b. 31 January 1792, d. 12 February 1866
- Father: Solomon Wood b. 6 April 1756, d. 17 August 1815
- Mother: Elizabeth Eason b. 28 December 1752, d. 21 March 1826
- Green Wood was born on 31 January 1792 in Washington (later Jefferson) County, Georgia.
- The following appeared on 24 April 1810 in The Georgia Journal: (Laurens County) Whereas Nancy Brazeal has applied to me for letters of administration on the state of Willis Brazeal, late of this county, deceased, These are therefore to cite and admonish all and singular the kindred and creditors of said dec'd, to be and appear at my Office within the time prescribed by law, to shew cause if any they have, why said letters should not be granted. Given under my hand this 10th day of April, 1810. A. Love, C. C. O.
Administrator's Bond was posted and Letters of Administratiion were issued to Nancy Breazeal and Green Wood on 2 July 1810.
- Green Wood posted Guardian's Bond and was appointed guardian of Elizabeth Eason Breazeal on 3 March 1817 in Laurens County, Georgia.
- He married Mary Wilkie Hall, daughter of Bolling Hall and Jane Abercrombie, on 17 June 1817 in Alabama.
- He relocated to Autauga County, Alabama, in circa 1818 with Elizabeth Eason having sold out all property in Jefferson County, Georgia. Then they settled in Montgomery County on the Alabama River, "in the Fork," and later (before 1842) bought a plantation on the Augusta ferry road, seven or eight miles from the city.
- According to the 1878 City Directory and History of Montgomery, Alabama: Of the earliest inhabitants of "New Philadelphia," or "Yankee Town," [were] . . . Jonathan C. Farley. . Dr. James Mitchell. . Thomas Lewis, William Lewis, Green Wood. . John Goldthwaite. . . Mr. Jonathan C. Farley erected the first framed store house and dwelling in the fall and winter of 1817. The store house stood at the corner of Market and Hull streets, the present location of Mr. T. S. Madigan's brick store. His dwelling stood on the adjoining lot. A mill was early established on "Spring Creek," now known as "Eight Mile Creek," east of Montgomery, by Messrs. Pinkston and Allen. This afforded a fair supply of excellent lumber for several years. . . . Dr. James Mitchell, who removed from Tennessee early in 1818, was the first practicing physician in the town. The Doctor married a sister of Col. Bolling Hall, and retired to a farm in Autauga County, from which county he removed in 1853 to Texas, where he was still residing last fall. . . ." By act of December 3, 1819, "New Philadelphia" and "East Alabama" were incorporated into one town, under the name of Montgomery. . ."
- Green Wood became a widower at the 29 June 1820 death of his wife Mary Wilkie Hall.
- He married Evelina Alexander Barnes, daughter of William Barnes and Nancy Abercrombie, on 28 February 1822 in Alabama, at Evelina's Uncle Bolling Hall's plantation near Montgomery. Evelina was a first cousin of Green's first wife Polly Hall.
- Green Wood and Evelina Alexander Barnes appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1830 in Montgomery County, Alabama. Other (counted but unnamed) members of the household apparently included Green Mark Wood, Solomon Eason Wood and Willis Breazeal Wood. Also in the household were forty-two slaves, nine of whom were under age ten and two age fifty-five and older.
- About 1837, portraits were painted of Green and Evelina Wood by an unknown artist (estimated date based on their apparent ages in the portraits). If a third portrait, of a young girl, was painted by the same artist, at the same time, it would have been of daughter Lizzie Green, as her descendants believe. The painting is today, however, in the family collection of descendants of youngest daughter Ella, so identity of the original of that portrait is uncertain.
- Green Wood and Evelina Alexander Barnes appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1840 in Montgomery County, Alabama. Other (counted but unnamed) members of the household apparently included Green Mark Wood, Willis Breazeal Wood, William Barnes Wood, Joshua Wood and Elizabeth Green Wood. Also in the household were eighty-eight slaves, thirty-one of whom were under age ten.
- Green Mark Wood advertised his plantation for sale in the Montgomery, Alabama, Tri-Weekly Flag & Advertiser from May 1847 through March 1848.
- Green Wood advertised his plantation for sale in the Montgomery, Alabama, Tri-Weekly Flag & Advertiser from March through July 1848.
- Green visited Texas in the spring of 1848 and again in 1849 seeking the best place to establish his new plantation. His TRAVEL JOURNAL has survived to the present day.
- Green Wood purchased from Joseph Lindley 1,416.30 acres in the Joseph Lindley Survey for $1,416, general warranty deed dated 22 June 1849, recorded in Montgomery County, Texas, on 23 June 1849.
- On 23 June 1849, Green Wood recorded in his travel journal: Rented Mr Carothers place & engaged his corn at 50 cents & went to Mr Ch Louin,s & Bought 6000 feet plank.
- From the late 1840s until the mid-1860s, Thomas Affleck published a Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book, in which Green Wood kept, in his own hand, his daily plantation records from 1850 to 1863, eleven volumes of which are still in existence today.
It appears that agricultural practices at Greenwood were heavily influenced by Thomas Affleck's teachings: horizontal trenching and plowing to conserve and distribute available moisture and control erosion, soil amendment, crop rotation, and the like.
- Green Wood recorded: (in February 1850 in his first Texas plantation daily account book) "Started my waggons under the Care of Green M. Wood & Willis B. Wood for Texas on the 6th day of December 1849, 3 large waggons with 6 mules each, two waggons with 4 each, and one with two mares. Lost by cholria after crossing the Mississippi 13 Negros in the month of January 1850 viz Little Sam, Dave, Warren, Toby, Young Bill, Neptune, Turner, Harry, Alesey, Darcas, Pleasants youngest child Butler, Patseys child Flora & Ferabas child Elbert. [H]ad to camp for four weeks, did not arrive at my place near Danville, Montgomery County, Texas, untill the 3rd of February, 1850 & left three large waggons near Naches river & Guilford & his Family, 15 in all. Did not get them home untill the 10th of March, Got Adams Family & Leanty home from Houston on the 20th March."
- Dr. John J. Myers advertised his practice at the late residence of Green Wood, in the Tri-Weekly Alabama Journal, from January through May 1850.
- According to a promissory note recorded in the deed books of Montgomery County, Alabama, on 5 January 1850, Green Wood was indebted to the estate of Dr. Thomas Brown in the amount of $38,554.39. Promise of payment to executor Bolling Hall was secured by conveyance to him the conditional ownership of 95 negro slaves, including approximately 37 adults and 58 children. The debt was cancelled 16 February 1855.
- He and Evelina Alexander Barnes relocated to Texas in 6 January 1850 with William Barnes Wood, Elizabeth Green Wood and Campbell Wood departing Montgomery, Alabama on 6 January 1850, arriving in Houston the 15th, and finally arriving near Danville 22 February. Probably included in this family group were the wives and children of Green Mark and Willis, and the Campbell boys, Duncan Greene and William Barnes.
- Green Wood purchased from B. L. & E. Landrum 130 acres in the John Saddler Survey for $400, general warranty deed dated 20 February 1850, recorded in Montgomery County, Texas, 20 March 1850.
- Green Wood purchased from A. Park and wife 117.75 acres in the Joseph Lindley Survey for $400, general warranty deed dated 21 March 1850, and recorded on the same date in Montgomery County, Texas.
- On Sunday, 26 May 1850, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Wrote to Mrs Mary Mitchell, Eason Allen & Edward Williams."
- Green Wood and Evelina Alexander Barnes appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1850 in Montgomery County, Texas. Other members of the household included William Barnes Wood, Elizabeth Green Wood and Campbell Wood.
- He was a farmer, according to the 1850 census.
- On Saturday, 7 September 1850, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Wrote Cummings Stewart & Co., E. Allen, Solon Mitchell & W. Breazeal about mistake in cloth."
- Green Wood purchased from Sam'l Lindley 218 acres in the Joseph Lindley Survey for $600, general warranty deed dated 12 December 1850, recorded in Montgomery County, Texas, on 12 February 1851.
