THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LXVII JANUARY, 1964 No. 3
Alexander Pew Wooldidge
RUTH ANN OVERBECK
T A QUARTER PAST TWO IN THE AFTERNOON ON APRIL 13, 1847,
a child was born to Absalom Davis Wooldridge and Julia
Webber Stone Wooldridge of New Orleans, Louisiana.
As if he were a prophet, Wooldridge, in noting the birth of his
son in a diary, wrote, "I trust he will become a useful and good
man if he lives." Not only did Alexander Penn Wooldridge, as
the child was named, grow into manhood, but he spent his life
in good and useful service to his fellowman.
Penn, as the boy soon was called, had excellent examples to
follow. His father, born in 181o, lived most of his younger life
on the Mississippi frontier. Since his mother died while Absalom
was still an infant and his father died when his son was fourteen,
the youth early developed a sense of inner strength and inde-
pendence. For companions, Absalom chose books and people
much older than he. In a diary which Absalom began while in
his twenties, he wrote of his desire to own and know good books
and many references were made to the various works which he
read for pleasure as well as scholarship.
When Absalom was seventeen, he joined the Methodist Epis-
copal Church. Many people among the congregation realized the
young man's potential and urged that he attend college, offering
monetary help as well as moral support. Wooldridge attended
Franklin College in Athens, Georgia, for three years, then mar-
ried a lovely young woman known as "Susan" and thought by
the Wooldridge descendants to be a distant cousin of her husband.
It was through her encouragement and help that he received
'Diary of Absalom Davis Wooldridge (original in possession of Mabel Wooldridge
Benson, Austin), I, I, 11.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed September 23, 2014.