Benjamin Woodruff, Revolutionary soldier

Revolutionary-War-Era-Prussian-Flintlock-MusketToday’s post will take us considerably further back in time than most of my posts, to the Revolutionary War and my 7th-great-grandfather on my maternal side, Benjamin Woodruff (1744–1837). My impetus for writing this post is my recent discovery of a mystery that I’d like to solve someday, or at least learn more about.

In my last post, I spoke of my 3rd-great-grandfather Horace L. Scott, and his death from tuberculosis that he contracted while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War and participating in the Red River Campaign in Louisiana. Horace died at age 28 and left his wife, Caroline (Woodruff) Scott, a widow at the young age of 22. The Benjamin Woodruff of this post is the 2nd-great-grandfather (great-great-grandfather) of Caroline (see the chart below).
Benjamin Woodruff treeSons_of_the_American_RevolutionA couple of years ago, I was doing some work on my Woodruff line, using the databases to learn what information I could find on Benjamin Woodruff. As he was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, I found a few Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) applications from his descendants who wished to use his Revolutionary War service to support their claims of being descended from an ancestor who actively supported the American Revolution.

I reviewed one of these applications and added it to my database of genealogical documents, but I didn’t read the application in its entirety until today. Here’s the application (SAR #17201) that caught my attention, submitted by Charles Marius Woodruff, an attorney from Detroit, Michigan, in 1904:

SAR 17201_1SAR 17201_2SAR 17201_3SAR 17201_4

The application reads as a normal SAR application (who is the applicant’s Revolutionary War ancestor?, how is the applicant related to the ancestor?, what did the ancestor do to show active support for the Revolution?, what evidence supports these assertions?), until the very end of the application.

After detailing Benjamin Woodruff’s Revolutionary War service, the applicant makes the following statement (beginning at the bottom of page 5):

The above is from the records of the New Jersey State Adjutant General’s Office; My father and uncles, also my grandfather have told me many incidents of my greatgrandfather’s services and experiences as related to them by himself. Shortly before my great-grandfathers death in 1837 he applied for a pension (see New Jersey Adjutants letter herewith) from Washtenaw County, Mich. The facts concerning his birth (Nov. 26, 1744) and other data on second page of this application are taken from the family bible I have often seen in my grandfather’s house, and now in the possession of Mr. William Woodruff at Rockwood, Mich.; as is also the gun my great grandfather carried during all the Revolutionary war.

Wow—thank you for that bit of detail, Mr. Charles Marius Woodruff! According to Charles, as of 1904 there still existed a family bible documenting the birth of Benjamin Woodruff (although not necessarily contemporaneously), as well as the gun that Benjamin used while fighting the Revolutionary War.

By 1904, Benjamin’s gun had survived 121 years since the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. Is it possible that it has survived another 109 years since 1904? Since the gun and bible had survived long enough to become revered and cherished family heirlooms, it’s not unrealistic to hope that they survived the last century. Of course, at any point over the course of the last century, the bible or the gun could have been destroyed, sold, lost, stolen, thrown away, forgotten, or some combination of these.

But Charles Woodruff was kind enough to leave some helpful clues, and I love a good mystery, so I’ll be looking into tracking the bible and gun down in the coming months and years. If you know anything that could help in this search, please let me know in the comments. I’ll post updates as the search progresses.

10 thoughts on “Benjamin Woodruff, Revolutionary soldier

  1. Who wrote his post? We must be related, as I am related to Caroline (Woodruff) Scott because Benjamin Woodruff was my G-G-G-G grandfather.

    • Sorry for the delay in responding. I wrote this post, and as I am the G-G-G grandson of Caroline Woodruff Scott, you and I must be third cousins, once removed. I’ll write you directly in a moment so that we may properly introduce ourselves and figure out just how we’re related.

      All the best,


        • Can you tell me more about Benjamin and Richard? The Benjamin I wrote about in this post came from NJ, but moved to Michigan and was buried there in 1837.

          • I was putting flags on revolutionary war grave sites and the last one was Richard Wooduff see my Facebook cover page was doing research on him and stumbled on to this site contact me on my email cause this site times out too quickly

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  3. Hello!
    I am the Fayette County Indiana Historian. I have been researching Stephen Woodruff who lived around Morristown NJ in the 1860s. His daughter Phebe married Lewis Sofield and came to Indiana about 1810.
    Phebe said that her father died in the Revolution at Fort Stanwix. She also said she had a brother who served. She was born in 1767.
    Does any of this sound familiar? She died in Richmond, Indiana, one day short of her 105th birthday. Our DAR chapter would like to honor her as the daughter of a soldier, although she had no children who could have joined either SAR or DAR.
    Anything you might be aware of would be appreciated!

    • Hi Donna,

      I’ve only just started to look into the Woodruff line, but I’ve checked my offline database and I couldn’t find any of the specific names you mentioned. Given the identical surname, locality, and time period, it seems likely that the Woodruffs you’re looking for are related to the Woodruffs I’m researching. Let’s do keep each other in mind if/when we discover additional Woodruff info!


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