Albert B Osborne.

Makers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) online

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census in North Carolina, 1790, gives James Woodall with wife
and two daughters; Jacob Woodall with two sons and one daugh-
ter; another Jacob with one son and Absalom Woodall with two
sons and one daughter. The last named is evidently the grand-
father of Preston Woodall.

The Revolutionary soldiers of the name in the Carolinas,
were John, James and two with personal name of Jacob.

In other States J. J. Woodall, a surgeon in the United States
Army and Doctor Percy H. Woodall of Franklin, Kentucky, are
well known and highly esteemed.


K' CHARD EVANS WYLIE, son of Colonel John Dunovant
AVylie and Eliza Jane (Witherspoon) Wylie, was born in
Lancaster, South Carolina, February 8, 1860, beginning
life in those troublous days that immediately preceded
the great Civil War. He is the only child of his parents, and has
spent all of his life in Lancaster County. In 1879 he was gradu-
ated from the Carolina Military Institute. Charlotte, North Caro-


lina, and, in 1881, received his degree of Bachelor of Law from
the University of Virginia, it having been his pleasure to have
as a classmate President Woodrow Wilson. He has since en-
gaged actively in the practice of law, and is an officer of several
industrial enterprises, being Vice-President of the First National
Bank, of Lancaster; President of the Lancaster Publishing Com-
pany ; Vice-President of the Citizens' Building and Loan Associa-
tion, as well as of the Lancaster Savings Bank and Trust Com-
pany, and Vice-President and Secretary of the J. T. Wylie

In politics Mr. Wylie is a Democrat and although he has
never sought public office, he was unanimously elected Mayor of
Lancaster for three successive terms. Socially, he is a Master
Mason, a Chapter Mason and a Knight of Pythias. He is an
active member of the Presbyterian Church of which he is an

On November 4, 1885, Eichard Evans Wylie was married at
Lancaster to Miss Louise Gildersleeve Pratt, daughter of Henry
Harrington Pratt and Joanna Frances (Gildersleeve) Pratt.
Mrs. AVylie was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina,
October 15, 1866. Of this union were born eight children, six of
whom are living. These are: Juanita Wylie, educated at Agnes
Scott College, Decatur, Georgia, editor of the ''Lancaster News ;"
John Dunovant Wylie, educated at Bingham School, Asheville,
North Carolina, Davidson College, North Carolina, and Eastman
Business College, engaged in the Farm Loan and Insurance busi-
ness; Eliza Witherspoon Wylie, educated at the College for
Women, Columbia, South Carolina, and a student now of music
at Damrosch Institute of Musical Art in New York ; Louise Pratt
Wvlie, Katharine Hawthorne Wvlie and Marv Gildersleeve

> / *J


The name of AVylie is said to have originated in AA 7 ales, from
a location in Yorkshire, and also from a location near Essex, in




England. It is found in various forms, as Whiley, Wyley, Wylly,
Wylley, Willey and Wylie, the latter being the form most com-
monly used by the descendants in this country. Record is found
as early as 1615 of one Ralfe Willey of Houghton in the Bishop-
ricke of Duresine having had certain arms confirmed to him by
the Heralds.

The family is extensively represented in both Scotland and
Ireland to-day. No doubt, all of this name at one time originated
from a common stock. Early notes and references to it are found
in various Scotch records of Kirriemuir, Kilmarnock and Holm-
head House in Scotland. An old emigration record shows that,
in 1759, Samuel Wylie and three or four of his brothers, all
brothers of Adam Wylie the lineal ancestor of Richard Evans
Wylie, came to America, and settled in various colonies includ-
ing Maryland and Virginia. These brothers descended from a
Scotch family that originated in Ayrshire, Scotland, and emi-
grated on account of religious persecutions, to Ireland in the
seventeenth century, settling in the County of Antrim.

At about the same time Peter Wylie, the sou of Adam Wylie,
came to America, settling in Pennsylvania where he married
Annie Hawthorne, and later removed to Chester County, South
Carolina. He was of a poetical temperament and left a volume of
unpublished verse of some merit. They had three sons, James,
Frank and William who rendered faithful service as soldiers in
the Revolutionary War.


