Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Misfortune - Week 10

This week's post is for the 2018 challenge called, 52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, by Amy Johnson Crow.  Theme for this week: Misfortune

After reading about the four grown grandchildren having died in a period less than eight months in Sarah Amanda Woods' obituary last time, my interest was piqued.  The obituary states that each of the four brothers lost one child. Let's see if we can dig into this misfortune of the Wood family. 

The children of Nathan and Sarah Amanda were:

  • Charles Edgar Wood (1859-1929)
  • William Estil Wood (1867-1950)
  • Dora Belle Wood (1864-1948)
  • Ezra Emmett Wood (1867-1952)
  • Louella Wood (1873-1960)
  • Otis Thomas Wood (1876-1969)
  • Mary Florence Wood (1890-1947)
  • Unknown 

I have bolded the males in the list to help us focus on them. Sarah Amanda's obituary also stated there was an eighth child that died when they were four years old.  I haven't found any details for that child yet in anything I have found to date, so I put Unknown at the bottom of the list.  

The year is 1919 and World War I had just ended.  Also in 1919, Woodrow Wilson is the President, Prohibition goes into effect in the United States, dial telephones are introduced by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and four Wood family grandchildren died this year.

The first grandchild who passed away in 1919 was Ruby Frances Wood. She was the daughter of Estil and Martha Franklin Wood.  Ruby died on Feb 3, 1919 of tuberculosis. She was only 18 years old, and the family was living in Bloomington, Indiana.  Looking at her death certificate, she must have suffered for a few months with the illness before she passed.  

Tuberculosis was common in this time period.  It was a contagious disease that was referred to as a "death sentence" if contracted.  According to this website, "During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tuberculosis (TB) was the leading cause of death in the United States, and one of the most feared diseases in the world.  Formerly called “consumption,” tuberculosis is characterized externally by fatigue, night sweats, and a general “wasting away” of the victim. Typically but not exclusively a disease of the lungs, TB is also marked by a persistent coughing-up of thick white phlegm, sometimes blood." 

Ruby was so young, and it must have been devastating for the family.  Her parents were later buried beside her at Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana.  

Ruby Wood, Obituary, Bloomington Evening World, 4 Feb 1919

Ruby Wood, Death Certificate, Monroe County, Indiana

Ruby Wood, Headstone, Rose Hill Cemetery, Bloomington, Indiana

On the second anniversary of her death, this was published in the Bloomington Evening World Newspaper on Feb 3, 1921.  

Ruby Wood, Obituary, Bloomington Evening World, 3 Feb 1921

The next grandchild to pass away was Effie Wood Porter who died on April 29, 1919. She was the daughter of Charles and Gabra Ella Wood.  She married John Porter on July 16, 1904 when she was 18 years old and he was 42.  Married for 12 years, she and John has seven children.  Her husband John passed away on February 14, 1917 with heart issues, at the age of 54.  Also, very sadly, Effie died only two years later of tuberculosis.  Leaving all those children must have been so hard on all the family!  

Effie Wood Porter, Death Certificate, Owen County, Indiana
Effie Wood Porter, Obituary, Spencer Owen County Democrat, 8 May 1919
John and Effie Porter, Heddings Road Chapel Cemetery, Owen County, Indiana

The fist male grandchild to pass away in 1919 was Raymond Wood, and he was the son of Ezra Emmett and Malinda (Coffer) Wood. Raymond was 17, and he tragically passed away in an automobile accident on July 20, 1919 in Redfield, Iwoa.  There was a lengthy newspaper article which explained what happened in the Owen County Democrat.   Raymond had gone out on a drive with his younger brother, Woodrow, who was only six years old.   His car stalled while going up a large hill and rolled backwards off of a cliff landing in water.  Raymond was thrown from the car as it flipped, and his little brother miraculously survived.  Raymond worked with his father and older brothers in the family's garage called, Redfield Garage.  In the Iowa, Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990, his occupation was listed as Machinist Automobile.  This just makes me very sad. So young and to die in a car accident must have been devastating for the family. 