- Sam Reed entered into an agreement on 31 December 1850 with William M. Barrett to do all the brick work of Austin College, for the sum of $750.00, to be completed by 1 January 1852. The building, whose cornerstone was laid on Saint John's day, 24 June 1851, was constructed of soft sand-molded bricks forged at the state penitentiary. It still stands as "Austin Hall" at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. Green Wood's son Campbell attended Austin College from 1855 to 1857. Sam Reed's daughter Mattie married Green Wood's grandson Solomon Wm Wood in 1873, and the following year Sam's daughter Katie married Green's grandson Rush Brevard Wood. On 28 November 1851, Green Wood "Paid Daniel Baker $50, my subscription to Austin College."
- On Monday, 6 January 1851, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Rented from Mr Lindley the 12 Acres South side @ $2. per Acre, & the North corner 15 Acres at $3 per Acre."
- Green Wood purchased from M. S. Shepperd 129.90 acres in the Joseph Lindley Survey, general warranty deed dated 12 January 1851, recorded in Montgomery County, Texas, 12 February 1851.
- On Saturday, 21 January 1851, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Sent on subscription money . . . five Dollars gold for Independant Universalist E.M. Knapp 21st January."
As a matter of historical interest, Rev. Ezekiel Merrill Knapp died on 4 April 1851 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
- On Tuesday, 8 April 1851, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Subscribed 100 Dollars to the Austin College payable 1 & 2 years."
- James Charles Abercrombie wrote to Green Wood:
Washington City, 25th April 1852
Maj. Green Wood
Your letter dated at Houston Texas 31st Ult. has reached me. The power of attorney alluded to has not yet arrived. I am pleased to say to you we have passed the [General James C.] Watson claim through the house after a bad contest with the abolitionist and I feel sanguine of its passage through the senate - it has been refered in that boddy to a committee and a favorable report has been made - you may rest assured I will if possible guard your claim against the creditors of Genl Watson - should we not succeed here, I have employed council at Columbus Geo to take all legal measures to secure your interest. Judge Sturgis is still here, who has acted and is still acting for Watsons Administrator - he says your claim he knows all about it is just and must be respected. I shall watch him, having no confidence in him - my best respects to Evelina and all of the Family. I had like to have forgotten to say Miss Parthenia Abercrombie our Daughter & Josephine my brothers Daughter is here with me enjoying themselves - you would suppose my wife had turned young again, gowing to the opera every night, She has laught until her mouth is nearly a yard wide. Wig Party Disbanded tho Democratic Party in worse condition. in great haste, accept my best wishes for your happiness and prosperity.
Very sincerely yours, J Abercrombie
Minimal punctuation added by the transcriber to enhance readability.
- Green Wood wrote to Bolling Hall Jr.:
Near Danville, June 18th 1852
Your kind letter of the 22nd last month was receved in due time and I should have writen in answer to it soon but from your saying you were about starting North with Margarete Baley which I think is a good arrangement. with regard to Mr Myers note I am glad you commenced suit against him. Myers did not express any doubts about the corn holding out measure untill two days before I started to move & I told him I would have it measured, & offered to pay him hier for his hands & get Mr George Noble to attend to it for me, I fully believed the corn would measure out more than I had charged him with, & I told him I would not like for him to belive there was less, and prefered to measure it. that night he wrote me a note & sent it over to Mrs Brown,s, declining to have it measured, & expressed himself satisfied. I belive I mentioned it to Mr Noble, would be glad you would ask Mr Noble. I shall leave nothing to arbitration with Mr Myers, if he or the Doctor (Myers) are allowed to Swear I should stand no chance. Mr Myers refused to settle with me after geting possession unless I made a reduction from the sale of articles of near four hundred Dollars & to get a settlement & his notes & around a lawsuit, I gave it to him, when he knew that agreable to our writen contract that it was as much my due as any of the balance & he quibled in everything to annoy me, & from that cause I do not look on him as an honest man & would not have any confidence in his measurement of corn or any thing else or belive him when any money was at stake. I proposed to him to have some person to see the corn measured in the fall and he refused, said he would be satisfied with my measuring, and I intended to make it good measure & believed I threw in several hundred bushels. he refused to measure when I proposed to get Mr Noble to see it done & then says he measured it. I again say I have no confidence in his statement about measuring & will leave nothing to arbitration with him. I am very glad to hear that the notes I left have been so generally paid and I feel under great obligations to you for your kind attention to my business.
Our crops are forward and at present promising, we had full roasting ears the 30th May & cotton blooms 31st. I think my fodder will do to pull by Monday week. I have 300 Acres in cotton all clean & looks promising & if the seasons are at all favourable think I shall make 250 bales.
I am very much pleased to hear that John Brown is so much improved & have great hopes he will recover entirely. we were pleased to hear that Mrs Brown was recovering. hope she will soon be free from lameness and that John will be restored to her in sound mind and health. tell Mr Jackson that I am very willing to apologise. I did not intend any improper illusions or insinuations and hope it will be satisfactory & would be pleased to have a letter from him.
That young Daughter of ours grows finely & I think is about as nigh perfect in beauty as it is possible to be. Regret that you can' all see her, it is worth a trip across the Gulf. I wish you would persuade Mr & Mrs E A Holt to come out and spend the Summer with us instead of going North. it much more healthy here & we would be very much pleased to have them with us. Willis received a letter from his Wife about the time yours was received & started by the next boat to see her. you will perhaps see him. Abercrombie has a fine crop and is in fine spirits thinks he will make 100 Bales cotton they are all in good health. Mrs A. has improved in health very much, weighs 40 lb more than when she came to Texas notwithstanding she nursing one of the finest children she ever had. The Mr's Lewis, Elmore and Scott & Scott are out looking at the big Thicket between Abercrombie,s & Green Wood,s place & some other Alabamans. remember us kindly to your Wife & Children. you have my best wishes for your prosperity & hapiness
Yours Truly, Green Wood
I shall be pleased to hear from you on your return & again here from John Brown
Minimal punctuation added by the transcriber to enhance readability.
- The following appeared on 6 October 1852 in the Tri-Weekly Alabama Journal: We find in the Macon (Ga.) Citizen, the following letter from Major Green Wood, formerly of this county, a gentleman well known for his practical skill in cropping and all the details of agriculture. His judgment is entitled to the highest degree of reliance in his description of the fertility and advantages of upland Texas as a point for emigrants.
Montgomery Co., Texas, Aug. 29.
Dear Sir: -- I received your letter of the 9th inst., and was glad to hear you were all well, and that your crops were so promising, particularly the corn. You say your river land will make forty bushles of corn to the acre and ask if my upland will do it. One of my near neighbors (Mr. R.) rode with me in my corn a few days since, and thinks it the best eared corn that he ever saw. He is of the opinion that it will produce seventy-five bushels per acre, and what gives his opinion weight is, that he is a Tennessean. Several of my neighbors estimate their corn crop at seventy-five bushels to the acre, and I have offered to bet that I will beat any of them. I have given you the opinion of my neighbors, and will now give you mine. I think I shall average from fifty to sixty bushels of corn in my whole crop. to see whether I am right or not in this, I intend to select an acre or two and have them measured, and will let you know the result. One thing is evident and it ought to be known in the older States, viz: we shall have plenty of corn for immigrants next year, and that too, at greatly reduced prices. We began very early (July) to use it, but the great quantity grown forbids other than low prices. I am glad to hear that lands have risen in Georgia, though I doubt the permanency of the present prices and am inclined to think they will recede, and no one will be benefitted, unless it be the sagacious seller, who is looking to a removel to the great South-west. I consider my lands worth $20 per acre, and would not take it to-day; and yet I only gave $1 per acre, to begin my settlement with, and have since bought at much less rates, lands lying adjacent to me.
You are mistaken about the lands in Baker County producing more cotton than our uplands. My cotton has grown too large and is too thick to make as much as it would if the contingencies could have been foreseen, which have produced this result. The distance between our rows is five feet, and the limbs of the cotton are so inter-locked as to make it difficult to get through it. I have not an acre but would reach your shoulders on horseback. If we had dry weather in July and August, our cotton would have done much better. Recently we have had incessant rains, and cotton began sprouting in the bole. -- The catterpillar made its appearance two weeks since, and has spread over about twenty-five acres. The damage is much less than I anticipated. We are not so well advanced in picking our cotton as we were last year. I have picked 51,000 pounds, and have it ginned and packed, ready for market. My son(W) measured and picked an acre of his cotton on the 27th of August and gathered 800 pounds. His farm is adjoining my plantation, and cost $1 per acre. -- My lands you have seen and I know the quality well. I am on neither creek nor river, and hope never to cultivate any other than our uplands, which saves us from all apprehension when the flood gates are opened and the waters descend and disease marches and counter-marches, up and down our big rivers. Thrice safe is he who has built among the hills and cultivates a more moderate soil, as I have chosen to do in coming to Texas.
