Read at the Re-union of the Woods at East Smithfield, Pa.
September 4th 1882
by C E Wood, of Burlingame, Kansas.
Alvord & Son, Printers, Towanda, Pa.
WILLIAM WOOD, our first ancestor of which we have any authentic record, was born in England in 1582, some ninety years after the discovery of America by Columbus.
Commencing life under the reign of Queen Elizabeth, his early manhood was spent under the reign of James I of Scotland and Charles I. It was during the reign of the latter monarch that the dissensions between the Church of England and the Puritans, culminated in the expulsion of the latter from England, obliging them to seek an asylum in a foreign land, where they might worship God, according to the dictates of their own consciences.
Whether or not it should be considered an honor to be known as a descendent of those, who sturdily refusing to be dictated in their form of worship by the mother church, and who, in their turn, when they were prospered and held the reigns of government in their own hands, banished Roger Williams, whipped the Quakers, and tortured, burned and hung the Salem witches, we leave for each to think for himself; -- but such are the facts, and such is life.
But certain it is, that laying aside these inconsistencies of conduct, the persecutions and privations they endured, developed certain sturdy traits of character, which any family may be proud to possess. They first took refuge in Holland, and after a residence there of some twelve years, they sought for and obtained a charter to found a colony in the new word, for which haven they sailed, landing on Plymouth Rock December 21, 1620.
It is not certainly known when our venerable ancestor first set foot on American soil. Whether he came with the first, or some of the later installments of Puritans, cannot now be determined. He is believed to be the author of a work entitled New England’s Prospects to which we see occasional reference in the literature of the present day. This work was published in London in 1636, some two years previous to this final departure from England. The probabilities judging from the known facts, are, that unwilling to cut loose from his old ancestors, and like Hamlet, "being disposed to endure the ills we know, rather than fly to those we know not of," he endured, for a time the dictation of the Church of England, probably in hopes of a final redress of grievances until wearied out with the insolence of the mother church, he made a visit to the new world in search of adventure or profit, or both, but at all events of religious liberty, where he collected materials for his work. Returning to England to publish it, and finding his religious privileges still denied him, he bade a final adieu to his native land, accompanied by his nephew Thomas Flint. He came from Derbyshire, England, and settled in Concord, Mass., in 1638, where, after a residence of thirty-three years, he died, May 14, 1671.
The children of William Wood were MICHAEL and RUTH,
Of the son MICHAEL. We know nothing further, than that he died in Concord, just three years, less one day, from the date of his father’s death, May 14, 1671.
The daughter RUTH became the wife of Capt. Thomas Wheeler.
The children of Michael Wood were ABRAHAM, ISAAC, THOMAS, JACOB, JOHN and ABAGAIL.
ABRAHAM, the eldest, and through whom we trace our lineage of the third generation, had seven children. He first settled in Concord, but removed to Sudbury, Mass., in 1729, where he resided until his death in 1742 of 47. The town records of Sudbury state, that two men named Abraham Wood died there, one in 1742 and the other in 1747. Which of the two was our ancestor cannot now be determined.
His sister, ABAGAIL married Stephen Hosmer, but of the other members of his family we have no records.
The children of Abraham Wood were SAMUEL, CORNELIUS, HANNAH, REBECCA, RUTH, ABAGAIL and NATHAN.
Samuel, the oldest, was born in Sudbury, March 17, 1710. He married Lydia Goodnow, in 1733, and after her death he married Kezia Moore in 1839. He settled in Northboro, Mass., in 1749, where he died March 19, 1760. He had six children—three sons and three daughters. Two of his sons and three sons-in-law served in various positions in the American Army during the Revolutionary War.
CORNELIUS settled in Sudbury.
HANNAH married Daniel Walker and settled in Westminster, Mass.
RUTH married Daniel Goodnow and settled in Sudbury.
REBECCA married Mr. Cutler and settled in Sudbury.
ABAGAIL married Dea. James Walker and settled in Westminster.
