Jacob Manuel Woodring was born in the Tennessee Valley, Macon County, North Carolina on April 3, 1847 or 46 or 45 depending on which story he told. According to the 1850 US Federal Census Jacob was listed as 4 years old. This would make him born in 1846. His parents were Charles David Woodring and Sarah Ann Morgan. Charles was farmer and laborer. Jacob was their second son. He had one older brother David Charles and two younger brothers, John and Joseph, in the 1850 census. All the children were just a year apart. The next record is the 1860 US Federal Census. The family is listed as living in Jackson County, North Carolina. The assumption is made that they had moved, but this is not the case. In 1851 the counties were realigned and parts of Haywood County and Macon County were merged to form a new county, Jackson County. Jacob is now listed as being 14 years old which again speaks of him being born in 1846. There are now 9 children in the family with 8 of them being boys.
The Civil War broke out and on May 15, 1862 Jacob joined the Confederate Army at Webster, North Carolina. He was assigned as a Private with Company B of the 25th Regiment of the North Carolina Infantry. If his birth date of 1846 is correct he would have been just 16 years old. On September 18th 1862 Jacob was wounded at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland. He was captured by the Union Army and taken to the hospital at Fort McHenry. He was held until he was released during a prisoner exchange at Aikens Landing, Virginia on November 10, 1862.
Jacob must have had some mixed feelings about the war and must have been treated well while at Fort McHenry. Jacob did what over 5600 other Confederate Soldiers did and he switched sides. These men were called Galvanized Yankees. On June 1, 1864 again in Webster, North Carolina, Jacob joined Company D of the 9th Regiment of the Tennessee Calvary USA. He is listed as 5' 10" with a fair complexion, dark eyes and red hair. He was listed as being 20 years old (actually 18). His older brother David had also enlisted in the CSA and was captured at Cumberland Gap in 1863 and taken to Camp Douglas in Illinois where he then mustered into the Union Army.
After the Civil War ended Jacob and David returned to their homes in North Carolina. Jacob married Sarah Emmeline Henderson around 1868 and their daughter Laura Josephine was born in 1869. Sometime after 1870 the entire Woodring family and their spouses all relocated to Callahan, Texas. Sarah died not long afterwards. Jacob decided to break from the family and he headed to Washington Territory to find a new life, leaving his daughter behind with family. This would turn out to be a good move as his brothers would go on to become notorious in Texas forcing the family to relocate to Oklahoma-this will be a future blog for sure. He arrived in what is now Skagit County, Washington and was enumerated in the 1885 territorial census. He is listed as age 36- yet another inaccuracy in his age. In 1895 he married Mary Elizabeth Gates. She was the daughter of a pioneering family from Missouri, Thomas Gates and his wife the former Martha Jane Walters. Her father was one of a family of brothers who left Missouri to pioneer the area. Mary had fallen while cleaning house shortly before her marriage to Jacob and she had to have her leg amputated below the knee. She used crutches to get around. She was well loved in the community according to many newspaper accounts from the time. She and Jacob had daughters Winnifred and Minnie in 1896 and 1898 respectively. His daughter Laura had joined her father in Washington State by this time as well. Jacob was working as a farmer and blacksmith in Mt.Vernon during this time. In 1899 Jacob gained some national notoriety as the first to be prosecuted for Moonshining in Washington State. The family moved up the Skagit River and in the 1900 US Federal Census are living in Hamilton, Washington and Jacob owns his own farm outright with no mortgage. The 1900 census also lists his birthday as April 1846, perhaps the only time in print that his birth date is accurate. Jacob's first son Charles is born in Hamilton in 1900 followed by his second son Richard in 1902. In 1901 Jacob became the Marshall in Hamilton. He was well liked and employed several people at his farm.
On November 26, 1904 Jacob went to town mid afternoon. He bought some nails at the hardware store to take home. He set his supplies on the sidewalk and went inside Peter Jacobino's Bar to have a few drinks. After a while he came outside to retrieve his nails and they were gone. He began accusing a former friend and employee of his, Peter Grossjean of stealing his nails. This was actually a joke played by one Mr. Warfield. Jacob and Peter Grossjean had been fighting for a number of months about whether Jacob had paid Mr. Grossjean for a shed that had been built. This fight took place on Maple Street and there is inconclusive evidence on whether Jacob had a knife, but Peter Grossjean picked up a loose board and struck Jacob in the head at least twice. Newspaper accounts vary on exactly what happened but the next day Jacob died of his injuries. Peter Grossjean was arrested and taken to the jail in Mount Vernon where he did not do well. According to the Bellingham Herald, Mr. Grossjean began to go insane because he felt guilty for killing his friend. In February 1905 Mr.Grossjean was found not guilty. Mr. Warfield admitted to playing the practical joke. Jacob was held responisble for his own death due to inebriation.
Mary Woodring was left a widow with 4 small children and another on the way. By 1906 she was paralyzed and had developed breast cancers that were operated on. She decided to sue Peter Jacobino, the owner of the bar, on behalf of her children. In a nationally covered court case, it was decided that Peter Jacobino was found guilty of serving alcohol to a man who became inebriated and then died because of it. The Washington State Supreme Court awarded Winnifred Woodring $400 from Peter Jacobino.
Mary gave birth to daughter Jessie in 1905. Jessie married very young and died in child birth at age 17 in 1922. MaryElizabeth Gates Woodring died in 1915. Charles died in 1969, Winnefred died in 1979, Minnie died in 1993, and Richard died in 1980.