Major Edwin W. Woodward, of San Francisco, California, was born in Tunbridge, Orange county, Vermont, January 4, 1839. He came to California in 1859, across the plains, and took up his residence in Weaverville, Trinity county, where he engaged in mining and merchandising until the Civil war broke out in 1861.
Responding to his country's call for volunteers, Mr. Woodward came to San Francisco and enlisted in the celebrated "California Hundred," then being recruited under the command of Captain J. Sewell Reed, who was afterward willed in action, with sixteen of his men, by Mosby's guerrillas. The company aided by the Rev. T. Starr King, received transportation to Boston, with headquarters at Readville, and was the first company from California to report for active duty in the field. Soon after four companies were recruited in San Francisco under the command of Major Thompson, and also received transportation to Boston, Massachusetts, and, with the "California Hundred," made five hundred strong for active service. They were assigned to the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, under the command of Colonel Charles R. Lowell, afterward promoted brigadier general and who was subsequently killed in action while gallantly leading his men at the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, in the Shenandoah valley. The regiment was engaged in many hard-fought battles, including those of the battle of Winchester, Berryville, Pike, Charlestown, Opequan Creek, Front Royal, Snake Mountain, Waynesboro, Cedar Creek, Gordonsville, South Ana, Southside Railroad and Appomattox Courthouse, and participated in the same engagements in the Shenandoah valley in which our late President William McKinley took part.
The five hundred men who left California in the prime of manhood mustered out only 182 at the close of the war in 1865. The remainder of the men were killed in action or died of wounds. Major Woodward remained constantly in active service until the close of the war and the surrender of the Confederate armies at Appomattox. For gallant service he was promoted lieutenant, captain and major. When in the field at Vienna, Virginia, he was, by special request of the governor of New York, by order of the war department, transferred to the Twenty-fifth New York Cavalry. He was honorably dischaarged from that regiment at Harte's Island, New York, July 7, 1865, at the close of the war. Returning to California, he engaged actively in the civil pursuits of life.
Major Woodward has always taken a keen interest in Grand Army matters in this state. In 1893 he was elected commander of Lyon Post No. 8, G. A. R., and during his administration secured all the funds with which to erect a beautiful monument at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California, to the memory of our honored dead, which was unveiled Memorial day, May 30, 1893, with beautiful and appropriate ceremonies. He was elected one of the first directors of the Veterans' Home at Yountville, and served on the committee of the buildings and ground which made the selection of the present attractive site, which has been turned over to the state of California as a state institution and a home for the old soldiers. He was elected senior vice-department commander at the annual encampment of the G. A. R. which convened at Oakland in 1894, and made a good record during his term of office, as he did on the firing line. He is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal legion, of the Commandery of California, and an active member of Lincoln Post No. 1 of the Grand Army of the Republic. The Major is a Knight Templar Mason, and politically is a Republican.
Major Woodward, after the close of the war, returned to Boston, Massachusetts, and was united in marriage to Miss Addie O. Rogers, daughter of the late Henry Rogers, former proprietor of the Boston Journal, and soon returned to California with his wife, engaging extensively in the real estate and auction business in Oakland, being the senior partner of the firm of Woodward and Taggart, who handled large lines of property in Alameda and other counties of California. His business operations extended into the millions.
After the termination of their copartnership, Mr. Woodward, established a real estate business in St. Helena, Napa county, in developing the wine industries of our state, and organized the Bank of St. Helena, and was director of that institution for two terms. Returning to Oakland, he formed a co-partnership with Mr. james Gamble, who built the first telegraph lines across our continent. The firm name was known as Woodward and Gamble. they did an extensive business, an dduring their co-partnership sold the celebrated Marshall Ranch to Moses Hopkins for the sum of 4325,000. After the termination of their co-partnership, Mr. Woodward moved to San Francisco, and established a business at No. 11 Montgomery street, engaging in the real estate and insurance business, where he is still engaged in the same line of business.
He was appointed notary public for the city and county of San Francisco, on June 18, 1901, by Henry T. Gage, and having been appointed for the same position by Governors Perkins, Waterman, Markham, and Budd for Alameda and Napa counties.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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