A Civil War Veteran Comes Home

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This distinguished looking guy with the full mustache is Roliston Woodbury.  A great name, isn’t it?  If I were to write a novel set at a teacher’s college in New England just after the Civil War, I would invent a character, a war hero who returns to school at the age of 26, and I would name him Roliston Woodbury. And this wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination.  Woodbury survived the Battles of Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before returning to Maine and attending Farmington Normal School. He graduated in 1867 and immediately became a faculty member and assistant to the principal.  About ten years later Woodbury got the opportunity to run a school himself. He left to become principal of Farmington’s sister school, the Eastern Maine Normal School at Castine.

Unfortunately, Woodbury was only at Castine for about ten years before he died at the young age of forty-eight.  Those who knew him said that despite his successes in education, the war always haunted him. “The death he had faced so often followed on his steps, and in his later years, walked by his side, and he knew it,” observed a colleague in a memorial speech about Woodbury. “Yet it was his choice to stand at his post to the last…”

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About Luann Yetter

Luann Yetter is the author of Bar Habor in the Roaring Twenties, Portland's Past and Remembering Franklin County, all published by the History Press. She is a writing instructor at the University of Maine at Farmington. She has had a life-long interest in social history beginning with a steady diet of Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a little girl in the Midwest. She now lives in an 18th century house in a small town in Maine and loves to "time travel" when she writes.
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6 Responses to A Civil War Veteran Comes Home

  1. ken woodbury says:

    Hi. I’m Kenneth Woodbury. Roliston is my Great-Great-Grandfather. Thank you for the vignette. I’d never seen a picture and stumbled on it doing some genealogical searching on the internet. Ironic, really, as I pass through Farmington all the time on my way North and had forgotten he came there from Castine. You probably will never see this but had to comment in case you do. 🙂

    • Luann Yetter says:

      Thanks for writing! The picture of your great-great-grandfather is a photo I took of a huge framed photograph I found in the basement of the Alumni House on the UMF campus. From what I could tell, it seems your ancestor cheated death a few times in the Civil War. I don’t think many soldiers fought in that many battles and then came home in one piece. An interesting character!

      • ken woodbury says:

        Alumni House…thanks! I may have to stop and pay him(or his photo) a visit. As a UMP grad maybe they’ll let me in!

  2. Luann Yetter says:

    If you do, ask for Katie Baum. I’ll tell her you may stop by some day.

    • ken woodbury says:

      Hi, Luann. Yes, I stopped by briefly on the way South last Thursday PM. Place was wide open but not a soul in sight. May have been a closed door meeting going on. Not my place to interrupt. Geez, antiques abound! I’ll stop by again soon. Also, do you object to my including a copy of the above text in my ancestry.com genealogical(god, I hate to spell that word!) tree?

      I believe I owe you a coffee or something!
      Thanks,
      Ken

  3. Luann Yetter says:

    Sorry you couldn’t find anyone. You can tell we’re pretty laid back on this campus! Yes, feel free to use my entry in your genealogy.

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