Lawrence and Peggy Woolery

My great-great-grandmother, Hannah Woolery (1807-1870), came to Indiana in the very earliest days of white settlement there. She married Andrew Helton in 1828 in Lawrence county and moved with him and their children to Bloomington, in neighboring Monroe county, some time before the 1850 census. Hannah was part of a westward migration of Woolerys from Pennsylvania to Kentucky, from where some went to southern Indiana, and others to central Missouri. This page is an effort to sort out some of these families and trace their origins and migrations. If you are also researching this family, please e-mail me your comments!

After doing a good deal of research and acquiring increasing amounts of information about several generations of Woolerys, we feel the necessity of including this disclaimer in their page:

Much of the information on this page is speculative and isn't supported by any reliable evidence. All census data must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt and the absence of an individual from a particular census for a particular location shouldn't be interpreted as implying that the individual wasn't present there.

Lawrence Woolery. Hannah's grandfather was born in either Germany or Pennsylvania. He is listed in some references with a middle name of Abraham, but without any evidence for it. We don't have any trustworthy information as to where he was born, or when (or if) he came to America. The obituary of his grandson below states that Lawrence arrived in America in 1786, just before his son Jacob's birth. However, there are conflicting data which imply that some of Jacob's older brothers were born in America, e.g., it is said that Michael was born in Madison county, KY, in 1781, which agrees with Michael's son's 1880 census record in which Isaac reported that his father was born in KY. There's also speculation that Lawrence may have been born in Pennsylvania shortly after the arrival of his parents and that the Woolery family name, in Germany, may have been either:

Lawrence is said to have been born 9 Apr 1739, and to have died on his hundredth birthday in Missouri.1 The following obituary, which allegedly appeared in the Western Emigrant, Boonville, Missouri, 10 Apr 1839, page 3, column 3, was posted on the Woolery Family Genealogy Forum:
Near Palestine in Cooper County on the 9th inst., after a short illness, Mr. Lawrence Woolery, age 100 years. The deceased was an early settler of Cooper County and much respected by all who knew him.

Peggy Horn. Lawrence Woolery married Margaret "Peggy" Horn, who may have been born in Germany. Some say her ancestors came from the Netherlands and settled in New York during the 1600s. She is said to be buried at Old Mt. Nebo cemetery along with Lawrence, and to have died at age 96, but her marker cannot be found and no birth date is available from any reliable source. If the list below of their children is accurate, and all are Peggy's, she must have been about twenty years younger than Lawrence. However, Lawrence is listed in the 1830 census as having a woman between 80 and 89 years of age in his household. In the 1840 census, their son (?) has a woman between 90 and 99 in his household. If these entries refer to Peggy, she must have been born no later than 1750, which would make her at least 52 years of age when the last child attributed to her was born. In view of this anomaly and the conflicts between children's birth places, I can't help but wonder if there are two Woolery families whose children's names have been mixed together.

Lawrence and Peggy each has an entry which may be accessed from the Mount Nebo Baptist Church and Cemetery's Find A Grave page, although there are no photographs of their graves.

Children. The list of Lawrence and Peggy Woolery's children given here is based on the Moon Family Pages and several other web sites. As I've mentioned, there are conflicts between the children's birth dates and Peggy's likely age at the time they were born. I won't speculate here as to the answers to this riddle, but will update this page whenever I find additional information. The birthplaces listed here for the children are as recorded by the U. S. census takers. I've color-coded the children's names to indicate my best guess as to whether they moved to Indiana or Missouri, or remained in Kentucky:

  1. John Woolery, born 1779.
  2. Michael Woolery, born 20 Jan 1781 in Kentucky, married 28 Mar 1805 to Jane Todd, died 3 Dec 1823.2, 3 (My g-g-g-grandparents)
  3. Peter Woolery, born 1783, married 22 Aug 1811 to Peggy Coons, later married Ann Powell.
  4. Francis Woolery, born 1785, married 7 May 1810 to Ruth Henderson, died 1856.
  5. Jacob Woolery, born 27 Feb 1786 in Pennsylvania, married 26 Mar 1808 to Hannah Todd, died 1866.2, 4
  6. Henry A. Woolery, born 1787, married 25 Mar 1810 to Nancy Corum, died 17 Mar 1842 in Cooper county, Missouri.1
  7. George Woolery, born 1788, married 9 Oct 1810 to Matilda Lee, died 1844.
  8. infant, born 1790.
  9. Margaret Woolery, born 1792, married 9 Oct 1817 to Lewis Jones.
  10. Abraham Woolery, born 17 Dec 1794, married 18 Mar 1817 to Nancy Ellison, also married Emily Jane Brannen, died 23 Dec 1846.1
  11. Isaac Woolery, born 1796, married 15 Feb 1816 to Frances Watson, died 25 Jul 1851.
  12. Stephen Woolery, born 1799 in Kentucky, married Hannah (Briscoe) Woods, died 19 Oct 1871 in Missouri.5
  13. Catherine Woolery, born 1801, married 27 Apr 1820 to Thomas Jacob.
  14. James Woolery, born 1801 in Kentucky, married 19 Mar 1822 to Margaret Watson.6
  15. Joseph W. Woolery, born 30 Sep 1802 in Kentucky, married 17 Aug 1828 to Nancy (Titsworth) Hamilton, died 14 Oct 1871.1, 7

Kentucky. If Jacob's birthplace is recorded correctly in his son's obituary and in the 1860 census, Lawrence and Peggy Woolery's move from Pennsylvania to Kentucky occurred after Jacob's birth in PA in 1786. They must have remained in the Bluegrass state for about 30 years, raising their children and grandchildren there. All 1790 and 1800 census records for Kentucky are lost, but we were able to locate several Woolrys in Madison county, Kentucky, in 1810:

Name of
Head of Household
Michael Woolry1001020100
Lawrence Woolry1220110201
Francis Woolry0010000100
John Woolry2001000100
Jacob Woolry0010010100
Henry Woolry0010000100
Peter Woolry2001020010

The list of Lawrence's children living nearby and the numbers of persons of various ages in his own household match, somewhat, the list of children above. He seems to be short one boy in the 0-9 age group and to have one extra girl, perhaps a servant girl, in the 16-25 category. In the 1820 census for Madison county, however, the following are the only family members I could find:

Isaac Woolry 00010010100
Francis Woolery 30001020010

Although I couldn't locate James Woolery anywhere in the 1820 census, he turns up in Madison county in later censuses, so either he remained in Kentucky, or returned there after 1820.

Missouri. At about the same time as Jacob and Michael Woolery moved to Indiana, Lawrence and Peggy and several other children moved on to Cooper county, Missouri. Statehood wasn't achieved until 1821, but white settlers had been streaming into the Missouri territory for several years. Cooper county was formed in 1818, out of Howard county, and its county seat, Boonville, was laid out in 1817. Lawrence and most of his children seem to have disappeared from Madison county by 1820. Since there are no 1820 census records available for Missouri, we can't say when they arrived there.

The 1830 census for Cooper county is available and it's full of Woolerys, although two of their first names were obliterated by ink blots. Susannah (could she have been John's widow?) was several pages away from the other Woolerys, who were all listed within a few lines of each other...

Names of
Heads of Families
Susannah Woolery00130000000000100001000000
Abraham Woolery32100100000000000010000010
H[???] Woolery21210010000000110001000000
S[???] Woolery20010100000000000100000000
Lawrence Woolery00000000000100000000000100
Joseph Woolery10001000000001001000000100
George Woolery11110010000000211001000000

The following Woolerys were found within a few lines of each other in the 1840 census for Palestine township, Cooper county, MO:

Names of
Heads of Families
James Woolery00001000000001000100000000
Abraham Woolery20320010000001200001000010
Henry Woolery00120001000000100000100000
Joseph Woolery20100100000001300100100000
George Woolery00120001000000011100100000
Stephen Woolery10200010000001300010000000

The James listed above must be a child of one of the other Woolerys, if his age of 20-29 years is correct.

Indiana. Unlike much of the rest of the family, two of Lawrence and Peggy's sons, Jacob and Michael, are accounted for in the 1820 census. They were in Lawrence county, Indiana, where they lived in Pleasant Run township the rest of their lives.