In conclusion, I would advise you and all your friends to come to Texas, and especially Mr. G. and others, of Twiggs, whose farms I examined two years since, presenting a lamentable contrast with the farms of this country.
Yours, &c., G. W.
- Green Wood purchased from Israel Allphin 26.10 acres in the Joseph Lindley Survey, 640 acres less 164.5 acres reserved for Davis Bays in the John Hostetter Survey, 116 acres in the John Sadler Survey, and 81.90 acres in the Rodney Hostetter Survey, all for $400, general warranty deed dated 7 March 1853, recorded in Montgomery County, Texas, on 29 March 1853.
- Green Wood paid $350 to Alex McCown for his his rights and title related to the following parcels, purchased the previous year from Israel Allphin: 26.10 acres in the Joseph Lindley Survey, 640 acres in the John Hostetter Survey, 116 acres in the John Sadler Survey, and 81.90 acres in the Rodney Hostetter Survey, quit claim deed dated 6 March 1854, recorded in Montgomery County, Texas, on 10 April 1854.
- Green Wood purchased from James Truitt 640 acres in the Joseph Lindley Survey for $300, general warranty deed dated 8 November 1854, and recorded on the same date Montgomery County, Texas.
- Jesse McCaleb contracted to purchase from C. B. Stewart, on 2 January 1855, 131-1/3 acres in the James Edward League, which included a Boat Yard and Cotton Shipping Point, with rights of way having previously been granted to Green Wood, James M. Lewis, and Zill McCaleb.
- On Wednesday, 11 April 1855, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Had my Dagaratipe taken for my Wife by Mr. Stubs."
- Green Wood wrote to Bolling Hall Jr.:
Near Danville Texas - August 26th 1855
I have received your two letters of the 3rd & 13th Inst. the last acknowledging the receipt of $1000. check which you say you will credit on the $5000. note. I have sent to Market 16 Bales of cotton and have 42 ready to send off & will make further payment on the same note soon. I am much obliged to you for the present of the Coat, but it is too small for me. will give it to Billy & it is full small for him. he is still growing, is larger than when you saw him,
I am very glad to hear you have fine crops of corn & hope your cotton will turn out well. I am sorry to hear that T. Brown has paid so high for my old place, fear he cant make the interest on the purchaise money. fortunately he is not dependant on making it on the place. think he might have done better to have sent his hands out to Texas on a healthy place and lived in Ala. himself as Goldthwaite has done,
I knew you would be pleased with Western Texas, but do not think you can leave Ala. your plantation is not convenient to your residence but that is made up by convenience of shiping your crop. I cannot give you any information about a choice place but think if you were in earnest about buying a place you could make a selection by coming out yourself in a week or two
I was very glad to hear that Ala. has done so well and that the Know Nothing party are so unpopular which I think is proven by the defeat of Watts. I hope it will die out in the South. there is no hope for that at the North. think they will force a separation of the Union in the next four years. Texas has gone against Know Nothings with all Sam Houston,s influ[en]ce in their favour. do not think he could get the vote of Texas if he was nominated for President. I have never seen as much interest taken in an Election here before. the Know Nothings began to withdraw very fast two or three weeks before the election.
I believe I wrote you about my crop before. I have been complaining for want of rain all summer untill the 3rd of August, and since then we have had very frequent rains which is injuring my cotton very much. it is nearly all open in many parts of my crop and hulls of the first bols rot & come with the cotton, can,t pick it clean. yesterday & day before raney days. packed cotton on Friday 20 Bales. we had just got out the 20th Bale when some cotton fell on my Brush cillinder & caugh fire & was cared to the lint Room and set it in a blaze. there was only about two bales of cotton on the floor and with the exception of a little just gined was hard trod by working over it, and we succeed in puting it out. there was a puddle of water near and we had two or three buckets threw in. water deadened the fire & all hands & myself Jumped in and tramped it down. the roof had caught fire but did not blaze out & we soon got that off and I have escaped with the loss of not over one bale. we had gined over four bales a day. I have picked out 114,441 lbs and if the weather had been dry could have done much more. we have with 41 hands picked last week over 10,000 lbs a day. My highest hand 440 lbs and lowest 140 lbs. Billy,s hands have Beat mine. a Boy, the son of Gracy, picked two days last week 882 lbs, two Girls over 1,000 lbs each in three days, one of them the Daughter of Gracy & about 14 years old, the other about the same age. it is sprinkling rain again today. I have my room covered and ready to start my Gin tomorrow & will try to have my Gin stop often & examine the Gin. Doctor Scott & Lady & part of the children came up yesterday. the Doctor Preaches to day. Evelina & Mrs Scott have gone to Church. Mr S will stay several days. Billy has gone to Church, Josey & Mary Jane are with Lizzie. she has mended considerably but requires a good deal of attention. John Abercrombie & his oldest Daughter & Son have gone to Sour Lake [and also] Judge Elmore & Family & several others in the thickett, in all 32 persons, a great watering place if was more convenient to get to, would no doubt have crowds there, cures Rheumatism, Dropsey, all eruptions of the skin & almost all diseases,
Every Boddy healthy so far as I Know, have not had a sick negro up to this time, which is very different from what I could say in Ala. at this time of year. we have had thousands of Water mellons. the negros hawled up five waggon loads last sunday & have been hawling all this morning. my patch is in new ground a mile & they can't go at night & hawl for the week.
Doctor Scott has a fine corn crop. John Abercrombie thinks it will make 80 Bushels to the acre on the best of it. he says the wet weather is injuring his cotton very much,
all wish to be remembered to your Familey and yourself except my best wishes
Very Truly, Green Wood
Minimal punctuation added by the transcriber to enhance readability.
- On Sunday, 3 February 1856, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Judge Goldthwaite came this evening." A few days earlier, on 27 January, Green Wood sent hands to help to load Jesse McCaleb's river boat. J. E. McCaleb was listed as "agent" for the Goldthwaite plantation in the 1860 census slave schedule.
- In a letter dated 14 February 1856 to Green Wood in Danville, Texas, Thomas Affleck wrote from Washington County, Mississippi: My Dear Sir: Mrs. A. has just handed me Mrs. Wood's letter to her, with P.S. by yourself to me. I leave to Mrs. A. all but needs business as I am very busy. If you think that the sows could be driven, on foot not hauled--please write to Mr. Gerard to effect. Write in English--he can read it. I will also write to him today, & tell him he will hear from (you) & if you think they can travel, to go over at once, with a hand, & drive them home. I am extremely anxious to get a dozen of the first young in-pig sows you can spare--& one young boar till I can send out one as a cross-over on my place now. Hence my urgency. When you let me know their cost, I will place the amount to your credit in N. O. or remit you, as you may direct. With kindest regards to all.
- During February and March of 1856, Houston merchants Van Alstyne & Taylor advertised for sale in The Weekly Telegraph Green Wood's "celebrated 'Wood Corn,' superior to any seed corn in this country," featuring testimonials by John J. Scott and J. C. Abercrombie.
- Green Wood wrote to Bolling Hall Jr.: Texas Near Danville Texas August 24th 1856
Major Bolling Hall
It has been a long time since I had the pleasure of a letter from you. Hope you are all well and that you have been favoured with good and seasonable rains. We have had the worst crop year that I ever saw, long spells of wet and cold during the winter and spring too wet to plant corn untill the 22nd March and no rain then to the 28th April, and rained for two weeks. No rain since the 13th May to make our corn, one shower the 18th July done very little good to our cotton. My cotton crop is very poor I have packed 31 Bales cotton and think I have out half my crop. Every thing shows the want of rain. My earliest peaches were tolerable good, those now on the trees are very much wilted and unless it rains soon will never ripen. I think I have made corn enough to do me and think I shall raise my meat. I believe I will average 30 Bushels corn to the acre and think I can pick acres that will make 40 to 50 Bushels, without rain after 13th May.
