History of W.T. Woods
of W.T. Woods
Walter Thomas Woods
The National Cycopedia of the Colored (1919); p.477
“It often happens that a man’s talent as a financier is brought to light through other agencies than through the marts of trade. It was so with Walter Thomas Woods. He came into light as a financial genius by reason of his connections, in the main, with a number of fraternal organizations. Mr. Woods was born in Mobile, Alabama, February 14, 1872, which city is still his place of residence. He was educated in the public schools of Mobile, but his learning was marked with many hardships and intense labor.
At the age of twelve he was forced to give up school and go to work, and during the period that he attended school his morning and afternoon hours, before the opening and closing exercises, he devoted to manual labor.
In May, 1908, he was married to Miss Louise Harney, a teacher in the public school. From this union was born two sons and a daughter: W.T. Woods, Jr., James Harney Woods, and Claribelle Emma Woods.
He is a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Mobile.
We now come to consider the distinguishing features of his career, which as has been suggested, grew out of his connection with fraternal organizations, especially that of the Masonic order. In 1892, when he was twenty years old, he became a Maon. His first official position in the lodge was that of Senior Deacon.
In 1894, he was admitted to the St. John Lodge No. 2, in which he was soon elected Senior Warden, an office he held for one year and was then elected to the office of Worshipful Master; which position he filled for seven years.
He declined to serve longer in this office for the reason that the law of the Grand Lodge would not permit him to continue as Worshipful Master and at the same time hold an office in the Grand Lodge. When he was first elected Worshipful Master of the lodge, the lodge did not have a penny in the treasury and was in debt. Under his wise and skillful administration of seven years service, when he voluntarily surrendered his gavel, the lodge was free of debt and had to its credit in the bank, one thousand dollars. In addition to this the membership of the lodge had been increased by twenty members. In token of its appreciation of his valuable services the lodge presented him with a beautiful Masonic apron.
In 1905, at Selma, Alabama, he was elected Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge and was re-elected to the same position in 1906.
In 1907, he was elected Grand Senior Warden, and was continuously re-elected to this office until the Lodge met at Tuskegee Institute in 1911, when he was chosen Deputy Grand Master.
When the Mobile Masons decided to erect a temple, a building committee was formed consisting of one member from each lodge. Mr. Woods represented his lodge upon the committee. Under the guidance of this committee, the temple was built at a cost of $24,000.
In 1916, he was elected a delegate to the International Conference of Grand Masters which met in Chicago. He was elected First Vice-President of the Conference, a position he still holds.
When he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alabama Masons, the lodge was one hundred thousand dollars in debt, which debt he has removed. He wears with a great deal of pleasure and pride his 32nd degree watch charm presented to him by St. Johns Lodge upon his election as Grand Master. Mr Woods is also a member of the Odd Fellows. For four years he was Deputy Grand Master of the Odd Fellows. He represented this lodge at the eleventh B.M.C., 1904, at Columbus Ohio; at the twelfth B.M.C., Richmond, Virginia in 1906; and at the thirteenth B.M.C., 1908, at Atlantic City, New Jersey.
While the fraternal orders no doubt awakened his financial and executive ability, his services in this line did not end with them.
From 1899 to 1906 he served as President of Protector Fire Company No. 11. When he took charge of the company it was in debt but under his management the debt has been paid, their hall remodeled, the sidewalk paved; with a balance in the treasury of $2400.
When he resigned the company presented him with a beautiful watch and chain valued at $150, in recognition of his services and as a mark of high appreciation.
In 1898, he stood and passed the Civil Service Examination and was appointed a mail carrier in the Mobile Post Office, a position he still holds. Mr. Woods takes deep interest in matters looking to the improvement and development of the colored race and encourages his people in their efforts to establish business enterprises.
He is a stockholder and director of Mobile’s only shoe store owned and operated by Negroes, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mobile Forum, a colored newspaper.”
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