Idaho is fortunate in having an able bar. The importance of the legal business growing out of mining enterprises early drew to the state lawyers of ability and experience in large affairs and litigation involving big sums and values. As a result, there is at every important business center of the state legal talent which would do credit to Chicago or New York. Major William W. Woods, one of the leading lawyers of Idaho, was born in Burlington, Iowa, January 24, 1841, a son of James W. and Catharine (Wells) Woods. His father was a successful lawyer, and was born in New Hampshire in 1810, settled in Iowa in 1836 and died at Waverly, Iowa, in 1880. His mother was born in New York in 1825 and died at Burlington, Iowa, in 1864.
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Major Woods received an academical education at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and at nineteen began the study of law in the office and under the preceptorship of J. C. & B. J. Hall, of Burlington, Iowa. He was called from his legal studies by the demand for soldiers to protect our national interests in the civil war, and in August, 1861, enlisted as a private in Company L, Fourth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, with which he served until September 1865, when he was mustered out, with the rank of major, after having made an admirable record as a soldier. He resumed the study of law, and in June 1866, was admitted to the bar, at Burlington, Iowa. He began the practice of his profession immediately thereafter at Sidney, Fremont county, Iowa, and remained there four years. He then took up his residence and practice at Council Bluffs, Iowa, where for two years he had Robert Percival as a law partner. In February 1872, he went to Salt Lake City, Utah, and there gained a high standing at the bar, and remained there until 1887. He first came to Coeur d’Alene region in 1884, but not to remain, and it was not until 1888 that he located with his family at Murray, then the seat of justice of Shoshone County. Since 1890 he has lived at Wallace. Major Woods has given attention to general practice, but has devoted himself especially, and with much success, to litigation growing out of mining business. He has taken a high place at the bar wherever he has practiced, by reason of the fidelity with which he serves his clients and the honorable and straightforward methods of his practice.
Politically Major Wood is a Democrat, but he has never cared for office for himself, preferring to devote himself entirely to his profession. He was a member of the constitutional convention in 1890, and a presidential elector in 1896. He is a Mason, an Elk and an active member of Tecumseh Post, No. 22, of the Grand Army of the Republic, at Wallace. He was married in 1874, in Salt Lake City, to Mrs. M. C. Dunford, a native of Utah.