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McCloud McKeever Wood
Samuel McCloud McKeever Wood
Topeka, Kansas, had no more interesting personality among its citizens
than Sam Wood, who still occupies the beautiful home he and his wife
erected many years ago on the northeast corner of Tenth and Fillmore
streets. This home is a landmark and spot of beauty in Topeka's
residential district. Mr. and Mrs. Wood personally supervised the
construction of the house and the planning of the grounds. The site
occupies six lots and wide, shady parks facing both Tenth and Fillmore
streets. There are beautiful trees and shrubbery, and the entire place had
that mellowness which is associated with old and comfortable families. Mr.
Wood resides in the home with his sister and niece, his wife, Mrs. Wood,
having died several years ago.
Mr. Wood first became acquainted with Kansas and Kansas people during his
service in the Union army. Though he was a member of an Illinois regiment,
he often served in company with Kansas regiments. He was a boy of fifteen
when he joined the Union army in 1861, in the Tenth Illinois Cavalry. This
regiment was attached to a division of cavalry commanded by General
Davidson, and was a part of the Seventh Army Corps. Nearly the whole years
of his service was west of the Mississippi River. During that time the
faces of Colonel Crawford, Major Plumb, General Pleasanton and other
notable figures in Kansas all became familiar to this boy soldier, whose
individual record was one of much intrepidity and exposure. Some of the
most dangerous and hazardous duties of war as conducted fifty years ago
fell to his lot. He was a messenger boy and dispatch bearer. The
occupation of the dispatch bearer is now gone in modern military
management, the place being taken by the telephone and other mechanical
devices. But during the Civil war the dispatch bearer was one of the most
indispensable members of a commanding officer's staff. His commanding
officer often gave young Wood a written message and also a verbal copy, so
that in case of great danger he was to destroy the writing and in case he
reached his destination deliver the message orally. He also served at the
Third Brigade headquarters as orderly under Colonel Stuart, Colonel Glover
and Colonel Caldwell, and district headquarters at Little Rock, Arkansas
under Gen. E. A. Carr, until the close of the war in 1865.
||Samuel Wood was not the only
member of his immediate family to serve in the Civil war. His father
had also joined the army and died in a hospital somewhere in
Kentucky. A close search was made for his burial place, but it was
never discovered. Sam Wood's brother, James L. Wood (who died at his
home, 1200 Quincy Street, Topeka, April 1, 1915), was also a veteran
of the Civil war and became well known in Kansas. He served in many
battles, being in the Thirteen Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the
first of the war. He participated in the three days' fighting at
Gettysburg, and was one of the most expert cavalrymen in the entire
service. He was noted as a daring rider and possessed all other
qualifications to make the cavalryman available for the most
dangerous and important service. He was a member of the Second
United States Cavalry, which was made up of selected men taken from
the entire Potomac army. James Wood was chosen because of his proven
record in service and his ability to go and perform any duty that
might be assigned.
Samuel McCloud McKeever Wood was born in Fayette County, Ohio, in 1845.
His father, Layton J. Wood, who was born in Virginia in 1811, represented
an old Virginia family which furnished soldiers to the American army
during the Revolution. The Wood family had no kindly fellowship with the
institution of slavery which flourished in the South, and their aversion
to that institution caused them to remove to Ohio. Layton J. Wood was
married about 1828 to Miss Mary A. Lydy, who was also born in Virginia, in
the year 1814. Her parents also left Virginia because of their dislike to
slavery. Layton J. Wood and wife had eight children and those who reached
maturity were: Sally Mary, James Layton, Sarah C., Samuel M. and Flora C.
Not long after the close of the war (1869), and nearly forty-seven years
ago, Sam Wood came to Kansas and took a government homestead not far from
Burlingame, Kansas. In those days the country was open, the woods and
prairies were filled with game, and hunting was one of the great sports.
As soon as he had secured possession of his claim Mr. Wood prohibited
hunters from coming on his land. This was not due to any especial
animosity against the hunters, but he had a higher regard for the innocent
wild game than he did for the sport which so rapidly decimated these
specimens of our wild life. Thus the Wood farm became almost a natural
game preserve. Many a deer, chased by hunters, would flee to his
homestead, and some of them became so tame that they would lie about on
his farm and even feed and lie down and chew their cud within forty rods
of the house, and watch him work.
|Mr. Wood came to Topeka in 1873, where he served
as clerk in the post office for seven years, and in 1880 was
elected register of deeds, in which office he served for four
years. Then for many years Mr. Wood successfully engaged in the
real estate business, taking up that as his chief line after
retiring from office. In 1877 he married Miss Francees N. Gill.
Her father was Judge D. B. Gill, of Clarksboro, New Jersey, her
mother of a Revolution family in Connecticut. Very few women of
Kansas were so much loved and revered as Mrs. Wood. She was well
known in public life, was an ardent worker among the ladies of the
Grand Army of the Republic, was national president of that order
and also president of the department of Kansas and president of
the Lincoln Circle, and at one time filled the office of president
of the State Federation of Women's Class.
Source: "A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans",
compiled by William E. Connelley, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1918.
The above biography is held at
Access Genealogy. Permission
has been granted to republish here.
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