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Walter A. Woods was elected sheriff of Greenwood County in 1914. That his record during the first term was thoroughly appreciated by his fellow citizens is amply vouched for in the fact that on November 7, 1916, he was re-elected for another term by the significant majority of 1,826. Mr. Woods is as capable in public office as he had been in his private business affairs, and is one of the most thoroughly trusted and popular citizens of the county.
Though most of his life had been spent in Kansas Mr. Woods was born in Barton County, Missouri, July 3, 1874. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his forefathers came to America in colonial days. His grandfather was Dow Woods, who was born in Ohio in 1809. Though quite old at the time he took part as a soldier in the Civil war, spent his active career as a farmer in Ohio and died at the Soldiers Home at Dayton, Ohio, in 1895.
The father of Sheriff Woods was Hanson L. Woods, an early settler of Greenwood County, Kansas. He was born in Ohio in 1837, grew up in that state, and when a young man removed to Sidney, Iowa. He had previously served four years three months as a Union soldier in the Civil war. He enlisted in 1861 in an Ohio regiment of infantry, and participated in some of the most bitterly fought campaigns and battles of the war. He was in the battles of Shiloh, Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and many other engagements, and subsequently joined Sherman’s great army which advanced upon and captured Atlanta and thence marched through Georgia to the sea. From Iowa he moved to Barton County, Missouri, in 1870, followed farming there as he had in Iowa, and in 1879 moved to LaBette County, Kansas. In 1881 he transferred his residence to Greenwood County, and was a farmer there until his death in 1888. He was a loyal republican in politics, served a term as justice of the peace, and was very active in the Presbyterian Church, which he served as an elder. He also belonged to the Masonic fraternity. His first wife was a Miss Fort, but there were no children of that union. For his second wife he married Mary E. Hodges (Goode). She was born in Iowa in 1845, and died in Greenwood County, Kansas, in 1887. The children of their marriage were: Frank, a farmer in Greenwood County; Walter A.; Allie, wife of J. G. Smith, a farmer in Greenwood County; Essie, wife of James Piatt, a farmer at Hamilton, Kansas. The mother of these children by her first marriage had two daughters; Emma, who died at the age of sixteen; and Dallie, who now lives in McPherson County, Kansas.
The first sixteen years of his life Walter A. Woods spent on his father’s farm in Barton County, Missouri, and in LaBette and Greenwood counties, Kansas. In the meantime he received his education from the Greenwood county schools and when he left school and the home farm he went to the Northwest, spending four years as a farm hand near Walla Walla, Washington. On returning to Greenwood County he took up farming as an independent vocation, and had proved unusually successful as a stock raiser and as a stock dealer. Though he sold his fine farm in February, 1914, he is still handling stock and is one of the chief cattle dealers of the county.
Mr. Woods had always been an active member of the republican party. When his home was on a farm in Madison Township he served as township trustee. Fraternally he is affiliated with Fidelity Lodge No. 106, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, at Eureka, and with Ossiam Lodge No. 58 of the Knights of Pythias in the same place.
Sheriff Woods was married in Greenwood County in 1901 to Miss Mollie Laird, daughter of J. E. and Annie Laird, who reside on their farm in Greenwood County. Mr. and Mrs. Woods have three children, Irene, born May 26, 1905; Mabel, born May 24, 1907; and Edna May, born July 26, 1913.