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Special Collections: Guide to the Woodsum Family Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
April 2010

Collection title: Woodsum Family Papers
Collection number: MS 1602
Dates of collection: 1824-1890s (bulk)
Size of collection: 1 document box (17 folders)
Provenance: Gift of the estate of Harriet Woodsum, Old Town, Maine, in October 2007
Restrictions on access and use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility; one week's notice required for retrieval


William Woodsum was born in 1792 in Saco, Maine, the son of John and Sarah Woodsum. In 1814 he married Rosannah Woodman of Leeds, Maine, and they settled in Sumner, Maine, where they lived for about 17 years. In 1831 the family moved to Peru, Maine. Woodsum was ordained in 1823 as a Free Will Baptist and preached in about 20 Maine towns. He also served in the Maine legislature in 1833 and was a selectman in Peru in 1834 and 1836.

William Woodsum, Jr., a son of William and Rosannah Woodsum, was born in 1826. In 1856 he married Harriet Matilda Demeritt, daughter of James Madison Demeritt and Harriet Galucia Demeritt, and they had two sons: Ralph Madison Woodsum and Nathaniel Bragdon Woodsum. Woodsum taught school, had a general store in West Peru, was a justice of the peace, served in the Maine legislature in 1876, and was on the Board of County Commissioners for Oxford County from 1889 to 1894.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains papers of various members of the Woodsum family, especially William Woodsum, his son William Woodsum, Jr., and William’s son Nathaniel B. Woodsum. These typically include correspondence, deeds and other legal documents and account books and ledgers. Genealogies of the Woodsum family compiled by various family members are also found in the collection. A folder of papers of the Demeritt family is also included, as are documents from the Free Will Baptist Church in Peru and copies of intentions of marriage issued by the town clerk in Peru in the 1880s and 1890s.

Miscellaneous documents with no clear connection to the Woodsum or Demeritt families, perhaps belonging to the donor of the papers, are also included in the collection.

Box List

Box 1


1 Genealogy of the Woodsum family as written by R. Madison Woodsum

2 Papers of Rev. William Woodsum, 1824-1867

3 William Woodsum’s book of account, 1815-1864

4 Papers of William Woodsum, Jr., 1855-1886, undated

5 Papers of Harriet Demeritt Woodsum, undated

6 Papers of Nathaniel B. Woodsum, 1880s-1890s

7 Ledger of Nathaniel B. Woodsum, 1870s

8 Account book, 1871, 1901, unidentified

9 Woodsum papers, miscellaneous

10 Demeritt family papers

11 Free Will Baptist Church, Peru: list of notes, undated; accounts of building committee, 1889

12 Intentions of marriage, Peru, 1880s-1890s

Miscellaneous material

13 Invoices of Charles Chase, Portland, 1858-1861

14 Two photographs on glass of unidentified women

15 Photograph: Entering class, 1940, Gorham Normal

16 Wooden souvenir key

17 Insurance documents, 1940s, of John Grover, Limerick


Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/31/2015
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