Woodruff was a member of the Mormon pioneer company that arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. In addition to his ecclesiastical responsibilities, he worked hard to support his family on his farm in Salt Lake City which consisted of a garden, orchard, and herds of cattle and sheep. Products from his soil repeatedly won awards at the territorial fair. Besides farming, he enjoyed hunting and fishing, and helped popularize fly-fishing in Utah. He served in a variety of community capacities including the Utah Territorial Legislature, the board of directors of Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI), and president of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society of Utah, the Utah Territorial Horticultural Society, and the Universal Scientific Society.
Living in the era when plural marriage was an authorized institution of the Mormon Church, Woodruff's family consisted of five wives and thirty-three children. One marriage ended in divorce, and one wife and fourteen of his children preceded him in death.