Rev. John Allen Woodburn, a pioneer minister, of Holton Kans., was born at Eaton, Preble county, Ohio, October 12, 1833. His parents were John and Elizabeth (Tulley) Woodburn, the former a native of Mississippi, and of Scotch descent, and the latter also a native of the South of Irish extraction. John Woodburn, the father of the subject of this review, was born in 1785. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and after peace was restored, removed to Ohio and during his latter years lived in Indiana, where he died in 1860. His wife died in 1884. They were the parents of seven children: Margaret, married Thompson Vaughn; Ellen, never married; Sarah, married Benjamin Franklin; Rebecca, married Silas Odle; Elias, now residing in Boone, Iowa; a boy who died in infancy, and John Allen, the subject of this review. When John Allen Woodburn was two years old his parents removed from Eaton, Ohio, to Randolph county, Indiana, and settled in the wilderness, as most of Indiana was heavily timbered at that time. Here they cleared small patches from time to time, and farmed on a small scale, after the style of the pioneers of those days; amidst these surroundings John Allen Woodburn was reared to manhood. He attended a subscription school, which was held in a log school house with the most primitive style of furniture, and his first teacher was a typical North Carolinian, who was, fully in accord with the educational doctrines of that day, "That to spare the rod would spoil the child," and on any day in which he failed to find a pretext for the use of the rod in connection with teaching the three R's, he felt as though it was his duty to apologize to the parents of his scholars for gross neglect of his duty. These were the days of real pioneer life in Indiana, and Rev. Woodhurn distinctly remembers cutting grain with a sickle, which was later succeeded by the cradle of various types, and then the reaper and later the modern cord binder. His early educational advantages were limited and he practically educated himself by self study. He was twenty-two years old before he owned a grammar, and after obtaining a good practical education, he became an ordained minister of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, and was given a charge at Flat Rock near Fort Wayne, Ind. He remained there two years, and in 1860 came to Kansas, driving the entire distance, and at the end of each day's journey camping by the wayside. He located on a farm on Elk Creek in Nemaha county, near where Ontario now stands. Crops were a failure the first year, and he worked at the carpenter trade some, and in 1861 again took up the ministry, and was appointed to the Circieville circuit. Those were the days of the Circuit rider on the plains of Kansas. His first circuit consisted of thirteen appointments, and it took him three weeks to make the trip. He opened several new charges himself, and wherever he found a few people living in the same neighborhood, he would visit them and preach. He preached in sod houses and under all kinds of conditions, and was on this circuit two years, and during the years of 1863-64, he traveled the Fort Riley circuit; from there to the Marysville circuit, and in 1866 was appointed to the Holton circuit, which at that time consisted of five charges. During this time, in 1867, he built the first church in Holton, and also the first parsonage, doing all the work on the latter with his own hands. At the end of two and a half years, he was transferred to Louisville, where he remained two years. After that he was located at Washington, Kans., later at Irving and then returned to Holton, where he remained for a time, when he received a call from the Congregational church, at Capioma, Nemaha county, which he accepted and remained two years, after which he joined the United Brethren church. After fifteen years in the service of that denomination, he was superannuated, and since that time has made Holton his home. Although in his eighty-first year, he is vigorous in mind and body, and frequently preaches in the different local churches. Mr. Woodburn was married August 18, 1855, to Miss Mary F. Roberts, a native of Randolph county, Indiana. She was a daughter of James G. and Mary (Anderson) Roberts, natives of Ohio. To Mr. and Mrs. Woodburn were born eleven children: James B., deceased; Alice E., married William Longburg, of Goff, Kans.; Lemuel N., a farmer and stockman, Sharon Springs, Kans.; Elmer E., resides in Idaho; Lillie May, now the wife of A. E. Crane, attorney of Atchison, Kans.; Frank B., deceased; Fred T., a sketch of whom appears in this volume; Mary Antoinnette, married William Askren, White City, Kans.; E. D., a sketch of whom appears in this volume; Harry L., resides at Ashton, Idaho, and Myrtle, now the wife of Louis Fehr. Rev. Woodburn has always taken a commendable interest in public and political affairs, and is a Progressive Republican. His fraternal affiliations are with the Masonic Order, and his wife holds membership in the Eastern Star.Pages 326-327 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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