Friday, April 22, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Joseph Christopher Wood

Another of my great, great grandfathers saw Civil War Service.  He was Joseph Christopher Wood, born 1841 in Adair County, Missouri.  In the early 1850's the family made the trip across the entire state of Missouri to Crawford County, Arkansas - Joseph's mother died soon after they arrived.  He and his father, William Wood, made the long trip back to the northern border of Missouri where William took a second wife, then recruited her entire family to head south with him to a milder climate.

Joe Wood married Letitia Ann Mayberry in 1860 in Crawford County - they had eleven children, perhaps only the first infant son who died young was born before or during the Civil War.

According to his application for a Civil War Pension, which was approved 12 Aug 1920, J. C. Wood's Civil War Service was in Woosley's Regiment of Infantry from Arkansas. "Left beside road with sick furlough shortly after Hindman evacuated Ft. Smith in 1863 or spring of 1864." Gratis Comstock and A. S. Matlock signed Proof of Indigency with K. M. Comstock acting as Notary Public.

Gratis Comstock and Albert Sidney Matlock were Joe Wood's sons-in-law married respectively to his youngest daughters, Zella and Minnie Wood.  K. M. Comstock was his grandson, son of daughter Lucretia Ellen who had married James Monroe "Mon" Comstock.  K. M., or Kenney M. Comstock, was my maternal grandfather.  Gratis and my grandfather were 2nd cousins on the Comstock side of the family.

The application was made became of incapacity, as well as poverty.  J. C. Wood suffered from infirmities and feebleness of old age, varicose veins and asthma in the winter.  He was age 79.  O. M. Bourland, a local doctor, had examined him and declared him totally disabled, 7 Aug 1920.  My grandfather had also notarized the good doctor's statement.

Thomas Howell testified he himself was a Confederate Soldier during the War, to the best of his recollection, in Company B of Clark's Regiment at the time of his discharge.  He remembered that during his service he saw J. C. Wood in the Confederate service as a teamster.  Howell signed his statement on 31 Jul 1920 before R. S. Wilson, Notary Public.   Thomas Howell was also the uncle of one of J. C. Wood's daughters-in-law.

Woosley's Regiment was actually a cavalry unit - Woosley's Battalion. It is possible that Joe Wood's memory was a bit faulty. Only a single Muster Roll card survives to record his Civil War Service. He enlisted 15 Nov 1862 in Crawford County, Arkansas, for three years, as a private in Company D of Brooks Regiment which was also designated at times as the 2nd Regiment and the 34th Regiment. Nearly all the other recruits in Company D were from Sebastian County - the neighbor county of Crawford and location of Ft. Smith. The Muster Card was for March & April of 1863. J. C. Wood was Absent, on detached service at Teamster by order of Col. Brooks, Nov. 15th 1862. Since he was not with his unit, perhaps he was with Woosley's at the time he became ill.  Gen. Thomas Hindman's army did evacute Fort Smith in late August of 1863.  Family tradition is that Joe Wood fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge - the 34th or Brooks Regiment, was at the Battle of Prairie Grove, December of 1862, but probably not at Pea Ridge.  Both battlefields are in northwest Arkansas, not far from Fayetteville.
Within the next year or so, Joe Wood and his father and their familes left the war-torn northwest Arkansas area and moved to Iowa, just across the border from where they had once lived in Missouri.  According to the family tradition, they stayed there only about a year and moved to Kansas for perhaps two years.  The second child of Joe Wood's was born in Iowa in 1865, the third child, my great grandmother, was born in Kansas in 1867.  Both Wichita in Sedgwick County, and Douglas County, have been suggested for the residence of the Woods in Kansas, but I've not been able to find a record.  By the time the fourth child was born in 1869, the families had all returned to Crawford County, Arkansas.
After the family returned to Arkansas, Joe Wood had a shoe repair shop at the village of Arkalo, then he added groceries. He built a store in 1880 at Hickory Grove with accommodations for his family upstairs. When he decided to add a post office, there was already another Hickory Grove in Arkansas so it is said that he may have renamed the town "Uniontown" at that time.  He was Uniontown's first postmaster, appointed in April, 1881. He later added a drugstore which was the first and only pharmacy in the history of Uniontown. He built his family a home across the street from the store and the upper story was rented out to the Masonic Lodge until about 1885.  Another first - J. C. Wood was a charter member of the Uniontown First Christian Church in the summer of 1886.  I have cousins that still belong to the Christian [Disciples of Christ] denomination.

I do have an indistinct photo of Joseph Christopher Wood in his older years - it was a family photograph made probably about 1900-1910.  Joseph and wife Letitia are seated in the center:

Joseph Christopher Wood died at age 86, 17 Dec 1927.  His wife had died the year before.  They are buried Dripping Spring Cemetery in Crawford County.  His mother who had died in 1853, some of the relatives of his stepmother, some of his half-siblings, and some of their children are also in this cemetery.