Raymond Wood Tragic Death, Spencer Owen County Democrat, 31 Jul 1919

His father later sued Dallas County for damages of $27,700 because of the dangerous area of the road not having a guard rail.  In today's money, it would equate to over $400K. The case was moved to Warren County and was retried at least two times.  I searched but could not find out the outcome of the trials.

E.E. Wood Law Suite, Washington Evening Journal, 27 Sept 1919

E.E. Wood Law Suit Continued, Perry Daily Chief, 22 Jul 1921

The last child I found information about was Harry Ephraius Wood, son of Thomas Otis and Mary Etta (Tipton) Wood.  The obituary found in the Owen County Democrat on November 20, 1919 states that he died of diphtheria on October 26, 1919 and was 19 years old.  He died in Owen County and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Spencer, Indiana.  Another death by a disease that is almost nonexistent in the United States today thanks to vaccines.  

Harry Wood Death, Spencer Owen County Democrat, 20 Nov 1919

Harry Wood, Death Certificate, Owen County, Indiana

The Wood family buried four young people in a matter of months in 1919.   I would like to think they leaned on each other through this very difficult year.  


Obituary/Death Announcement, Bloomington Evening World, Bloomington, Indiana, United States, 4 Feb 1919, Page 4, Column 4. Death Announcement for Ruby Frances Wood.

Death Anniversary Announcement, Bloomington Evening World, Bloomington, Indiana, United States, 21 Feb 1921, Page 4, Column 2. Death Anniversary Announcement for Ruby Frances Wood. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

Obituary/Death Announcement, Spencer Owen County Democrat, Spencer, Indiana, United States, 8 May 1919, Death Announcement for Effie Wood Porter.

Raymond Wood Accident, Spencer Owen County Democrat, Spencer, Indiana, United States, 31 Jul 1919, Raymond Wood. Iowa, Deaths and Burials, 1850-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2014.

Court Announcement, The Evening Journal, Washington, Iowa, United States, 27 Sept 1919, Page 4, Column 2. Begin New Suit for $27,700..

Court Announcement, Perry Daily Chief, Perry, Iowa, United States, 22 Jul 1921, Page 1, Column 2. Hays Sets Aside Wood Verdict.

Obituary/Death Announcement, Spencer Owen County Democrat, Spencer, Indiana, United States, 20 Nov 1919, Death Announcement for Harry Wood.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Strong Woman - Week 9

This week's post is for the 2018 challenge called, 52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, by Amy Johnson Crow.  Theme for this week: Strong Woman

The strong woman I want to highlight in my blog post this week is Sarah Amanda May Wood.  Sarah was born on April 16, 1839 to Charles G May and Mary Broy May in Monroe County, Indiana.  Sarah's father, Charles, was a school teacher in rural Owen County.  

She married Nathan Wood, our Civil War veteran, on July 19, 1860.  In the pension application file at the National Archives, Sarah states in an affidavit dated, July 1, 1890, that they were married at the house of William Mills in Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana.  Mills was listed as a farmer on the 1860 census.  The Mills family and the May family are only a few pages from each other in the census, so I did a little research and discovered that William W. Mills was married to Sarah's sister, Margaret.  

Marriage Record, Owen County, Indiana

Marriage License from Civil War Pension File

Sarah Wood stating where she and Nathan were married
The reason I chose to write about Sarah Wood as my strong woman was because I reread her obituary recently.  

Reading older obituaries in the newspaper can give us so much insight into a person's life.  The sketch shown here was published in the Owen County Democrat on June 30, 1921.  Pay special attention to the highlighted text in pink.  

I transcribed the entire obituary so you can read it here:

The subject of this sketch, Sarah Amanda Wood, was born in Monroe County, Indiana, April 16, 1839 and died June 14, 1921 age 82 years, 1 month and 28 days, at the home of her son, Otis, in Owen County, Indiana.

