(Submitted by his great-granddaughter, Betty H.
Catherwood, Souce: Newspaper article written by a friend and his
obituary. His birthplace and marriage comes from an old Bible record, and
also quoted a testimonial by his second wife, Tessie Anderson Woodell
(Williford). Submitted to the Carroll County site, October 1, 2003)
William James Woodell was born July 13, 1830 in Robeson County, North Carolina. His father was John Woodell and I believe his mother to have been Elizabeth Inman Woodell. At an early age his family moved to Madison County, Tennessee, and at the age of 14 he saddled his horse and bade farewell to "folks" and friends and rode horseback, alone, to Carrollton, Mississippi to live with an uncle. There he spent a long and useful life, passing away in 1921.
He studied whenever he could, attending school finally at Old Middleton School, and later he taught there. For many years he played the role of a school teacher and numbered among his friends and pupils many of the outstanding men and women of the community.
After some years he built a carriage for two horses and went back to Madison County, Tennessee for Harriet Carothers, the childhood sweetheart he left behind. They married in 1853 in Tennessee and later raised a large family in Carroll County, Mississippi.
Along came the Civil War. William James Woodell, Private of Company H of 4th Regiment of Mississippi Infantry, Confederate States Army, enlisted November 1, 1862 at Carrollton, Mississippi. He was appointed Sergeant Major May 5, 1863 and Field and Staff Muster Roll for January and February, 1864 last on file shows him present.
Union prisoner of war records show that he was captured December 15, 1864 near Nashville, Tennessee, imprisoned at Louisville, Kentucky and Camp Douglass, Chicago, Illinois. At the latter he was released on Mary 15, 1865, after taking the oath of allegiance to the United States.
After the death of his first wife Harriet he was married in 190l to Miss Tessie Anderson of Marshall County, Mississippi. Two children were born to them, a son and a daughter. Their daughter was Corinne Woodell Sisson, a long time member and organist of North Carrollton Baptist Church, who passed away in 1984. Also, two of William James Woodell and Harriet Carothers Woodells' sons, William Dinsmore Woodell and James Clinton Woodell, were merchants who owned a general or hardware store in North Carrollton for many years during the early 1900s. William James Woodell's descendants include members of the Carpenters and Duke families, among others who were long-time residents of Carrollton and North Carrollton.
William James Woodell had a rather unique record. He served in the Court House in Carrollton, Mississippi as sheriff for one term and deputy sheriff for fifty years. Honesty, intergity and fair dealing was his his life's motto. Broad of vision, inspired by the dictates of truth, justice and honor, he never measured up to the full requirements of lofty patriotism, an honor to his country and the beloved of his fellow man.