Charles and Mary Rannells built Woodside between 1848 and 1850. Woodside remained the family homestead for the next 70+ years. According to Kris Zapalac’s excellent research for the National Register application, “By 1860… They were the parents of ten-year-old Elizabeth W., eight-year-old Charles S., Jr. and six-year-old Edward W.; the remainder of their household consisted of six farmhands from Ireland, England, Pennsylvania and Missouri, two plasterers and six people – two woman, one man and two children – held in slavery.”
Unfortunately Charles Jr. died in 1863 and was buried in Bellefountaine Cemetery where his father was a trustee. I don’t personally have much information about Elizabeth’s life but the family descendants probably do. They have done so well at preserving so much of everything related to Charles and Mary and their family.
Their son Edward lived at Woodside for a large part of his life. After he passed away in 1920, Woodside left the family two years later. Edward was a key figure in the history of our community. While sitting as a judge on the County Court, he cast one of the two, out of three votes total, in favor of the incorporation of the City of Maplewood.
For me a very enjoyable part of the effort to save Woodside has been meeting and getting to know the various family descendants around the country. Gracious and generous, one and all, they allowed me complete access to their artifacts and documents in the hopes we might find a way to preserve their homestead.
I hope to be able to share many of the terrific photos they have let me copy. Be sure and look at my previous posts on Woodside and the Rannells family to see more of them.
I would urge anyone interested in this story to consult Kris Zapalac’s highly readable report that can be found on the State Historic Preservation Office’s website where the National Register listings are grouped by county.
Finally if you're wondering how does the family pronounce their last name, I can tell you. Both ways.