Michael Woolery married Jane Todd 28 Mar 1805 in Kentucky. The following list of their children was compiled from several sources of information available on the internet:

  1. Thomas Woolery, born 14 Jan 1806, married 14 May 18278 to Rebecca Mitchell, died 25 Jul 1831.
  2. Hannah Woolery, born 10 Jul 1807, married 13 Mar 18288 to Andrew Helton, died 29 Apr 1870 in Bloomington, IN. (My g-g-grandparents)
  3. Sarah "Sallie" Woolery, born 25 Mar 1809, married 29 Dec 18258 to Dangerfield Gregory, died 3 Dec 1864.9
  4. Margaret Woolery, born 21 Dec 1810, married 27 May 18308 to Robert Mitchell, died 28 Mar 1869.
  5. Mary "Polly" Woolery, born 11 Aug 1812, married 12 Oct 1856 to John M. Evans, died 18 Aug 1874.3
  6. Erie Woolery, born 15 Sep 1814, married about 2 Apr 18388 to Elizabeth Hanna, died 1 Mar 1847.2, 10
  7. Flora Woolery, born 14 Aug 1816, married 14 Dec 18418 to George A. Davis, died 5 Dec 1893.
  8. Isaac T. Woolery, born 9 Jul 1818, married 3 Feb 18418 in Jackson county, IN, to Sally Zollman, died 15 Oct 1896.11
  9. Zipporah Woolery, born 19 Apr 1820, married 11 May 18438 to Silas S. Reed, died 19 Jul 1901.
  10. Eli Woolery, born 31 Jan 1822, married 9 Feb 18438 to Mary Mathis (or Matthews), died 1902.

At least the first eight children were born in Kentucky, probably in Madison county, and the last two after the move to Lawrence county, Indiana, since Isaac and Flora's birthplaces are both listed in census records as KY.

Jacob Woolery married Hannah Todd 26 Mar 1808 in Kentucky. This family also came to Lawrence county, Indiana. Treva E. Peckham, who is the INGenWeb coordinator for Lawrence county, sent us the following articles which appeared in the Bedford Weekly Mail, Friday, 1 Sep 1899, upon the occasion of Jacob and Hannah's youngest son's death:

The following biographical sketch was given at the funeral of Joseph Woolery, by Prof. Ray of Harrodsburg, cousin of the deceased:

"In 1786 Lawrence Woolery emigrated from Germany to America and settled in Pennsylvania. Three weeks after the arrival Jacob Woolery was born.

"Jacob Woolery when a young man, moved with his brother to Kentucky, where he met Hannah Todd to whom he was married in the year 1808. The couple emigrated to Indiana in 1818 and settled near Heltonville.

"There was 15 children born to this couple, four of whom died before reaching the years of maturity. The remaining 11 children lived to have families of their own, and their descendants have become numerous, living in many states of the Union.

"The names of the 11 children were:

"Today we bury Uncle Joe, the last one of the family."

The funeral of Joseph Woolery at Gilgal last week was the largest that ever took place in Pleasant Run township, Fifty old soldiers were in line, 16 attending from Bedford.

Mr. Woolery had a presentiment of his death and a few days before chose the place where he wished to be buried.


Joseph Woolery was born Dec. 8th, 1830, died Aug. 23rd, 1899. He died very suddenly of heart disease just after eating a hearty breakfast. The shock was very great to his family and friends.

He was the last of a family of 15 children. He was at one time a leading stock dealer, was elected Justice of the Peace several times and at one time began the study of medicine under the late Dr. Joseph Stillson of Bedford. Uncle Joe served as a true soldier in Co. G, 31st regiment, Indiana Volunteers, during the Civil War, was severely wounded at the battle of Shiloh.

He leaves six children to mourn his loss. The family have the sympathy of many friends in their sad bereavement.


We tender our gratitude to those who administered to us, and extended sympathy, during our great sorrow from the unexpected loss of husband and father.


Treva says:

I read through the article and I believe Joseph would be a nephew of Michael. He is the son of Jacob & Hannah Todd Woolery.

This was read by Prof Ray; he would have been descended from Sally / Sarah Ann Woolery Ray, a sister of Joseph, and if this is accurate then Jacob was born in Pennsylvania and not Kentucky and any child of Lawrence who was born before 1786 would have been born in Germany... right?

