Abraham O. Woodruff
Abraham O. Woodruff, son of President Wilford Woodruff, served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) from 1897 until his early death in 1904.
Early Life and Education
Abraham O. Woodruff was born November 23, 1872, in a log house just south of Salt Lake City to President Wilford Woodruff and Emma Smith Woodruff. He grew up in that peaceful rural area. At age six, he began his schooling. His responsibilities as a young child extended beyond the classroom, as he worked as a chore boy on the farm. At age ten he herded cows, earning as much as fifteen dollars per month.
He received his higher education at the Latter-day Saint’s College. At age 18 he was placed at a bank, working first as a collector and then advanced to assistant bookkeeper.
Abraham O. Woodruff received his call to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Swiss and German Mission in 1893. The decision to go was difficult, as his father was very ill. However, his father encouraged him to go.
After reporting to mission headquarters, he was assigned to open the work in Frankfurt-on-the-Main without a companion and with very limited knowledge of the German language. A charitable family allowed him to live with them, and aided him in learning the language. He proselyted all day and held meetings in the evening. After five months of working diligently, a missionary companion was sent to him, and a church branch was organized where he served.
The Church suffered persecution in the areas where Elder Woodruff served, but he remained undaunted, going to great lengths to spread the Gospel. He donned rustic clothing and worked in the fields and worked with the people. In the evenings, he would hold secret meetings in a cottage in order to teach. He returned home from his mission in 1896 and returned to his work at the bank. On June 30 of the same year he married Helen May Winters.
During the October Conference of the Church, he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. On October 7, 1896, his father, who was serving as the Prophet at that time, ordained him to the office of apostle. Elder Woodruff was diligent in his calling. His largest assignment was the organizing and colonizing of the Big Horn country. He was said to have the gifts of humility and sociability which aided him in gaining the trust and love of the Saints he worked with and for.
In May 1904 he and his wife and children went to visit the Saints in Mexico. While there, his wife contracted smallpox and died June 7, 1904. Elder Woodruff acquired the disease while tending to his wife and died two weeks later on June 20, 1904.