Member Biography

Cyrus E. Woods 


Portrait: Senate of Pennsylvania

Sessions Office Position District Party
1901-1902       39 Republican
1903-1904       39 Republican
1905-1906     President Pro Tempore 39 Republican
1907-1908       39 Republican

COUNTIES: Westmoreland  


09/03/1861 - 12/08/1938

Cyrus E. Woods (R39) Westmoreland County 1901-1908

Early Life:

Cyrus E. Woods, born September 3, 1861, Clearfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania; son of Doctor Matthew Woods and Katharine Bella Speece; Lafayette College; University of Pennsylvania Law School, Phi Beta Kappa 1889; attorney, law practice law, Philadelphia, 1889-1894, then Pittsburgh; married Mary Todd Marchand, 1893; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1901-1908, president pro tempore, 1905-1906;  diplomatic appointment, presidential, United States' Envoy,  Portugal, 1912-1913; governor appointment, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1915-1921; diplomatic appointment, presidential,  United States Ambassador, Spain, 1921-1923; diplomatic appointment, presidential,  United States Ambassador, Japan, 1923-1924; governor appointment, Pennsylvania Attorney General, 1929-1930;  died, December 8, 1938 (age 77 years, 96 days) uremic poisoning (kidney failure), Jefferson Hospital, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Interment, Saint Clair Cemetery, Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:

Relocated, Greensburg, 1912, corporation lawyer, established, successful partnership, Gaither and Woods, Westmoreland County; general counsel, Pittsburgh Coal Company; solicitor, Pennsylvania Railroad; became, Mellon family business attorney, specializing in protecting the family’s vast financial interests. 

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

48-year member, Pennsylvania Bar Association, organization’s vice president; member, Delta Kappa Epsilon; member, Union League of Philadelphia, Clover Club of Philadelphia, Duquesne Club of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg Country Club. 

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate 39th district, Westmoreland County, 1901-1908; committee assignments, Appropriations, Corporations, Exposition Affairs, Finance, Judiciary General (Chairman), Railroads; elected, president pro tempore at the close of the 1905 session, presided during the 1906 extra session; ex-officio all committees, 1907-1908.

Extraordinary session, legislation accomplished by the Senate, 1906, personal registration law, direct primary legislation, enacted; up until this legislation candidates were chosen at conventions.

Appointed, Governor Martin Grove Brumbaugh, Governor William Cameron Sproul, Secretary, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1915-1921; opened, Pennsylvania Constitutional Commission.

Nominated, Interstate Commerce Commission; Governor John Fisher persuaded him to accept the state’s attorney general post.

Appointed, Governor John Fisher, Pennsylvania Attorney General, 1929-1930, resigned, to take care of his ailing wife. 

Continued Government Service/National Politics:

Diplomatic appointment, President William Howard Taft, United States' Envoy to Portugal, 1912-1913; with the official title of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, United States had not yet elevated the post to ambassador status. 

Diplomatic appointment, President Warren Gamaliel Harding, United States Ambassador, Spain, 1921-1923

Diplomatic appointment, President Warren Gamaliel Harding, President John Calvin Coolidge, United States Ambassador, Japan, 1923-1924, instrumental in organizing American relief effort in response to the devastating 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. 


Wife, Mary Todd Marchand, a great-granddaughter, James Todd, former state Attorney General. 


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members W"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

Smull’s Legislative Handbook, (1908). Cochran, T.B., (Editor) Miller, H.P. (Assistant Editor) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 909, 915-917, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 890.

Cyrus E. Woods (1861-1938) - Find a Grave Memorial