One of the families which came to Lawrence county, Indiana, in the early days of white settlement is the Woolery family, some members of which arrived in time to be enumerated there in the 1820 census. Although Marshall Woolery, the subject of this page, is only distantly related to me, his biography is of interest due to the quantity of information it contains on his parents and grandparents. It was taken from pages 738-740 of History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana, B. F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1914:
The record of the subject of this sketch is that of a man who, by his own unaided efforts, has worked his way from a modest beginning to a position of influence in his community. His life has been one of unceasing industry and perseverance, and the systematic and honorable methods he has followed have won for him the unbounded confidence of his fellow citizens of Lawrence county, whose interests he has ever had at heart and which he has always labored to promote.
Marshall Woolery, of Bedford, Indiana, who, though not long engaged in the active practice of his profession, has already achieved an enviable reputation among his colleagues, is a native of this county, having been born near Bedford on October 16, 1871. He is the son of Joseph and Matilda (McFarland) Woolery, both of whom are now deceased. The father was born in Lawrence county and the mother in Monroe county, Indiana. The former was a well known stock buyer in this locality during his active days and at one time rendered efficient service to the community as justice of the peace. He was a man of jovial disposition and was well known in Lawrence and adjoining counties, and had a reputation as a humorous story teller. The family comes of German stock on the paternal side, while in the maternal line Irish blood predominates.
The subject's paternal grandfather, Jacob Woolery, who was a native of Pennsylvania, came to Indiana in an early day and was numbered among the pioneer citizens of Lawrence county, where for many years he followed the vocation of agriculture. He married Hannah Todd May 26, 1808, and reared a family of fifteen children, of which number the father of the subject was the last survivor. Jacob Woolery was born February 27, 1786, and died November 10, 1866, in this county, while his son, the father of the subject, died August 23, 1899, his widow surviving him a few years, dying July 23, 1902. Joseph Woolery, father of the subject, was a member of Company G. Thirty-first Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving four years, enlisting in Lawrence county August 23, 1861, and a notable coincident was that he died on the anniversary of his enlistment. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and was buried under the auspices of that order. To the subject's parents were born six children, namely:
- Alice, the widow of Elijah Fox, late of Bedford;
- Dr. Perry Woolery, of Heltonville, Lawrence county, Indiana;
- Marshall, the immediate subject of this sketch;
- Emma, the wife of Samuel May, postmaster at Guthrie, this county;
- Benjamin F., a successful physician in Louisville, Kentucky, and
- Maggie, deceased.
Marshall Woolery, who was born and reared on a farm, received his elementary education in the common schools, from which he graduated. He later took a business course in the Indianapolis Business University, and for some time thereafter followed the vocation of stenographer at Indianapolis and Louisville. He later attended the Southern Indiana Normal College at Mitchell, where he graduated in the pedagogical department, and thereafter for several years he was successfully engaged as a teacher in the schools of Lawrence county. He was an educator of unusual ability, and at the time he quit teaching he was the possessor of a life teacher's license. He had for some time desired to enter upon the practice of law, and between school times he had devoted himself to the study of Blackstone, Kent and other legal authorities and eventually became a student in the Indiana Law School, where he graduated in 1907. Two years prior to his graduation, however, he had entered upon the active practice of law at North Vernon, but after graduation he came to Bedford and opened an office and has since been actively engaged in the professional work. He has been admitted to practice in Indiana supreme court and United States circuit courts. He has built up a splendid practice and a wide reputation as an able and successful lawyer, having given his especial attention to the practice of criminal law and been connected with some of the most important cases tried in the local courts. Mr. Woolery's success is the more commendable from the fact that owing to his parents' straightened circumstances he had but few opportunities in boyhood, and in the fullest sense of the term is entitled to the proud American term of self-made man. It is also noteworthy that the three boys born to his parents have all made good in the professions, his two brothers being successful physicians.
Politically, Mr. Woolery gives his support to the Republican party, in the success of which he takes an active interest, though not a seeker after public office. Fraternally, he is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Loyal Order of Moose, while his religious membership is with the Christian chruch. Mr. Woolery is a wide and extensive reader, possesses a well selected library of standard works and is himself a man of considerable literary taste and ability. He wrote the class poem for the "Annual" while in the Indiana Law School and has done other writing of considerable merit. As a lawyer Mr. Woolery is noted for the clearness of statement and candor with which he conducts his cases. He seeks faithfully for firm ground, and having once found it nothing can turn him from his position. By a straightforward, honorable course he has built up a large and lucrative legal business and his life affords a splendid example of what an American youth, plentifully endowed with good common sense, energy and determination can accomplish when directed and controlled by earnest moral principles.