NATHAN the youngest, and our Great Grandfather, was born in Concord, March 24, 1723. He removed with his father’s family to Sudbury in 1729 where he resided until his marriage in 1750, when he removed to Stow and finally settled in Westminster in 1756, where he died eleven years afterward, June 17, 1777. He was married May 2, 1750, to Rebecca Haynes, daughter of Ahijah Haynes of Sudbury. They had fifteen children, who were all living at the time of their father’s death and were present at his burial.
REBECCA HAYNES, our Great Grandmother was said to be a woman on much native force of character and greatly endeared to her family and friends, by her many estimable qualities of mind and heart. She was doubtless descended from the Haynes of whom honorable mention is made in the early history of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. After our great Grandfather’s death, she married Nathan Howard, with whom she lived more than forty years, until her death March 20, 1819.
The children of Nathan Wood and Rebecca Haynes were LUCY, NATHAN, AHIJAH, ABEL, REBECCA, HANNAH, SAMUEL, MOSES, AARON, ABRAHAM, ISRAEL, RUTH, ABAGAIL, EZEKIEL and NAHUM.
The most we know concerning this family, excepting our Grandfather, may be found in our family record, and it consists principally of a tabulated record of their births and deaths.
AHIJAH volunteered at the first call to arms in the American Revolution. He participated in the battle of Bunker Hill. He was also present at the laying of the corner stone of the Bunker Hill monument, fifty years later, and was one of the "venerable men" so eloquently addressed by Webster on that memorable occasion.
SAMUEL WOOD, our Grandfather, was born at Westminster, Mass., January 26, 1761. His youth was spent in the midst of those troublous and historic times immediately preceeding the American Revolution, and he entered into the spirit of the contest with the mother country, with the usual ardor and enthusiasm of youth. He was a sturdy lad of fourteen when the first gun was fired at Lexington. His father’s death occurred in 1777, and it must have been before this of very soon thereafter, that he left home and went to Vermont where he lived with a man named Darby. He was a hard master as will be seen by an incident which occurred just previous to Grandfather’s conversion. This man was opposed to his attending religious meetings, especially of the Baptists, but finally consented on condition that he should carry a heavy iron bar, which was an unreasonable load, some two or three miles, as a sort of penance, or thinking, no doubt, to prevent his attendance by this means. But the boy was not to be baffled in the performance of his convictions of duty-he successfully accomplished the degrading task imposed upon him and thus proved himself a worthy descendent of his persecuted ancestors. He afterward made a public profession of religion, which he adorned by a consistent and well-ordered life.
His first enlistment in the army must have been soon after he went to Vermont, when he was sixteen years old. He was enrolled in a company of minutemen of those times. These were military organizations, not belonging to the regular army, but a sort of Home Guards, holding themselves in readiness to be called into the field on short notice in an emergency, for a limited term of service. He used to relate the story, that when he was first called into service, the woman of the house where they first stopped for the night, thought him too small to wait while she cooked supper for the squad, and gave him a supper of mush and milk which she had ready. This was during the "emergency" of Burgoyne’s invasion of the States from Canada. Grandfather was assigned to duty in that General’s division, who declared "he would whip the enemy before night or Molly Stark’s a widow."
The first serious check to Burgoyne’s career was at the battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777, and which resulted in his unconditional surrender at Saratoga some two months later. The day the battle of Bennington was fought, Grandfather was detailed on the guard to the baggage and stores at that point, and he did not participate in the immediate engagement.
