Edward Nelson Woodruff, 18621947 (aged 85 years)

Edward Nelson Woodruff
Edward Nelson /Woodruff/
Given names
Edward Nelson
Birth February 2, 1862 43 37
Mayor of Peoria Illinois

Marriage of a siblingFred LuthyLois WoodruffView this family
October 25, 1866 (aged 4 years)
Marriage of a siblingGeorge Francis EmersonHarriet Celestia WoodruffView this family
November 7, 1871 (aged 9 years)

Marriage of a siblingHenry Bruce MorganJeannette WoodruffView this family
May 5, 1874 (aged 12 years)

Death of a fatherNelson Lot Woodruff
October 20, 1879 (aged 17 years)
MarriageAnna SchmidtView this family
December 30, 1885 (aged 23 years)
Marriage of a siblingWilliam Travis IrwinIda WoodruffView this family
June 1, 1886 (aged 24 years)
Birth of a daughterMary Monroe Woodruff
November 23, 1886 (aged 24 years)
Death of a brotherChauncey Woodruff
December 15, 1886 (aged 24 years)
Death of a motherMary Monroe
May 25, 1899 (aged 37 years)
Death of a sisterIda Woodruff
August 7, 1899 (aged 37 years)

Death of a sisterLois Woodruff
May 29, 1906 (aged 44 years)
Death of a sisterJeannette Woodruff
March 2, 1910 (aged 48 years)
Death of a sisterHarriet Celestia Woodruff
January 22, 1929 (aged 66 years)
Death of a wifeAnna Schmidt
April 29, 1936 (aged 74 years)
Number of children


Death December 22, 1947 (aged 85 years)
Family with parents
Birth: May 16, 1818 29 30Coventry New York
Death: October 20, 1879Peoria Illinois
Birth: January 1, 1825Luzerne County Pennsylvania
Death: May 25, 1899Peoria Illinois
Marriage: 1845
20 months
elder sister
Birth: August 16, 1846 28 21Peoria Illinois
Death: January 22, 1929Peoria Illinois
5 years
elder sister
Birth: September 6, 1851 33 26Peoria Illinois
Death: May 29, 1906Pasadena California
3 years
elder sister
Birth: April 1, 1854 35 29Peoria Illinois
Death: March 2, 1910Peoria Illinois
2 years
elder brother
Birth: March 24, 1856 37 31Peoria Illinois
Death: December 15, 1886Peoria Illinois
4 years
elder sister
Birth: June 2, 1860 42 35Peoria Illinois
Death: August 7, 1899
20 months
Edward Nelson Woodruff
Birth: February 2, 1862 43 37Peoria Illinois
Death: December 22, 1947Peoria Illinois
Family with Anna Schmidt
Edward Nelson Woodruff
Birth: February 2, 1862 43 37Peoria Illinois
Death: December 22, 1947Peoria Illinois
Birth: July 21, 1865
Death: April 29, 1936Peoria Illinois
Marriage: December 30, 1885Peoria Illinois
11 months
Birth: November 23, 1886 24 21Peoria Illinois
Death: September 1, 1959Peoria Illinois
SourceWoodruff Geneology

He was mayor of Peoria 25 years


Woodruff High School in Peoria Illinois is named after Edward Nelson Woodruff. This is a biography of him from the High School Website in 2010.

With a firm purpose, a quick spirit, and a strong desire to fulfill the duties and obligations of a major leader in Peoria. Edward Nelson Woodruff was destined to become one of the most important political figures for many decades in Peoria's history. Not only was he a devoted politician in Peoria, but also he was an altruist. His liking for people later became the basis of the Woodruff Machine, as his political powers were often referred to. His ability to relate to people and his interest in them from all walks of life carried him through his many wins. His devotion to the city of Peoria showed through in his relentless efforts to make Peoria a thriving community maintained by peace and order.

Woodruff's family background in Peoria started when his father came here from New York in 1835. In 1855, his father founded the Woodruff Ice Company, which later would be turned over to his son, Edward. Woodruff's mother, Mary A. Monroe, came to this area from Pennsylvania in 1835 and later married Nelson Woodruff on October 15, 1846.

Little did she know that her son, Edward, born on February 2, 1863, in an unassuming house on the corner of Pecan Street and Washington, would grow to be one of the major influences in Peoria during a pivotal time in its history.

On the personal side, E.N. Woodruff was married to the former Miss Anna Schmidt for over 40 years until her death on April 29, 1936. They had one daughter, Mary Monroe Woodruff, who took care of her father after her mother's death. Father and daughter lived in the modest six room house at 1026 North Jefferson until Woodruff's death on December 22, 1947, after a three month illness.

Woodruff's political career began when he became an alderman of the first ward in 1899. He served two terms and was then elected to his first term as mayor in 1903. What he didn't know then was that he had embarked on a calling that would span 11 terms in 22 years and that he would be held in high regard. He was even once a candidate for governor of Illinois but was defeated. Many people credit Woodruff's success to the fact that he may have been a clever strategist; others say that his wit, intelligence, and magnetic personality attracted others to him. His critics say that he was a manipulator and possibly used under-the-table tactics to make Peoria thrive. Whatever his means and however many critics, Woodruff can certainly be remembered as one of the most likeable and successful politicians of his time.

Not only was Woodruff a successful politician, be he was a successful businessman, as well. His first taste of business affairs came as head the Woodruff Ice Company. His alertness in discovering new trends prompted Woodruff to improve his company until he sold it. Being a leader then in the ice field, he served as president of the Ice Dealers Association of Illinois. His business sense also led him to become treasurer and director of the Peoria Life Insurance Company, a director of the Bank of Peoria, and vice-president of Peoria Tent and Awning. In addition to many position, he also had several fraternal affiliations.

It is hard to believe that, even though Woodruff had so many obligations, he still found time to be a student and avid reader. He was well informed on a wide variety of subjects, but his main interest was government on all levels.

Several improvements were made over the many years of Woodruff's administration. These improvements included the building of many new structures such as the First National Bank Building, the Pere Marquette Hotel, the Peoria Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium, the City Garbage Department Building, and the long awaited Cedar Street Bridge. He improved the conditions of the police and fire departments, widened Jefferson Street, added almost 40 miles of pavement and cement sidewalks, and established Eckwood Park.

Edward Woodruff was a very special man to Peoria for over two decades, and he will not soon be forgotten.

Natalie Norgart Class of 1987