The reader of this volume has no doubt already been impressed with the number of representative men of the race in West Virginia who came originally from Virginia. The Baptist ministry especially has been largely recruited from the Old Dominion. As a rule West Virginia may well be grateful for these adopted sons and the mother State has no reason to be ashamed of them. One of these is Rev. Williams [sic] Robert Woodson of Lester in Raleigh County. He is a native of that beautiful wouthwest sectio of the State, having been born in Washington County, Va., on January 19, 1877. His father, James Woodson, was a farmer, and the boy grew up on the farm. James Woodson married Mary Jones, daughter of Ephriam and Polina Jones.
The boyhood and youth of young Woodson was not different from that of other Virginia boys on the farm. He worked and played and went to the public schools. There was this, however, about the boy. From early childhood he had felt conscious that he was to be a preacher, and it was generally accepted by his playmates and friends that he would follow that course. As children play, they imitate the actions of older folks, and it was not unusual for young Woodson to be found conducting meetings at play. At the age of sicteen he experienced the new borth and joined the New Bethel Baptist church. He grew up in the atmosphere of the church and Sunday School and was encouraged on his way by both parents, who were members of the Baptist church. After growing to young manhood, Mr. Woodson worked on "public works," till he entered the ministry.
On December 30, 1908, he was married to Miss Marinda Mitchell, also of Washington County. The following year, on August 22, 1909, he was licensed to preach and four years after that, on August 29, 1913, was ordained to the full work of the Gospel ministry. He had come into West Virginia in 1909, and his first regular pastorate was the Springfield church in Mercer County, which he served three years. He preached at Shady Grove, Glen White, three years. He has been on the work at Friendship Church, Lester, for seven years. He was called to Powellton in Fayette County and served that church two years, while Mt. Airy at Layland held him one year. He has been serving the Mt. Joy church at Fireco for a year and Mt. Hope for a few months. So his present work includes Lester, Mt. Hope and Fireco. He has had a fruitful ministry and is active and prominent in the work of the denomination. For five years he has been Secretary of the Winding Gulf Baptist Association and for four years Second Vice President of West Virginia Baptist State Convention. He gives practically his whole time to church work. While he is a Republican in politics he has not been active. His lodge affiliations are with the Pythians.
Of course, in his reading and study the Bible and theological reading has the right of way. After that he finds history his most helpful line of reading.
Just now in his early prime Mr. Woodson is busy with affairs of the kingdom and may look to the future with confidence.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center