I fear I shall not be able to pay any thing on my debt from this crop. I have some hope of collecting part if not all of a debt due me in Galveston, about $3000, but it is entirely uncertain. If I do will send it to you.
I heard from Mr McGar that I had got Judgment against Myers, or that was his understanding from a conversation with Mr S. Robinson. Would like to hear if it is so.
It is very healthy generally, not a case of sickness in any of our Famileys during the summer, have not lost a days work from sickness among my negros.
Remember us Kindly to all your Familey and except my best wishes,
Minimal punctuation added by the transcriber to enhance readability.
- On 24 April 1857, Mathew Wood wrote to Green Wood:
Tyler, Texas, April 24th ’57
Maj Green Wood
Montgomery County Texas
Cousin Green, we are all well But rather low spirited on account Of the cold dry wether. we have had scarcely any rain for 10 weaks. we had A frost and freeze the 5th last and A snow the 12th, 4 or 5 Inches deep, Still continues cool. the frost has spoiled Our fruit, wheat. I think has killed a Good many of our peachtrees and a good Deal of the trees in the woods. we had To plant over our crops. is it so with You? fortunately I had not planted the Corn you sent me but have planted It since. it is up. I don’t think we can Make a good crop this year though perhaps We may. it looks like we might have Rain soon. there has been a good deal of Complaint of whoping coff and Measles In our neighborhood. I had but two Small negroes to have it. we get letter From our Alabama friends & relations Frequently. they are generly well. Bro John's son Ashley was married a short time since to a Miss Brooks of South Carolina and his daughter Martha to a Mr Funderburg. I reccon They bowth done well in marrying. I can’t think of any thing to write that Would interest you. I have my land In fine order if it only would rain And turn warm. my stock appears to be doing tolerable well. I have some over 100 head of hogs, the most of the shotes fat enough to roast. how do you like Buckhannons Inaugeral address? I like it well. I think it to be a Suthern document. Whig as I am I expect to support his Administration as long as he sticks to the Principles as laid down in his Inaugeral. I think it would be perfect madness for Any Sutheran man, Whig or Democrat, to oppose his Administration under Existing circumstances. he appears to be A sound conservative constitutional Man. we are all giting along in Business about as usual. I want To hear from you again soon. perhaps My mind will be more composed So that I can think of something That will Interest you more. I am determed however whether my Letters are Interesting or not to write To you frequently as long as we bowth Live. Remember me kindly to Cousin Evelina and your children,
I remain Your Cousin M Wood
Minimal punctuation added by the transcriber to enhance readability.
- On Sunday, 18 July 1858, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "I owe Guilford $75 Dollars for his three year old colt naimed Buck."
- On Thursday, 29 July 1858, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Colonel C. G. Forshey came to Dinner."
- On Monday, 6 December 1858, Wm Barnes Wood, in Green Wood's absence, recorded: "Green Wood & Wife left home for Galveston," and on Wednesday, the 7th, Bob & Jim got back from depot about 8 oclock at night."
- On Sunday, 19 December 1858, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Returned yesterday from Galveston. Mrs. E. A. Wood got her arm Broke yesterday by a fall from Mr. Gafford's Piaza. The rail of the Piaza gave way and she fell backwards. Rode home after geting it set by Dr. Irons, 16 miles."
It is interesting to note that Anna Griggs Irion's father's sister Linnah Griggs was the wife of Evelina's father's brother Lewis Bryant Barnes.
- On 9 April 1859, Green Wood wrote to Robert Micajah Powell: R. M. Powell, Esq., Montgomery, Ala. Dear Mike, Your Ma [mother-in-law Evelina Wood] has given you the news generally so I will only write a business letter which I aught to have writen sooner but forgot about it.
I wish you to see Elmore or Yancy and enquire of them about the suit against Myers on a note that he gave for corn which he conten9 April 1859ed fell short. I have never had any account of it. If you should see Bolling Hall enquire of him if it has been collected & if I have been credited on my note & if you do not see him enquire of Colonel Bugbee as he attends to such matters for Mrs Brown. I wrote to B. Hall once about it but got no answer. I would be glad you would make some enquiry about the chancery case of Genl Clanton.
Every Body is well here and we are ahead of our last years work at least three weeks but our corn is not large but we shall be done thining Hoeing & plowing it very soon, say two three days. Your overseer is up with us if not ahead a fine stand of cotton. We have had a week of very cool weather, nothing could grow much but now warm enough.
They are to have a Democratic meeting at Danville next Saturday. You will be a Delegate to the convention the 1st Monday in May at Houston. I expect Wm B. W. will write you.
Yours Truly, Green Wood.
Original letter in R. E. Reichardt collection; original transcription by R. E. Reichardt.
- Green Wood and Evelina Alexander Barnes appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1860 in Montgomery County, Texas, next to their son William Barnes Wood.. Other members of the household included Campbell Wood, Ella Abercrombie Wood, Sarah Anne Harris, Eliza Stocks Wood, Charles Harris Wood, Willis Eason Wood, Elizabeth Ames Wood and Powell Wood. Green Wood is listed in the 1860 Slave Schedule with 106 slaves (33 of whom were age 10 and younger, and 8 of whom were age 60 and older) and 23 slave houses, for an average of 4-5 persons per cabin.
- He was a farmer, according to the 1860 census.
- On Wednesday, 28 November 1860, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Mr Affleck came this morning, moving his Negros."
- On Monday, 14 January 1861, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: Laid up all day with an aching of the left eye, relieved by a prescription from Doct Silas Ames, Spirit."
- Mid-April 1861, Green Wood wrote to Campbell Wood: “My dear Son:- I hand you herewith a check on W. M. Rice of Houston. Pay your bills, come home and join the army. Affectionately, your father. Green Wood.”.
- On Tuesday, 13 August 1861, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Started my Waggon (Ben driving) Doctor Campbell and Judge Goldthwaite Waggons to Nibletts Bluff Sabine river to meet Captain R. M. Powell & company & take them to Berwicks Bay."
- William D. Mitchell wrote from Polk County in a letter to his uncle Bolling Hall Jr. in Alabama, on 30 August 1861, ". . . I received a letter from Josephine a few days ago, she states that all were well but that they had had a great deal of sickness in their family. Major Wood is suffering a great deal with inflamation of the eyes, it is thought he will loose his sight. . ."
- On Tuesday, 18 February 1862, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Doctor Ramsdell and Lady came this evening," and on the following day, "Doswell Menard Spiritually Examined by Doctor Ramsdell; very Satisfactory to his Mother."
- On Saturday, 22 February 1862, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Mr. J. McGar Spiritually examined by Doctor Ramsdell; satisfactory to Mr. McGar."
- The following appeared on 16 April 1862 in The Tri-Weekly Telegraph:
Ed. Telegraph--I beg to acknowledge the receipt of the following articles, contributed for the Hempstead Hospital, by the ladies of Danville and Waverly, through Mrs. Major Green Wood, of Danville, Montgomery county:
278 lbs. lard, 160 lbs. ham, 40 lbs. soap, 6 doz. candles, 88 lbs. butter, 93 doz. eggs, 2 calico spreads, 2 comforts, 12 mattrasses, 30 sheets, 27 pillows, 40 pillow cases, 40 towels, donated by the following persons:
Mrs. Mayfield, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Spiller, Mrs. Sessum, Miss Sarah L. Davis, Mrs. Green M. Wood, Mrs. J. M. Leivi, Mrs. Geo. Redding, Mrs. Major Redding, Mrs. Maj. Green Wood, Mrs. McGarr, Mrs. Charles Abercrombie, Mrs. Tryler, Mrs. Dr. Carr, Mrs. W. B. Scott, Miss Thompson, Mrs. Tabb, Mrs. Richard Williams, Waverly; Mrs. Col. Campbell, do; Mrs. Dr. Campbell, do; Mrs. Dr. Scott, do; Mrs. Col. Jno. Hill, do; Mrs. John C. Abercrombie, do; Mrs. Laura A. Scott, do; Mrs. Wm. B. Wood, Danville; Mrs. Wynne, do; Master Solomon Wood; Major Green Wood's servant[s], 31 doz. eggs; Mrs. Green Wood, cash, $10; Miss Sarah L. Davis, $10; Mrs. Dr. Stewart, $5.
