Written by : Michael Woodrome
Edited by : Dr. Francis L. McKenzie
Thomas Woodham I
Thomas Woodham II
Thomas Woodham III
Being the Settlers of
The surname WOODROME is most probably a corrupt from of the better known and more common, English sur-name WOODRUM. This name is of topographic origin. Topographic surnames are those manes which derive their origin from a particular place name, near which the original bearer lived or held land. In this instance, the sur-name WOODRUM/Woodrome is derived from the place-name WOODROW which is found in Wiltshire and Worcestershire, England. The place name WOODROW is derived from the Middle English ’wudu raw” meaning ’Row of Cottages”.
In tracing my family back to it origins in England I found that our earliest ancester, actually had the sur-named WOODHAM, (Thomas Woodham I, Born 1589). The Woodrome mane was misspelled and recorded as Woodham, Woodrame, Woodrum, Woodram, and Widrom. It is most likely that the different spelling of the Woodrome sur-name is do the fact that relatively few people of that Era were able to read or write. And the name was recorded in local church or civic documents by the officials using their best phonic spelling. Although the spelling Woodrome is listed on some documents in the very early 1700 it did not become the common spelling until about 1820 when James B. WOODROME emigrated from Virginia to the western frontier of Illinois.
In the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries, it was common practice to give male children the same name as their father, and middle initials were not in common use at this time either. As a result there are three consecutive generations of Thomas Woodham. To minimize confusion I have assigned a number behind their names.
Thomas Woodham I was born 1589 in Enfield London, England and married Elizabeth Mussage, also born in Infield England about 1600. Thomas Woodham I died in Enfield England in 1679, he out lived his wife, Elizabeth by nine years.
Their son Thomas Woodham II was born in England October 29, 1624. He immigrated to the Americans sometime before 1665, and settled in Westover Parish, (Henrico County) Charles City, Virginia. This area of Virginia is located on the upper James River. Charles City is southeast of present day Richmond, VA. There are no records of is wife, however, I believe that he did not marry until he reached Virginia, because his firsts born Thomas Woodham III was born in Virginia. Thomas II died in Charles City, VA. in 1720.
Thomas Woodham III was born in Charles City, Virginia about 1666. Very little is known about Thomas Woodham III, however, at some point in time he established his own farm in Goochland County several miles west of his father's farm in Henrico, Virginia.
Thomas Woodham III died about 1761 and is buried in St. James Northam Parish Church, Goochland, Virginia.
John (Widrom) Woodrum, the son of Thomas Woodham III was born in 1702 in Westover Parish, Goochland County VA. He married Mary (Molly), surname unknown, in 1727 in Henrico, Virginia. They had eight children, their oldest son was William Woodrum born May 11, 1728, John died February 17, 1761 and is buried in St. James parish Goochland, VA. Mary died on November 4, 1775.
Note: John inherited land from his father (Thomas III) and that land was adjoined in 1765.
William Woodham the son of John and Mary Widrom was born about 1726 in Henrico, Virginia. He married Martha Moore on March 4, 1756 in Goochland, Virginia. They would have a total of seven children. William sold his inheritance of 60 acres on October 7, 1765, to Jeffrey Clark for 60 pounds. These 60 acres were on branches of Bearverdam Creek adjoining the lands of William More, (in-law) Joseph Clark, John Bioling, Mary (his mother) and Teuben Brown.
William and Martha with all of their children, except John, who stayed on the family farm, moved westward shortly after the Revolutionary War. They settled for a short time in Lincoln County, Kentucky. Martha died while in Kentucky. .I presume that Martha died about 1780 because William remarried late in life. He married Elizabeth Walker on March 4, 1786, when he was 48 years of age. the first U.S. Census taken in the year 1800 shows William Woodham and his family still residing in Lincoln County, Kentucky.
William and Elizabeth returned to William's former home in Virginia about 1787. William Woodrum died in 1792 in Goochland, Virginia and is buried in the Dover Church Cemetery, in Goochland
The return of William and Elisabeth to Virginia marked a turning point for the Woodrome family. Because, it was at this time that, the sons,
not wanting to return to Virginia, went their different ways. Of William's five sons who moved to Kentucky with him, two would move on
to Illinois, and the others would settle in Kentucky, Indianan, and Tennessee.
James Woodrome born April 3, 1758, in St. James parish, Goochland, VA. ... moved with his parents to Kentucky about 1778. After he served in the Revolutionary War, he enlisted in Goochland County, Virginia. While in Kentucky, James married Anne Jackson on September 8, 1788. But James and Anne, with their children, left Kentucky after 1815 and headed west, arriving in Washington County, Illinois, about 1818. The area of present day Ashley Township was originally known as ’The Woodrome Settlement” The land in Washington and St. Clair Counties on the east bank of the Mississippi River was rich farm land. This would be the land that the Woodrome family would farm for the next 100 years. James B. Woodrome died March 1830. He is buried in Belleville, Illinois, directly across the River from St. Louis, Missouri. His son, Joel Woodrome, would farm this original homestead until his death on November 8, 1869.
James and his family were the first settlers in Ashley Township,Washington County, Illinois. In 1819 it is recorded that James was deeded land in Ashley Township. Information from Elaine M Woodrum Briney's Family Group Sheet for William Woodrum, Sr. states ’the first Methodist Church service was held in their home. His home was also the place of the first school. After his wife, Anne, died he lived with his sons.”