She was the daughter of Charles and Polly May and with her parents, at the age of eleven years, moved to Owen County, near Spencer, Ind., where she spent her remaining years of her life.

She was united in marriage to Nathan Wood July 19, 1863 and to this union were born 8 children, one dying at the age of 4 years, 7 remaining to mourn the loss of a true and devoted mother.  

When the Civil War broke out in 1861 her husband volunteered and joining Co. D ’39 reg. went to the front leaving the care of home and two small children to the wife which task she nobly filled until the return of her husband. The father only remained at the front a short time when he was sent home on account of failing health. He never regained his health again and on July 1, 1886 he died leaving the cares of the family of children to her alone. With hard work and honest toll, oftentimes having many trying and difficult tasks to endure, provided the necessary things of life for her family.  The boys and girls grew to manhood and womanhood, marrying and going out to make homes of their own all except Otis who married and remained with his mother in his house.  She has spent the remaining days of her life where there was always welcome and willing hands to care for her and try to make life’s last days her most enjoyable ones.  She was taken sick on February 16 of infirmities of old age and as the days of suffering and comfort and cheer her in her hour of suffering could not stay the hand of death and after nearly four months and intense suffering, just at dawn of day she entered in sweet rest, there to await the coming of her Savior. 

Grandma Wood, as she was known by her friends and neighbors, was a loyal and true Christian woman having been converted and united with the M.E. church at Heddings Chapel at an early age, remaining until death, although nor permitted to attend church for a number of years on account of her health and hearing. She never lost faith in her Savior and when spoken to about getting well always answered, “if it is the Lord’s will and if not, all was well.” Grandma Wood was a kind neighbor and a true friend always upholding the right and despising the wrong, always trying to set a good example before all with who she became associated with.  She will be sadly missed in the community and the home where she lived and was most tenderly cared for in her last days.  There is left to mourn their loss, one sister living at Worthington, 4 sons and 3 daughters. Charles near Pottersville, Ind., Dora of near Arney, Ind., Emmett, of Redfield, Iowa. Estel and Mollie of Bloomington, Ind., Lula, of Danville, Ill., and Otis of near Spencer, Ind.; and forty-five grandchildren, also forty-one great grandchildren, 11 grandchildren having preceded her in death. Four grown grandchildren having died in a period less than eight months, each of the four brothers loosing one child.  A host of relatives and friends also remain.  

A place within our home is vacant; a shadow o’er our life is cast; dearest mother thou art gone from the earthy home, And left us here all alone to weep and mourn; But if we love and trust the God she loved so well; We shall meet her in that heavenly home, Where no farewells are said, And with Mother live forever.  

Sarah and Nathan Wood Gravestones, Adel Cemetery, Owen County, Indiana

Sarah Wood Gravestone, Adel Cemetery, Owen County, Indiana
Sarah was a testament to a woman of strength.  We know from previous posts about Nathan and his troubles after arriving home after the Civil War.  When he returned back to Owen County, they went on to have seven children before he died; however, it sounds as though she carried a large burden with the family because of his sickness.  

Now that you read the obituary, don't you wish you could have met Grandma Wood? Also, did you catch the one line that said, "Four grown grandchildren having died in a period less than eight months, each of the four brothers loosing one child."  Well, I guess I need to dig up some research on these grandchildren.  How sad! :(

Sarah Amanda May Wood sounds like a strong, sweet and lovable grandma.  Someday..."We shall meet her in that heavenly home, Where no farewells are said, And with Grandma Wood live forever."  

Nathan Wood and Sarah Amanda May, (19 July 1860), Owen County, Indiana, Marriage Record, Book D, 1854-1863: 450; Owen County Courthouse, 60 S Main St, Spencer, Indiana.

