AMOS A. WOOD
In no profession has there been greater advancement during the past fifty years than in dentistry. One of the ablest and most prominent exponents of this profession in Stanislaus County, California, is Dr. Amos A. Wood, of Modesto.
Dr. Wood is a native of Parke County, Indiana, and was born September 7, 1839. His ancestry was English and his progenitors in different lines settled in New England and were all members of orthodox churches. His parents were Amos and Sarasila Wood, and he was orphaned by the death of his father when he was only six months old, and when he was seven years old his mother died, leaving five children, and the oldest of whom, Mary, now Mrs. Baker and a widow living near Linden, cared for the others. Dr. Wood’s eldest brother, John, came to California in 1849 and now lives in Nevada. Another brother, Zachariah, lives near Fresno, California.
Dr. Wood received his education in public schools in Indiana and Iowa and at the outbreak of the Civil War responded to President Lincoln’s initial call for troops by enlisting in Company H, Nineteenth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, of which he was elected the first sergeant. His first experience under fire was the battle of Prairie Grove. He had not at that time yet fired a gun in the war. His regiment unexpectedly met an overwhelming force of Confederates and was driven back after a few minutes’ fighting, with the loss of one hundred and eighty killed or wounded, including Colonel McPherson and other officers. From Prairie Grove he regiment went to Van Buren, Arkansas, and thence of Vicksburg, Mississippi, where it participated in operations against that Confederate stronghold until it fell. At Vicksburg he suffered sunstroke which necessitated absence from his regiment for three months, during which time the regiment participated in several engagements and was captured at Baton Rouge. When he rejoined his regiment it was stationed at New Orleans, but it soon afterward embarked for Texas on board the old ship Banks. The vessel carried fifteen hundred men altogether and on the Gulf of Mexico encountered a severe storm which came near wrecking it. The ship sprang a leak and it was difficult to keep it afloat even after the artillery and other heavy material had been thrown overboard. The storm lasted twenty-four hours and at times the sea ran so high that every life onboard was imperiled. The regiment remained several months in Texas and late went to Alabama and fought at Mobile, where it was stationed when General Lee surrendered and the war ended. Dr. Wood was mustered out September 18, 1865, after a continuous service of only eighteen days short of the three years for which he had enlisted. He was so fortunate as not to receive even the slightest wound and was promoted to the office of second lieutenant by the governor of Iowa in recognition of faithful service rendered his country.
After the war Dr. Wood became a stock raiser and ranchman in Kansas, but was obliged to give up the work of such an occupation on account of the sunstroke he had received in the war, the effects of which had remained. He studied dentistry and practiced his profession in Kansas until 1886, when he came to Modesto, where he has continued the practice of his profession with such success that he has gained a high reputation and acquired considerable property. He is one of the owners of Horseshoe mine in Tuolumne County and owns a stock ranch in Stanislaus County, which he is conducting successfully. In partnership with his son and another gentleman, he has a prospector in the Klondike, where they have several valuable mining claims. He has taken an interest in every public enterprise at Modesto and is one of the leading and progressive citizens of the town. He is an active Republican, a member of the Republican county central committee and of the Republican county executive committee. He is an Odd Fellow in high standing and is a past commander of Grant Post, No. 9, Grand Army of the Republic.
Dr. Wood was married in 1860, to Miss Catharine Byers, a native of Ohio, a daughter of Samuel Byers and a descendant of an old and honorable family, and they have three sons and two daughters; their son, George F. Wood, is the postmaster at Modesto. Minnie married James G. Smith, of San Francisco, California, and is now a member of her father’s household. C. C. Wood is a dentist at Oakdale, Stanislaus County. Jessie Kate married S. L. Hanscom, of Stanislaus County. Edward E. Wood is a popular jeweler at Modesto. Dr. and Mrs. Wood have a pleasant home at Modesto and are active and influential members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in which Dr. Wood has for many years held the office of steward.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.