Wood, John

Born: 1798-12-20 Moravia, New York

Died: 1880-06-04 Quincy, Illinois

Flourished: Quincy, Illinois

Son of a Revolutionary War officer, John Wood was a farmer, soldier, public servant, Civil War officer, Whig, and, later, a Republican. He migrated West in 1818, entered Illinois in 1819, and settled near the future site of Quincy, Illinois the following year. In 1822, he built a cabin that became the first building in Quincy and began organizing Adams County two years later. He was one of the earliest town trustees and served on the city council before becoming mayor. He married Ann M. Streeter in 1826, and the pair had eight children together, although four died in childhood. Wood also served in the Black Hawk War and won election to Illinois Senate in 1850, where he remained until 1854. In 1856, Illinois Republicans nominated him as William H. Bissell’s running mate, and the state’s voters elected him lieutenant governor in the 1856 Federal Election. Following Bissell’s death, Wood served as governor of the state from 1859 to 1860. By 1860, he owned $250,000 in real estate and another $50,000 in personal property. In 1861, he was one of Illinois’ five delegates to the Washington Peace Conference and, after the outbreak of the Civil War, earned appointment as the quartermaster of Illinois. In 1864, he helped organize the 137th Regiment of the Illinois Infantry and served as its colonel for the remainder of the war. His wife Ann died in 1863, and he married Mary A. Holmes in 1865.

The History of Adams County, Illinois (Chicago: Murray, Williamson, and Phelps, 1879), 713-14; Governors of Illinois: 1818-1918 (Springfield: Illinois Centennial Commission, 1917), 25; Robert P. Howard, Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818-1988 (Springfield: Illinois Issues, Sangamon State University and Illinois State Historical Society, 1988), 117-19; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 4, Quincy, Adams County, IL, 196; Gravestone, Woodland Cemetery, Quincy, IL. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.