Thursday, September 20, 2018

Rev. Woodell and Gov Al Smith

From the early 1920s until 1944 the Rev. William Rufus Woodell worked as a minister in the Methodist church on Delmarva.  He worked all over Delmarva but ended up in Delmar where he died and later his wife died in Delmar.  He was born in 1873 around Raynham, North Carolina.  His wife was Deborah Lowry (1871-1964).  They both were one quarter Cherokee Indian.  Since they were one quarter their children were one quarter Cherokee also.  They had for children; Attie (1896-1994), Eylar (1896-1898), Calvin (1898-1948), Virginia (1900-1984), R. H. (1905-1908), Earnest (1906-16985), Edna (1907-2001), Alice  (1910-), Reatha Christine (1915-1916) and John Henderson (1912-1998).  In North Carolina besides being a minister he owned two tobacco farms.

Rev. Woodell was ordained in 1905 and was active in the church in North Carolina.  When he came north he preached at Laurel, Fruitland, Stockton, Bishop Head,  Crisfield, Cambridge, Denton and Pocomoke.   A number of his children married people in this area.  One was Virginia Mae who married  Herman L. Sterling from Crisfield,  Virginia would open the Sterling Shop in Delmar and sell women apparel until about 1974 when she retired.  Edna would also marry on the shore to Dewey Edward Bozman and live in Fairmount.  John H Woodell would also live in Delmar. He appears to have lived with his mother after his father's death at 404 East Street. John would die in 1998 in Delmar.  He was an executive for RCA.

In 1928 Gov Alfred E. Smith of New York decided to run for President on the Democratic ticket.  He ran against Herbert Hoover.  There was opposition to Al Smith because he was a Catholic and people feared the Pope would run the United States if he was elected.  In this time period the KKK was a major political influence on any election and of course Catholics did not rate very high with them.  It happened that Rev. Woodell was a Hoover supporter and was minister at St. Thomas M. E. Church in Bishop Head outside of Cambridge. In October of 1928 he chaired a rally for Hoover in Cambridge where 800 people attended.  In the course of the evening he attacked Al Smith, the Catholic Church and the Knights Of Columbus.  He then invited anyone who disagreed with him to "step outside" about 400 of the 800 people stepped outside.
above from the Baltimore Sun Oct 27, 1928

Rev. Woodell would retire from the church in 1938.  

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