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W. C. Woodall Collection

Identifier: MC 33

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of two parts: items donated by his daughter, Mrs. Lenora Woodall Nilan, and material found in an old building in Columbus. Mrs. Nilan donated all of her father's scrapbooks and clippings, primarily his “Our Town” columns, 1963-1971. (An index to these can be found in the T. J. Peddy Collection, MC 36). The earliest Woodall scrapbooks include articles from 1906 and a picture of a lynching in Knoxville,Georgia. Also included is the account book of the Hatcher-McGehee slave trading company. The book covers the years from 1859 until 1860 during which time the firm sold 445 slaves; the book lists the names of the slaves, their purchase price, the purchaser, and the price charged by Hatcher & McGehee.

The other material was found by an unknown non-family member and donated to the Columbus College Archives; thus, although the provenance is hazy, it obviously relates to the Woodall family. It includes 17 photographs of individuals, (some identified as Woodall family members), houses, a car and a bridge in a park. Besides the photographs, which have removed from the collection and placed in the Archives historic photographs section, there are copies of three of W.C. Woodall's newspaper articles; a 1928 Columbus High School annual, the Cohiscan and a June 19, 1889 commencement program for Chappell College.

A related item donated by Mrs. Nilan was a register of slave sales from 1859 and 1860 conducted by the Hatcher-McGehee slave trading company. This register was placed in its own collection, McGehee, Woodall Slave Register, MC 88.


  • 1880 - 1970

Biographical / Historical

According to the Chattahoochee Valley Regional Libraries website, “William Clyde Woodall was born on January 9, 1878 in Talbot County, Georgia, to William Hardy and Emma Lucy Johnston Woodall. He married Virginia Ethel McGehee in 1899 and they had eight children. Mr. Woodall came to Columbus in 1888 and remained a resident the rest of his life. He was widely known as a newspaper man and as a journalist but Mr. Woodall was as much an historian, author, educator and a civic leader. He was first employed by the Columbus Ledger newspaper as a reporter in 1894 and remained in the newspaper business for the rest of his career. He and his brother started the very popular Industrial Index magazine in 1906 and continued to publish it until 1966. (There is a bound set of the Industrial Index in the Archives reading room, as well as some unbound issues also available.) He wrote several books concerning the history of Columbus, Georgia including Home Town in 1937, A History of Education in Muscogee County and A History of Royal Crown Cola in 1962. He was a member of the Board of Education from 1940 until 1957 and was president of the historical society of Columbus at one time. He died on February 18, 1971, and is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Columbus,Georgia.”


6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Related Materials

T.J. Peddy Collection (MC 36)

Chattahoochee valley Regional Libraries

McGehee, Woodall Slave Register (MC 88)

James Tomas McGehee Business Papers (MC 114)
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

4225 University Ave
Columbus Georgia 31907 United States