GEORGE LEMUEL WOODS was born in Boone County, Missouri and moved with his family to Oregon in 1847, later mining for gold in both Oregon and California. He studied law and after being admitted to the Oregon Bar practiced in Walla Walla, Washington Territory as well as in Oregon. One of the founders of the Republican Party in Oregon, Woods was appointed Wasco County Judge in 1863 and in 1864 was a presidential elector for Abraham Lincoln, for whom he campaigned widely. He was appointed to the Idaho Territory Supreme Court in 1865 and won the Republican nomination for governor of Oregon the following year. At the time of his inauguration, he was involved in planning a railroad from Portland to California using a federal land grant, and he became an incorporator of the Oregon Central Railroad several months later. Woods argued in support of a war to exterminate the Snake Indians east of the Cascade Mountains, a position that prevailed despite being at odds with the U.S. War Department. The state legislature, dominated by Democrats, sought to remove Woods from office in 1868 by challenging the validity of his election, but failed in its efforts. After leaving the governorship, Woods was appointed territorial Governor of Utah, a position that he held from 1871 to 1875. He then practiced law in California and Nevada before returning to Oregon.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 8. New York: James T. White & Company.