ORPHEUS S. WOODWARD GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Neosho Falls Post, Thursday, July 3, 1919, Pg 1
Colonel Orpheus S. Woodward
Our distinguished citizen and our good friend has been called hence, and life after a great loss can never be quite the same again.
But it is a genuine consolation to recount the leading characteristics of this loyal and courageous soldier, this manly man, this refined and cultivated gentleman. We have been so fortunate in having such a character among us through the long years. It is such a high privilege to pay such tribute as we may.
Orpheus S. Woodward was born May 1, 1835, at Harborville Pennsylvania. He was fortunate in his birth in a sterling Christian home. He had good educational advantages for the time, and had achieved success as a teacher when the first call came for the Civil War in April of ’61. He enlisted at once as a private on the ninety day provision. Then the 83rd Pennsylvania regiment was organized, he was selected as a captain in this unit, and was married in September of that year to Marietta Himrod, a woman of rare quality and a war-bride most worthy of her chosen man.
Captain Woodward went at once to the front after this great event, and during the war participated in a score of great battles. After Gettysburg he was promoted to a colonelcy, and during the battle of the Wilderness he was so severely wounded that the amputation of his leg was necessary. He was brevetted brigadier-general for his conspicuous courage and efficiency, and upon his return to private life he heard the call of Kansas, and engaged in farming on Cherry Creek in this county in ’68. He later secured a place on Owl Creek, and also entered into the hardware business at Toronto and Neosho Falls with D. W. Finney, who had also served in the Civil War, and until his death two years since, one of our most prominent citizens.
In ’71 the Woodward family moved into our favored town and became at once a strong factor in the life of the community. The business prospered, but after some years was sold out to Mr. Finney in order to enter into a better opening in Pennsylvania. But the family returned again to Neosho Falls, and though Mrs. Woodward passed on thirty years age, the three daughters remained. Miss Kate and Miss Alice went into homes of their own in the process of time, but Miss Anna has been her father’s constant companion and stay, and the home has stood during all this period for high thought and fine feeling and cordial hospitality.
This latter part of Col. Woodward’s life has been spent in farming interests and cattle breeding, and he was very fond of his garden, his poultry and his bees and his flowers. He was a notable figure in the politics of the state, and served with honor, as he did in all things, at one time in the State Senate. And in all local matters his fine judgment and ready action could always be depended upon. The more recent years were filled with accession of pain and suffering, but he strove to keep in touch with public matters with all his native courage, and he endured his deprivations with such a fine spirit that those who tried to strengthen and cheer him received fare more than they ever gave.
And finally the time came, surrounded by the most loving and efficient care, for his long sleep. The sun goes down at the close of the day, but the night is full of stars. It was an unusually long and distinctive life, and all life has been greatly enriched thereby. He sleeps beneath the flag he loved, and it is our flag, too. He was ready to make the supreme sacrifice for his country, and we enjoy the benefits he gained for us. How shall we best perpetuate the vital forces he employed?
A very simple and appropriate funeral service was held at the home on last Sunday afternoon at five o’clock, and it was largely attended by old and devoted friends from Yates Center, Iola, Emporia and Independence, as well as an interested concourse from town and country side.
The casket, draped in the Loyal Legion flag, was placed in the reception hall in a bower of luxuriant flowers redolent of the general sympathy, and Miss Florence L. Snow, out of her long intimacy with the family, read the nineteen Psalm as her choice of the finest expression for the occasion, following it with a brief appreciation of the beloved character.
The beautiful song “Calling Me” as rendered by John McCormick, was played on the victrola, and after the last look into the face to be seen upon the earth no more, interment was made in the Cedarvale cemetery. The impressive ceremony of the Grand Army of the Republic was used at the beautifully prepared grave, conducted by Commander Jackson of the Neosho Falls Post and Chaplain Daymude of the Yates Center Post. Every heart was especially touched by the part taken by Col. W. L. Parsons, so long the heart-friend and comrade of Col. Woodward, his voice trembling with his emotion, and his face reflecting the light that shines from the other side. Taps was sounded by Mr. Ray Pyke in the uniform of the late war, and Orpheus S. Woodward waits the reveille of the morning.
The two surviving daughters, Miss Anna Woodward and Mrs. Alice Ruff, who has returned to the old town for a permanent home, with one grand-child, Mr. Ben Clark of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, were all the immediate relatives present at the obsequies. Mr. Clark has but recently returned from war service in France, and another grandchild, Miss Helen McDonald has also arrived safely on this side after two years Red Cross hospital work overseas, being like her mother, Mrs. Ruff, a registered nurse. Miss Marietta Clark, is still in University training. What a blessed thing it is to live in a little good town like this where we are all like one big family and take an endless interest in each other. F.L.S.