MY LIMB OF THE WOOD TREE
Wood ancestry means a lot to me. My Grandmother Braddock was a Wood.
After her son—my father—died in 1935 when I was five, my brother and
I lived with her for a few years in
Jay Odom, a descendant of Thomas Russell Wood, sent me the photo to the right of Daniel A., William Lewis, and Thomas Russell.
|As I am descended from William
Lewis Wood, all that follows is of his limb of the tree and his wife Elizabeth Jane
Pendley. She was daughter of John
and Jane Pendley. William and Elizabeth had eleven children: William
Rufus, Mary Jane, Martha F., Louise, Laura, Ella, Elizabeth
Mariah, John T., Daniel A., Carrie A., and Lilla O.
The July 16, 2006 issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article about a Bible taken from a home in Decatur by Yankee soldier 140 years earlier being returned to the DeKalb Historical Society in Decatur. The article read as follows:
Angel returns stolen
Bible from Civil War-era
The simple inscription is noted in perfect cursive writing
across an opening page of the old leather-bound Bible — now returned
home after more than 140 years in Yankee captivity.
The "capturer" was a Union soldier named Amariah
Spencer, who snatched the Bible from the home of a local tanner named
William Wood during the Battle of Decatur.
Spencer took the Bible home to
Then, by chance, the book made its way back to
A month ago, Ann Earle, a historian at the
"He said he had a Bible that he wanted to send us. I
That call from Winsor led to the Bible's return. Officials
It took a little detective work to piece together the
Bible's story, a tale of North and South unexpectedly brought together.
Wood and Spencer probably never actually met, but their
families were bound by the purloined Bible for decades. On pages
reserved for weddings, births and deaths, the histories of both families
— the Woods and the Spencers — are meticulously documented.
Confederate on the left.
Howard Winsor, 86, didn't know much about the book he got
63 years ago while cleaning out the house of one of Amariah Spencer's
"All I know is what was written in that Bible,"
The inscription also intrigued Ann Earle of the
"Captured," Earle said. "I think 'stolen.'
In July 1864, Union soldiers descended upon
But even before the battle, residents began fleeing
The Wood family could have been among those who fled.
By 1870, the family — now with nine children — was
The Wood house, perhaps abandoned, would have been an
inviting target for the looting Union army. Soldiers would generally go
into homes and "capture" whatever they needed or wanted, Earle
Spencer, who was likely a member of the Army of Ohio,
ended up with the Wood Bible.
Published in 1854 by T.K. Collins Jr., out of
"This would have been a very expensive Bible at the
time," said Sue Ellen Williams, executive director of the
The Bible chronicles the lives of both families. There is
a notation from William Wood that he and Elizabeth Pendley married on
Dec. 23, 1845.
At the time the Bible was taken, Wood had recorded the
births of eight of his children, from William R. in 1846 to John in
Amariah Spencer listed when he married Priscilla and when
his two sons, Horace and Wilbur, were born.
"It became his family Bible and he used it,"
Also inside were two letters to Spencer, sent in July and
August 1864 while he was still a Union soldier.
"Daniel Spencer is dead and being brought home for
burial witch (sic) will take place about next Sunday," began a July
6 letter from a W.B. Russell. "The one hundred day men will be home
in 20 days if they don't all die."
Howard Winsor said that, at some point, Amariah Spencer's
son, Wilbur, moved to Rocky Ford to work in the sugar industry, bringing
the family Bible with him.
In 1943, Wilbur died at the age of 76. Winsor, who worked
at a bank, was assigned to help clean out Wilbur's home. Winsor, who was
only 23 then, said one family member came and got a few things, but he
had to clean up and get rid of the rest of the stuff. Wilbur's wife,
Josie, according to the Bible, died in 1936 and the two had no children.
"I noticed the Bible and, at the time, I had became interested in
genealogy, so I kept it," said Winsor, adding that he was an
acquaintance of Wilbur's at the time.
Having the Bible for seven decades, no one would dispute
Winsor's claim of it. But he never felt it was his. He kept it in an old
box in his garage. Then, 63 years later, when Winsor decided to clean
out his garage, he found the old Bible. He called Earle. "I hate to
see anything thrown away," he said. Winsor never wrote in the
Bible, choosing not to add his family history to that of the Woods and
the Spencers. "It didn't feel right to do that," Winsor said.
Winsor did however, provide the closing chapter in the
Bible's family saga, when he wrote in fine ink, "Wilbur Spencer.
Died Dec. 20, 1943."
Upon seeing the article I contacted the DeKalb Historical Society and was able to obtain several photos of the Bible and some of its pages. Below are two of the pages containing vital statistics.
|The marriage of William Lewis Wood and Elizabeth Jane Pendley is listed in the left column of the above page. Marriages in the right column were entered by the Yankee soldier who took the Bible.||Birth information for William, Elizabeth, and eight of their eleven children are listed on the above page. Births of Daniel A., Carrie, A., and Lilla O. are not listed, probably because they were born after the Bible was taken. The soldier who took the Bible listed the births of himself, his wife, and two children on another page of the Bible.|
As I am descended from William Lewis' son William Rufus, all that follows is of him and his descendants. William Rufus married Amy Jane Willingham, daughter of Thomas and Mary Willingham. They had six children: Ida Lee, John Henry, Edward Lewis, Mattie Ola, Willie May, and Amy Ethel. As a young child I knew all of them except John Henry, who died a year and a day before I was born. The following is not meant to be a full-blown genealogy but a means for my sharing the story of the "captured" Bible and a few of the many memories I have of each of the children of William Lewis and Elizabeth Jane and their children, along with pictures of some I have accumulated over the years. For my genealogy, which includes all I know about my wood ancestry and cousins, go to my genealogy web site: http://www.woodenshipsironmen.com/Bradgen/ghtindex.html
|IDA LEE WOOD|
|JOHN HENRY WOOD|
|EDWARD LEWIS WOOD|
|MATTIE OLA WOOD|
|WILLIE MAE WOOD|
|AMY ETHEL WOOD|