Biography of Millard Fillmore Wood
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Millard Fillmore Wood. A little more than forty years age Millard F. Wood came to Montgomery County, a young school teacher. While he taught school for a time, he also interested himself in improving a homestead claim, and afterwards advanced rapidly in business and also in politics. He is now secretary and treasurer of the Ideal Supply Company.
An Illinois man by birth, he was born at Aviston, Clinton County, November 12, 1850. His grandfather, Wiley Wood, was born in Virginia in 1791, and was a farmer and one of the early circuit riders of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1872 he came to Kansas, and died in Mound Valley Township of Labette County in 1876.
William Devers Wood, father of Mr. M. F. Wood, was born in Tennessee in 1822. His early boyhood days were spent in Indiana, and from there he moved to Aviston, Illinois, where he was a merchant and also postmaster. In 1880 he moved from Illinois to Cherryvale, Kansas, and continued the mercantile business there until his death in 1896. He was a republican, a deacon and local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and when a very young man enlisted and offered his services in the Mexican war, being rejected on account of physical disability. William D. Wood married Naomi Carr Lear, who was born in Laneaster, Pennsylvania, in 1828. She was descended from Charles McMicken, who was a prominent philanthropist and founded and dedicated the McMicken University at Cincinnati, Ohio. He also gave large sums of money to the Methodist bishops who were promoting the colonization of American negroes in Liberia, Africa.
Millard F. Wood spent his early life in Aviston, Illinois, where he attended the public schools, and he finished his junior year in McKendree College at Lebanon, Illinois. The county superintendent of schools then appointed him to a scholarship in the State Normal at Bloomington, and he attended that school in 1871 for one term. On leaving school he taught in Clinton County, Illinois, and in 1873 he moved to Labette County in Southeastern Kansas and from there came to Montgomery County in 1874. Here he took up a claim of 160 acres, and after the first year resumed teaching. From his homestead he moved to Cherryvale, where he was in the drug business for two years, and subsequently added departments of dry goods and groceries, and continued in that business and also as a dealer in livestock until 1880. The firm was known as Anderson & Wood, and it was one of the prominent early firms in the county. After selling his interest Mr. Wood was appointed, in 1880, as census enumerator for the City of Cherryvale and the Township of Cherry, Those duties completed, he was associated with his father in the mercantile business until 1885, in which year he accepted the nomination for the office of county treasurer. Elected, he served two terms of four years, and during that time he lived in Independence. In 1890, on retiring from the office of county treasurer, he became a plumbing contractor and an ice dealer and remained in business along those lines at Independence until 1892. In 1893 he became associated with the First National Bank of Cherryvale. Mr. Wood was the first city clerk of Cherryvale after it became a city of the third class, and filled that office for seven years. He also spent a long time with the board of education and assisted in securing the building of several new schoolhouses at Cherryvale.
In 1894 Mr. Wood again returned to Independence and has since been in the sanitary contracting business. He installed all the steam heating and plumbing of the fine Carl-Leon Hotel at Independence, and has had a number of contracts for the city, including the plumbing in the Independence City Hospital, and has installed much of the work in the modern residences. On November 7, 1916, he was elected county commissioner of the Second District of Montgomery County.
Mr. Wood is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, belongs to the Commercial Club and the Elks, and has active fraternal relations with Fortitude Lodge No. 107, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Keystone Chapter No. 22, Royal Arch Masons; St. Bernard Commandery No. 10, Knights Templar; Abdallah Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Leavenworth; Lodge No. 17, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and Camp No. 1 of the Woodmen of the World. He is past high priest of the Royal Arch Chapter and is now secretary.
On March 1, 1874, at Cherryvale, Mr. Wood married Ida E. Paxon, a daughter of the late Seth and Mercy (Webster) Paxon. Her mother belonged to the noted Webster family of the same stock which produced Daniel Webster. Mrs. Wood’s father was a blacksmith and originally lived near Buffalo, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Wood have two children: Bertha E., wife of Howard G. Jones, a pharmacist; Clarence William is a railway postoffice clerk on the runs between Kansas City and Coffeyville, Kansas, on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and lives at Kansas City, Kansas.