Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wooda Nicholas Carr (1871-1953)

    A one-term U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, Wooda Nicholas Carr had earlier distinguished himself as a newspaper editor and attorney in the Fayette County, Pennsylvania vicinity. Carr was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania on February 6, 1871, the son of John and Amanda Cook Carr. As a child he attended schools local to the Fayette and Uniontown, PA areas and later studied at the Jefferson College, graduating from there in 1891. Soon after leaving college he removed to nearby Uniontown where he began a stint as a newspaper editor for the Uniontown Standard and later, the Democrat.
   Carr began reading law in 1893 and was admitted to the Fayette County bar two years later. He maintained a prosperous law practice in that county for a number of years afterward, and in 1908 formed a partnership with his brother Walter Russell Carr. In 1903 Wooda Car married fellow Fayette County native Julia Kissinger and had one son, John Dickson Carr (1906-1977). John D. Carr would go on to fame in his own right, becoming a prolific author of detective stories and mysteries. Many of these works were published under various pen names, and Carr himself resided in England for many years after marrying an Englishwoman, Clarice Cleaves, in the 1930s.
   Wooda N. Carr began treading the political waters at the turn of the 19th century, announcing his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 24th district in 1900. On election day that year, Carr came up short in the vote count, losing by over 12,000 votes to three-term Republican incumbent Ernest Francis Acheson (1855-1917). In the same year as his congressional loss Wooda Carr served as a member of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Convention, and two years later was elected as Chairman of the Fayette County Central Committee. In 1911 Carr garnered the Democratic nomination for Fayette County District Attorney but failed to overcome that county's Republican majority base.

Wood N. Carr, from the Holt, Minnesota Northern Light, 1911.
   The political tide turned in favor of Wooda N. Carr in November 1912 when he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 23rd congressional district. He defeated incumbent Republican Thomas S. Crago by a vote of 12, 211 to 7,836 and officially took his seat in January 1913. During his one term in Congress Carr was a member of the Committee on Appropriations and was mentioned by The Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians as having:
"Always been a factor in the Democratic politics of his State and district, and possesses great influence with the party."
  Carr was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to Congress in 1914, losing to Republican nominee Robert F. Hopwood. Following his loss, Carr returned to the practice of law in Uniontown and in 1934 was appointed as that city's postmaster, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1947. Carr died six years later on June 28, 1953, at age 82 and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Uniontown. His wife Julia survived him by over a decade, dying in 1966 at age 90. 

                                         Carr as he looked during his term in Congress, ca. 1914.


  1. Wooda Nicholas Carr was my great-grandfather. I too am named Wooda... and whenever I introduce myself people are not sure they heard me right. I have to repeat myself and use that old catch phrase 'woulda - coulda - shoulda'... rhymes with that! But once they get it, they remember me for better or for worse...."Thank you Great Grandfather!"

    1. Amazing! Thank you for sharing that! Always nice to have a descendant of one of these folks send out a message.