John R. Woodside
"A Man of His Time

by Ann Woodside


Col. John R. Woodside
1814 - 1887

"Sometimes words can do more to set men free than war. Words create their own freedom"


Early in 1840s a young Kentucky frontiersman, John Rowlett Woodside, rode into this part of the Ozarks. He came as far as Oregon County, which then embraced most, or all, of the area now within the lines of Howell, Shannon and Carter counties.

The sight of the onrush of hills out of that sea of plains, he thought, had no rival in the history of nature. Perhaps less majesty than the Rockies, less magnitude than the Alps, but the Ozarks boiled up green and lush into the skyline, proud and wild.

He had ridden through forests and across streams, seen plentiful game and watched boiling springs. As he stood atop a knoll overlooking in one direction, then another, thus gusty, gusty redhead threw back his head and laughed. He carried a picture of "home" in his heart. And there it was, welcoming him to its own special wildness.

He brought with him the strengths that Kentucky had given him, the hopes and visions of any young builder, and quality that future generations have thanked him for - a roaring sense of humor.

.So remarkably a man of his time, he moved swiftly with the events of his century, with no backward look at centuries gone, and no longing for the stars of centuries to come




















When he moved his family from Scott County in southeast Missouri to Oregon County, the area was little better than a wilderness at the time. "It was no strange thing" he wrote, "for families to interchange courtesies, borrow or loan salt, meal, sugar, coffee at a distance of more than twenty miles. We had no stores. All the necessaries of life not raised in the field or garden, or taken from the woods, were hauled from St. Louis, St. Genevieve or Cape Girardeau. We were all one political family what would now would be called ‘mossbacks’."

John R. Built his home on the first rise north above ‘Leven Points, now Thomasville. While living in Scott County he had married Emily Old, whose mother was a Posey. At the time of the move to this part of the Ozarks, they had one daughter, Elizabeth, and an infant son, J. Posey. Later they had three other children, Emily, Harriet and Leigh.

The Family traces its line back to the Stuarts and Poseys who came from Scotland in the early 1600s. Some of them (Stuarts-by-the-Woodside) landed in Maryland. They had been aides to the Scottish Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). Before and after the Battle of Culloden, they ran for their lives, and didn’t stop running until they saw the shores of Maryland

According to DAR documents, the family got its American beginning from a John Wood (who dropped the "side"), who is said to have fought bravely in the Revolution.

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Updated 07/08/10