The New International Encyclopædia/Woodruff, Wilford

WOOD′RUFF, Wilford (1807-98). A president of the Mormon Church. (See Mormons.) He was born on March 1, 1807, in Avon, Hartford County, Conn. He joined the Mormon Church in 1833 in Oswego County, N. Y. He met the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. (q.v.), at Kirtland, Ohio, and then removed to Clay County, Mo., whence he made missionary trips to the Southwestern States. In 1837 he became a member of the first quorum of Seventies and in 1839 of the quorum of Twelve. In 1839, 1840, and 1844 he was a missionary in England, and in 1848 in the Eastern States. He was one of the pioneers to Salt Lake. While at Nauvoo he asserted that he was opposed to the plural marriage system. However, as one of the Twelve Apostles, he refused to take the test oath against polygamy. In 1890, as newly elected president of the Church, Woodruff issued a proclamation in which he said, in order to anticipate the provisions of the Cullom bill, “I publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-Day Saints is to refrain from any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.” He died September 2, 1898.