The season of 1780 again found him in the ranks, in Gen. Arnold’s department of West Point. On the 23rd day of September 1780, while on a reconnaissance with a squad of twelve men under the command of a mounted sergeant, they came upon a party of three "cow boys", as they were styled by the soldiers of the regular army. They were a class of men who, though loyal to the American cause, yet owing allegiance to no military authority were really a band of freebooters, sustaining themselves by plundering the property of the loyal citizens, and occupying about the same relation to the American army, that the bushwhackers and guerrillas did to the confederate army in the war of the rebellion. These men had in their custody a prisoner they had arrested while traveling on horse-back and in citizens clothes, under the name of John Anderson and protected by a pass from Gen. Arnold. The man when they stopped him had incidentally declared himself to be a British officer, which exciting their suspicious they had searched him and found papers in his boots, which led them to believe he was a spy. The sergeant immediately assumed command, and taking one of his stirrup straps he buckled it around their captive’s wrist, and handed the other end to Grandfather, and detailed him as his personal guard. He then caused the squad to put their fire-locks in prime order, and giving them strict orders to kill him on the slightest attempt at escape or rescue, they started for camp. He said their prisoner did not enter into any conversation whatsoever, as he marched by his side, but kept silent, and with his attention on the alert to his surroundings, as though meditation and escape, which Grandfather thought, by a desperate and resolute effort, he might have successfully accomplished, as the country was rough and wooded, and it was long after dark before they arrived at camp. But no such attempt was made—their prisoner was safely conducted to Lieutenant-Colonel Jameson’s headquarters. The case was immediately reported to the General of the Army. A court-martial was convened by order of Gen. Washington, and he was tried and condemned as a spy, and ten days after his capture he was hanged at Tappen on the Hudson under his real name and title of Maj. John Andre, Adjutant-General of the British army—and the names of the three cow boys have passed down with honor, into American history.
Grandfather was three times called into active service in the field—twice for a term of six months each, and once for a term of nine months. After the victory at Yorktown in 1781 many military organizations were discharged from further service, and he, with his comrades, returned to Vermont, and to their ordinary avocations. He was married to ANNA CALIFF in 1786 and settled in Halifax, VT. She died 18 years late and he afterwards married HULDAH COLE.
The sterile soil of New England affording but a precarious subsistence he had resolved to change his residence to a more hospitable climate, and find, if possible, a more fertile soil. Accordingly having sold the property he had accumulated in Halifax, he, with his oldest son, Moses, Ezra and Jonathan, started out on a voyage of discovery, in the early part of the season of 1809. The course of their travels led them to the tavern of John Shepard, three miles above the village of Athens, where they stopped for the night. There they learned that their landlord had a possession right to 360 acres of land, some twelve to fourteen miles in a south-westerly direction, and he set forth the advantages of his possession in such favorable light, that he came hither with Mr. Shepard to view the land, and a bargain was concluded between them. Grandfather agreeing to pay 327 ½ bushels of wheat, to be delivered in installments on the river between the mouth of Sugar Creek and Athens, and the sum of $35l.00, also in installments, the whole to be paid within four years from date: --John Shepard agreeing on his part, and for these considerations, to procure a deed from Dr. Kose, agent of the Bingham estate.
Leaving the boys at work Grandfather started back after his family, with which, after various vicissitudes, he landed on the river, near Milan, on the 3rd of September 1809.
The next day, leaving Grandmother and the younger and female members of the family at a farm house, he, with the three boys he had left behind, came through to the Asa Allen place one half mile north from here, then owned and occupied by Esquire Phineas Pierce where they took dinner, and in the afternoon they cut a road through the forest to the old spring below here and on the opposite side of the road, and near which they selected a building site, and from this circumstance we date the anniversary of the settlement of the family in this place. A clearing of some four acres had been made by the boys during Grandfather’s absence, and although late in the season before they had the ground prepared, wheat was sown, which, when harvested the next season, yielded sufficient breadstuffs for the following year. The season after their arrival a clearing of thirty acres was made, extending from the orchard across the swamp to the south road. From this fallow they harvested, the second season after their arrival, about five hundred bussels of wheat, after which they were never wanting for the plain substantials of life. Grandfather, in his eagerness to pay his debts used sometimes to sell himself short, which the boys would forestall by biding away a few barrels of wheat, to bridge over the scanty interim until the next harvest. The country when they came here was literally a howling wilderness; the settlements in the country were very few and far between; they had to carry their grain on horseback to Mill-town to be ground, and all goods were brought from the North river with teams. But we cannot follow them in their efforts to subdue the wilderness. Suffice it to say that after a struggle of 15-16 years, during which, he met with many discouragements and but indifferent success in paying off the debts which encumbered the place, a division of the property was made about the year 1825, One hundred acres in the south-west corner of the tract had previously been assigned to Moses—a like amount on the north side was now sold to Ezra, and sixty acres on the south to Jonathan they assuming the payment of the debts, leaving the old homestead with about one hundred acres unencumbered.
