DR. SAMUEL G. WOODMANCY, an enterprising and successful farmer of Mt. Hope Township, owns and occupies a fine
homestead on section 17, and is a splendid representative of the enterprising and intelligent farmer. The homestead
presents one of the prettiest spots in the landscape of McLean County and is equipped in every respect with all
the appliances for carrying on agriculture in a first-class manner, and is highly indicative of the abode of refinement
and culture in no ordinary degree. The proprietor of this fine farm estate may justly be proud of what his genius,
his talents and industry have accomplished in this direction alone, and it is with pleasure that we embellish this
volume with a view of it, with others of the fine residences and farms for which McLean County is especially noted.
The subject of this biography is a native of New England, having been born in Warren, Rhode Island, on the 22d of June, 1823. His father, George Woodmancy, was born in Swansea, Mass., March 17, 1782, his mother, May 30, 1784, and his grandfather, Reuben Woodmancy, is supposed to have been a native of England and of English ancestry. He was a farmer by occupation, came to this country in early manhood, and spent the last years of his life in the town where his son, the father of our subject, was born. His death took place June 13, 1797.
The father, at the age of fourteen years, was apprenticed to a shoemaker at Warren, R. I. It was stipulated that he should serve seven years. During this period times were hard and business dull and his employer allowed him to make two trips at sea. When he became twenty years of age he purchased his time and opened a shop for himself. He was a good workman, had plenty to do, and in the course of time was enabled to purchase a lot and build a house. He there followed his trade until one year before his death, which occurred April 10, 1852.
In early manhood, Dec. 11, 1802, he was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca Goff, a native of Warren, R. I., and she departed this life Feb. 13, 1829. After the death of his first wife George Woodmancy was the second time married, this time to Mrs. Martha (Ingraham) Goff. Their marriage took place July 28, 1829. By the first marriage there were born seven children, five of whom grew to become men and women, and of the second marriage there was born one child only Martha Williams.
Samuel G. Woodmancy was the youngest child of the first marriage of his father. He remained under the parental roof and attended the public schools until fourteen years of age, when he learned to make cigars and thereby earned money enough to acquire some leisure to educate himself. He was a bright and studious youth, fond of his books and ambitious to excel. After two years he was taken ill, and in the following two years nearly all of his money went to pay the doctor, who did him but little good.
During his illness, whenever able to read, he employed his time in the perusal of instructive books, in the meantime reading with much interest a medical work of Dr. Buchanan of England. As medicine had not succeeded in his own case he left off taking it, and began a course of treatment in accordance with Dr. Buchannanís theory, and speedily effected a cure. He then made a study of magnetic treatment and became a successful practitioner. Although he did not put himself forward as an M. D., he was frequently called upon by his friends, whom he treated successfully, almost without exception. He was greatly interested in this branch of science and continued to investigate disease, its cause and cure, and finally used hygienic treatment, utilizing Nature's remedies light, heat, water and electricity. During this time he made his home alternately in Warren and Providence, R. I., and in Fall River, Mass., working at his trade and practicing medicine.
In September, 1853, Mr. Woodmancy resolved to seek the Western country, and accordingly journeyed to the Prairie State. His friend, Mr. J. A. Pitts, had located in Mt. Hope Township, McLean County, and with him he spent the winter. In the meantime he purchased 240 acres of wild land on sections 16 and 17 of Mt. Hope Township, which is now included in the present homestead. He was still unmarried, and while carrying on the improvement of his new farm he became an inmate of the family of Nathaniel Ewings, where he remained for a time and afterward kept "bachelor's hall" until his marriage. This latter event transpired in April, 1856, the maiden of his choice being Miss Caroline Trott, a New England lady, who was born in the town of Hallowell, Me., and the daughter of Capt. Isaac Trott, who followed the sea for a number of years, engaged in merchant service. He removed to Illinois in 1855, and died at the home of his son in Nebraska on the 14th of August, 1886. He was married in early life to Miss Jane Smith, who died in Bath, Me.
Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Woodmancy there have been born four children: Walter was born in Mt. Hope Township, where he has always lived, and was united in marriage with Miss Mary Johnson, a native of Wisconsin; Apphia E., the wife of Larken T. Mullins, is also a resident of Mt. Hope. The son and son-in-law assist in carrying on the home farm of Mr. Woodmancy; Ella J. and Alice M. died while young.
Mr. Woodmancy has been a Republican since 1860, when he voted for Abraham Lincoln. He is a gentleman of more than ordinary ability, an extensive reader, a deep thinker, and keenly observant of what is going on around him in the world. He is one of those who, when attempting anything, seldom abandons it, and whatever be does is done well. He is skillful as a farmer, is straightforward and methodical in his business transactions, and as a citizen is held in the highest respect by all who know him.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 723. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.