"Civil War Pension Application File,'" Affidavit Dated July 1, 1890, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Soldiers Who Served in Both the Mexican War and the Civil War, ca. 1847 - ca. 1888, Record Group 15, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs,National Archives,Washington, D.C., United States.Certificate Included with Original Invalid Claim,15 May 1865,Application No. 439.771,Certificate No. 345.827. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Obituary, The Owen County Democrat, Spencer, Indiana, United States, 30 June 1921, Page 5, Column 1 and 2. Obituary sketch for Sarah Amanda May Wood.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Heirloom...Week 8

This week's post is for the 2018 challenge called, 52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks, by Amy Johnson Crow.  Theme for this week: Heirloom

It is only fitting that with a last name like Woods that we would have some woodworkers in the family who can create family heirlooms.  In our direct line, we know that the following have been blessed with the "woodworking gene" and this blog post will highlight some of these special heirlooms: 

  • Cecil Dale Wood
  • Cecil Austin Woods
  • Kenneth Dale Woods
  • Brian Woods

  • I am not sure if generations prior to Cecil Dale were into woodworking, but I keep researching hoping I can find a clue that they were!  If you have some cherished items from our family, I would love you to share your pictures and stories with me.  I feel like with our last name being Woods, this is a special gift!  I would love to compile more pictures and stories surrounding this topic in the future.    

    Let's start with some basics.  Kenneth took these pictures for me and are part of his woodworking tools from the two Cecils.  The first item is a hand drill and used to drill a hole in wood by hand.   The next two-handled items are called, Wood Draw Shaves, and used for shaving wood or removing bark.  The last two are hand planers. According Wikipedia,  "hand plane is a tool for shaping wood using muscle power to force the cutting blade over the wood surface."  Muscle power. All these tools muscle power. No plug-into-an-electrical-outlet and let the tool do the work.  While these guys no doubt used power tools to do their work at some point in their lives, someone used these at some point.  The other picture is a square used in accurately measuring and cutting right angles, and Kenneth says he estimates some of these tools are 80-100 years old.  

    While trying to compile this post, I talked to Kenneth about the oldest heirloom we think we have in the family with a story behind it.  He told me about the cradle shown in the picture below.  I think it's amazing we actually have a picture with Cecil Dale in it and the cradle in the background. Cecil Dale made this cradle for Debbie, his grand-daughter nearly 60 years ago.  Kept in the family all these years, Kenneth refinished the original cradle for his grand-daughter in 2007 and it is now another cherished doll cradle to be enjoyed for many more generations.  

    Cecil Dale with cradle in the background 

    Doll cradle refinished 40+ years later 
    Another story surrounding another kids toy is about a rocking horse.  Cecil Dale made rocking horses for his grandchildren including Kenneth.  Kenneth still has one of the original rocking horses, and it is shown below.  I love that the horse head looks like a real horse and very unique to anything you could buy today. Kenneth used the original pattern to create rocking horses for his grandkids.  Our son was a recipient of one of the redone rocking horses and he loved that thing!  He would rock and rock in the living room on it, and now his grand kids can enjoy it some day!   

    Cecil Dale rocking horse
    Griffin on the replica horse 2004, a one-year old birthday present from grandpa
    Cecil Dale also made this work bench for Kenneth and his brothers so they could help out in the wood shop in the 1950's.  We have it in our garage now and will be passed for others to enjoy in the future.  

    Cecil Austin also got the woodworker's blood and loved making things for family as well.  Pictured below is his "shop" and it was stuffed to the gills with tools and wood.  One could barely walk in the garage and there were literally paths to the tools.  Shhhhhh....don't tell him, but I think Brian's garage could give grandpa's a run for his money!  HAHA!  

    We recently took a family vacation to the Gatlinburg, TN area, and Brian was reminiscing about traveling there as a kid with his grandpa, Cecil Austin, and grandma, Viola, and how they would go there to see all the artisan craft stores and get ideas on things they could make.  They would also come back with various wooden treasures as well.    

