Sarah WOODSON was a brave pioneer woman. In the absence of her husband during the Indian Uprising of April 18, 1644, aided by Robert LIGON, she resisted an attack by the Indians, killing nine. She loaded the gun while LIGON fired, and hearing a noise up the chimney she threw the bed upon the coals, the stifling smoke bringing two Indians down, whom she dispatched. Her sons, Robert in the potato hole and John under the tub, were saved. For many years they were called "Potato Hole" and "Tub." Over the years this story has been passed on from one WOODSON generation to the next and as passed among the various families has varied a bit in details but not in Sarah's bravery in defending her children. John WOODSON, caught in the open on his way home from visiting a patient, was killed. The old Woodson muzzle loading matchlock musket rifle, originally eight feet long and later modified to seven feet six inches, was preserved and now owned by The Virginia Historical Society and is on permanent exhibit in the Virginia Museum in Richmond. Woodson Rifle photo shown with permission of Kathy Hudson.
Most researchers believe that the WOODSONS were living at Flowerdew Hundred at the time of the 1644 massacre; although, there is apparently no record of whether they were living at Flowerdew Hundred or whether they had already settled on the north side of the James at "Curles". Robert and John WOODSON, were among Tythables at Curles Plantation in 1679. Curles Plantation was on the North side of the James River near Flowerdew Hundred. This plantation was once owned by Robert WOODSON's father-in-law Richard FERRIS, father of his wife Elizabeth FERRIS.
After John WOODSON'S death his Sarah married a DUNWELL and then a JOHNSON. On her death she left a combination inventory and nuncupative will which was recorded January 17, 1660/1. Bequests included John WOODSON, Robert WOODSON and Deborah WOODSON and Elizabeth DUNWELL. Henry Morton WOODSON in Historical Genealogy of the WOODSONS And Their Connections (published Memphis 1915) states that 20 of the 25 charter members of The First Families of Virginia are descendants of John WOODSON. Dr. John Woodson is the progenitor of the WOODSON Family in America. Among his descendants are Dolley Todd Madison, wife of President James Madison and the famous outlaw, Jesse Woodson James.
Virginia M. Meyer and John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, The Muster of the Inhabitants of Peirseys (Flowerdieu) Hundred taken the 20th of January,1624, page 23, published by Order of First Families of Virginia, 1607-1624/5, third edition, 1987.
Ibid. Woodson, page 708-716.
Colonial Records of Virginia, Lists of the Livinge and the Dead in Virginia, Feb. 16th, 1623, page 40, Genealogical Pub. Co, Baltimore,