SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

William B. Woods, 1881-1887

Justice William B. Woods, 1881-1887
WILLIAM B. WOODS was born on August 3, 1824, in Newark, Ohio. He attended Western Reserve College for three years and then transferred to Yale College, where he received an undergraduate degree in 1845. Woods returned to Newark and read law with a local attorney. He was admitted to the bar in 1847, and he established a law practice with his former mentor. In 1856, he was elected Mayor of Newark. Two years later he was elected to the Ohio State House of Representatives and became Speaker. Woods joined the Union Army in 1862. He served at Shiloh and Vicksburg with General William Sherman. He was mustered out of service in 1866 with the rank of Major General. He remained in the South and established a law practice in Bentonville, Alabama. Woods was elected Chancellor of the Middle Chancery Division of Alabama in 1868. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Woods to the Circuit Court for the Fifth Circuit in 1869. President Rutherford B. Hayes nominated Woods to the Supreme Court of the United States on December 15, 1880. The Senate confirmed the appointment on December 21, 1880, making him the first Associate Justice appointed from a Confederate state after the Civil War. He served six years on the Supreme Court and died on May 14, 1887, at the age of sixty-two.