The Woods Family - Part 2

Dublin Core


The Woods Family - Part 2


This is a continuation of an article from the Richmond Climax of some 110 years ago, about the Archibald Woods family. This part of that article presents the more remote parts of that family and their journey from England, Scotland and Ireland to America and eventually Madison County and the bluegrass region. According to Clarence E. Woods and John Goodloe, Archibald Woods’ “eldest child, Lucy Woods, married William Caperton, and they [were] grandparents of Col. James W. Caperton of Richmond, Ky. His third child, Susan Woods, married William Goodloe, of Madison County, among whose descendents are many well known citizens of Madison and other counties.

There were ten children in all, most of who were married and raised families, but a few words about the ancestors of Archibald Woods, Sr. and some other collaterals may be [of] more general interest.

In the army of Oliver Cromwell which invaded Ireland in 1649, there was an English trooper by the name of Woods, who was so pleased with the country that he finally settled in that island and made his home in County Meath. He had a son, John Woods, who married Elizabeth Warsup, whose pedigree runs back to Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Dublin and Lord Chancellor of Ireland, born in Yorkshire, England in 1534. John and Elizabeth Woods had at least five children, to wit: Michael, James, William, Andrew and Elizabeth. Michael Woods, being the oldest, was born in 1684, and married Miss Mary Campbell of the Scottish Clan Campbell of Argyle shire in Scotland.

Elizabeth Woods married Peter Wallace, of the Scottish clan Wallace, in about 1726. All five of the above named children of John Woods, who were by then all probably the heads of their own families, immigrated to America. They stopped for about eight years in Pennsylvania, and then settled in Virginia and North Carolina. [This is a very common pattern of settlement for the thousands of Scots Irish and English who came to Kentucky by way of the port of Philadelphia and a series of intermediate stops in search of affordable and productive land.] Michael Woods acquired and improved a very fine estate, which he named “Blair Park” and which became widely known as the “Barony,” including Woods’ Gap (now Jarmon’s Gap) in Goochland, now Albemarle County, Virginia, and lived there until his death in 1762.

Michael and Mary Woods had nine children, to wit: William, Michael Jr., James, John, Andrew, Magdalen, Martha, Hannah and Margaret. Magdalen Woods married John McDowell in Pennsylvania, and from them descended the famous surgeon, Dr. Ephraim McDowell of Danville, and the late Major H.C. McDowell of Lexington. The other three — Martha, Hannah and Margaret, married respectively their first cousins, Peter Jr., William and Andrew Wallace, all sons of Peter and Elizabeth Wallace. These three couples are the progenitors of hundreds of Wallaces now scattered over the Union.

General Lew Wallace, author of Ben Hur, is one of them, and Judge Caleb Wallace, of the first appellate court of Kentucky, was also a descendent of Peter and Elizabeth Wallace. John Woods married Susannah Anderson, and had a numerous progeny composing many of our best citizens in this and adjacent counties. Mr. Clarence Woods, of the Richmond Climax, descends from Michael Woods Jr. William Woods, the eldest son of Michael and Mary Woods, was born at the castle of Dunshanglin, Ireland in 1705. He acquired a large estate in Albemarle and adjacent counties, in Virginia, and took an active part in the colonial wars, holding the rank of Colonel. At one time, he conveyed 60 slaves and 7,200 acres to his cousin, Captain MacDowell. He married Susannah Wallace and had six sons and two daughters, to wit: Adam, Peter, Archibald — the main subject of our sketch — John, Andrew, Michael, Hannah and Elizabeth. Peter Woods married Jaol Kavanaugh and was a pioneer Baptist preacher in Madison County, where they lived for many years, then moving to Tennessee and then on to Boon County, Mo. Hannah Woods married William Kavanaugh, brother to the wife of Peter Woods. They also came to Kentucky and settled in Madison County at a very early date, and are the grand-parents of H.H. Kanvanaugh, a very prominent Bishop of the Methodist church. Elizabeth Woods first married Philemon Kavanaugh, another brother to the wife of Peter Woods. Philemon Kavanaugh died in Virginia and his widow came to Kentucky with her brothers Archibald and Peter Woods. Here she married again — this time to Thomas Shelton, brother to the wife of Archibald Woods, and a pioneer Baptist preacher of Madison County.

By her first husband she had a son, William Woods Kavanaugh, who married Elizabeth Miller. These two were the parents of Mrs. John W. walker and Mrs. James G. Denny of Garrard County. Her daughter, Nancy Kavanaugh, who married Benjamin Estill. By her second husband, Thomas Shelton, who was killed by Indians in the wilderness between Kentucky and Virginia, she had three daughters, Susan, Betsy and Lucy Shelton, who married respectively, Thomas, Reed, Richard Moberly and Johnathan Estill.”

This is the end of John D. Goodloe’s contribution to the piece published in 1900 in the Richmond Climax. Note the many marriages across families, based on proximity and contact — people tend to marry people that they meet — at a time when travelling more than a few miles was very difficult and extended families were required for pioneer farming activities.

The paper’s editor, Clarence E. Woods, add this postscript in testament to his author. Editor Woods states: “It will be observed that the author of the above modestly omits mention of himself. I take the liberty of inserting here the fact that he, the Hon. John D. Goodloe, is a native of Boyle County, and is one of the most worthy descendents of Archibald Woods, Sr.

The ashes of many of his ancestors rest in Madison County: both his grandfathers, William Goodloe and John Duncan; three grandfathers, Archibald Woods, Sr., Galen White, and Benjamin Duncan; and one great grandfather, Harry White, who died in 1821, aged 87 years, and lies buried on Col. John D. Harris’s place, not more than 350 yards from the old burnt house. I have examined in the volume, in Judge Goodloe’s possession, from which the foregoing article was compiled, and for the benefit of the numberless descendents of the Wood’s, Goodloe’s , etc., will say that this volume contains data secured after great labor, in both England and America, and it would be well to have it printed in enduring form, for if it is misplaced, valuable records will be forever lost.”

Here you have a public family tribute from over a century ago. A tribute to a family’s journey in to Madison County of over four centuries and thousands of miles. A tribute spanning time and space, but literally resting in a cemetery that has become a repository to an interesting part of Madison’s heritage. I wonder what has happened to Judge Goodloe’s family history “volume”? I hope it is safe.

Thanks again to Jasper Castle, local historian, for his information.


Dr. Fred Engle




Content may be freely copied for personal and educational purposes with appropriate citation. Permission is required to reprint.



Dr. Fred Engle, “The Woods Family - Part 2,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed January 20, 2022,