Mrs. C. A. Groce,
Principal Hempstead Hospital.
Hempstead, April 10th, 1862.
- The following appeared on 13 August 1862 in The Tri-Weekly Telegraph:
Montgomery, July 22, 1862.
Mr. Cushing, (not Mr. Editor)
I have thought several times since the frigate Santee blockaded our port, of writing to you, just to tell you what a good thing it has been for us all up here. You have long since heard, through your correspondents from various places, what a change has come over the spirit of the ladies, I mean of Texas since Old Abe (I like to have written old Satan) took possession of our waters, but I do not remember to have seen any account given of the industrious wives and ingenious daughters of Montgomery. Now, as they will not speak for each other, I will invite myself to let out some of my pent-up thoughts relative to their rapid improvement in the way of learning how to live. I think the aforesaid old and young folks have distinguished themselves in this simple, but grand and indispensable art. I think, also, they have agreed, with one accord, to dispense with dear bought luxuries, and content them with Confederate comforts. I think, too, that Yankee commodities will forevermore be minus about their premises and dwellings, as every body seems to have found out a way whereby they can be free and independent. Oh! if you could only spare time to make a visit to this section, your eyes would be gladdened by the sight of many good and substantial articles of home manufactory. Why, the ladies are making nice cotton and wool cloth, genteel bonnets and hats, comfortable shoes and hose, good fitting gloves and durable fans, besides superior starch and efficacious medicine, strong bridles and rope girths, round buttons, excellent pens, black ink, &c., &c. Then you could feast on fresh home-made cheese and other cheap necessities. I could tell you many things about the economy of us "rebels," but that would make my letter too long. The fashion leaders, even, are at home this summer, as warm as the weather is, and I hear no talk of their ganging to Newport, Saratoga, or Niagara. I say again, the blockade has been a good thing for us all in Montgomery town and county. Yes, it has been good for everything, especially for the money-purse and Bacchanalian devotees.
Good night, Mr. Cushing. Votre amie, Texas Rustic.
- On 14 January 1863, Gideon Lincecum wrote to Green Wood:
My Dear Sir.
I was, a few days since, at the house of Chas. Abercrumbe. He informed me, but did not know for certain, that some person was manufacturing at Danville, good spinning machines. If so, will you be so kind as to make inquiry about them, and if they are making good machines, engage one for me; let me know the time to go for it and what it will cost me.
If it is true that they are making spinning machines there, they must be in great demand, and I speak thus timely, though we need it badly now hoping to procure one sometime. If we could procure cards, we could make out very well, as we have everything else that is required for the production of various kinds of cloth.
I have pestered you with this matter because I have greater confidence in your judgment of such things. You will therefore please excuse me.
We are all well; that is, the old Lady, Sarah, and myself. The balance of our household having gone to the war, from whence they may never return. But that's nothing, if we can sustain our freedom--our Government against the infernal theiving yankees. The chances for which are quite encouraging so far.
Present my best regards to your good lady, and believe me, as ever, thine, Gideon Lincecum.
Addressed to Maj. Green Wood, Danville, Texas, from Long Point, Texas.
- The following appeared on 18 November 1864 in the Texas Republican:
Clothing for Soldiers.
Office Chief Clothing Bureau, T. M.
You are directed to organize in Ark., North La., and Texas, societies for the manufacture of army clothing. For this purpose you will adopt such rules and regulations as may appear to you just and proper.
The organizations when completed will be reported to this office, when material will be distributed to them for manufacture into clothing. Liberal inducements will be offered by you for all work that may be done, in this connection.
My object is to create resources for the manufacture of ten thousand suits monthly. Our necessities are such that it must be done, and I rely on your energy and the cordial co-operation of our ladies to attend success. Respectfully, W. H. Haynes, Major and Q.M., C.S.A., Chief Clothing Bureau.
And in the same issue, Mr. A. H. Hay, Agent Clothing Bureau, writes: In connection with the exchange of Calico and Domestic, for garments of home-made cloth, I will be at the following places: Greenwood, Thursday Dec. 8; A. Wright's, 10; Jefferson, 12; Marshall, 14; Ash Spring, 15; Mrs. Ben Witcher's, 16; Gilmer, 17; Starville, 19; Tyler, 20; Pittsburg, 23; Mt. Pleasant, 24; Dangerfield, 26; R. Huges, Foundary, 27; Nash's Foundary, 28; Linden, 30; Douglasville, 31; Bright Star, Saturday, January 1; Walnut Hill, 3; Lewisville, 5. Other places in Arkansas will be visited.
At these places I hope to meet ladies from other places, acquaint them with the work, and have societies formed.
- The following appeared on 1 March 1865 in the Galveston Weekly News:
Blessing of the Blockade -- Texas Home Industry.
We have on our table a group of nineteen samples from the looms of a single plantation, embracing such a variety of quality, material, color and fabric, as to command the admiration of all who see them. No two of these samples have the same color or quality; and they range from the heaviest plain cotton domestic, to a fine and smoothly executed stripe and check for dresses -- from the heaviest double twill bleach pilot cloth, to a nice, purely white and soft flannel, linsey and tweeds of several qualities and patterns. The grey jeans, or cloth, is so exact a fac simile of our grey army cloth in color, and so superior to most of it in quality, as to answer well for Confederate uniforms.
Would that we were better skilled in fabric technicals, and the operations of the factories, that we might do justice to the patriotic handicraft and economy of "Greenwood," in Montgomery county.
We learn with surprise, that the two looms -- kept constantly running the one with the fly shuttle, and the other with the common hand shuttle -- have yielded, during the past year, more than six thousand yards of manufactured goods, of which these samples are fair specimens.
Every color is borrowed from the neighboring hills and forests; every fabric of cotton and wool consumed, grew upon the same plantation that manufactures and wears them; the looms, the shuttles, the harness and the slays, the reeds and the warping bars, were made out and out, on the spot where they are used, and not a nail or bolt of iron is found in the loom house.
The slaves that do the labor in these manufactures were born in the family, and readily learn to perform each their special part in the work. The intelligence and supervision has been furnished by the lady of the manor, and not a hired assistant in any department has been employed; and only two articles have been purchased to enable them to obtain these results, namely, the cards and the copperas. The latter of these is abundantly produced in the hills of Texas, and is being rapidly brought into market. The latter [former], we hope, soon to see manufactured within the State.
We cannot add that this prolific product of the loom has been entirely consumed on the plantation that has yielded it; on the contrary, besides clothing entire the slaves of the plantation, it graces the parlor of the mansion, in the dresses of the elegant and intelligent mistress and her family; and it blesses many a soldier in the trenches and on the field, from Texas to Maryland.
The county is greatly indebted to Major Green Wood and his accomplished wife and family, for these testimonials, to the blessings of a blockade. Heaven spare their noble boys who have borne their industry and their patriotic blood through storms of battles in the farthest and bloodiest fields of the Confederacy.
- On 18 September 1865, Green Wood reported settling with Miss S. L. Davis, paid $240 in Specie and gave her his note for $1240 bearing that date.
Note: Former Greenwood governess Sarah Louise Davis married John W. Campbell
on 26 March 1867 in Galveston.
- Green Wood died on 12 February 1866 at age 74 in Montgomery County, Texas.
- His wife Evelina Alexander Barnes became a widow at his death.
- He was buried at the Green Wood family cemetery in Montgomery County, Texas.
- As executrix of her deceased husband's estate, Evelina Wood sold five tracts of land, in aggregate about 1,174 acres, to her cousin Eliza Dixon Hall Brown, widow of Dr. Thomas Brown, for the sum of $11,600, according to a deed dated 23 December 1867, recorded in the deed books of Montgomery County, Texas.
- ===== Additional Biographical Information =================.
