The Elsie Sun

L. Austin, Proprietor

Elsie Mich. Friday, Oct. 30, 1885

Page 4


Another Pioneer Gone

Died, at his home in Elba, Michigan, Wednesday, October 14th, 1885, James Wooley, at the advanced age of 96 years and 9 months.

Mr. Wooley’s strength failed rapidly for the last few months, not that disease was preying on his mortal body, for it was not said that Mr. Wooley was sick, but that time was doing its work. The sands of life must run out–there is no staying their continual dropping. Some of his last days were sad ones to the family, for the reason that his memory was quite gone, his reason impaired, and for some few weeks he was totally blind; so at times he would say, “what a long night, when will it be morning?”

Mr. Wooley was father of ten children six of whom, with numerous other relatives were present at the funeral. Among the mourners were two brothers of the deceased, whose ages were respectively seventy-six and seventy-nine. The funeral services were held at Elsie, in the F.B. church. Text, Hebrews 11–10; sermon by the pastor, Rev. Ira Allen.

Mr. Wooley was born in New Jersey, January 15th, 1789, just three months and 15 days preceeding the inauguration of the first president of the United States. He was old enough to hurrah for Washington on his second election. Mr. W. lived through all the presidential campaigns except Washington’s first. He witnessed the old ship of state pass through many severe gales, but did not live to witness her founder. We are proud to know we live contemporary with men that knew our republic in its infancy and lived to see it become a Hercules amid the earth’s mighty nations.

Mr. W. remained in New Jersey until about the age of 22, when he removed to the state of New York where he married. He remained in New York for about thirty-four years, when with his family he emigrated to the south part of Michigan, and remained there until the year 1855 or ’56, when he came to Gratiot County, and here he ended his days.

Mr. W. was an old man when he came to Elba. A man of iron constitution, to come to the front the age of 66. Elba, thirty years ago was a border settlement, but uncle James was equal to the hardships of a pioneer life. None but those who came about that time have a full, complete idea of the difficulties to meet. The writer remembers when Mr. W. came to look for a location for his family. He stopped with old Mr. Letts, who lived where Mr. Waring now lives. Mr. Letts had a small clearing, the only one on the section. Mr. Letts and wife, three sons and one daughter, and as we now call it to mind, sixteen other pioneers, neighbors to Mr. W. have long since passed over the river, while but one of his family preceeded him to the long home.

We think the object of Mr. Wooley’s coming to this new country was to settle his family near the parental home. In this he succeeded beyond an average, for most families scatter. All of his boys, four in number, own farms on the home section. Few men live to be 96 years old and his family all near enough to attend his funeral. Few men that bear the toil and hardships of pioneer life as did Mr. W. without contracting some disease, so we think he was a man of excellent habits.

But the long, eventful life has closed.

The widow of Mr. Wooley still remains to claim the care and attention of the children, and we have no doubt that those that cared so tenderly for Father will gently lead Mother down Time’s steps to the tomb.

A word to remaining pioneers. We are reminded that our numbers are being rapidly depleted, soon the last name will be called. Let us then seek for that city that hath foundations referred to in the text.


submitted by J. Leydorf October 2001