The old log house gave way to a frame structure about the year 1823, and this was succeeded in 1859 by the substantial brick house, which we see before us. Surly the wilderness has been made to bud and blossom as the rose, as is attested by the fertile fields and orchards which we see around us.
Grandfather was a resident of this township nineteen years when he passed quietly away, surrounded by his children, honored by his friends, and blessed by his descendants. He was one of the founders of the Baptist church of this place and one of its influential members as long as he lived. He long held the office of Justice of the Peace of this township, and was one of the first grand jurors drawn after the organization of this county. Grandmother Cole survived him nearly twenty-one years, and their mortal remains now rest side by side in the burial ground east of the village.
Grandfather had twenty children. Of these ANNA, EUNICE, MOSES, SAMUEL, LOIS, EZRA, JONATHAN, NATHAN, REBECCA, ABRAHAM, and AMASA were the children of ANNA CALEFF, and SAMUEL, 2nd, BARNARD, EUNICE, 2nd, JOEL, MIRIAM, ELIZABETH, LEFA, AMY and DARIUS BULLOCK were the children of HULDAH COLE.
ANNA was born in Halifax, VT. in 1785. She lived with her parents until her marriage with ERASTUS BROOKINS in 1813 when they settled in Athens and after a residence there of some eight years, they removed to St Davids, C.W., and afterwards to Niagara, and finally to Youngstown, NY, where they both died. Aunt Anna in 1851 and Uncle Brookins in 1863. Their descendants reside in Canada West, in Youngstown, NY, in Michigan and Nebraska.
EUNUCE died in Halifax in her 16th year.
MOSES was born in 1788, in Halifax, where he resided until he left Vermont when his father first came to seek a home in the wilds of Pennsylvania. He assisted his father’s family in establishing their home in the wilderness. He married Peggy Newell in 1811 and settled on the southwest portion of Grandfather’s purchase, now occupied by E G Kingsley, and there they subdued the wilderness and built up a comfortable home, and there both died—Uncle Moses in 1852 and Aunt Peggy three years later. They had eight children, and they or their descendants now reside in this place, in Luzerne County, in Elmira, Wisconsin, Kansas and Dakota.
SAMUEL died in Halifax in his 14th year.
LOIS was born in 1792, and removed with her father’s family to this place. She was married to James Gerould in 1812 and settled on the place some two miles east of town and joining the Gorham Tracy farm on the west. After a residence there of several years, they removed to the Centre to the place now occupied by J Allen Gerould and there they died—Uncle James in 1859 and Aunt Lois four years later. They had twelve children and their descendents now reside in this place, in Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.
EZRA was born in Halifax and at sixteen years of age, he came, as already related, with his father and brothers, to locate a new home in the than far west, and commenced to the contest with the forest of what was then Lycoming county. He first settled on what was afterwards known as the Ezra Allen place and now owned by A R Dutton. After a residence there of some nine years, he sold his improvements and bought a part of Grandfather’s place, north and adjoining the place upon which we are now convened, and now occupied by A A Jones. He married Lucy Hackett in 1816 and they lived together nearly fifty- two years. She died in 1868 and he four years later. They had eight children, and they or their descendants mostly reside in this county—some are in Michigan, in Iowa and Kansas.