Joel Woodrome was born in 1792 in Kentucky. At the age of twelve or fourteen he along with all of his other siblings, made the trip by covered wagon from Kentucky to western Illinois. Joel was raised on the family farm in ’The Woodrome Settlement”. On December 28, 1937 he married Elizabeth Stone, in Washington County, Illinois.
Joel and Elizabeth would eventually have seven children. The land in western Illinois supported the families of Joel and Barnett for over seventy years. Joel died in the family home on November 8, 1869.
Barnett Woodrome, my great grandfather, and son of Joel was born in 1814 in Tennessee. He married Serena McKenzie, daughter of Stephen McKinzie and Typhina Austin, on January 16, 1840, in Washington, Illinois. The McKenzie's were another of the early settlers in Washington County. There farms must have been in close proximity to each other, because from 1830 to 1881 there are several marriages between the Woodrome and the McKenzie families.
The 1840 US Census taken in June of that year shows Barnett living in Washington County, Illinois. Then again the 1870 US census shows Barnett age 56 and Serena age 49 still living in Washington County, Illinois. Barnett is a farmer and head of a household with three children. Their names are James H. 18yrs, Martha A age 11, and William R. Age 4yrs. In the 1880 US Census Barnett is 65 and Serena 57 years old.
Harvey, the youngest son of Barnett, was born August 6, 1858, in Ashley, Illinois. The 1880 census shows Harvey, my grandfather, age 25 living back home with his parents, and his daughter Cordila, age 3, is with him. Harvey is listed as a widower, his wife (name unknown) may have died during child birth about 1877. For some unknown reason this is the first census in which Harvey Woodrome is listed. He is not listed in the two previous censes, when he should have been living at home. Harvey established his own farm in Belleville, St. Clair County, married Susan Mitchell and had seven children.
Harvey and Susan Woodrome died in 1918 and 1919 respectively due to the world wide influenza pandemic resulting after WW I. I was told the story, that both Harvey and Susan contracted the influenza, Susan died on November14. Some weeks later Harvey recovered, however, when he was told that his wife had died he was so upset that he went back upstairs to his bed, had a relapses and died on January 31. ( It was said of a broken hart.)
My father, Mitchell Woodrome, was born in Ashley, Illinois. This is just across the Mississippi River from Saint Louis, Missouri. His father Harvey Woodrome was a farmer.
This was the same farm that the Woodromes had been farming since 1820. His great grandfather Joel Woodrome had farmed for over forty years. Mitchell did not like farming, after his mother and father died during the world wide pandemic of 1918, he left the farm, and headed to the big City of Chicago.
At age seventeen and with two years of high school education Mitchell obtained a job with the Chicago Transit System, where he worked as a conducter. He once told me that he was walking home one afternoon when passing a Army Recruiting Office the Recruiter asked him if he ’wanted to see the world?” The next day May 18, 1920 (one day before his ninetieth birthday) he joined the Army. He stayed in the Army until May 23, 1927, during that time he was stationed in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Hawaii and California.
When he left the Army he ended up in Los Angeles working as a conductor for the Electric Railroad. But, the Army was to be his vocation, because he walked by another Recruiting Office. On May 23, 1930 he reenlisted in the Army and spent the next four years in China. Mitchell returned to the U.S. and was stationed in Camp Cook, CA. It was at this time that he met Virginia Kathleen Hutchinson. They were married on February 6, 1935 in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California.
The Woodromes moved to the Presidio of San Francisco. On April 12, 1935 Virginia gave birth to a daughter, Donna Ruth. Donna Ruth only lived a few days. Donna Ruth is buried in the National Cemetery of San Francisco. On October 17, 1937 Michael Mitchell Woodrome was born. And Sara Jane Woodrome was born on December 21, 1939. As soon as Sara was born Mitchell was transferred to Fort Polk, Louisiana.
When President Roosevelt declared war in December 1941 the family moved to southern California. We lived in Tujunga, CA with my grandparents the Hutchinson's until after the end of WW II. At the start of the war Mitchell was promoted to Warrant Officer. During the war Mitchell received a battle field commission in 1942 and by wars end he had been promoted to rank of Major. After the war Mitchell was reverted back to a permanent rank of Master Sergeant. In 1946 Mitchell returned from the war and we moved to San Francisco.
Mitchell was getting ready to retire from the Army in 1953. Unfortunately, another war had started. With his officers commission reinstated Mitchell was assigned to the United Nations Civil Assistant Command in 1952 and shipped out of Fort Masson, in San Francisco on his way to Korea. Within a year he was back at the Presidio, but spent the next year in Letterman Army Hospital recovering from his wounds. He retired from the Army on June 30, 1954 the same day he left the hospital. A few months later Mitchell Woodrome had purchased his first real property, it was an old two story farm house, built in 1912 in western Sonoma County, 3760 Harrison Grade Road. Sebastopol, California.
This was Mitchell's residence until, failing health forced him into a nursing home in Santa Rosa, CA. Mitchell died of colon cancer on November 23, 1973. He is buried at the Presidio of San Francisco National Cemetery. He is interned with his first born daughter, Donna Ruth.
As for myself, there is not much to tell. I am a Civil Engineer, (construction worker) have worked in Europe, Asia, and Turkey and various locations in the US.. Our youngest daughter married a boy from Fort Worth, Texas four years ago and is expecting twin girls. That is why we moved here from northern California.