She also provided the following list of marriages in Lawrence county, which account for most of Jacob and Hannah's children:

Quite a few of those who settled in Lawrence county are accounted for in the 1830 census:

Names of
Heads of Families
Thomas Woolery00001000000002000100000000
John Y. Dunlavy00001000000000000100000000
Jacob Woolery00010010000001230010000000
Andrew Helton10001000000000000100000000
Dangerfield Gregory20001000000001000100000000

As Michael and Jacob's children grow up and move out, we find them in the 1840 census with their own households:

Names of
Heads of Families
Peter Woolery00000000100001120010000000
Dangerfield Gregory00200100000001210010000000
Jane Woolery00011000000000000300100000
Jonathan Woolery11001000000002000100000000
Jacob Woolery01100001000000011200100000
John Y. Dunlavy10000100000001200100000000
Eri [?] Woolery10001000000000010100000000
Andrew Helton01110100000002200100000000
James D. Dunlavey00001000000001001000000000
Henry Mise10001000000000000100000000

By the time of the 1850 census, Michael and Jane's daughter, Hannah, moves away to Monroe county with husband Andrew Helton and their family. Several of her siblings stay on in Lawrence county and start their own families. We were able to locate the following siblings in Pleasant Run township:

Michael's brother Jacob was also enumerated in Pleasant Run along with Hannah, their two youngest sons, and a 6-year-old who may be their granddaughter or niece. They had the following children living nearby:

I've come across a number of newspaper articles in the Bloomington and Bedford newspapers, as well as census records and web sites, which mention various Woolerys. Since the Woolery families of the late 18th and early 19th centuries included large numbers of male offspring, there are many more people with this surname in later records than we have time to investigate. Any research into this family is further complicated by their use of the same given names over and over in different families.

There was a Marshall Woolery serving as principal of the Marshall township school in Lawrence county in 1898 and one of the teachers there was a Miss Emma Woolery.

There were several items around the beginning of the 20th century which mention a Dr. Perry Woolery, who practiced medicine in Heltonville, and another doctor, Homer Woolery, practicing in Bloomington, whose advertisement appeared on the front page of the Bloomington Telephone, 23 May 1905:

325 North College Avenue
Office Hours 10-12 AM
Telephone 888

A visitor to our site called our attention to a page listing the "State College of Physicians and Surgeons Class of 1907" which includes Homer Woolery. We're not sure how he could have been practicing medicine in 1905 if he hadn't graduated yet, but things may have been different in those days!

Another prominent Woolery was Sergeant Burton Woolery, who served in the Rainbow Division during World War I and lost his life in France 29 July 1918. American Legion Post 18 in Bloomington was named in his memory. The Bloomington Evening World, for 11 February 1922, published a list of "Thirty-one Men From Here Lose Lives In The War" which includes:

Sgt. Woolery is listed in some places as Henry Burton Woolery, but is listed as Burton in the 1910 census with his family in Bloomington. He is a great-grandson of Jonathan and Harriet Woolery. There is extensive information available on his family as a part of the Scheuts family site.

The news item below is from an undated clipping I found in my grandmother's scrapbook. At the time I found it, I guessed that Mr. Reed's mother was either a sister or aunt of my great-great-grandmother, since one of Hannah's daughters bears the same name, which according to Exodus 2:21 is the name of Moses' wife. My guess was correct. Zipporah (Woolery) Reed (see above) was Hannah's younger sister, according to the Moon site and according to gedcom files available at the LDS FamilySearch site. It's quite likely my grandmother was well acquainted with the people mentioned in the article.



Over one hundred neighbors, friends and relatives gathered at the country house of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Crum, west of the city, to do honor to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Reed, whose golden wedding anniversary occurs this Thanksgiving. The sumptuous dinner was served informally to the large gathering, many of whom had driven out from the city, to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Reed.

Mr. Reed has lived in the city and county since a boy. He was the son of Dr. Silas and Zipporah Woolery Reed. Mrs. Reed was Josephine Holtzman, daughter of Augustine Holtzman, who owned and operated a large woolen mill near Fourth and Grant streets. They were married in the old brick church on the corner of Washington and Fourth streets, Nov. 1879 by a Baptist minister, Rev. A. B. Charpie. They have a daughter, Mrs. Elsie Crum and a son, Clyde Reed, attorney of Fort Wayne, and four interesting grand children.