JONATHAN was born in 1795 and there resided until he came to Pennsylvania in the spring of 1809. The early history of one, is the history of all the older members of the family. Their best energies were devoted to building up a home in their new location, and in leveling the forests. He married Abia Thomas in 1818 and afterwards settled on the south part of the original purchase by Grandfather. Aunt Abia died in 1856, and afterwards Uncle J married the widow of his brother Nathan, who was living at the time of his death in 1873. He was for many years pastor of the Disciple church in this place, they had twelve children, and they or their descendants now reside in this place, in Troy, in New York State and Iowa.
NATHAN was born in Halifax in 1797, and resided with his father’s family until his marriage with Sally Hackett in 1822, when he settled on the Burlington road, on what was afterwards known as the Miner farm. After a residence there of nine or ten years, he removed with his family to Armenia, where he was accidentally killed in a saw mill, May 22, 1835. Aunt Sally and family then returned to Smithfield and resided on the north road one mile north of the village. They had six children, and they or their descendants now reside—partly in this place, in New York State, in Kansas and Colorado.
Aunt Sally afterwards married Uncle Jonathan, whom she survived about four years and died September 11, 1877.
REBECCA was born in 1799 and came to Pennsylvania with the family in 1809. She married John E Hale in 1819. The Hales came originally from Warren, R I and settled in Halifax about the year 1808 or 1809 and from thence to this place a year or two after Grandfather’s removal. It may be mentioned incidentally that deacon Benj Hale bought the farm in Halifax that Grandfather Wood left and afterward sold it and came to Smithfield, and settled on a farm one-half mile south of Grandfather’s place. The same farm was afterwards bought by David Allen, who sold out about 1817 and came to Smithfield and settled one half mile north of the old homestead, Afterwards the same farm came into the possession of Samuel Niles, who sold it and came to Smithfield in 1836. The old farm proved, at least, to be a good place to emigrate from, and contributed four families to the permanent residents of Smithfield. Nothing now remains of the old place but the curbless well and moss grown door-step. After their marriage they settled on the Burlington road on what was afterwards known as the Tuttle farm. In 1835 Uncle John E was appointed Commissioners’ Clerk, which office he held the three following years. Afterwards he was elected County Treasurer, which position he also held for three years. In 1846 they removed to Knoxville, ILL, and there they both died. Aunt Rebecca in 1854 and Uncle J in 1863. They had twelve children, and they or their descendants now reside in Illinois, Iowa, California and Louisiana.
ABRAHAM was born in 1801, and was consequently eight years old when the family removed to this place, and here his youth was spent. He married Electa Farnsworth in 1824 and settled on the Horace Pierce farm on the Burlington road, and resided there until 1831, when they came back to the old homestead and assumed the care of Grandmother and her remaining family, in her declining years, and there he resided until his death which occurred in 1848. Aunt Electa still survives, and we welcome her to this reunion as the oldest representative of the family now living. May her remaining days be full of contentment and peace—Their children and descendants reside in this township and Waverly—their son Willard A Wood now occupying the old homestead.
* She died very suddenly three weeks after the Reunion.
AMASSA died in Halifax, in his 8th year.
SAMUEL, 2nd, was born in 1805. His early life was spent on the old farm. In 1826 he married Polly Thompson, and settled on the turnpike in the northwest part of town and there resided until his death in 1863. Aunt Polly survived him nine years, her death occurring in 1872. Their children and descendants reside in this township.
BARNARD was born in 1806, and after the family removed to this place, he resided here until his marriage with Betsy Perkins in 1828, when they settled on the old homestead, where they continued to reside for the three following years, and then they exchanged places with Uncle Abraham, who, as before related, had located on the Burlington road. He resided there the five years following, and then sold out, and commenced selling goods, finally locating in Canton, and continuing in the mercantile business the following five or six years. He then came back to Smithfield, and finally settled on the farm east of the Asabel Scott place, where he died in 1852. He was pastor of the Disciple church in this place many years.
Aunt Betsy survived him 15 years, and their children and descendants now live in this township and Athens.
