The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Harry Johnstone Woods of El Monte California

Harry Johnstone Woods, who for over thirty yeas, has furnished El Monte citizens, a goodly portion of their daily bread, is counted among the substantial business men of the city. He came to California in 1897, bringing with him the sturdy traits of character, which were his by inheritance from Scotch forefathers. His birth occurred in West Burke, Caledonia County, Vermont, March 28, 1872, being next to the oldest in a family of eight children, five of who are living. His father, John M. Woods, was born in Hamilton, New York, while his grandfather, Harry Johnstone Woods, was born in Scotland, became an immigrant to America and served his adopted country in the War of 1812. John M. Woods was a civil engineer during the construction of the Hoosac tunnel. His wife was in maidenhood, Margaret McLeod, born in Scotland and reared in the Presbyterian faith.

In childhood, Harry Johnstone Woods, was taken by his parents to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he received his education in the public schools and high schools, also attending Dartmouth College for six months. In St. Johnsbury, Vermont, he was apprenticed to learn the baker’s trade and after completion worked in various places, among them Boston, New York city, and Philadelphia. He finally went into business in Manchester and successfully conducted a bakery business for seven years. In 1897, he disposed of his interests in that city and came to California and on Buena Vista Street, Los Angeles, established a bakery, which he conducted for a time, later carrying on a similar business on Seventh Street and Broadway. He met with success and built up a large trade, which he sold out in 1903, to come to El Monte, first acting as manager for the El Monte Bakery, and the following year, he purchased the property and engaged in business for himself. In Los Angeles, Mr. Woods was united in marriage with Miss Lizzie M. Willis, born in Shrewsbury, Kentucky, and a daughter of Professor Willis, president of the Shrewsbury Academy. Mr. and Mrs. Woods are the parents of three daughters: Mrs. Margaret Vallee, Norma Gant, and Genevieve Woods, all living in the vicinity of El Monte. Mr. Woods has conducted his bakery at the present location, in the Masonic Temple Building, on Main Street, since the erection of that building in 1907. He operated his shop under the name of Daily Bread Bakery.

In his fraternal relations, Mr. Woods is associated with the Masons, having been made a member of the organization in Lexington Lodge No. 104, March, 1905, and is a Past Master of that order, a Scottish Rite Mason, and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. He also belongs to the Woodmen of the World of El Monte; Hillsboro Lodge I.O.O.F. of Manchester, New Hampshire, and Agwan Tribe No. 208 I.O.R.M., also of Manchester, New Hampshire, and has been identified with the Knights of Pythias. His wife is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. In his political affiliations, Mr. Woods is a staunch Republican.

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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