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George W. Wood. As a member of the representative real-estate and loan firm of Wood Brothers, at Cherokee, George William Wood has been a prominent factor in connection with the civic and industrial development and upbuilding of Alfalfa County, influential in public affairs and progressive and liberal as a business man. He was a young man of about eighteen years when he came with his parents to Oklahoma Territory, at the time of the opening of the famous Cherokee Strip, in 1893, and his vigorous mentality and business enterprise have been potent along various avenues through which the march of progress has made its way in this new commonwealth of the Union. Mr. Wood had the distinction of being one of the framers of the constitution of the State of Oklahoma, as a delegate from the Eighth District, which was then a portion of Woods County, but which is now Alfalfa County. He is state agent for Oklahoma of the Central Life Insurance Company of Des Moines, Iowa, and as a member of the firm of Wood Brothers is a prominent figure in the real-estate and loan business in Northern Oklahoma, the operations of the firm having been of extensive order and having contributed greatly to the progress and prosperity of this section of the state.
On the old homestead farm of his father in Owen County, Kentucky, George William Wood was born on the 23d of December, 1875, and he was a lad of about nine years at the time of the family removal to Kansas, in which state he was reared to adult age and received the advantages of the public schools. Mr. Wood is a son of John Wesley Wood and Eunice (Conn) Wood, both likewise natives of the fine old Bluegrass State. The father was born in Owen County on the 20th of October, 1845, and his parents, who were natives of Virginia, were early settlers in that part of Kentucky. John W. Wood devoted his entire active career to the basic industry of agriculture, through the medium of which he won definite prosperity after coming to the West. He was a gallant soldier in the Confederate service during the Civil war, in which he was a private in the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, his service having covered a period of three years, during which he participated in many engagements, including a number of the important battles and campaigns marking the progress of the great conflict. In 1885 he removed with his family to Barber County, Kansas, where he purchased a farm in the vicinity of the village of Hazleton. He was successful in his endeavors, though he endured his full share of the hardships and vicissitudes that fell to the lot of the farmers in Kansas at a time when droughts and grasshoppers frequently put at naught the arduous labors that had been expended in the propagation of crops. John W. Wood continued his residence in the Sunflower State until 1893, when he took part in the opening of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma and located a desirable tract of government land four miles distant from the present thriving little City of Cherokee, the judicial center of Alfalfa County. He made good improvements on this homestead and after perfecting his title thereto continued his residence on the same until 1902, when he sold the property at advantageous terms. Since that time he has lived virtually retired at Cherokee as one of the sterling and highly honored pioneer citizens of Alfalfa County. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, is a staunch supporter of the principles of the democratic party, and is a birthright member of the Society of Friends. His wife, a woman of deep religious convictions and gentle and gracious personality, was summoned to the life eternal on the 9th of March, 1913. She was born in Kentucky in the year 1855, a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Williams) Conn, natives of Virginia, and her marriage to John W. Wood was solemnized in the year 1873. Of this union were born five sons and three daughters, the subject of this review having been the firstborn; Leslie is junior member of the firm of Wood Brothers, engaged in the real-estate and loan business at Cherokee, as previously noted; Claude B. is engaged in the successful practice of law at Fairview, Major County: James A. is manager of the Pioneer Telephone Company at Protection, Comanche County, Kansas; Frederick S. is a civil engineer by profession and is now a resident of Berkeley, California; Eugenia is employed as an expert stenographer at Cherokee, Oklahoma, where Cora is a successful and popular teacher of music, both remaining with their father, as does also Grace, the youngest of the children.
In Barber County, Kansas, George W. Wood was reared to the sturdy discipline of the home farm and duly availed himself of the advantages of the well ordered public schools. He came with his father and the other member of the family to Oklahoma in 1893, and though still a comparatively young man he is thus entitled to pioneer honors. As a youth he learned the printer’s trade, and as an ambitious exponent of the “art preservative of all arts” he was for some time prominently identified with newspaper enterprise in Oklahoma Territory. In 1903 he became the founder of a weekly paper known as the Ingersoll Times, in the Village of Ingersoll, now in Alfalfa County, which was then an integral part of Woods County. He conducted this paper one year and then, in 1904, established the Watonga Herald, at Watonga, the present judicial center of Blaine County. In 1905 he removed to Cherokee and became the founder of the Democrat, of which weekly paper he continued editor and publisher one year, at the expiration of which he sold the plant and business. Since that time he has been senior member of the firm of Wood Brothers, which has built up and controls a largo and important real-estate and loan business.
In 1906 when the call was made for a constitutional convention to frame a constitution for the new state, Mr. Wood became a candidate for delegate from the Eighth Representative District, and was elected, on the democratic ticket, by a majority of 192 votes over his republican opponent. Ho took a loyal and active part in the work and deliberation of the convention that framed the organic laws of Oklahoma, having been chairman of the committee on printing and a member also of the committees on prohibition, county lines and legislation. As a member of the committee assigned to the defining of new county lines Mr. Wood was specially influential in bringing about the erection of Alfalfa County, originally a part of Woods County, his having been the distinction of selecting the name for the new county and also effecting the establishing of the county seat at Cherokee. His name finds place on the history of Oklahoma as one of the zealous and valued members of its state constitutional convention. He is a stalwart in the camp of the democratic party, is essentially liberal and public-spirited as a citizen, and takes a vital interest in all that pertains to the welfare of his home city and county. His name is still enrolled on the list of eligible bachelors in Alfalfa County and here his circle of friends is limited only by that of his acquaintances.