Oberlin College Archives

THE REV. HARRY EDWIN WOODCOCK, 1816-1911

PAPERS, 1838-1911


BIOGRAPHY

The Rev. Harry Edwin Woodcock, the third child of David (b. 1791) and Patty (Osgood) Woodcock, was born in Swanzey, New Hampshire on November 6, 1816. The Woodcocks left the family homestead in 1820 to settle in the frontier community of Independence, Allegheny County, New York. Harry Woodcock began his education in a log schoolhouse and completed it at Oberlin College. From 1840 to 1841, he attended the Oberlin Academy, studying under Professor James Harris Fairchild (1817-1902), and in 1845 he received the A.B. from Oberlin College ("Oberlin Collegiate Institute" prior to 1850). In 1848, Woodcock graduated from the Oberlin Theological Seminary and was subsequently ordained to the Congregational ministry.

For sixty-three years, the Rev. Harry Woodcock carried out his ministry with a missionary zeal. From 1848 to 1868, he held pastorates in several western New York towns, including Burns, Bristol, West Greece, Riga, Mecklenburg, and Gorham and Reeds Corners. He also served the church in Nelson, Pennsylvania from 1850 to 1855. In 1868, he went to Kansas and organized a church on the Delaware reservation at Tonganoxie, serving as its pastor for thirteen years. In 1881, he moved to Lawrence, Kansas where he joined Plymouth Church and worked to find homes for orphaned children. He settled in Kansas City, Missouri in 1886 and in 1888 founded the Southwest Tabernacle Congregational Church, later the Metropolitan Tabernacle and Institute. Woodcock served as the Tabernacle's pastor from 1889 until his retirement. During his twenty-five years at the Tabernacle church, he was instrumental in establishing the Sunday School and in directing local mission work. Woodcock died in Kansas City in 1911 at the age of 93.

Woodcock was the author of scriptural and temperance tracts. Among his works are Fruit of the Vine (1881) and The Hebrew Language (1900). At the time of his death, he had completed over three hundred pages of an unpublished autobiography covering the years 1816 to 1870.

On June 11, 1850, Rev. Woodcock married Elizabeth Hurlbut, who died two years later. Their union produced one child, Arthur, who was born in 1852. Woodcock remarried in 1853 to Lucy H. Thayer (1818-1903), and they had three children: Charles (1854-58), Elizabeth (b. 1855), and Ellen (b. 1857). Woodcock's sister, Lucy Angela Woodcock (1822-76; Lit. Oberlin 1852) served as a teaching missionary in Jamaica for the American Missionary Association from 1853 until her death in 1876.

SOURCES CONSULTED

Student Files of H. E. Woodcock and Lucy Angela Woodcock (28)

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