EUNICE was born in Halifax in 1808 and was consequently "the baby" when the family came to Pennsylvania. She resided with her parents until her marriage with Benjamin Hale in 1829. They settled on the farm first occupied by Uncle Nathan. Uncle B worked at wagon making and sold goods until 1833, when he removed to the village where he conducted the business of merchandizing the three following years; then sold out to Selden Tracy who has conducted the business, with the exception of a year or two, until the present time, 46 years. In 1839 he removed to LeRoy where he conducted the same business for years.
In 1844 he removed with his family to Belvidere, Ill.—they went by wagon and was 36 days in making the journey. Aunt Eunice and their only son died within ten days after arriving at their destination, and since then Uncle B has lived with his daughters. He now resides in Chicago, and we send him our cousinly regards and regret his inability to attend this reunion. Their children and descendants live in Illinois and Nebraska.
JOEL was born in Smithfield in 1810, and lived on the old farm until his majority. He married Hannah Rockwell in 1834 and first settled in Troy Township, and afterwards near Alba, where they resided until 1846, when in company with Uncle John E Hale and family, they journeyed by wagon to Illinois, and settled on a prairie which, when the township was organized they named Palatine. A few years later the C & N W R R was projected through their town, and largely through Uncle Joel’s influence and exertions, a depot was located on his farm, which was the neucleus around which sprung into existence the present thrifty and enterprising village of the same name.
In the spring of 1870 he removed with his family to Kansas, and settled first in Topeka, and afterward near Emporia, where he still lives.
Aunt Hannah died in Palatine in 1846, and in 1874 he married a widow Campbell. He had nine children—five of whom are now living—four residing in Kansas and one in California. We give him the right hand of fellowship as the oldest member of the original family living, and tender to him our best wishes and regards.
MIRIAN was born in 1812. In 1832 she married Allen Hale and they settled on his father’s place one-half mile south from here, and there they resided until the spring of 1854 when they sold their property and removed to Abigdon, Ill, but returned in November of the same year, and bought back their old place, whereon they resided the two years following. But the spirit of adventure was too chronic in the mind of Uncle Allen to remain long contented on the old farm, and early in the season of 1864, they sold their farm the second time and removed to Palatine, Ill, and after several months residence there returned to Abigdon where Uncle Allen died in 1866.
Aunt Marian and family came back to Smithfield after Uncle’s death, and since then has resided with her children in various places. She favors us with the light of her countenance here to-day, and we give hear a hearty cousinly greeting to this reunion, and wish her many remaining years of contentment and peace.
ELIZABETH was born in 1815, and in 1839 married Barnard Farnsworth and settled on the Huntington farm two miles north from here, and there resided until the spring of 1844 when in company with Uncle B Hale and family and Lester Allen and family they started in covered wagons for the then pioneer state of Illinois. Their journey consumed nearly two months’ time and they finally settled on Bonus prairie, seventy miles west of Chicago. Aunt Elizabeth died there in 1864. Uncle B removed from Bonus Plains to southwestern Missouri, and afterward to the northwest corner of the state, where he died in 1880. Their children or descendants reside in Kansas and Illinois.
LEFA was born in Smithfield in 1816. She married Colburn Allen in 1840 and settled on the north road 1 ½ mile north of town, and there she died in 1816 (Note: This is what is in the book, it could be 1846) Uncle Colburn still survives and we welcome him to our reunion. Their children reside in this place and Illinois.
AMY was born in 1819 and died in her 14th year.
DARIUS BULLOCK was born in Smithfield March 29m 1820 and his youth was spent on the old homestead, At nineteen he left the old place and the following two years were spent with Uncle B Hale who as elsewhere recorded was engaged in merchandising in LeRoy. Several of the succeeding years were spent in school-teaching. In the spring of 1846 he took passage on the "Raging Canal" at Elmira for Buffalo, and from thence by steamer for Chicago, then rather a lively village of 9,000 inhabitants, and literally stuck in the mud. He finally located twenty-five miles northwest of Chicago. In a few years the village of Palatine sprung into existence, and in 1864 he sold his farm and moved thither and engaged in merchandising, which business he has conducted until the present time.
