John Virgil Woodhurst

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Brief biography

John Virgil Woodhurst was born at Monroe City in Monroe Co., Missouri on November 18th 1891 to parents Robert Cook Woodhurst and his wife Ann Eliza Jane (nee) Slaughter [IGI: Batch 8429303].

The US 1900 Census finds him at age "8" living with his parents in Salt River township, Ralls Co., Missouri and confirms his birthdate as November 1891.

The US 1910 Census finds him at age "19", his middle initial rendered as "B" instead of "V", living in Vineland Precinct, Asotin Co., Washington State in the household of an orchard labourer Henry C. Miller. He was one of five servants employed there as orchard labourers.

He married Nora Cecil (nee) Hatfield on February 24th 1914 at Eugene, Lane Co. in Oregon [IGI: Batch 8429303]. Her middle name is rendered as "Cecel" in this and other sources, and it is uncertain which spelling is correct. She was born at Gilman in Madison Co., Indiana on October 2nd 1897 to parents Tracy Marshall Hatfield and his wife Marinda Jane (nee) Dowling.

His WW1 Draft Registration Card, dated June 5th 1917, describes him as a labourer in a logging camp working for a logging company in Rujada, Oregon and as having brown hair and dark blue eyes.

The US 1920 Census finds him and Nora with their first two children living in North Bend township, Coos Co., Oregon where he was occupied as a logger in a logging camp. His brother Fred Raymond was living with him and was in the same occupation.

He was listed, with Nora, in a City Directory for Portland, Oregon in 1924 as residing at 9321, SE 51st Avenue and occupied as a logger.

The US 1930 Census finds him living with Nora and six children in Tenth township, San Pablo in Contra Costa Co., California. He was now a labourer with a gas pipeline company.

A Voter Registration List for 1938 lists him and Nora as residing at 1452, "A" Street in Eureka, Humboldt Co., California, giving his occupation as carpenter.

The US 1940 Census finds him living with Nora and four children at this same address. He was occupied as a labourer.

By 1942 their marriage was evidently breaking up. John's WW2 Draft Registration Card, issued in that year, shows that he had changed his address to 916, 2nd Street in Eureka. The person who would always know his address was entered not as Nora but as his mother, then living in Redwood City. He was working in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, Solano Co., California. In late August 1942 Nora filed against John for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty, as reported in The Sacramento Bee, issue of September 1st.

It is not clear what the outcome was of Nora's divorce filing. On January 17th 1944 a summons dated January 3rd against John (his name spelt in full) was published in the Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada summoning him to appear before a court to defend against a divorce claim lodged by a plaintiff "Jessie Woodhurst" on the grounds of extreme cruelty. One possibility is that "Jessie" was Nora using a nickname, although the latter has not been seen in relation to her in any other sources. Alternatively, it may be that John and Nora had already divorced and that he had remarried a woman named Jessie, who was now also divorcing him. In the years ahead the California newspapers contain numerous references to Nora continuing by the name "Mrs Nora Woodhurst". It is a puzzle.

The California Deaths Database states that he died on February 26th 1959, having Social Security Number 564-05-1113, and that he had resided in Alameda Co., California. His death does not seem to be recorded in the American Social Security Death Index. Descendants report that he died at Oakland and was buried in the Lonetree Cemetery at Hayward, Alameda Co. on February 29th.

Nora died at Chehalis in Lewis Co., Washington State on October 8th 1963 and was buried at Centralia in that county on October 12th.

His children by Nora Cecil Hatfield

  1. Virgil Cecil Woodhurst
  2. Jesse Daniel Woodhurst
  3. June Louvina Woodhurst
  4. Roy Sumner (1) Woodhurst
  5. George Calvin Woodhurst - born December 21st 1924 at Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon
  6. Jane Louisa Woodhurst - born September 19th 1929 at Sheridan, Yamhill Co., Oregon
  7. Jack Gene Woodhurst - born May 17th 1936 at Rohnerville, Humboldt Co., California