It's all too easy, when one's eyes and mind are blurred by immersion in a sea of birth, death, and marriage data (or worse, the lack thereof), to forget that our ancestors were real people who laughed and cried and joked, just as we do. Then, every once in a while, you come upon something that wakes you up, such as a comment from Dr. Lewis Newton Wood, my great-great-great grandfather.

Lewis Newton Wood, son of David and Mercia (Davis) Wood, was born in southern New Jersey, on January 12, 1799. In 1821 he married Naomi Dunn Davis, born September 8, 1800, the daughter of David and Naomi (Dunn) Davis. Their first child, my great-great grandfather, was born in New Jersey, but the other seven of their children were born after they moved to upstate New York, near Syracuse. There, Lewis taught school, and in 1836 he graduated from the newly-formed Geneva Medical College, then part of Geneva College, which is now Hobart and William Smith. The medical school itself is now SUNY Upstate University. Perhaps the most famous graduate of the Geneval Medical College is Elizabeth Blackwell, Class of 1849, America's first licensed female physician.

Lewis moved to Chicago to practice medicine, and his family followed a year later, after which they migrated some 90 miles northwest to become some of the earliest settlers of Walsorth, Wisconsin. Eighteen years later they moved to their final destination, about 100 miles further north and west, to Baraboo, Wisconsin. There, Lewis died in 1868, and Naomi in 1883; they are buried in the Walnut Hill Cemetery in Baraboo. My great-great grandfather, incidentally, continued the family's northward and westward migration, moving first to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and finally to the west coast of Washington.

Lewis was not only a teacher, doctor, pioneer, and probably farmer (given that he lived on 360 acres in Big Foot Prairie), but also an amateur geologist who made notable scientific contributions, one of the founders of a school of higher education for girls in Baraboo, and a member of the Wisconsin state legislature. He even has his own Wikipedia entry, a link I incude with the standard Wikipedia cautionary tale about not believing everything you read, since some of the facts about him are wrong.

After that historical and genealogical excursion, I arrive at the reason for this post, the saying of Lewis Newton Wood's that struck my funny bone. It's taken from Gilbert Cope's Genealogy of the Sharpless Family Descended from John and Jane Sharples, Settlers Near Chester, Pennsylvania, 1682.

All my progenitors were Baptists of the Orthodox belief, i.e. Calvinists; and that is my own religious belief, except with the Calvinism pretty much left out.

Which may explain why this Baptist's funeral was held in a Methodist church. I know, it actually makes sense when you dig into the history of the Baptist Church, but still....

I like an ancestor with a sense of humor.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 11:34 am | Edit
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We must be related. My great great grandfather was Joseph Warren Wood(JWW). His brother.s name was Robert John Wood. Recently I went on a road trip and followed JWW diaries. He traveled the Oregon Trail during the Gold Rush. I found his initials on Independence Rock, Wyoming.. We.spent some time in a Gen. library. I only had info of the NJ Wood’s. But found info that shows the family in RI. Cannot wait to go thru all the info we got. My records indicate David Wood’s parents were David Wood and Prudence Bowen(Roberts).

Posted by Dorothy W Porkka on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 12:50 am

I have a little info on Mercia Davis family. My father wrote it up by hand. I think it comes from a book called Geneology of the Sharpless Family 1682-1882. I have a photo of Naomi D Wood and A few others. I think Alvinus B Wood might be found on Wikipedia.
If you are interested in any info please email me at [redacted].
I don’t know if i’ll Ever find this page again. I am not computer savvy. DWP

Posted by Dorothy W Porkka on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 1:01 am

Robert John Wood was my great-great grandfather, which makes us fourth cousins.

That's very cool that you followed Joseph Warren Wood's journey. Do you have a copy of his diaries? I have a copy of half of them, with the bottom of each page cut off. Not very good for documentation purposes, but enough to give the flavor of his adventures.

If you do make it back to this site, you might enjoy this post: The Problem of David Wood, Revisited. Also The Problem of Jonathan and Elnathan Davis.

Thanks for writing!

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 7:42 pm
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