Saturday, February 11, 2017

William "Riley" Woodard, 1879-1960, Pearl River County, MS

William, or Willie "Riley" Woodard, son of Thomas Riley Woodard and Mary Minerva Warden Woodard, was born 7 September 1879 in Mississippi and died 20 December 1960.  He is buried in the Beall Cemetery in Pearl River County, Mississippi.  On 18 July 1904, he married Martha Elizabeth Seal, daughter of Robert Henry Seal and Susan Dubose.  She was born 1 October 1882 in Mississippi and died 27 February 1951.  She is also buried in the Beall Cemetery.  

In 1910, Riley and Martha resided in Pearl River County, Mississippi.  The census listed their 3 children- daughter Lilly (Lula) and sons Alvis and Lennis.  Martha's mother, Susan Seal, was widowed and lived with them.  Riley's occupation was listed as a Fireman. He owned his own house which was debt free.  He and Martha had been married 5 years.  

1910 Pearl River County, Mississippi, Beat 2, Dist 0108

The World War I draft registration card (1917-1918) listed Willie Riley Woodard as a resident of Lumberton, Miss and his birth date.  He worked for Edd Sotl ? as a tie cuter (cutter).  His nearest relative is Martha Woodard (his wife). The card was signed with an X for Riley's mark which indicated that he didn't write.  The back side of the card which included a brief physical description of the registrant, stated that Riley was "tall and slender".  No further details were listed.

By 1920, Riley and Martha had two more children- daughter, Alice and son, Joseph.  Their household consisted of Riley W., wife Martha, their 5 children and Martha's mother, Susan.  Riley's occupation was then listed as a Farmer, in the logging industry.

1920 Pearl River County, Mississippi, Beat 2, Dist 0120

According to the 1930 census, Riley and Martha had just 2 of their 5 children still residing at home- Joseph and Lennis. Their two daughters, Lula and Alice, and their eldest son, Alvis, were probably married by then. Martha's mother, then 83 years old, remained in the household with them.  Riley was still farming.  The census area was listed as "Hillsdale and Red Creek Road" in Pearl River County. During the 1920's and 1930's, radios were gaining popularity and generally if the family wanted one and could afford one, it was in their house.  On the census that year, families were asked if they had a radio set.  At that time, Riley's household didn't have one.

1930 Pearl River County, Mississippi, Beat 2, Dist 0003

By 1940, Martha's mother had probably passed away because she is not listed in their household. Their 2 sons- Joseph and Lennis remained with them.  Joseph took care of the family farm and Lennis worked in a saw mill.  Riley was a laborer and worked for the "W.P.A." industry.  The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was authorized in April 1935 to put unemployed workers back to work on public projects. The WPA not only created manual labor jobs in construction and other industries, it also created jobs for white-collar workers and helped those in the performing and fine arts.

1940 Pearl River County, Mississippi, Sheet #7B, House #122

Riley's wife, Martha passed away on 27 February 1951.  She lies in rest in the Beall Cemetery located in Pearl River County, Mississippi.

Martha's Obituary:
Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon for Mrs. Martha C. Woodard, 71, wife of Riley Woodard, who died in a Laurel hospital where she had been a patient for two days. The services were conducted at the Beall cemetery about three miles southeast of Lumberton, with the Rev. W. R. Murray, pastor of the Lumberton Methodist church, officiating. McDonald Funeral Home in charge.

Mrs. Woodard was Miss Martha Seals, native of Harrison county, but had resided in Pearl River county, Route No. 3, Lumberton, for the past 42 years.

She is survived by her husband, one daughter, Mrs. Florin Ladner, and two sons, Alvis and Lennis Woodard, all of Lumberton, Route No. 3.  Posted in The Booster, Purvis, Lamar County, Miss., Friday, March 2, 1951.

Riley passed away on 20 December 1960 and he was laid to rest in the same cemetery.  His headstone:

Children of William Riley Woodard and Martha Elizabeth Seal Woodard:
1.  Lula Mae Woodard- born 23 July 1906, died 1 January 1944; married Floren Ladner
2.  Alvis Woodard- born 7 February 1907, died 8 September 1956
3.  Lennis Woodard- born 6 December 1910, died 6 July 1970; married Annie May LNU
4.  Alice Woodard- born abt. 1913
5.  Joseph Woodard- born 4 April 1918, died 11 February 1949; married Edna LNU

LNU= Last name unknown

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