Woodville Family
Woodville Page

James L. Woodville obituary

Cary Woodville obituary

Bessie Woodville obituary

Margaret W. Cannon and Frances Furguson obituaries


The Woodville Family

Of Monroe County, WV and Botetourt County, VA


James Littlepage Woodville (James L. 1791-1848) was the grandson, son, and brother of consecutive rectors of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Culpeper, Virginia.  His mother, Sarah Stevenson, was a niece of Lewis Littlepage, renowned “soldier of fortune” who accompanied Benjamin Franklin to Paris and was later Count of Poland and Advisor to Catherine of Russia. One of Sarah’s brothers was Andrew Stevenson, Speaker of the House of Representatives (1828-1834) and U.S. Minister to England (1836-1841).  After retiring from politics, Andrew Stevenson purchases “Blenheim” near Charlottesville and served as Rector of the University of Virginia until his death in 1857.


James L. Woodville read law with Andrew Stevenson in Richmond, and by 1815 had moved to Sweet Springs, Monroe County, and purchases 310 acres there.  In 1817 he married Mary Sophia Lewis, daughter of Mary Preston and John Lewis.  After the death of their first son and before the birth of their second, they moved to Fincastle, Botetourt County, where James L. Woodville practiced law from 1802 to 1842.  The had no more children.


In 1824, by virtue of his “intermarriage” with Mary Sophia Lewis, James L. Woodville was listed as one of the heirs of John Lewis, owner of the “Old Sweet.”  His share of the Lewis land was 722 acres lying along the Union Turnpike (apparently beginning at the site of “Little Lynnside,” (Lynn Spellman’s house).  In 1851 his son, Dr. James Lewis Woodville (J. Lewis, 1820-1904), purchased the adjoining “lot” which had been the share of John Peyton, who  “intermarried” with Ann Montgomery Lewis.


About the time of Mary Sophia’s death in 1836, James L. Woodville’s widowed mother came to Fincastle to make her home with him.  From at least 1838 until her mother’s death, Sarah Ann Woodville, James L.’s unmarried sister, was also a member of the household.  During this period J. Lewis Woodville was a student at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio (1836-1837), the University of Virginia (taking a degree in chemistry in 1840), and the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania (taking a medical degree in 1843).


About 1838 James L. Woodville and his mother and sister moved to Buchanan in Botetourt County, and in 1842 he became President of the Buchanan  Bank of Virginia.  In 1843  Sarah Stevenson Woodville died in Buchanan and was buried in Fincastle beside her daughter-in-law.  In 1844 James L. Woodville deeded his Fincastle property to his son.


Between 1844 and 1850 J. Lewis Woodville intermittently practiced medicine in Fincastle and engaged in further study in Philadelphia and Richmond.  The 1850 census lists him as single, physician, resident of Fincastle, property valuation of $10,000. Botetourt County records show numerous business connections between Cary Breckinridge and both Woodvilles. (The families were connected through the Prestons and the Lewises),  Two weeks before the death of James L. Woodville in April, 1848, J. Lewis Woodville and Cary Breckinridge were appointed administrators of his affairs.


Cary Breckinridge’s daughter, Mary Ann and Dr. J. Lewis Woodville were married in 1852 and moved immediately to Sweet Springs; his ledger for 1853 shows an extensive practice in Monroe County.   By 1854 they were planning “Glen Cary,” their home in Sweet Springs.  The first six Woodville children were born at “Grove Hill,” home of Mary Ann’s parents, and were baptized by Episcopal rectors of St. Mark’s in Fincastle.  Their seventh and last child, John Breckinridge Woodville, was born at Glen Cary in 1869 and was baptized in the Catholic faith.


J. Lewis Woodville was appointed surgeon in the Provisional Army of Virginia in May, 1861, and served with the 7th Virginia Regiment at Manassas Station and Fairfax C.H. until November, 1861, when his request for transfer to the Army hospital at Montgomery White Sulphur Springs (near Blacksburg) was approved.  He was in command at the “Montgomery White” hospital until early 1865, when he was moved to Powhatan C.H..  Mary Ann and the five children already born followed him to Powhatan in April, 1865, and the family resided at “Woodside” in that county for the remainder of the War.


The “Catholic conversion” at Sweet springs began in 1837 when William Lynn Lewis married his first cousin, Letitia Preston Floyd.  She and two of her sisters had become Catholics in Richmond while her father, John Floyd, was Governor.  Presumably a dispensation was required for the marriage between cousins, and they were married in New Orleans at the home of John Breckinridge Grayson (grandson of John Breckinridge of Kentucky and distant cousin of both bride and broom.)  William Lynn Lewis built St. John’s Catholic Chapel at Sweet Springs about 1840.  Their family Bible is an indication, among many other sources, of their prominence as Catholic laity.  Weddings and baptisms were often performed by nigh-ranking clergy at “Sedly,” their home near Columbia, S.C., and at “Lynnside” in Sweet Springs.


Mary Ann Woodville was received into the Catholic faith in 1867, and the six children who had been baptized in the Episcopal Church were soon given instruction and received into their mother’s Church.  Dr. J. Lewis Woodville was baptized in the Catholic Church in 1894, at age 77.  Family tradition has it that the Woodville conversion began near Richmond during the last year of the War when they observed the piety of the nursing Sisters of Charity.  However, throughout their marriage they had  lived close to their devout Lewis cousins and were already receptive to Catholic doctrine.


The present generations of Breckinridge, Woodville, and Lewis family cousins have two or more lines of descent from these closely related couples:


     Jane Preston and Alexander Breckinridge

     Elizabeth Patton and John Preston (Jane Preston Breckenridge’s brother)

     Mary Osborne and James Patton (Elizabeth Patton Preston’s brother)

     Margaret Lynn (first cousin of Elizabeth and James Patton) and John Lewis


The Breckinridges descend from the first two through the marriage of Letitia Preston (daughter of Elizabeth and John) to Robert Breckenridge (son of Jane and Alexander).*


The Woodvilles share this Preston-Breckenridge ancestry and additionally area descended from Colonel William Preston (son of Elizabeth and john( through his daughter Mary and From Margaret Lynn and John Lewis.


Madeleine Keiley’s children are descended from two daughters of Colonel William Preston (Mary and Letitia); from a granddaughter of Mary Osborne and James Pattton; and from Margaret Lynn and John Lewis.


Preston Woodville and his sisters were descended from all four of the couples through all the lines listed above.  His mother, Bessie Frederick, was a granddaughter of Letitia Preston Floyd and William Lynn Lewis.



Sarah (Sadie) Lewis, wife of Cary  B. Woodville, was also a granddaughter of Letitia Preston Floyd and William Lynn Lewis.  She and her first cousin, Bessie Frederick, were both born at “Lynnside,” their grandparents’ home.




* The descendants of this marriage use in in Breckinridge; descendants of Robert Breckenridge’s first marriage (to Mary Poage)