The Tracy Family History
The Great Beauties
Miss Maud Coleman Woods
"...the refined beauty that belonged to her by inheritance...”
Archibald Woods Goodloe "...married a
beautiful and rich New Orleans girl," -- Williams Harris Miller, 1907
4 July 1810 “...a barbecue feast at Mr. John McDowell’s spring...Then a dance...that had never seen such a collection of beautiful ladies."
I have told of the great beauties in our heritage. What strikes me is that for all of our families' wealth and fame, I find no portraits, sketches, or photos of our great beauties with the exception of the two in this chapter. So I use these two photos to give you an idea as to what the many others must have looked like in their youth.
Beauty of the past...
Miss Maud Coleman Woods
She was born the 23rd of August of 1877, to Captain and Mrs. Micajah Woods, of Charlottesville.
“...never had one who by every gentle grace filled more fully the measure of that sweet womanhood, which we who are of the soil love to think the distinctive stamp of her endowment.” “...she was to those who had the happiness to know her yet more distinguished by the sweetness and purity of her character, the loveliness of her nature, and the charm of her manner. No admiration changed her: no trace of self-consciousness marred her exquisite simplicity. She was as beautiful and as natural as a flower. When she was budding from girlhood into gracious womanhood she was selected by the officers of the United Confederate Veterans at the grand reunion held in Atlanta to stand as sponsor the Department of the Army of Northern Virginia. It caused much embarrassment to one of her shy and retiring nature. The very modesty with which she shrank from publicity was the crowning grace that captivated all who met her.
Her portrait was again, without her knowledge, selected by the committee of distinguished men, who had the matter in charge, to typify North America beauty at the Pan-American exposition; but with innate modesty she begged to be left alone.”
– Neander Woods
From the beginning of mankind all great beauties face the same fate. The day will come when they lose their beauty. (Some say Magdelene lived to be 103.) This fate would not befall this great beauty. She would die unmarried, at the age of twenty-four after a short illness in the year of 1901. She would be buried in our ancestral homeland of Albemarle County, Virginia.
Footnote to history
She was voted by the readers of the New York World newspaper as the most beautiful woman in America. What is interesting about this photo, more than 100 years old, is that her beauty still holds up today. One can easily see why she was considered the most beautiful woman in America, for even by the standards of today, she would still be in running for the same title.
She would die one day after her birthday after suffering just one week with typhoid fever. She is buried at the historic Maplewood Cemetery in Charlottesville, located on the original Meriwether plantation.
Today’s Great Beauty
“I don’t think this McDowell family inserted the “a” until Rainsford DuBose married into the family. At least that is what I have been told. Also known from letters, etc. that Grannie McDowell, Ione Vinson, used just the Mc.
Best wishes, Dot. (Dorothy Kelly MacDowell)
Michael Woods Sr., of Blair Park, married “nee” Lady Mary Campbell, of Argyle, from the mighty Campbell clan. They had a daughter…
Magdelene Woods, a great beauty and sister to my 6th great grandmother, Martha Woods Wallace. Magdelene’s first marriage is to Capt. John McDowell (MacDowell) killed at Balcony Falls in battle with the Indians. Her second marriage to Benjamin Borden Jr., would one day make her the richest woman west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. John and Magdelene had a daughter…
Sarah ‘Martha’ McDowell who married Col. George Moffett (Moffatt) who fought in the Indian battles, Kings Mountain, Cowpens and Guilford Court House. They had a daughter…
Mary Moffett who married her first cousin, Major Joseph McDowell, who was known to have fought at Kings Mountain and Cowpens. Being one of ours it is believed he was in the war from beginning to the end. They had a son…
John Moffett McDowell, who married Mary Mansfield Lewis, daughter of Colonel Richard Lewis and Sarah Miller, daughter of General James Miller. They had a son…
Dr. Joseph L(ewis) McDowell, who married Louisa J. Twitty. They had a son…
William Joseph MacDowell, married Ione Vinson. They had a son…
John William MacDowell, who married Rainsford Fairbanks DuBose. They had a son…
Marion St. Pierre MacDowell, who married Pauline Johnston Oswald. They had a daughter…
Rosalie A. MacDowell (model/actress Andie MacDowell), niece to Dorothy (Dot) Kelly MacDowell, the MacDowell genealogist whose story and photo appears in chapter 57.
“Jim, I saw Rosie at the lovely luncheon she and her sisters and brother gave for their father's 80th birthday party yesterday and she told me she would send you her picture...I know you, Jim, will be glad to have the picture of this very beautiful woman and sweet and nice as well. ...Andie was voted one of the 10 most beautiful women in US (or world) several times several years ago. She is now an actress-has been in the movies about 20 or more years-Greystoke, Michael, Groundhog Day, Green Card, Harrison’s Flowers, and many more...” –Dot, March 2005
My family history web site has 79 chapters. If you would like to
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