lijah Woods, Sr. was born in Rockingham Co., Virginia, in 1778. He migrated
from that county to the Upper Ohio Valley, with his Uncle Archibald Woods. On a balmy morning in the latter part of March 1798, a young man, Elijah
Woods. Sr., started on a long and arduous journey to the Wilderness Country. It
was beyond the great Ohio River (named La Belle Rivers by the French). He was
accompanied by his Uncle Archibald Woods, brothers and cousins. They joined a company of travelers, led by Thomas Worthington and family, from Berkeley
Springs, West Virginia.
The first stop on their trip was Charles Town. In the company of the travelers were the Worthingtons and their four month old daughter, Mary Tiffin
Worthington, Dr. Tiffin, a brother-in-law, and two Swearingen brothers. For
over three months they had been gathering their possessions together, making
decisions on what was advisable to take or leave. Precious china, silverware
and cooking utensils, along with certain shrubs and seeds, were selected for the
new homes in the West.
From Charles Town they crossed the Valley of the Opequon to Martinsburg, where they rested for a day. Meanwhile, the wagons went around North Mountain
and across the Cacapon through Bath to PawPaw Ferry. After arriving there, the
group crossed the Potomac and followed the crude road to Cumberland by was of
Cresaps (Old Town). Then, at Cumberland, they took Braddock's Road across the
mountains to Pittsburgh (from a letter from Dr. Tiffin to Worthington, in the
Ohio State Library, Worthington Manuscript Collection, and from Thomas Worthington's Biography , "mention is made on page 20 about moving from Virginia
to Chillicothe, Ohio, a Mr. Woods and several large boys who were millwrights,
with a group of five free Negro servants joining them in their journey, 1798")
The next stage of the journey was 345 miles by flatboat down the Ohio River to the mouth of the Scioto (where Chillicothe stands today). They passed
the villages of Beaver, Steubenville and arrived in Wheeling area on April 3,
1798. It was there that the Woods group parted company with the travelers.
Archibald Woods and Elijah Woods, Sr. then traveled to Wheeling, West Virginia. Archibald Woods settled about three miles east of Wheeling on a farm which now
composes Woodsdale, Woodlawn and some other residential areas. He also had
6,000 acres in Tyler County, Virginia. (according to his will).
Elijah Woods, Sr. was employed by Colonel Ebenezer Zane at Fort Henry and owned land in St.
Clairsville, Ohio, formerly Newellstown, August 7, 1802.
Upon his return from the trip to Chillicothe, March 1, 1803, he obtained a
marriage license in Wheeling and married Hester Ann Zane, daughter of
Colonel Ebenezer and Elizabeth (McColloch), in Wheeling, Ohio County, Virginia on May
15, 1803. Officiating was Thomas Hersey. Elijah and Hester had six children
1805 to 1817.
On September 28, 1804, Colonel Ebenezer Zane and Elizabeth (McColloch) deeded them One-half of Section 29, Township 3, Range 2, to their daughter and
son-in-law Hester (Zane) Woods and Elijah Woods (Sr.), 320 acres for $500.00.
(Belmont County Deed Book, 1804, page 393). This property was in the area of the
present day Willow Avenue (Martin's Ferry, Ohio), Aetnaville and towards
Bridgeport, Ohio. It also extended outside the present city limits of Martin's
Ferry, Ohio. Later in 1806, Colonel Ebenezer Zane and his wife, Elizabeth,
deeded eight acres of land in Canton (Bridgeport), Ohio, near the mouth of
Wheeling Creek, later Kirkwood. Elijah Woods Sr. built a house on the northeast
corner of Block 2, of the five blocks which he laid out. It was directly
opposite his ferry business across the river bank to the island.
Elijah Woods Sr. operated a ferry, on a spot near his home by the river bank. the route was from Canton (Bridgeport) to Zane's Island (now Wheeling Island). His father-in-law, Colonel Ebenezer Zane was also in the ferry business, operating between
Wheeling and Zane's Island (Wheeling Island). It was a profitable venture.
Elijah Woods Sr. was considered a prominent citizen in Bridgeport as well as in Belmont County. He lead his community by being involved in early politics
of Ohio. He was appointed as the first clerk of the courts in Belmont County
from 1801 to 1806. Everyone considered him to be highly qualified for the
position, doing it with ability and distinction. He was a self-made man that
had acquired his informal education from learning from others. He was well
known as being far above most of the settlers in the county. He learned
surveying and spent the entire winter of 1796 surveying the wilderness of
Kentucky along with five Negroes. He was a member of the first
Constitutional Convention of Ohio which met November 1, 1802, to November 29, 1802 in Chillicothe, Ohio. He attended the convention with James Caldwell. Their work
was to draft a State Constitution of the State of Ohio. He was at the
grassroots level in determining the organic law for the State of Ohio. In 1803
along with Joseph Sharp and in 1810, he was a delegate to the First General
Assembly, State of Ohio.
Elijah Woods Sr. and a Mr. Thompson ran an inn, in which, the first Methodist services were held in Bridgeport, Ohio. Methodist church services
were held by circuit-riding preachers.
Elijah Woods Sr. died November 23, 1820 and is buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery, Martin's Ferry, Ohio. Caldwell, the historian relates: "Elijah Woods
was a man above average in his time." The rugged arduous life of privation and
the amount of travel through the wilderness took its toll.
NOTE: Representative of Belmont Co. to Ohio State Constitutional convention Nov. 1, to Nov. 29,
Mar. 1, 1803, Delegate to First Ohio General Assembly, Belmont Co., Ohio.;
First Clerk of Courts, Belmont Co., Sep 7, 1801-1806.
by: Karen Ann (Woods) Euritt
Elijah Woods in tree . . .
Last Updated ~ August 29, 2013