He married Jane Wilcox in 1851. She died in 1872 and he afterward married Sarah Ann Sayles.
We give him the post of honor as the youngest representative of the old family. "May his shadow never grow less."
But three of grandfather’s original family now remain with us. And although what was mortal of our friends who have passed away is lost to our mortal vision, yet, may we not believe, that in spirit, they grace our feast to-day, and mingle with us. May we hope, --with some feeling of fraternal pride and satisfaction as we, their descendants are trying to do honor to their memories? The idea is at least a pleasant one; and who may know from how much unhappiness their invisible, yet watchful ministrations and guardianship may have saved us? Let us be thankful for the memories of such fathers and mothers.
"The old-old friends- Surely they shall return when sunlight fades."
And now we have brought the record down to our own generation, of which we shall say but little, The whole number of the seventh generation and grandchildren of Samuel Wood is one hundred and nine, and including all those connected by marriage, the number amounts to one hundred and ninety five, Fifty nine of these have immigrated to the land of shadows toward which our paths of life all tend.
They and their descendants now reside in more than fifteen States and Territories and Canada. Twenty-two served their county in various positions in the War of the Rebellion, seven adopted professional employment, the balance pursuing various occupations from merchandizing up to farming. The absent cousins who from whatever cause have been unable to attend this reunion, we tender to them our sincere regrets at their absence, and extend to them from the old homestead our cousinly regards, wishing for them as much of life as they think worth living for.
To all we quote the lines of New England’s sweetest poet, written for an occasion similar to this:
"We are older; our footsteps so light in the play
Of the far away school-time, more slower to-day;
Here a beard touched with frost, there a bald crown shining
And beneath the cap’s border, gray mingle with brown.
But faith should be cheerful, and trust should be glad,
And our follies and sins, not our years make us sad.
Should the heart closer shut as the bonnet grows prim,
And the face grow in length as the hat grows in brim?
There are moments in life when the lip and the eye,
Try the questions of whether to smile or to cry
And the scenes and reunions that prompt like our own.
The tender in feeling, the playful in tone.
But the golden sands run out; occasions like these
Glide swift into shadows, like sails on the seas;
While we sport with the mosses and pebble ashore
They lessen, and fade, and we see them no more"
This sketch has been prepared that some of the essential facts in our family history might be rescued form oblivion, and to serve as a foundation for some member of the family who may was to bring it down to late generations.
Thankful that we have been permitted to attend this second reunion of the Woods and in the expectation of joining you all in that reunion of the "Beautiful Hills" beyond the dark river, where so many of our dearest friends are awaiting us, while the dull brood of cares float on let us be faithful to every trust assigned to us, and patiently and reverently await the opening up to each of us, the realities of the eternal world.
THE WOOD REUNION
SEPTEMBER 4th, 1882,
By Clay W Holmes
It having been appointed that on the 4th day of September, 1877, that a re-union of the living representatives of the Wood family would be held five years from that time, arrangements were made and invitations sent to all descendants of the family. Some days ago those living in distant parts of the country began to congregate in Smithfield, and as the sun drove away the lowering clouds on Monday morning, the 4th instant, and crowned the day with all its beauteous splendor there could be seen coming from every direction about the hour of nine those who were journeying toward the historic hilltop, upon which seventy three years ago, the ancestor, Samuel Wood, planted his feet and rested his weary journey. Massachusetts shook hands with Kansas, and faces which had not been seen in many long years, were there to celebrate the event. At twelve o’clock two hundred and twenty five gathered around the festive board, and after satisfying the inner man, spent time in social enjoyment until 2:30 pm when the memorial exercises were opened by a song entitled "Altogether Once Again," after which the Rev. F V Brown read the 90th Psalm from Grandfather’s time-worn Bible, and Rev. J L King offered prayer. Willard A Wood, the occupant and owner of the ancestral estate, then welcomed the assembled friends to the hospitalities and freedom of the old homestead in the following words:
"Dear Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, and Friends:--Under the blessings of a kind Providence, we have been spared to meet here to-day to look into each other’s faces, to grasp each other’s hands, and speak words of love and sympathy. Need I say I am glad to see you all? It is one of the happiest days of my life, and to you that have come long journeys to attend upon this occasion we are especially glad to welcome you with us today, and we thank you for the pains you have taken to be here. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the old homestead, where seventy –three years ago Grandfather Wood commenced in the wilderness to make a home. It seems to be my lot to be in possession of the paternal acres. One of my greatest ambitions has been to keep and improve it, and I need not say that I love the old homestead, because it is the place where my father and grandfather finished their life work. As long as these reunions of our family occur here I hope to be the one to extend the welcome, and when I am gone I hope my boy (I wish I could say boys), may be spared to extend the welcome greeting. And now we extend to you the privileges of the premises hoping it may be a day of real enjoyment long to be remembered."
