Montgomery County – Its Early Officers and Citizens
By A. H. H. Rountree, in the Hillsboro Democrat, March 25, 1874
Thomas WOOD, Sr., emigrated to this county from Darlington, South Carolina in 1827 or 1828 and bought a farm of Josiah KILLPATRICK, the farm now owned by Thomas HARRISON, some seven miles south of Hillsboro. He (Mr. WOOD) and his son Thomas built a horse mill the first erected in that part of the county. They made the stones of the blocks of granite picked up in the vicinity. Mr. WOOD who was a blacksmith, made all the tools, and iron work used, and consumed about three months time in constructing the stones along. When finished the power was communicated by means of rawhide belts, but afterwards changed to cog wheel. We can’t learn that any portion of the mill remains. Mr. WOOD, we remember well as an active energetic man, to whom the word fail was unknown. He raised four sons and six daughters: Charles, Thomas, William, Joseph, Elizabeth, Jane, Sally, Lydia, Mary and Martha.
Charles married in South Carolina and emigrated to this state in 1822 or 1823, and settled in Bond County, where he raised a family of four sons and three daughters. Ira, the youngest son, died about seven years ago, leaving a widow. The rest of Charles WOODS children still live in the vicinity of the old homestead in Bond County, and with the exception of the third son, John, who is a bachelor, all are married, and are raising large families; none of whom reside in our county.
Charles WOOD being rather better off than the common run of emigrants to Illinois came in a two-horse cart, instead of an ox cart or on packhorses. Uncle Charlie spent a long life and died in 1867. He early espouses the anti-slavery cause and became conspicuous at an early day on that side, and that too when odium was attached to it.
Thomas WOOD the second son came to Illinois first on horseback in 1824, and soon after returned to South Carolina. He soon after came to Illinois a second time, accompanied by his brother William, after remaining some time, they both again returned to aid their father to move to Illinois, going and returning each time on horseback.
In moving their father and family, they consumed some three months on the way, after the old fashioned tedious journeying.
Thomas WOOD married Anna ELLIS of Bond County, and settled the place owned by his youngest child, G. W. WOOD, seven miles southeast of Hillsboro, near Esther post office. On the breaking out of the Black Hawk War, he enlisted and served in Captain Rountree’s Company. He was remarkable for industry and energy rather eccentric, and fond of talking and telling stories. He made a fine farm and established one of the best of the early orchards in the county, and we remember well when as a boy, we enjoyed his fine large Rambo apples, to our imagination then, as large as the big Romanite. He raised vast quantities of corn, and when corn was scarce and high, he never could be induced to sell his corn, for more than 25 cents a bushel, although he often sold it for less, and not infrequently his poorer neighbors got it without money and without price. Speculators could not in scarce times get his corn at any price. On one occasion three four-horse wagons came for corn, and staid with him all night, and talked freely with him about his selling his corn for 25 cents when it was worth three times amount. Next morning, when they wished to load up, he calmly told them he had plenty of corn for his poor neighbors at 25 cents, but non for speculators at any price.
Thomas WOOD lived and prospered well, and died in 1839, leaving a widow who still survives him and resides on the old homestead, and several sons and daughters. William JACKSON, now living in Ottawa, Kansas, formerly of Hillsboro, who married first Mary L. BECK, youngest daughter of that sturdy old pioneer, John BECK. She died a few years since leaving only two living children: Willie now 14 years of age and Harry som six or seven years of age. They had buried several.
William J. or Jack, as he was called, afterward married Mrs. SIBLEY the widowed daughter of Abraham PADDOCK of Hillsboro, by whom he has one son. Mr. WOOD while a resident of Hillsboro, engaged in various kinds of business; for a time he run a livery stable, also a dry goods store, afterwards in the agricultural implement and seed business. He we believe was a soldier in Captain WALTER’S Co., in the late “unpleasantness”, and was with Col. MULLIGANS command when captured at Lexington by PRICE’S troops. He was a useful, energetic man, and though he does not reside among us we trust that he may prosper well in his new home.
Peter C. WOOD, the second son, married Elizabeth BARRY, daughter of John BARRY, Esq., and settled and improved a farm near the old homestead where he was born, and raised. Peter’s wife died a year after marriage, leaving one child, a girl that survived her mother only a year. Peter is still a widower, occupies and cultivates the same farm he first settled, and says he feels as young as he did 20 years ago. We only wonder why some forlorn widow or sprightly maiden does not snap him up. But Peter is becoming prosperous, and perhaps holds himself too high in the market for the girls. Better marry Peter and do like your worthy father, raise a large family of boys and girls to love and honor you, and follow you remains with the tears of sorrow to the tomb when the scenes of life are over. Peter served in our civil war.
Martha, the oldest daughter, married W. F. MCCASLEN. She died in 1856, leaving one daughter, Nancy, and one son William.
Nancy married Joseph BATES and resides in Greenville; they have one child, William, is still at home.
Margaret E., second daughter, married E. M. Brown, a prosperous farmer, and settled about six miles southeast of Hillsboro, they have quite a family, concerning whom we are not sufficiently posted to speak accurately.
Angelino, the third daughter married Leander CRIHFIELD, and settled on a farm near the homestead, where she died some years ago, leaving three children, two daughters and one son.
Carline WOOD married Thomas RIDGEEAY, and has four children; they now live near Fillmore.
Emily WOOD married John W. MAJOR, and died in 1868, leaving no surviving children.
George owns the homestead where he resides with his mother, unmarried. He is now traveling in Texas. We shall continue to Wood family next week.