The Woodard plantations.

Woodard Family Rural Historic District is a national historic district located near Wilson, Wilson County, North Carolina. It encompasses 29 contributing buildings in a rural area near Wilson. The district developed between 1830 and 1911 and includes notable examples of Colonial Revival and Greek Revival style architecture. Notable buildings include the William Woodard House, built circa 1832; the Woodard House, build circa 1855; William Woodard Jr. House, built circa 1850; and Elder William Woodard Sr. House, built later. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Per the Nomination Form, the historic district consists of a cluster of farmhouses and outbuildings built on land acquired by William Woodard in the 1820s and ’30s. The 550-acre district in eastern Wilson County is located in the fork of Toisnot Swamp and White Oak Swamp. Most of the land is cleared for agriculture, but there is a large timbered section near Buck Branch. The main houses of the district are located along modern Alternate Highway 264, which largely follows the route of the antebellum Wilson to Greenville Plank Road. “Associated with the agricultural prosperity in the eastern part of present Wilson County during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Woodard Family Rural Historic District is indicative of the character and diversity of rural life in the area.”

This rural life, of course, was supported by many dozens of enslaved people and, later, tenant farmers. In 1852, after William Woodard was declared dead years after disappearing during a trip to Texas, his estate went into probate, and his assets were distributed to his heirs. Fifty-five men, women and children, valued at more $19,000, were divided thus:

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Their names: Mintas, Siller, Ginny, Rose, Easther, Thain, Dark, Pleasant, Morris, Blont, Ben, Arch, Alford, Tom, Peg, Rody, Silvier, Charlot, Liberty, George, Jonathan, Jim, Rachel, Nancy, Ned, Elizur, Sarah, Cherry, Amy, Harry, Gray, John, Jess, Piety, Edy, Mandy, Little Rose, Mal, Lewis, Lizzy, Sal, Little Mintas, Mariah, Hiliard, Beck, Phereby, Little Ned, Simon, London, Amos, Harrit, Richard, Dennis, Randol, and Venice.

These 55 people did not represent the total of the Woodard family’s human capital however. William’s widow Elizabeth Woodard, for example, had reported 67 slaves in the 1850 federal slave schedule. Her sons William Jr., Warren, James S., and Calvin reported 21, 21, 14 and 18, respectively, in the 1860 slave schedule.

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The heart of the Woodard Family Rural Historic District today.

Estate Record of William Woodard, North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

13 comments

  1. this is my families land and I only have been once as a small child and since then my father has passed so I know virtually nothing other than what this report and the PDF file have to say, if you have any more information or pictures it would mean the world to me if you could share them or point me in the right direction , thank you so much!

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    1. My name is Albert Woodard,My true Hebrew name is Yisrael Niv Adam’ard.I am wide awake and under no submission to worldly sins and iniquitiesI love all Woodards .only 1 Woodard plantation 1 fam 1punishment from our Abba .let’s become 1.

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  2. My name is Shonda Woodard-Venson. My family is from Tennessee. I think some are from Kentucky as well. Are these Woodard’s related to us as well? I would love to know more about my family.

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    1. I don’t know. The white Woodards, who were a single extended family, migrated primarily into Georgia, Alabama, and the Deep South. Today’s African-American Woodards descend from hundreds of people enslaved by white Woodards and do not constitute a single family. Absent paper records, DNA testing is the only way to determine a link between your family in Tennessee and these Woodards.

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  3. The Black Woodard Family, Sylvester, Floyd, Frederick, Linwood, Pet, Ben, etc were living in Wilson, Black Creek, and other Eastern Wilson locations. These are the men I remember. Sylvester was married to Betty Powell daughter to Elijah and Sarah Tabron (Powell) whose mother was a slave.
    Sylvester (S.V.) Woodard (Pastor, Overseer, Bishop) family has had family reunions for over 50 years. Most were in Wilson. The family is on Ancestry.com. This could be a start of more research. Sylvester and Betty birthed 14 kids. There were 3 sets of twins; 2boys, 2girls and a boy & girl. 2 births were within 12 months of each other. Yup…. they were busy.

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