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Col. Samuel N. Wood, long a resident of Lawrence and a leader of the free-state party in Kansas, was prominent as one of the founders of the republican party, as a legislator in both houses, as an editor and one of the original stockholders of the Atchison. Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. He was born at Mount Gilead. Ohio, December 30, 1825. the son of Quaker parents, from whom he imbibed his anti-slavery sentiments at an early age. In 1844, although too young to vote, he was chairman of the liberal party central committee of this county. Four years later be supported Martin Van Buren, the freesoil candidate for President, and he was conductor of one of the underground railways which passed near his house. He taught school, studied law and on June 6, 1854, two days after being admitted to the bar, he started for the Territory of Kansas.
Early in July Mr. Wood located on a claim four miles west of Lawrence, and immediately became an acknowledged leader of the free-state party. He was one of the man who rescued Jacob Branson from Sheriff Jones, an act which brought on the Wakarusa war; was delegate to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, convention which organized the republican party in 1856; to the Philadelphia convention of the same year, and to the Leavenworth constitutional convention in 1858. The following year he removed to Chase County; represented Chase, Morris and Madison counties in the Territorial Legislatures of 1860 and 1861; was a member of the first State Senate in 1861 and again in 1867; was a member of the House in 1864, 1866, 1876 and 1877, and speaker during most of the last session. In 1864 he was appointed brigadier general of the State Militia, and in 1867 judge of the Ninth Judicial District. For two years he was in Texas; was one of the original stockholders of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad; was part owner of the Kansas Tribune of Lawrence in the ’50s; established the first newspaper at Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove and was afterward identified with the Kansas Greenbacker at Emporia, the Topeka State Journal, the Woodsdale Democrat and the Woodsdale Sentinel of Stevens County. He was killed as the result of a fight over the county seat in the last named, on June 23, 1891.