     Cecil Austin And Viola on the Gatlinburg Chair Lift

    In the 80's era of "country type" crafts, there are many items he and his wife, Viola, would collaborate on.  He was the wood creator and she was the painter.  Some of them are shown below.  

    Cecil Austin also made lots of furniture pieces and toys and games throughout the years.  Here are some pictures below. 

    Cecil Austin made this spice rack for Kenneth and Janet as a wedding present.  I love that there is a sign on it that says who made it.  The next picture is of Brian in the toy box that his grandpa Cecil Austin made for him around his first birthday in 1974.  

    Toy box made by Cecil Austin for Brian, his grandson, in 1974
    Kenneth creates beautiful pieces in his wood shop as well. I already talked about the two previous heirlooms recreated for us to enjoy, but there are numerous other things.  He has made his grandkids many things to enjoy and they are shown below.  I loved the timeout chair he made for Griffin, and it got lots of use!  

    Something I have learned is that lots of items were made together with two or more generations working together to create family gifts.  This makes my heart smile and passing this gift from generation to generation is important.  Kenneth told me that the lamp in the picture below was made by him, Cecil Austin and Cecil Dale around 1970 and they made lots of them to sell or give away.   There were other stories of Easter baskets made for all the grandkids as well.  I also learned that typically they would make more than one of the items to give away to lots of different family members.  

    Each person in the family has their own specialty. Cecil Dale was great at joinery. Cecil Austin was a great finisher and jig maker. Kenneth is good at coming up with original ideas.  I asked Brian about what he thinks his specialty is and he said that he thinks his specialty is using his skills more for the carpentry and furniture. 

    Brian has been in the garage or grandpa's wood shop for as long as he can remember.  He used to go over to grandpa's house when he was 10 years old.  He was not allowed to use the table saw or the planer while grandpa was not there.  He was allowed to use bandsaw, drill press and jig saw on his own.  He recalls getting hurt while in grandpas's garage.  He was using the drill press and somehow ran his palm around the chuck key and created teeth marks all across his hand.  He says he has a vivid memory of sitting inside putting his hand in a large bowl of ice water.  Brian also remembers getting hurt at his home using the garage shop.  He was not supposed to be using the bandsaw at home without Kenneth; however, he decided to make an arrow and needed to use the bandsaw real quick.  While trying to put a point on the arrow, he cut his right thumb so bad the only thing holding the skin was the nail.  All Brian remembers is the I-told-you-not-to-use-that-without-me lecture all the way to the hospital emergency room.  Unbelievably, no stitches, but lots of butterfly bandages.  I guess something finally kicked in, as no more major injuries in the shop.  

    I have been so blessed that Brian has created such nice things for our house.  He insisted on creating Griffin's crib and dressers.  Many hours spent in the shop creating furniture to be passed on to future generations.  

    Brian working on baby furniture

    In the last few years, we also got a CNC machine where we have created so many signs for ourselves and others.  I usually do the layout and design and then have him take over.

    Brian also went on to teach kids in vocational school about Industrial Arts where he shared these types of skills with kids in high school.  

    I am not sure if Griffin will be as interested in woodworking as his previous generations.  This is a dying art, but Griffin has gotten his fair share of "shop time" with dad and grandpa.  They have worked on a few school and 4H projects together in the garage.  The latest thing he and grandpa  made were wooden maracas for a high school Spanish assignment.  Griffin got lessons on how to use the wood lathe and turned them himself.   I just hope the desire to become a woodworker is implanted in his being somewhere so he can say he is a FIFTH generation woodworker! 

    Griffin working on Spanish maracas
    While writing this post, it makes me so proud to be a part of such a special family with a special gift!  I am reminded of the love for family and sharing with others that exists in our Woods family.  I just hope the next few generations will continue making such quality pieces in wood and keep the family traditions going.  Imagine if Cecil Dale knew his craft was passed onto four or more generations. I think he would be so proud!