- On 27 November 1805, Solomon Wood signed the following will:
In the name of God, Amen. I, Solomon Wood, being of good health and sound memory at present, thanks be to God for it, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, and also that it is every man’s duty to settle his affairs, do make, constitute and appoint this to be my last will and testament, that is to say, first I will bequeath my body to the dust and my soul to God, Who gave it, in hopes that He who formed me will have mercy on me.
Secondly:- I will and bequeath to my beloved wife, Elizabeth, six negroes to be her choice that are not named in my will, four horses and they to be her choice of all my stock, fifteen cows and calves, one yoke of steers and six steers for beef and all the hogs, sheep and geese.
Six feather beds and furniture, including all household furniture to be hers forever and at her disposal with the plantation whereon I now live, with the tools belonging thereto to be hers during her natural life, also my stage wagon.
Thirdly:- I will bequeath to my daughter, Elizabeth, four negroes, to wit:- Black Jenny; Cuffy, a fellow; Rachel, a girl mulatto and Delilah. One horse, bridle and saddle with one hundred and fifty dollars, ten cows and calves, one feather bed and furniture and household furniture equal to what has been given her sisters.
Fourthly:- I will and bequeath to my three sons, namely, Green Wood, Mark Red Wood and John White Wood, all my lands and negroes, namely, Tony, Murphy, Bob, Guilford, Jim (a mulatto), David Turner, Dad Wright, Godfrey, Betty, Black Rachel, Patty, Jule and Fannie and three feather beds and furniture, thirty cows and calves and three horses, bridles and saddles to be worth one hundred and fifty dollars each and the said property is to be equally divided between them at Green's ariving at twenty years of age, also five hundred dollars for their education.
Fifthly:- I will and bequeath that after my just debts are paid the remaining part of my property to be equally divided between my children, namely: Nancy, Polly, Elizabeth, Green, Mark Red, and John White.
Sixthly:- I make and constitute and appoint Willis Brazial, Thomas Mitchell and Green Wood to be my executors of this my last will and testament.
In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal, dated in Jefferson County, and State of Georgia, this the 27th day of November, 1805. (signed) Solomon Wood.
Signed, sealed and acknowledged before us the day and year above written, Stephen Durowzeau and John Cowart.
- Green Wood did a lot of business with William Marsh Rice and Ebenezer B. Nichols: first, the Houston mercantile firm of Rice & Nichols, a large export and import business that supplied plantations and settlers inland with goods from New Orleans and New York and acted as banker for many of its customers; and later Houston firm Wm M. Rice & Co. (from their billhead, "groceries, provisions and liquors, drugs and medicines, iron, steel, nails, castings, rope, bagging, &c &c") and Galveston firm E. B. Nichols & Co. (cotton factors and commission merchants). It appears that Green shipped his cotton to Rice in Houston who passed it on to Nichols to be sold. At some point, Marsh turned his railroad interests over to his brother Frederick A. Rice and business associates Abram Groesbeck and W. R. Baker, and moved to New York City where he remained until his death.
- A biographical sketch of Green Wood appears in W. G. Robertson's 1892 Early Settlers:
Green Wood was a man of wealth, education and influence, and was an early settler. His plantation was on the river, and he lived on the second bottom at the beautiful place between the river and the hills above. After remaining in the Fork for a number of years, he sold his plantation to Dr. Ware and bought a plantation on the Augusta ferry road, seven or eight miles from the city, and there he became noted as the best farmer in the county. He was a great corn planter and raised a variety of corn, known all over the country as the Green Wood corn, and some of that variety of corn is still in existence. Mr. Wood was the father of Maj. Green Wood, of Texas, and grand father of Dr. M. L. Wood, of Montgomery. He sold his beautiful place later on and moved to Texas, and has been dead a number of years.
Recollections of the Early Settlers of Montgomery County and Their Families, by William G. Robertson. Montgomery, Alabama: Excelsior Printing Company, 1892. Reprinted Montgomery Alabama: Society of Pioneers of Montgomery, 1961.
- A biographical sketch of Green Wood (including numerous notable inaccuracies and exaggerations, including a particularly fanciful portrayal of author Caroline Lee Hentz) appears in T. A. Owen's 1921 Dictionary of Alabama Biography:
Green Mack Wood, planter, was born January 31, 1892, in Jefferson County, Ga., and died February 12, 1866, on his plantation near Danville, Montgomery County, Texas; son of Solomon and Elizabeth (Eason) Wood, natives respectively of England and of Wales, who settled first in North Carolina and later in Jefferson County, Ga; the former held the rank of general during the Revolutionary War and was also active in the Indian Wars, died in Jefferson County August 17, 1815; the latter removed with her son, Green Wood, to Montgomery County, and is buried in the family burying ground on the plantation there. Her mother was a miss Bentley. Gen. Wood's mother was a Miss Valentine. Mr. Wood was educated in his native state and removed to Montgomery County in 1817. His landed estate was extensive and he owned a large number of slaves. One of his daughters, Mrs. Douglas M. Camplell, of Houston, Tex., has written of these times as follows: "During the war my father's plantation was a very busy place, my mother having cloth woven and clothes made for the soldiers, as well as her own family, and the negroes, about two hundred on the plantation, and on Col. Powell's plantation, son-in-law of Maj. Wood, as he was in the army. My father was very busy providing all necessaries and raising everything on the plantation for soldiers' wives and children and widows all over the county. His plantation was called the 'Model farm,' for he was very systemaitc and methodical--raised sheep, horses and cattle and hogs, as well as a diversity of crops and all kinds of fruit and melons. A carpenter and blacksmith shop were maintained in the place and pitch, tar and coal were made for all purposes. He was a most kind and humane master, a fine provider for all, and one of the best neighbors. We had a governess, Miss Sarah L. Davis, of Batavia, N. Y., in our home for six years. My mother was a fine southern woman, a good entertainer, and always kept open house for friends and visitors. 'Marcus Warland' or the 'Long Moss Spring,' by Caroline Lee Hentz, was written after a visit in Alabama. She visited at my father's plantation, her husband being with her, and my father had the negroes give a 'ball' at their quarters for her benefit. She was a northern woman and had never shown anything of southern plantation life. She was so delighted upon her return to the north she wrote this novel, and her negro characters were taken from several of my father's servants and the story one of the South." Mr. Wood removed with his family to Montgomery County, Tex., in 1850. Married: February 28, 1822, near Wetumpka, at the home of her aunt, Mrs. Bolling Hall, to Evelina Alexander, daughter of Wm. and Navy (Abercrombie) Barnes, both of whom had died some years before in Hancock County, Ga., leaving orphaned besides Evelina, a younger daughter, Elizabeth, who married William Campbell of Montgomery, and a son, William, who died at the age of seven. Children: by a former marriage, an only child; 1. Green Mark, m. Mary Jane LeGrande, daughter of William C. and Mary Jane (Paul) LeGrande, granddaughter of Pierre LeGrande, a French Huguenot, who located in Richmond, Va., in 1700; 2. Bolling Hall; 3. Willis Breazeal, m. Sarah Ann Harris; 4. Nancy; 5. William Barnes, m. Cornelia Josephine Mitchell, Houston, Tex; 6. Elizabeth Green, m. Robert Michael Powell, Texas; 7. Mary Evelina; 8. Seignora Eliza; 9. Ellen; 10. Joshua; 11. Campbell, m. Nannie Hall Mitchell, Austin, Texas; 12. Ella Abercrombie, m. Douglas M. Campbell, Texas. Last residence: Danville, Tex.
History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, by Thomas McAdory Owen. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1921.
The following narrative, as told by Isaac Martin, was recorded as part of the 1936-1938 WPA Federal Writers' Project. Isaac Martin and his wife Rhoda were living at that time in Voth, Jefferson County, Texas.
Dis ol' man jes' layin' 'roun'. Ain't nuttin' to him no mo'. I done wo' out. I jes' waitin' for de Good Marster to call po' ol' Isaac home to Glory.
When dey read de proclamation to my mammy and daddy dey mek 'em give eb'rybody' age in de fam'ly. I was twelve year' ol' den.
I was bo'n up here in Montgomery county 'bout t'ree mile from Willis upon de I&GN Railroad. I holp to buil' dat I&GN Railroad.