William, during his career as a soldier, was under General
Williamson, served with Colonel Moultrie and fought bravely and
well in McClure's Company at Monk's Corner. At Rocky Mount,
\Vylie was captured by the British Dragoons, but managed to
effect his escape on the twelfth of July. While on his way to the
American lines, he met McClure who was pursuing the Red Coats.
From this time he remained with the brave McClure until his
last battle. He was sent by Colonel Lacy to Morgan's camp in
December, and "Hopping John Miller" accompanied him. On the
way they met the Tories commanded by Nicholas, and young
Wylie was taken prisoner. When his captors stopped on the way
he was imprisoned in a shed, and while there was visited secretly
by Nicholas who gave him a piece of bread. Wylie never forgot
this kindness, and would have saved Nicholas' life at the risk of
his own had it been possible, when later Nicholas was hanged
by the liberty-men.

While confined in the Camden prison William met the charm-
ing Isabella Kelsoe, a descendant of the family from whom Kel-
soe Abbey in Scotland received its name. Her father, Samuel
Kelsoe, lived near Fishing Creek churchyard in 1780. Some
remains of this old settlement are still in existence. Most of the
children of Samuel Kelsoe had reached maturity at the outbreak


of the war. There was a story of ho\v the Tories overran his
house, taking mudi of value; no doubt, he ami his sons would
have been killed if they had not been a\vay with the American
soldiers. They fought in most of the battles during 1780 and
1781. Samuel, the son, narrowly escaped death when, at
Sumter's surprise, an English bullet cut off his whiskers. His
brother George was so badly wounded that he was thought to be
dead and left on the field. He managed, however, to avoid being
captured by the enemy.

Isabella, sister of these gallant patriots, went with some
women to visit the prisoners at Camden, and became interested
in William Wylie. When, later, Wylie obtained his release they
were united in marriage by the Reverend Mr. Simpson. The
young people made their home with Mr. Wylie's father, near Big
Spring, about six miles north of Chester. Wylie continued to
fight for the American cause, serving as Sergeant in the regi-
ment of Colonel Henry Hampton, under Captain John Mills, until
the end of the war. They remained at Big Spring until 1820
when they removed to Perry County, Alabama.

Peter Wylie, second son of William, was born in Chester
County, South Carolina, and spent his life in agricultural pur-
suits. He was for more than twenty years Judge of the Probate
Court and resigned only a very short time before his death. He
married Annie Evans, of AVelsh origin, and their sons were:
Richard Evans, DeKalb, Alexander P. and William. The ma-
ternal grandfather of these children served in the American
Army, as did also their mother's five uncles. All of the sons of
Peter and Annie Evans Wylie were physicians except DeKalb.
The eldest son, Richard Evans Wylie, was born in 1810 at the
family home in Chester County. Afterwards he removed to Lan-
caster County, where the rest of his life was spent. In 1832 he
graduated from South Carolina Medical College and married Miss
Rachel McCullough. They had three sons : John Donovant, Peter
and Thomas M. After the death of his wife Doctor Wvlie mar-


ried again, and by this union there was another son. Richard
Evans Wylie became a distinguished physician and for years
was President of the South Carolina Medical Association.

John Dunovant Wylie, son of Richard Evans Wylie and
Rachel McCullough, was born in Lancaster County, December 14,
1833. When he was five years old his parents moved to Lancaster.
He finished his preparatory course in Chester Male Academy,
then under the direction of Honorable Giles J. Patterson, and
was ready for the junior class of South Carolina College. It was
his father's desire to have him take a military course, and, yield-
ing to his wish, though against his own inclination, he entered
the South Carolina Military Academy in 1852. He graduated
in 1855, receiving high honors. While yet in college, he engaged


in the study of law, and after his graduation continued to read
law under the Honorable Manor Clinton of Lancaster.

He was admitted to the Bar in 1855. While he was still a
student he received the appointment of magistrate from the
Governor, and held that office until the beginning of the Civil
War. In December, 1856, Mr. Wylie formed a partnership with
Colonel Thomas N. Dawkins, which was discontinued when the
latter was elected Circuit Judge.

Mr. Wylie raised a company of soldiers, the Lancaster Greys
with himself as Captain ; this company was the first one in Lan-
caster organized for service in the war of the sixties. He was
present at the fall of Sumter, the Company then being officially
known as Company "A," Mnth South Carolina Kegiment.

