Query: Wood

A new society member, Sharon Swindler, has furnished us with the following query about her Wood family:

My mother was born in Quitman and was the daughter of Alonzo Church Wood, Jr. and Catherine McReynolds Wood. I think I may have met Miss Ona Wood when I was a child. I am interested in getting copies of her written history of the Wood family and ancestors. I would want to include the McReynolds and Gunstream families. This week I checked the Wood County Genealogical Society’s web page and found some of Miss Ona Wood’s writing about the family. Is that available to members.
Sharon Swindler, 2678 Imperial Ridge Drive, Loveland, CO 80537, grandmasha@aol.com

Query: Smith

Seeking info./connections re: Green Russell Smith b. 1844 GA, and his wife, Mollie E. (Brown) and family. They were in Mineola and Golden, Wood County, TX beginning about 1870. Green was a County Commissioner and lived in the Bellefonte Community. His daughters married into the Davenport, Wood, Russell, & Bullard families.

This query was originally posted on the Wood County (TX) Genealogy research page on Facebook. You can reply there or here as a comment below.

Free Search of Historic American Newspapers

What can you learn at the Library of Congress’ FREE Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers site? (link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/)
As an example I searched on Quitman in Texas newspapers and came up with these two of many hits. You might find your own ancestors’ names there either in Texas or other states.

Prisoner returned to Quitman
From the Palestine Texas Daily Herald, Jan. 05, 1906, Image 5
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86090383/

Winnsboro hosts Educational Conference
From the Jefferson, Texas Jimplecute, Nov. 5, 1904, Image 5
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86089977/

Thanks to Randy Seaver for calling this site to my attention today in his daily tips.

Historic Burning of Court House

The loss of many records of the early years of Wood County, Texas resulted from the burning twice of the County Courthouse in Quitman. The following act of the Wood County Commissioner’s Court is an official reference to the first of these fires in 1878.

“Whereas in the burning of the Court House on the 11th day of December A. D. 1878, all the books and records of the County Treasurer’s office, and all other books showing the financial condition of the County, having been destroyed; it is therefore, for the purpose of enabling this Court to make out a statement of the financial condition of the County as required by law, ordered by the Court that all claims or warrants issued upon the County Treasurer of Wood County, by competent authority, prior to said 11th day of December 1878, be presented to the clerk of the County Court of Wood County, on or before the 1st day of November next, and that said claims be registered by said clerk as presented to him, in the Minutes of this Court, showing the date of each claim, the amount of the claim, upon what fund drawn to whom issued and the registered number of them Treasurer where such claims have been registered. It is further ordered that notice hereof be given as required by
Sec. 9 of “An Act to organize Commissioners’ Court, and to define their jurisdiction and duties, and provide for vacancies therein”, approved July 22, 1876.”

– Copied from the May 2011 “Window to the Past”
Newsletter of the Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records (OPHGR) of Canton, Van Zandt County, Texas, Patsy Vinson & Betty Miller, editors.

Regarding the Wood County Courthouse Fire December 11, 1878:
From Volume 1, Page 1, of the Civil Minutes of the District Court of Wood County, Texas: January 27, 1879
“This is the first Minute Books used after the fire which occurred in the morning of the 11th of December, A. D. 1878, at about 2 o’clock in the night, and which resulted in Destruction of the Courthouse and all the papers and records contained therein, said house is supposed to have been set on fire by some incendiary, but no one has been able to trace it to the purpertrator (sic) up to this date. Great was the loss in said fire to both private individuals and the officers of this county. District Court was in session at the time.” (This was from a newsletter entry labeled “Miscellaneous Tidbits from the Late Ona Wood’s Notes”, 1994 Volume, July Issue, Newsletter No. 35, page 50.)

Wood County Feels the Tug of War

Life in the Piney Woods
By Ona Wood
Chapter 3
Wood County Feels the Tug of War

The everyday affairs of life went on as usual in the deep eastern section of Wood County.

Mary and Peter Gunstream and their neighbors always arose long before the dawn and prepared breakfast. They ate by the light of candles which they had molded with their own hands from the tallow dried from the fat of the beeves that they had butchered on their own range.
Their breakfast was no meager affair; even if they did live in the woods of a sparsely settled country, food was in abundance: quail fried to a golden brown, ham from their smokehouse, sausage, red gravy and hominy, hot corn pone and butter.

As soon as the first rays of the sunlight dispelled the rosy tinted dawn, Peter went to the fields or to the mill. Everything seemed peaceful in the deep forest.

Far off in the distance a turtle dove cooed to its mate… Continued on the Member’s Only pages accessible from the link at the top right of this page.

Life in the Pineywoods – Chapter 2

Ona Wood writes about life in Wood County in the early 1850’s reflecting the life of Peter Gunstream and especially the Holly Springs community of eastern Wood County in Chapter 2 of the story of her ancestor’s coming to the county. This chapter is available on the members only site by going to the link at the top right of this page. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter:

It was not until the year 1857 that the first school house was built in the settlement of the deep eastern part of Wood County. The little log school house was located about one half mile southwest of the Gunstream home. The principal patrons were P. M. Gunstream, Mr. Isham Burnett, and Mr. B. L. Robbins.
The first school that was taught in the log structure was under the tutelage of Miss Emily Smith, a very young girl. She had an enrollment of fifteen pupils.
The school term was very short. That was the case of all the school terms throughout the entire county, and in many other places of the state for the next half century. The school usually ran for a term of three or four months; and in some instances two months in the summer time after crops were “laid by.”
The children had to walk long distances to reach the school house, even as much as four miles or more. By the time a youngster reached the school building, ate his lunch, and returned home, most of the day was gone.
The only school books were those that parents might have brought from the old states or , perchance, some father had been lucky enough to find during a trip to Jefferson or Marshall when going for supplies for the family.

Life In The Piney Woods – Chapter One

We have begun the serial publication of Life In The Piney Woods by Ona WOOD. It is available to members on the members-only page which you can access at the top right column of this page. It will also appear in the second quarter (June, 2010) newsletter.

The foreword (by Mrs. Ona Wood) was previously published here. If you would like to read it again before going to Chapter one, click here.

Thanks to member Mark Reid who digitized the first chapters of Mrs. Wood’s book.

———————–

Life In The Piney Woods – Chapter One

A YOUNG SWEDE COMES TO AMERICA

The day dawned beautiful. The sun projected its rays across the waters of the northern seas in an effort, it seemed, to hold in check the restless beating of the waves.

On the deck of a ship lying at anchor in Baltic waters in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark stood a young man, well groomed and handsome.
The long locks of his light wavy hair sweeping loosely around his neck were tousled by the wind; the tangy sea breeze upon his face, caused his eyes to turn occasionally from their far-distant gaze; within their depths, like a mirror to his soul; shone a spirit of courage and strength, supported by an abiding peace.

Inside the iron-bound chest, bearing the name of P. M. Gunstream, that had just been placed on board were many tools that were to be used to ply his trade in a new world. To read the remainder of Chapter One, go to the member-only page.

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