Pioneer Gone to Rest
William H. Wood was born August 26, 1822 in Cattaragus County, New York. When three years old he was taken by his parents to Michigan and in the course of a few years found his way from Michigan to Iowa. From there to Missouri, and from Missouri to California in 1846. About this time there was trouble between U.S. and Mexico, and “Uncle Billy” volunteered in the Federal forces. Mr. Wood was one of the runners who carried the peace terms to the Mexican lines, traveling 190 miles without food or rest, stopping only to change horses. Later in the Willamette valley, he was ordered during the excitement in California, to lock the ferries on Willamette River to prevent deserters reaching the gold fields of California.
The time came however, when Mr. Wood panned his share of gold during the rush of “49. Returning from California he was united in marriage to Elizabeth Tatum and to this union four children were born, all of whom are now deceased. The young wife died in 1859.
Later he was united in marriage to Mrs. Mary E. (Francis) Boatman, who had two children by a former marriage, making a family of six children. To this union one child was born, George D. Wood of Evans. The mother passed away January 13, 1909.
For the past few years “Uncle Billy” suffered from blindness but bore all discomfort with the greatest fortitude. Always jolly and a delightful conversationalist of his thrilling experience as a pioneer.
Mr. Wood settled on the Wallowa River, four miles below Enterprise. In late years he moved to Lostine living there until his wife’s death then making his home with his son George D. Wood.
He leaves to mourn his death, one son, a number of valley relatives and a few outside. His brother, Israel Wood of sweet Home, Oregon and a half-brother in Canada, David Wood, survive him.
Wallowa County Reporter, Thursday, July 17, 1919