Ol' Major Wood he my daddy' marster, and 'course he mine too. He was well fixed. He had 'bout seb'nty or eighty wukkin' slaves and I dunno how many li'l niggers. I didn' know nuttin' 'bout ol' Missus, Mrs. Wood. I jis' 'member she a big fat woman. Dey didn' 'low no li'l nigger chillun up in de yard 'roun' de big house 'cep'n' to clean up de yard, and dem what done dat, dey hatter be jis' like dat yard, clean as peckerwoods.
Ol' marster he warn't mean. He nebber whip' 'em jis' so iffen anybody say de slave orter be whip. Dey hafter see him and tell him what dey done befo' he give de order to de overseer to whip. Iffen he don' t'ink dey orter be whip, he say don' whip 'em and dey don' git whip.
I had to mind de cows and de sheep. I had a mule to ride 'roun' on. It was dis way, I hafter mind de cows. Ol' marster he plant dif'rent fiel's in co'n, fifty or sixty or a hundred acres. When dey harvestin' de co'n, when dey git one fiel' done dey tu'n de cows in so dey kin eat on de stalks and nubbins what lef' in dat fiel'. I got to ride 'roun' and see de cows don' bus' over from one fiel' what dey done harves' into de other fiel' where dey wukkin', or what ain't been harves' yet. I jis' like dat, ridin' dat mule 'roun' de fiel' and keepin' de cows in.
Den dere was five or six of us boys to keep de dogs out de sheep. You know iffen de dogs git in de sheep dey ap' to kill 'em.
Us go huntin' wid de dogs lots of time, and lots of time us ketch rabbits. Dey was six dogs, and de rabbits we kotch was so much vittles for us. I 'member one night us went out huntin' and ketch fo' or five rabbits. Us tek 'em home and clean and dress 'em, and put 'em in de pot to have big rabbit supper. I was puttin' some red pepper in de pot to season 'em, and den I rub my eyes wid my han' and git dat pepper in my eyes and it sho' burn. You know how red pepper burn when it git in your eyes, I nebber will forgit 'bout dat red pepper. De ol' folks uster show us how to fix de t'ings we ketch huntin', and cook 'em.
Ol' marster sho' t'ought mo' of his li'l nigger chillen. He uster ride in de quarters 'cause he like to see 'em come runnin'. De cook, she was a ol' woman name' Forney, and she had to see atter feedin' de chillen. She had a way of callin' 'em up. She holler, "Tee, tee, t-e-e"; and all us li'l niggers jis' come runnin'. Ol' marster he ride up and say, 'Forney, call up dem li'l pickaninnies,' and ol' Forney she lif' up her voice and holler, "Tee, t-e-e, t-e-e," and ol' marster jis' set up on de hoss and laugh and laugh a lot to see us come runnin' up. He like to count how many li'l niggers he did have. Dat was fun for us too. I 'member dat jes' like yestiddy.
"Nuttin' went hard wid me. Fur's I know 'bout slav'ry dem was good times."
Dey had 'bout t'ree or fo' hundred of sheep. My father hafter kill a mutton eb'ry Friday for de house. Dey bring up de sheep and somebody hol' de head 'cross a block and my father cut de head off wid a hatchet. Sheeps is de pitifullest t'ings to kill. Dey jis' give up. And dey cries, too. But a goat, he don' give up, naw suh, he talk' back to you to de las'.
I 'member one time dey gwine to give a school feas', and dey gwine kill a goat. Dey hang dat goat up to a tree by he hind legs so de blood drain good. Dey cut he t'roat, dat's de way dey gwine kill 'im. Dat goat seem like he kep' on talkin' and sayin' "Please, God, don' kill me" to de las', but dat ain't done no good. Dat goat jis' beg to de las'.
My ol' marster he live in a big house. Oh, it was a palace. It had eight or nine rooms. It was buil' outer logs, and moss and clay was stuff' twixt de logs. Dere was boards on de outside and it was all ceil' nice on de inside. He lived in a mansion.
Dey was plenty rich. Ol' marster he had a ol' waitin' man all dress up nice and clean. Now if you wanter talk to ol' marster you hafter call for dat ol' waitin' man. He come and you tell him what you want and den he go and tell ol' marster and den he say, "Bring him in,'"and den you go in and see de ol' marster and talk your business, but you had to be nice and hol' your hat under your arm.
Dey's big rich people. Sometime' dey have parties what las' a week. Dey was havin' dere fun in dere way. Dey come in kerridges and hacks.
My father was de hostler and he hafter keep de hosses and see 'bout feedin' 'em. Dey had a sep'rate li'l house for de saddles. Ol' marster he kep' good hosses. He warn't mean.
He had a great big pasture and lots of times people go camp in it. You see it was disaway, de Yankees dey got rushin' de American people, dat de Confed'rates, dey kep' comin' furder and furder wes', 'till dey come to Texas and den dey can't go much furder. De Yankees kep' crowdin' 'em and dey kep' on comin'. When dey camp in ol' marster' pasture, he give 'em co'n. I see 'em dribe a whole wagon load of co'n and dump it on de groun' for dey hosses. De Yankees nebber come 'till de war close. Den dey come all through dat country. Dat was destruction, it seem to me like. Dey take what dey want.
When freedom come and de proclamation was read and de ol' marster tol' 'em dey was free and didn' have no ol' marster no mo' some of de slaves cried. He tell 'em, "I don't want none of you to leave." "I'll give you $8.00 a mont'." All de ol' folks stay and help gadder dat crop. It sho' griebe ol' marster and he didn' live long atter dey tek his slaves 'way from him. Well, it jis' kill' him, dat's all. I 'members de Yankees on dat day dey sot to read de proclamation. Dey was gwine 'roun' in dey blue uniform' and a big long sword hangin' at dey side. Dat was cur'osity to dem niggers.
When ol' marster want to go out, he call he li'l nigger serbent to go tell my father what was de hostler, to saddle up de hoss and bring him 'roun'. Den ol' marster git on him. He had t'ree steps, so he could jis' go up dem steps and den his foot be right at de stirrup. My daddy hol' de stirrup for him to put he other foot in it.
I was big 'nuff to run after him and ax him to gimme a dime. He laugh and sometime he gimme de dime. Sometime he pitch it to me and I run and grab it up and say, "T'ankee, marster," and he laugh and laugh.
Ol' mistus she had a reg'lar cook. Dat was my mudder's mudder. Eb'ryt'ing had to be jis' so, and eb'ryt'ing nice and clean.
Dey didn' do no reg'lar wuk on Sunday. Eb'ry Sunday one of de other wimmins hafter tek de place of de cook so she could git off. All of 'em what could would git off and go to de chu'ch for de preachin'. Dem what turn didn' come one Sunday, would go anudder 'till dey all got 'roun' to go.
Marster had two or t'ree hundred head of cattle. My gran'father, Guilford, had a mule and hoss of he own. Uncle Hank was his brudder, and he had de sheep department to look atter. Sometime de niggers git a hoss or a sheep over, den de marster buy 'im. Some of de niggers had a li'l patch 'roun' dey cabin' and dey raise veg'table. Ol' marster he buy de veg'table sometime. I didn' know what freedom was. I didn' know wedder I needed it or not. Seem to me like it was better den dan now, 'cause I gotter look out for myself now.
Us uster be on de watch-out for ol' marster. De fus' one see him comin' lit out and open de gate for him to ride froo and ol' marster toss him a nickle.
When it was time to eat, do ol' cook she holler out, "T-e-e, t-e-e, t-e-e-e" and all us li'l niggers come runnin'. She have a big tray and each of us have a wessel and a spoon. She fill' us wessel and us go eat and den us go back for mo'. Us git all us want. Dey give us supper befo' de han's come in from de fiel' and what wid playin' 'roun' all day and eatin' all us could hol' in de afternoon, twarn't long befo' us li'l niggers ready to go to sleep.
One t'ing, ol' marster didn' want his niggers to run about. Sometime dey want to go over to anudder plantation on Sunday. Den he give 'em a pass iffen he willin' for 'em to go. Dey had patterrollers to ride from plantation to see iffen dey was any strange niggers dere.
