MARGUERITE WOODWORTH 1899 – 1967 (February 27/04)

In [a recent] column (Search turns up wrong Woodworth) I wrote that the Marguerite A. Woodworth buried in the St. John’s cemetery on Church Street may be the author of the D.A.R. history.

After the column appeared a reader called to confirm that St. John’s cemetery did indeed hold the remains of the author. The reader has a copy of Ms. Woodworth’s obituary from a provincial newspaper indicating she was buried there. To my surprise, the reader said a copy of the obituary was on file in the Kings County Museum. I had already looked at the Museum’s obituary records, some dozen books containing hundreds of obituaries, and had found nothing. However, a search by Museum curator Bria Stokesbury discovered the obituary in documents that hadn’t been catalogued.

I now have a copy of Ms. Woodworth’s obituary and the author of the D.A.R. history is no longer quite the mystery that she was. With the obituary in hand, I also had the names of Ms. Woodworth’s parents and quickly found their obituaries in the Museum files. Marguerite’s father, Dr. Percy C. Woodworth, was a distinguished gentleman in his own right and more on him later. Here is the gist of Marguerite’s obituary from a 1967 daily newspaper:

“Miss Marguerite A. Woodworth, 67, 77 Belcher Street, died at Blanchard Fraser Memorial Hospital after a brief illness.

“Daughter of the late Dr. Percy Woodworth and Carrie (O’Key) Woodworth, she was born in Kentville and educated at Acadia University. She studied music and art for ten years in France. In earlier life Miss Woodworth was purchasing agent for the Dominion Atlantic Railway and later was commissioned to write a history of the D.A.R. Prior to World War 11 she was a private secretary in Saint Joh, N.B. Retiring in 1953, she moved to Kentville.” Burial, the obituary concluded, was to be in the St. John’s Church cemetery.

The obituary stated that Marguerite was survived by only three cousins, all of whom resided in other countries. However, her father’s obituary gives the name of one of his cousins as a survivor, Ney A. Woodworth of Kentville, and this should have been included in Marguerite’s write-up. Dr. Woodworth’s obituary also tells us that Marguerite had a brother who was “killed while serving in the United States forces in Vera Cruz.”

Marguerite Woodworth’s long stay in France where she studied may be explained by a family connection. According to Dr. Woodworth’s obituary, Carrie Woodworth’s sister was married to “a famous French barrister.”

In 1911 Marguerite’s mother died in France. Dr. Woodworth died in 1927 in Kentville. In his day, Woodworth was a renowned athlete in his early days – “one of the best football players in the Maritimes and a speed skater of international fame” reads his obituary. Just after he graduated, Dr. Woodworth took part in an expedition to the Arctic.

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