Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, on December 28, 1856.
His father, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, was a Presbyterian minister reared in Ohio, the son of James Wilson, who had immigrated to the United States from northern Ireland in 1807 and was first an editor of the anti-Federalist Philadelphia Aurora and later the owner of newspapers in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1870 his father was appointed a professor in a Columbia, South Carolina , theological seminary, and a few years later was called to the pastorate at Wilmington, North Carolina.
His mother, Janet (called Jessie) Woodrow Wilson, was born in Carlisle, England, the daughter of a Scotch Presbyterian minister.
Young Woodrow spent his boyhood in the South, the family moving to Augusta, when he was a year old.