In 1868, Major Harrison Hobart Woodsmall, eldest son of Jefferson Hezekiah Woodsmall, served as an alternate delegate for the 6th District of Indiana to the Republican National Convention. He supported Ulysses S. Grant and the more vigorous southern reconstruction policies of the Radical Republicans. He left politics and went on to get a divinity degree in South Carolina. In 1878, Rev. Harrison Hobart Woodsmall returned to the south, to found the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School. a four-year, private, co-ed, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention. He founded the school to train blacks to become ministers and teachers. Later that year, the school purchased the old Selma Fair Grounds and moved into the exposition buildings. The school was incorporated in 1881 under its second president who was born a slave. In 1884, under its third president, the first class of eleven men and women graduated. The institution was officially named Selma University in 1908, enabling it to confer degrees and grant diplomas. The University included an elementary school, high school, college, and theological school until 1956 when the pre-college programs were discontinued.
A picture of Rev. Harrison Woodsmall of Franklin, Indiana, may be seen on the internet at: http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/boothe/ill194.html. This is his picture in the 1895 publication “The Cyclopedia of the Colored Baptists of Alabama: Their Leaders and Their Work” by Charles Octavius Boothe (p. 194). Rev. Harrison Hobart Woodsmall was dedicated to uplifting the freed slaves. In 1965, the famous march for civil rights for blacks on the Pettus Bridge, led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., originated in the Brown Chapel Church in Selma. Rev. Harrison Hobart Woodsmall helped nurture in Selma what would become the civil rights movement.
There were, thus, two contemporary Baptist "Rev. Woodsmalls": Rev. Harrison Hobart Woodsmall, the Union veteran in Selma, Alabama and the Rev. George Lasley Woodsmall, the Confederate veteran in Boone/Randolph Cos., Missouri.