This regiment went to Virginia and after a year's service
there, its name was changed to that of Company "A," Fifth South
Carolina Regiment. Captain Wylie was promoted Major at the
battle of Seven Pines, and was later promoted, at Games' Mill,
to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

After the war he resumed the practice of his profession. He
was the active leader of the "Red Shirts" in Lancaster County
for the redemption of the State, from negro rule. He was one
of the most prominent members of the State Senate from 1877 to
1882, being chairman of the Judiciary Committee and also of a
joint commission to recommend changes in the State constitution.
At the expiration of his term in the Senate, he voluntarily re-
tired to private life refusing thereafter to accept other high
political honors.

John Dunovant Wylie married April 22, 1857, Eliza Jane
Witherspoon. Her father, the Honorable James H. Witherspoon,
was a member of the Confederate Congress. Richard Evans
Wylie is the only living child of this union. Eliza Jane Wither-
spoon was born in Lancaster, October 25, 1834, and died there,
November 4, 1909. She took an active interest in the affairs of
the town, and is described as of a vivacious and charming dispo-

Although the family of Wylie is very old, that of Wither-
spoon boasfs of an equally ancient lineage. Records show that
John Witherspoon, son of David, son of Reverend Witherspoon
and Lucy Welch, was born at Begardie, near Glasgow, Scotland,
iu 1670, and moved to Knockbradien, Parish of Drumbo, County
Down, Ireland, in 1695. He married his cousin, Janet, in 1693,
and, emigrating to America, settled in Williamsburg district,
South Carolina, in 1734 and died in 1737. His wife died at sea.
He was the progenitor of the family of Witherspoon in this

By his marriage Richard Evans Wylie has connected his
family with two other families of ancient lineage, those of Gilder-


sleeve and Pratt. Richard Gilder-sleeve was born in 1601 in
County Suffolk, England. He came to America some time be-
tween 1030 and 1640, stopping at Watertown, Massachusetts.
Later he moved to New Haven and, still later, in 1644, to Hemp-
stead, Long Island. He was a magistrate under Stuyvesant, 1644-

Two sons, Richard and Samuel Gildersleeve, and one daugh-
ter were his only posterity, from whom have descended six
branches of the family. The members of one branch settled in
South Carolina, from Avhom Joanna Frances, mother of the
present Mrs. Wylie, is descended.

Mrs. Pratt was a sister of Doctor Basil L. Gildersleeve, the
world renowned Greek scholar and author. He was a missionarv


among Spanish-speaking people in South America, Mexico and
Cuba. He translated the Bible from the original language into

The Reverend Henry Barrington Pratt, father of Mrs. Wylie,
is of an old and numerous family. As early as 1690, record is
found of Phineas Pratt, who came to America in 1662, died in
1680, and was buried at Charlestowu, Massachusetts. Another
emigrant of the same name was Lieutenant William Pratt, born
in 1600, who came from England and settled in Cambridge, Mas-
sachusetts, in 1633. From this William Pratt descended seven
branches, some of whom have settled in the South.

It may be easily seen that the ancestry of Mr. Wylie's chil-
dren is of good old British stock. The members in America have
nobly done their part in the making of this great country, and it
is left for those of the twentieth century to give their services as
freely for its preservation.


g i HE human story of a busy life is ever interesting. Thrice
so, when that life has wrought well and wisely for home,
A Church and State. With the flowers and the showers on
April 24, 1876 a year ever memorable in the history of
North Carolina unheralded and unknown, Arthur Wayland
Cooke appeared in a modest home in Murfreesboro, Hertford
Countv, North Carolina the first born and the oldest of five

t; 7

children. Through the currents and cross-currents of the won-
drous changes and stirring events of these forty years, his life
has cut and plowed its way with brilliant service in every field
where duty has called for the exercise of its energies. Held in the
arms of tenderest affection, reared in the atmosphere of a home
of piety and refinement, guided by a widowed mother whose
broken life was reconsecrated to the training and support of the
fatherless, inspired by a sacred memory, he was safely and richly
environed by the hallowed influences of this home which largely
fashioned and moulded his fine character and clean life.