1 Buried at Old Mt. Nebo cemetery, which was established on Henry Woolery's land near Palestine, Missouri. The town of Palestine was later renamed Speed.
2 Buried at Gilgal cemetery, near Heltonville, Indiana.
3 Polly and John were enumerated in Flinn township, Lawrence county, in the 1860 census, along with her mother, Jane (Todd) Woolery, whose occupation was listed as a "widow lady". Jane's birthplace was given as NC and Polly's as KY.
4 Jacob and Hannah were enumerated in Pleasant Run township in the 1860 census. Jacob's birthplace was given as PA, which agrees with the story in his son's obituary. Jacob's grandson Lee O. Woolery was a lawyer who moved to Tombstone, AZ, before 1900 and served as the Assistant Cochise County Clerk there.
5 If the birth dates and places of Stephen and Hannah's children are accurate, they arrived in Missouri no later than 1828. However, there's an interesting anomaly in the 1850 census records. This couple was counted twice, along with the same twelve children, with many minor variations between the first and second readings which were found more than 80 pages, and a month in time, apart. They were enumerated just once in the in the 1860 census, along with eight children, some of whose names seem to have changed since 1850!
6 James and Margaret were living in Madison county, KY, in 1860, along with several Todds (their daughter's family?), and with other Woolerys listed on the same census page. If their 1822 marriage date is correct, perhaps James stayed behind in Kentucky, or returned there, to woo and win young Margaret!
7 Joseph, Nancy and their children were in Cooper county for both the 1850 and 1860 censuses. They also seem to have arrived in Missouri by 1828. We don't know whether all the Woolerys arrived together. One of Joseph's Woolery neighbors was reported to be 28 years old in 1850, and born in KY, while another was said to be 25 and born in MO.
8 Marriage date is taken from the Indiana marriages before 1850 data base. Unless otherwise indicated, the marriage took place in Lawrence county.
9 There's some confusion as to the name of Sarah's husband. We have the following data: We'll stick with Dangerfield Gregory for now.
10 This young man's first name appears in some places as Eric. Treva informs us that she has seen his grave marker at Gilgal Cemetery, on which the name Erie is indeed carved.
11 Isaac, Sally and a daughter were in Jackson county for the 1880 census. This was the first census in which the birthplaces of parents were recorded; Isaac's parents were both said to be born in Kentucky. Sally's obituary in the Bedford Mail says that her 26 Dec 1897 death occurred at Guthrie Creek, which is in Lawrence county:
FRIDAY, JAN. 7, 1898 Obituary. - Sally Zollman was born July 6th, 1818; was married to Isaac T. Woolery February 18th, 1841; and died December 26th, 1897.  The funeral took place at Guthrie creek church, Monday afternoon, Eld. Brengle conducting the services.  Deceased had been ill for some time, but bore her afflictions patiently.  She was a lady of many virtues, an admirable wife and mother, gentle and unassuming; but filling every duty in life with a full measure of devotion. The sweetness of her character made her beloved by all who knew her, and she leaves a large circle of sorrowing friends. Of all dreary heartaches, of all earth's most dejected wretched woes come there anything to compare with the inmates of a broken household?  Even while in inanimate form was with them, they could not comprehend their loss. They might still look upon the casket, and fancy that sleep alone has laid his hand upon it, and that with the awakening day their idol might open its eyes upon them. Alas! That day when the coffin enshrined with its gloomy shadows the form of mother Woolery, when the pall bearers had borne her lifeless form over the threshold, when the somber hearse was taking it from its home; when the cold earth had dropped upon the coffin lid, then, oh! Then the sorrowing friends realize their loss. The bereaved family have the sympathy of all who know them. Dear sorrowing friend, "Be of good cheer." Though the parting with those we love be sorrowful beyond expression-it is but for a moment-is the sorrow of a night of which the morning shall break soon, without a cloud and with which joy cometh. 'Tis natural to yield to sorrow and cease refuse antagonizing the will of Divinity in such matters, but sincere reasoning upon the subject should change your sorrow to joy. Dear friends,
"Think that with her the strife is o'er;
Life's stormy, struggling battle ended;
Hope that her soul has gained that shore,
To which her footsteps tended,
Breathe the dare hope above the sod,
And leave her to her rest and God."
Written by - A. FRIEND.
12 The following news item appeared in the Bedford Star's 24 Apr 1875 edition:
Mrs. Jonathan WOOLERY was buried at Heltonville on Sunday last.
This page was last updated 6 May 2013.