When dey wanter marry, de man he repo't to ol' marster. He want his niggers to marry on his own plantation. He give 'em a nice li'l supper and a big dance. Dey had some sort of license but ol' marster tek care of dat. He had two sons what had farms and slaves of dere own. Ol' marster didn' care if his slaves marry on his sons' farms. If any of de slaves do mean, he mek 'em work on Sunday. He didn' b'leeb in beatin' 'em.
So many of 'em as could, usually go to de white folks chu'ch on Sunday and hear de white preacher. Dey sit off to deyse'fs in de back of de chu'ch. Dem what stay at home have a cullud preacher. Dey try to raise 'em up social.
Dey had a ol' woman to look after de babies when dey mammies was out in de fiel'. Dey have a time sot for de mammies to come in and nuss de babies. De ol' woman she had helpers. Dey had a big house and cradle' fer dem babies where de nuss tek care of 'em.
When anybody die dey have a fun'rel. All de han's knock off work to 'tend de fun'rel. Dey bury de dead in a ho'made coffin.
I nebber pay no 'tenshun to talk 'bout ghos'es. I nebber b'leeb in 'em. But one time comin' from chu'ch my uncle' wife say, "Ike, you eber see a ghos'? Want to see one?" and I tell her "I don't give a cent, yes I want to see one." She say, "I show you a man dress' all in white what ain't got no head, and you gwine feel a warm breeze." After a while down de hill by de graveyard she say, "Dere he go." I look' but I neber see nuttin', but I feel de warm breeze.
I uster go to see a gal and I uster hafter pass right by a ol' graveyard. It was all wall' up wid brick but one place dey had steps up over de wall so when dey hafter bury a body two men kin walk up dem steps side by side, and dat de way dey tek de corpse over. Well, when I git to dem steps I hear sump'n'. Den I stop and I ain't hear nuttin'. When I start walkin' ag'in I hear de noise ag'in. I look 'roun' and den I see sump'n' white come up right dere where de steps go over de wall. I had a stick in my han' and nex' time it come up I mek a rush at it and hit it. It was jis' a great big ol' billy goat what get inside de wall and was tryin' to git out. He get out jis' when I hit him and he lit out froo de woods. Dat's de only ghos' I eber see and I's glad dat warn't no ghos'.
Ol' marster he had twenty head of cows. Dey give plenty milk. Dey uster git a cedar tub big as dat dere one full of milk. De milkers dey pack it on dey head to de house. Us cow-pen boys had to go drive up de caffs. Cow-pen boys? Cow-pen boys, dem de boys what keep away de caffs when dey do de milkin'. Co'se, lots of times when dey froo milkin' us jump on 'em and ride 'em. Wheneber dey ketch us doin' dat dey sho' wear us out. Dat warn't yestiddy.
Fur as I's concern we had a plum good time in slav'ry. Many a year my grampa raise a bale of cotton and marster buy it. Dat was encouragin' us to be smart.
My daddy name' Edmond Wood and my ma name' Maria. I had a brudder and a sister; dey name' Cass and Ann. I been a farmer all my life. I kep' on farmin' 'till de boll weevil hit dese parts and den I quit de farm and went to public work. I work in de woods and cut logs. I buy dis house. I been here 'roun' Voth 'bout twenty-five year'.
I been marry twict. De fus' time I marry -- I git so stinkin' ol' I can't 'member when it were, but it been a long ways back. My fus' wife, Mary Johnson. She die' and den I marry dis yere woman I got yere now. Her name been Rhoda McGowan when I marry her but she been marry befo'. Bofe of us ol', ain't fit for nuttin'. Us git pension' and dat what us live on now, 'cause I too ol' to do any work no mo'.
Me and my fus' wife we had ten chillun. Dey's all dead but fo' and I ain't sho' dey's all livin'. Las' I heerd of 'em one was in Houston, and one in Chicago, and one in Kansas City, and one live here. I see him dis mawnin'.
I heerd tell of de Klu Klux but I ain't neber seed 'em. I neber did go to school needer.
I's a member of de C.M.E. Meth'dis' Chu'ch. When I uster could git about I uster be a steward in de chu'ch. Den I was de treasurer of de chu'ch here at Voth for some seben year'. I uster b'long to de U.B.F. Lodge, too.
Back in slav'ry dey allus had a ol' darky to train de young ones and teach 'em right from wrong. And dey'd whip you for doin' wrong. Dey'd repo't to de overseer. Some of 'em was mean and repo't somebody dey ain't like jis' to git 'em in trouble. De overseer he had to 'vestigate 'bout it and if it was so, somebody git a whippin'. Sometimes some folks repo't sump'n' when it warn't true.
Ol' marster he was plum ind'pendant. His plantation was off from de town. He uster had his mail brung to him. Fur's I kin 'member I didn' had to look out for nuttin'. Dey had a time to call all de slaves up and give 'em hats, and anudder time dey give 'em shoes, and anudder time dey give 'em clo's. Dey see dat eb'rybody was fit. Ol' marster allus give 'em all some kinder present at Crismus. I dunno what all he give de ol' folks but he give de chillun candy and de like.
I was allus tickle' to see ol' marster come 'roun' -- Oh, good gracious, yes. And it allus tickle' him to come 'roun' and see all his li'l niggers.
One time Cap'n Fisher was 'sociated wid ol' marster, and him and anudder man come 'long wid ol' marster up de road what run froo de quarters. Dey wanter see de li'l niggers. Ol' marster call 'em up and frow out a han'ful of dimes. It sho' tickle' 'em to see de li'l niggers scramble for dem dimes, and us look' for dimes 'roun' dat place for a week. Dat was enjoyment to de white folks dem days.
Marster was good to his niggers and none of 'em eber run away. My mudder she raise ol' mistus' baby chile. She uster suckle him jis' like he her own baby and he allus t'ink lots of her. After he a growed up man he uster bring her presents lots of times. He call her 'mammy all de time.
He went off to de war. He los' he hearin' and got deef. Muster been de noise from dem big cannons what done it. He got his big toe shot off in de war, too. After de war was over he come home and git married.
Dat 'bout all dat I kin 'member 'cep'n' dat I vote' in de state and other 'lections when I's twenty-one year' ol'.
Writer Fred Dibble described Isaac Martin: "Quite black, with close-cut hair and stubby gray whiskers, Isaac Martin is contentedly spending the evening of his life. But two or three darkened teeth show between his thick lips as he talks. He was enjoying the friendly shade of the old tree in his backyard from his comfortable seat in an old rocker. His feet were bare and his once striped trousers were rolled up above his knees to keep him cool in the hot midsummer weather. Beside the chair was a pair of brogan shoes with gaping splits across the toes to avoid cramping his feet. He told the story of bygone days with evident enjoyment."
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 (digital online collection). Texas Narratives, Volume 16, Part 3. Washington, DC: Library of Congress Manuscript Division.
- Last Edited: 12 Jan 2016
- Charts: Descendants of ABERCROMBIE Charles & Edwina Malinda "Dicey" Booth (#1), Descendants of ABERCROMBIE Charles & Edwina Malinda "Dicey" Booth (#2), Descendants of WOOD William & Lydia Ballentine
Family 1: Mary Wilkie Hall b. 5 February 1800, d. 29 June 1820
- Green Mark Wood+ b. 7 September 1814, d. 5 March 1898
Family 2: Evelina Alexander Barnes b. 23 October 1806, d. 2 April 1888
- Solomon Eason Wood b. 3 December 1822, d. 5 April 1835
- Bolling Hall Wood b. 18 December 1824, d. 17 October 1825
- Willis Breazeal Wood+ b. 12 December 1826, d. 15 December 1854
- Nancy Wood b. 30 November 1828, d. 21 October 1829
- William Barnes Wood+ b. 6 November 1830, d. 14 November 1908
- Elizabeth Green Wood+ b. 26 June 1832, d. 14 June 1856
- Mary Evelina Wood b. 9 May 1834, d. 11 July 1935
- Seignora Eliza Wood b. 27 February 1836, d. 15 August 1836
- Ellen Wood b. 10 June 1837, d. 26 August 1838
- Joshua Wood b. 7 June 1839, d. 13 September 1840
- Campbell Wood+ b. 5 December 1842, d. 28 October 1914
- Ella Abercrombie Wood+ b. 31 January 1852, d. 25 February 1925