His ancestry can be traced through four generations in this
country, on the paternal side to England and on the maternal
side to Prance. The first of whom there is record on the paternal
side was Christopher Cooke, who was born in Sussex County,
Virginia, February 10, 1756, and who in early life moved to
Northampton County, North Carolina. He served as a Revolu-
tionary soldier, having been first stationed after enlistment in
1776, at Wilmington, North Carolina. In July, 1780, he was in
the regiment of Colonel Seawell and in the company commanded
by Captain Henry Burns. In August, 1781, he was in the com-
pany of Captain Joel Sherwood. He was married to Betsy Ann
Parker, daughter of Peter Parker, of Hertford County, who was
the son of Thomas Parker. The issue of this marriage was six
children, viz., Lazarus, Mathias, Eley, Elizabeth, Rebecca and
Patsy. Christopher died in 1842 in his eighty-seventh year. His
oldest son, Lazarus, grandfather of Arthur Wayland Cooke, was
born in Northampton County September 28, 1793, and died July
14, 1872. His wife was Miss Annie Rebecca Warren and the issue
of this marriage was eight children, namely, Alexander, Eley,
George W., Luther Rice, Samuel, Henry Harrison, Annie Mariah,
and Eliza B.

Henry Harrison Cooke, the sixth child of Lazarus Cooke, was
born in Northampton County, North Carolina, January 27, 1841,



and was the father of Arthur Wayland Cooke. Henry Harrison
Cooke was a man of fine character, good education, much public
spirit and prominence in his community, a true Christian gentle-
man, and, like his father and grandfather, a deacon in the Baptist
church. In early life he was a teacher, but after marriage en-
gaged in the mercantile and cotton business in partnership with
Mr. J. L. Harrell, under the firm name of Cooke and Harrell.
This firm was active and successful for many years in eastern
North Carolina. Henry Harrison Cooke was a confederate sol-
dier, having served first in Company "A," Fourth Battalion, and
afterwards in Company "B" of the same battalion. He married
Miss Elizabeth Florence Maddrey, daughter of Henry White Mad-
drey and his wife, Theresa Elizabeth Lisles. He died November
18, 1887, leaving a widow and five small children, and was buried
at the old Maddrey home cemetery in Northampton County.
These five surviving children were Arthur Waylaiid Cooke, Henry
Maddrey, Annie Rebecca, John Archie, and Mary Theresa Cooke,
all of whom are now living, except Annie Rebecca Cooke, who
died November 17, 1895, while a student at Chowan College.

Arthur Wayland Cooke was only eleven years of age at the
death of his father. On the very threshold of his boyhood his
bright mind grasped the responsibility attaching to his position.
With dutiful and beautiful devotion he had witnessed the self-
sacrifice and unselfish service of a helpful and anxious mother.
His childhood and boyhood had been made happy by her tender
care and loving ministry. In grateful appreciation of this mother
who still lives he writes :

"Her influence has stimulated my ambition, guided me in
the paths of truth and honor, encouraged me when I did right,
forgave me when I did wrong without undue censure, and instilled
into me as deep as eternity itself the importance of the Christian
religion as she believed it."

This tribute from his own pen discloses not only his grati-
tude, but it portrays with striking emphasis the beautiful char-
acter of this devoted mother, whose Christ-like gentleness, pa-
tience, and teaching had led him into the paths of truth and
honor, and inspired his young mind with the highest ideals of
life. Educated at Chowan Baptist Female Institute herself a
teacher, cultured and refined left alone with her five children,
their education became the supreme object of her life's work. In
accomplishing this end, her chief solicitude was that they should
be taught to be helpful and independent.

After a course in private schools and at the Murfreesboro
Male Academy, Arthur Wayland Cooke attended Franklin Acad-
emy in Franklin, Virginia, earning his living and expenses as a
clerk in Bryant and Knight's drug store. In 1895 he entered
Wake Forest College, graduating in 1900 with distinction and


the degrees of A.B., A.M. and L.L.B. Excessive work necessitated
a year of rest or change during these five years, and this year was
spent in the law office of Mr. W. A. Smith, the leading lawyer
at that time of Hendersonville, North Carolina. It is simple
justice to record the fact that this excessive work was not occa-
sioned alone by his regular college course, but he was private
secretary to Doctor C. E. Taylor, the able and distinguished
President of Wake Forest College. Added to this was other
work outside of college duties which he assumed to enable him
to defray his expenses. He earned and paid his own way through
college. His career at college was one of exceptional brilliancy.
His popularity is attested by the series of prizes won and honors
bestowed by his society and the college. In his second year, he
won the debater's medal given by the Euzelian Society, and was
elected its anniversary debater. In the third year he was chosen
by his society as its orator for the celebration of the anniversary
of the college. In 1899 he represented his college in the annual
debate with Trinity College in the Academy of Music at Kaleigh,
North Carolina, when Wake Forest was awarded the silver cup.
In his last year he won the Dixon Oratorical Medal and was
elected by the faculty one of the commencement orators.

