family until 1939, when Mr. and Mrs. Edens acquired it and have since kept it in excellent condition, with many more modern facilities and conveniences.  During our occupancy, it was a comfortable home, pleasant in hot weather, but I must admit quite cold and drafty in the winter with its then inadequate heating arrangements.

I want to compliment Mr. and Mrs. Edens for their care and attention to our old homestead and to wish them complete and comfortable satisfaction in their property.  Thank you for your presence and attention.

(Presented by J. H. Woods, Jr., son of Senator Woods, November 5, 1967.)
(In ceremony at unveiling of historical plaque at home of the Late Senator James H. Woods
504 West Second Avenue, Corsicana, Texas, November 5, 1967)

 


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