Woodworth, James H.

Born: 1804-12-04 Greenwich, New York

Died: 1869-03-26 Highland Park, Illinois

Woodworth left Greenwich, New York, at nineteen and moved to Onondaga County, New York, where he taught school and was a merchant. In 1827, he moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, serving as a justice of the peace there from 1829 to 1832. He then moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1833, where he owned a dry goods business until 1840. During this time, voters elected him to the Illinois Senate, representing DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will, and Cook counties, from 1838 to 1840. Voters then elected him to the Illinois House of Representatives, representing Cook County from 1842 to 1844. After his terms in the Illinois General Assembly, voters elected Woodworth as mayor of Chicago as an independent Democrat for two successive terms, from 1848 to 1850. In the 1850s, the independent Democratic movement he led in Chicago merged with the Whigs to form the Illinois Republican Party. In 1848, he married Almyra Booth, with whom he had three children. Woodworth was also the President of Merchants and Mechanics Bank of Chicago and Treasury Bank of Chicago. He was one of the founders of the first University of Chicago. He was also appointed a member of the Board of Water Commissioners in 1853. He served one term in the United States House of Representatives from 1855 to 1857 as a Republican. In 1860, he owned $30,000 in real estate and $5,000 in personal property.

John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 106, 207, 211; Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men of Chicago (Chicago: Wilson & St. Clair, 1868), 148-56; A. T. Andreas, History of Chicago: Ending with the Year 1857 (Chicago: A.T. Andreas, 1884), 603; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 182; Gravestone, Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago, IL.