This fine record foreshadowed the success he has achieved
since graduation. In September, 1900, with his license from the
Supreme Court of North Carolina, he entered the law office of
Hon. Charles Manly Stedman of Greensboro, North Carolina, at
the age of twenty-four years. In the very prime of his young
manhood, with a mind well trained, filled with enthusiasm, am-
bitious and determined to succeed, conscious of his strength,
proud of the opportunity afforded by this new association, and
facing a strong bar, he set himself to the hard task of serving a
jealous mistress. It was not long until his studious habits, his
high character, his kindliness, his courteous manner, his bright
intellect, his knightly conduct, clean life, and perseverance had
made an impression and given him prestige. In some of the most
noted cases of the State he was associated with Major Stedman.
With such untiring persistence did he pursue his work, that at
the end of four years he became the partner of Major Stedman
under the firm name of Stedmau and Cooke. This partnership
continued until 1910, when Major Stedman was elected to Con-
gress. Mr. Cooke then practiced alone until 1916, when he
formed a partnership with Mr. B. L. Fen tress, becoming the
senior member of the firm of Cooke and Fentress. In 1911 Mr.
Cooke was elected City Attorney for the City of Greensboro, the
duties of which position he discharged with marked efficiency and
signal ability. In 1916 he resigned this position to accept that of
postmaster at Greensboro, to which he had been appointed by
President Wilson. His career at the bar has been highly sue-


cessful. For two years he has been a member of the executive
committee of the North Carolina Bar Association, and is proud
of his profession.

Not less successful has been his venture into the political
arena. In the midst of his pressing professional duties, he has
found time to render valuable service to his party and friends in
politics. His most noted achievement was his success in manag-
ing and directing the campaign for the nomination and election
of Major Stedman to Congress in 1910. Perhaps the most mem-
orable contest for a congressional nomination in North Carolina
was that in 1910 in the Fifth "The Banner" -Congressional
District of the State. The convention was deadlocked for several
days and nights and then adjourned to a later date when Major
Stedman was nominated. In the campaign which followed, Mr.
Cooke displayed his ability as an organizer in the memorable vic-
tory scored in overturning the Republican majority of two years
before and in securing a Democratic majority of three thousand,
three hundred thirty-two. These victories were to no small
extent due to the clear judgment, untiring energy and shrewd
management of Mr. Cooke. Thus, it will be seen, that in addition
to his conscientious attention to his professional work, he has
been a leader and hard worker for the Democratic party. He was
chairman of the Guilford County Board of Elections from 1896
to 1910. He was chairman of the Democratic Executive Com-
mittee of the Fifth Congressional District from 1910 to 1912 ; and
was chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee of Guil-
ford County from 1912 to 1914. He was also a member of the
State Democratic Executive Committee from 1908 to 1910.

In 1911 when Judge J. Crawford Biggs resigned his position
as Judge of the Superior Court, Mr. Cooke was strongly and
widely recommended and urged as the logical and eminently fit
man for the vacancy.

Mr. Cooke is fond of outdoor sports, enjoys fishing and
hunting and is a member of the Greensboro Country Club, where
he frequently finds pleasure in the game of golf. He also enjoys
the honor of being a member of the North Carolina Society of the
Sons of the Revolution.

He is now one of the directors of Oak Ridge Institute, one of
the leading educational institutions of the State.

Like his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather,
he is a deacon in the Baptist Church and is now serving as chair-
man of the board of deacons of the First Baptist Church of
Greensboro, North Carolina, and in addition to this, he has for
many years taught a large and interesting class in the Sunday
School of this church.

The most interesting event of his life remains to be told.
He was married in Augusta, Georgia, October 12, 1904, to Miss


Aimie Maria Owen, of Providence, Rhode Island, who is of well-
known ancestry on both sides. Her mother is of the Green family
of Warwick, Rhode Island, descendant of Richard Green and a
direct descendant of Roger Williams, the first settler of Rhode
Island. Her father was William H. Owen, son of George Owen
and Fallie Palmer, who are of prominent and well-known families
of that State. Two children have been born to them, Floyd
Elmore Cooke, who was born June 11, 1910, and died January 27,
1915 ; and Arthur Owen Cooke, who was born April 13, 1916, and
now fills with joy and sunshine a happy home.

Online LibraryAlbert B OsborneMakers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) → online text (page 16 of 48)