Joel Wood, of Emporia, Kansas, then responded to the address of welcome in a few stirring and well chosen remarks. He is the oldest man representative of the family living.
Letters were read from Albert Martin and wife, of Illinois, Mrs. Eunice Pierce, Elisha Wood and J W Allen, who proposed, as a sentiment for the occasion, "Quit you like men. Be Strong!" The Rev. Galen Wood, of Aurora, Ohio, responded to the sentiment in a few well chosen words.
The choir than sang a selection after which the historian, Clinton E Wood, of Burlingame, Kansas, read the genealogical record of the family, giving the history of seven generations, covering a period of nearly three centuries and clearly proving that the Wood family is of the real old Puritan stock. The history had been carefully prepared, and was full of interest to all present, awakening many memories of the past and giving to the later generations many facts never before known. Many points of Revolutionary interest were developed, among which no one was more noteworthy than the fact that one of our family was a soldier who helped guard the spy, Major John Andre, after his capture by the three cow boys as they were then termed.
After the conclusion of the history, a recitation was rendered by Miss Gertie Eucell, and some general remarks were made by the Rev. A Tilden, Clinton Wood read the original contract of purchase of the homestead, Merritt Wood read the record of marriages and deaths which had occurred since the last reunion. Fourteen had passed away.
Hollis M Hale, of Boston, was called upon, and after making some general remarks and suggestions acting upon which, it was decided to have the proceedings of the re-union and the historical records published. It was also decided to continue the same committee of arrangements and hold the next re-union subject to their call.
At about five o’clock all left the historic grounds well pleased with the proceedings of the day, and in the manner spent.
Among the facts developed it was learned that the descendants of Samuel Wood resided in fifteen different States, and that Mrs. Electra Farnsworth Wood was the oldest representative present. The entire list of names of those present would be too long for publication. We append the names of those who come from other localities as far as could be learned: Joel Wood and wife, Emporia, Kansas; Clinton E Wood, wife and son, Burlingame, Kansas; Darius Wood and wife, Palatine, Illinois; Mrs. Lois Wood, Holmes, Elmira, NY; James Sweet, wife and two sons, New Era, Pa; Hollis M Hale and wife, Boston, Mass; J E Hale, wife and child, Seneca Falls, N Y; Clay W Holmes, wife and child, Elmira, NY; Rev Galen Wood, Aurora, Ohio; Curtis A Wood, wife and child, Elmira, NY; Elwin Dutton, Elmira, NY; Mrs. Norman Wood and daughter, Iowa; Amos Mathews, wife and son, Penn Yan, NY; Solon Wood, Clinton County, Pa.; Mrs. Salina Wood Shulinberger, Veteran, NY; Nelson Wood, wife and daughter, Troy, Pa.; H G Crane, Smethport, Pa.; Mrs. Christian Wood Robinson, Factoryville, NY; Mrs. Cora Lawrence and three children, Factoryville, NY; Mrs. Sarah Wood Bennett, Loyalsockville, Lycoming, Pa.
Typed May 19, 2008 by Janet Peters Ordway