History of Virginia - Honorable Elbert S. Woodward

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Honorable Elbert S. Woodward

HON. ELBERT S. WOODWARD. It is no light responsibility that rests upon an individual when he was chosen to be the head and guiding spirit of so complex a business as the governing of a municipality. That this responsibility has been ably borne by Honorable Elbert S. Woodward, mayor of Appalachia, Virginia, may reasonably be inferred, as the approbation of his fellow citizens has recently been shown in his re-election to a second term. He is a native of Virginia and an experienced business man, is well known in many sections and for some years past has centered his interests at Appalachia.

Mayor Woodward was born near Jonesville, Lee County, Virginia, December 5, 1871, a son of William and Jane (Serber) Woodward, and a grandson of James Woodward, who passed the greater part of his active life in Lee County, Virginia, but died in Tennessee, leaving descendants.

William Woodward, father of Mayor Woodward, was born on his father's estate in Lee County, in 1839, grew up there and in early manhood learned the milling business, with which he was identified all his life. For many years he operated a large flour mill near Jonesville, and was one of the solid, responsible men of that village, a member and hearty supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a leader in local democratic political circles, and a member of the Masonic fraternity. He married Jane Serber, who was born in 1841, in Washington County, Virginia, and still resides near Jonesville. Mr. Woodward died there in 1906. Of their family of four children Mayor Woodward was the third in order of birth, the others being: Martha, who is the wife of James McCauley, a farmer residing near Jonesville; Jesse L., who is a resident of Inman, Wise County, Virginia, being a member of the police department at that place; and Henry, who also lives at Inman, is a brick and stone mason by trade.

Until the age of twenty-one years Elbert S. Woodward remained at ]ionic and assisted his father, in the meanwhile enjoying excellent educational privileges, attending both private and public schools in Lee County and the high school at Jonesville. He then learned the carpenter trade, but before he had made much headway he was offered a clerkship in the store of Wood & Sons, general merchants at Pennington Gap, Virginia, which second a very desirable opening into the business world. Mr. Woodward accepted the offer and continued with that firm for the next seven years, an interval that was profitable both to himself and his employers, for then, as now, he was trustworthy and efficient in everything he undertook.

Mr. Woodward is changing his business surroundings went then to the Stonega Coal & Coke Company at Stonega, Virginia, where he held a clerical position in the company's commissary department until 1914, when threatened ill health made it advisable for him to seek an outdoor life for a time, and he returned to the neighborhood of Jonesville and followed farming during the next year. At the end of that time he came to Appalachia and bought the hostelry known as the Windsor Hotel, now operated under the name of the Houston Hotel, and during the time he conducted it, it became the leading hotel in the place. After selling his hotel property Mr. Woodward became connected with the clerical department of the Gibson Grocery Company at Appalachia, where he remained three years, retiring when elected mayor of Appalachia in June, 1921. He gave the city a good business administration, and on June 12, 1923, was re-elected mayor, taking his seat for a second term of two years on September 1, 1923. He has always been a man with practical ideas, and this qualification has made his administration of public affairs very beneficial to Appalachia. Ile is sound in his adherence to the democratic party, but he is personally very popular and his support has come from all parties. He maintains his offices in the Town Hall, Appalachia.

Mayor Woodward married near Jonesville, Virginia, on December 24, 1891, Miss Rhoda Givens, a daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Snodgrass) Givens, both members of old Virginia families. Mr. Givens was a substantial farmer near Jonesville, and both he and wife died on their farm. Mayor and Mrs. Woodward have one daughter, Eura, the wife of Bradley T. David, who is connected with the offices of the Stonega Coal & Coke Company. Mayor Woodward owns one of the handsomest residences at Appalachia, which has a beautiful location on Blundel Avenue. With his family he belongs to the Appalachia Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He is a Royal Arch Mason, a member of Appalachia Lodge No. 229, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; and Pennington Gap Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. He belongs also to Appalachia Lodge No. 1131, Loyal Order of Moose, and to the Appalachia Chamber of Commerce.