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John Wood

In office
March 21, 1860 – January 14, 1861
Preceded by William Henry Bissell
Succeeded by Richard Yates

Born December 20, 1798(1798-12-20)
Moravia, New York
Died June 11, 1880
Quincy, Illinois
Political party Republican
Profession Politician

John Wood (December 20, 1798 – June 11, 1880) was the 12th Governor of Illinois, serving from 1860 to 1861. Wood was a founder and the first settler of Quincy, Illinois.[1]

Wood was born in Sempronius(now Moravia), New York. He was he second child and son of Dr. Daniel Wood. His mother Catherine Crause died while he was an infant. November 2, 1818, Wood moved west from New York to Atlas, Illinois and became a farmer. Here, Wood met a Mr. Flinn from whom he purchased 160 acres (65 ha) of military granted land from the War of 1812. Wood moved to the newly acquired land and built a small, one-room log cabin. On September 14, 1824, Wood petitioned the formation of Adams County, Illinois and on January 18, 1825, it was passed. On April 30, 1825, the town of Quincy, Illinois was formed and designated as the county seat.[2]

On January 25, 1826, Wood married Ann Streeter and built a second, two-story log cabin. Wood then began buying up more military granted land and sold it to Kentucky and Tennessee farmers for a profit. In 1838, the John Wood Mansion, a Greek Revival home, was built next to his second log cabin.

In 1835 John Wood started to build a mansion on 12th and State. The mansion took three years to build. Wood went to St. Louis and New Orleans and brought back German immigrants who were craftsmen to construct the Greek Revival style of the house.

While Wood was Lt. Governor he started to build an even larger home in the middle of the block between 11th and 12th and State. This octagonal building would take six years to build. Wood lived in one side of the octagonal house while his son, Daniel lived in the other. Wood's octagonal house cost him over $200,000 to build. John Wood's house was the most expensive home in Illinois at the time.

John Wood was elected Mayor of Quincy three times (1844-1848, 1852-53 and 1856), elected to the Illinois state senate in 1850, and was elected Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 1856. In 1860, Wood took over the seat of Governor of Illinois after the death of former governor, William Henry Bissell. Due to construction of a new home in Quincy, Wood petitioned that he be allowed to stay in Quincy during his term. Thus, the John Wood mansion temporarily became the Governor’s Mansion for the State of Illinois. Only finishing Bissell’s term, Wood was in office for less than 10 months and did not run for re-election.

John Wood was a member of the Whig party and the new Republican Party.[3]

In 1861, after the start of the Civil War, John Wood was named Quartermaster General of the State of Illinois. In 1863, his wife, Ann, died and he married Mary Ann Holmes. He also became colonel of the 137th Illinois that year. In 1864 Wood’s new house was completed and the John Wood Mansion was given to his oldest son, Daniel. The new Octagonal house, costing $200,000, was the most expensive house in Illinois at that time. An economic decline forced Wood to sell his new home for $40,000 and move back into the John Wood Mansion with his son Daniel in 1875. John Wood died June 4, 1880 in the John Wood Mansion at the age of 81 and is interred at the Woodland Cemetery in Quincy.[4]

John Wood Community College [5] in Quincy is named after the former Governor.


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
William Henry Bissell
Governor of Illinois
Succeeded by
Richard Yates

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