Abraham Wood, Major General (c.1614 - 1683) MP

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Birthplace: Tottingham, Yorkshire, England
Death: Died in Ft. Henry [Petersburg], Prince George, Virginia
Managed by: Jeannie Cockrell
Last Updated:

About Abraham Wood, Major General

Abraham Wood (1614–1682), sometimes referred to as "General" or "Colonel" Wood, was an English fur trader (specifically the beaver and deerskin trades) and explorer of 17th century colonial Virginia. Wood's base of operations was Fort Henry at the falls of the Appomattox in present-day Petersburg.

Biography

Fort Henry was built in 1646 to mark the legal frontier between the white settlers and the Native Americans, and was near the Appomattoc Indian tribe with whom Abraham Wood traded. It was the only point in Virginia at which Indians could be authorized to cross eastward into white territory, or whites westward into Indian territory, from 1646 until around 1691. This circumstance gave Wood, who commanded the fort and privately owned the adjoining lands, a considerable advantage over his competitors in the "Indian trade". Several exploration parties were dispatched from Fort Henry by Wood during these years, including one undertaken by Wood himself in 1650, which explored the upper reaches of the James River and Roanoke River. The first English expeditions to reach the southern Appalachian Mountains were also sent out by Wood. In 1671, explorers Thomas Batts (Batte) and Robert Fallam reached the New River Valley and the New River. The New River was named Wood's River after Abraham Wood, although in time it became better known as the New River. Batts and Fallam are generally credited with being the first Europeans to enter within the present-day borders of West Virginia.

In 1673 Wood sent his friend James Needham and his indentured servant Gabriel Arthur on an expedition to find an outlet to the Pacific Ocean. Shortly after their departure Needham and Arthur encountered a group of Tomahitan Indians, who offered to conduct the men to their town across the mountains (Wood 1990, p. 33).[1] After reaching the Tomahitan town Needham returned to Fort Henry to report to Wood. While en route back to the Tomahitan town Needham was killed by a member of the trading party with whom he was traveling (Wood 1990, pp. 36–38). Shortly thereafter, Arthur was almost killed by a mob in the Tomahitan settlement, but was saved and then adopted by the town's headman (Wood 1990, p. 38). Arthur lived with the Tomahitans for almost a year, accompanying them on war and trading expeditions as far south as Spanish Florida (Wood 1990, p. 39) and as far north as the Ohio River (Wood 1990, pp. 40–41).

By 1676 Wood had given his place as commander and chief trader to his son-in-law, Peter Jones, for whom Petersburg was eventually named. He retired to patent more plantation land in 1680 west of the fort, in what had been Appomattoc territory, notwithstanding it being disallowed by the House of Burgesses.

^ Tomahitan was the main town of the Nottoway Tribe at this time. Some authors have mistaken the Tomahitans for the Cherokee, but in 1727 a delegation of Cherokee visiting Charleston referred to the Tomahitans as old enemies of their allies the Yamasee (Green 1992, p. 26n). [edit]References

Briceland, Alan Vance (1999), "Wood, Abraham", in John A. Garraty (ed.), American National Biography (Vol. 23), New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 748–749, OCLC 39182280 . Drake, Richard B. (2001), A History of Appalachia, Lexington, Ky.: The University of Kentucky Press, ISBN 0-8131-2169-8, OCLC 43953981 . Green, William (1992), The Search for Altamaha: The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of an Early 18th Century Yamasee Indian Town, Volumes in Historical Archaeology #21, Columbia, S.C.: The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, OCLC 27735429 . Monaghan, Frank (1943), "Wood, Abraham", in Dumas Malone (ed.), Dictionary of American Biography (Vol. 20, Werden-Zunser), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 454, OCLC 70543382 . Wood, Abraham (1990), "Letter of Abraham Wood to John Richards, 22 August 1674" , Southern Indian Studies 39: 33–44, retrieved 2007-10-10. ____________

Abraham Wood came from England. There is a legend that __3__ of the older Wood brothers were Thomas, Samuel & Stephen. One Abraham Wood age 10 arrived in Jamestown 1620 in the Margarett & John. He was a landowner, politician, Soldier, Trader & Explorer. Settled "Wood" now Petersburg, Va. Was the discoverer of now New River & it was named Wood River and went by that name for over 100 years. He was a Major General, Membe of House Of Burgesses for several years and then a member of the Upper Council for 22 years, or until 1680. -------------------- General Wood was an important man in his day. he represented Appamatache County, as it was called then, 1644-45-46 and 56 and was one of the State Council, 1637. Weed Church, near Petersburg, was named for him and is older and Old Blanford.

Information re Jones family taken from "A Genealogical History", pp 36 and 37 by Colonel Cadwallander Jones, printed by Ye Bryan Printing Company, Columbia, South Carolina, in year of our Lord MDCCCC and "A Lost Arcadia" or "The Story of My Old Community" pp 166 and 177, by Walter A. Clark, August GA Chronicle Job Print 1909 and from information written by Cornelia Ellet Carswell Walker, 1st wife of Little H. Walker. This information was in the posession of Ellect Carswell Walker their son, on March 4, 1956, who resided at 1325 Glenn Ave., Augusta, GA -------------------- http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/o/l/s/Claudia-Darlene-Olson/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0679.html

Major General Abraham Wood came to Virginia 1620 in the Margarett and John, and was among those living in the Mathews' plantation across the river from Jamestown. In 1638, he was patented 400 acres in Charles City on the Appomattox River. Fort Henry was built as protection against the Indians, probably on Flea Island and near Abraham Wood's plantation. Captain Wood was granted the 600 acres in 1653 and for many years remained in possession of his heirs. He served as Justice of Charles City, commanding officer of the "trained bands" of Charles City and Henrico, member of the House of Burgesses from Henrico 1644-1646, and from Charles City 1652-1656, and member of the council 1657. With Edward Bland, Sacheverell Brewster and Elias Pennant, he undertook in 1650 a voyage of discovery along the Chowan and Nottaway Rivers, which was documented by Bland in "The Discovery of New Brittaine."

Major General Abraham Wood, sent out Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam in 1671 to discover something of the west for King Charles and for the trade. Those emissaries proclaimed King Charles at New or Wood River, but dreading the Salt Indians of the misty beyond, they returned to the Appomattox, having contributed little to knowledge. At the Totero town, on the upper Roanoke, near the mountains, they learned that Captain William Byrd of James River Falls was in the neighborhood with a company of explorers. Captain Byrd and General Wood were in 1671 competitors in the Indian Trade to the South.The Indian trade was, of course, a sphere-of-influence affair. General Wood was convinced of that. His statement regarding his extraordinary attempts of 1673 was - "That I have been at the charge to the value of two hundred pounds starling in the discovery to the South or West Sea declaro." His men, Needham and Arthur, in the summer of 1673, went all the way, indisputably, all the long way from Appomattox Falls to the Little Tennessee River.

Three years after Lederer turned back before the sight of the Appalachian Mountains and the Spaniards he feared inhabited them, Major General Abraham Wood left an account in a letter to his benefactor in London. The British were still searching for a passage from their settlements to the Indian Ocean. This expedition reached the very heart of the Appalachian Summit. The natives they encountered and called the Tomahittans are believed to have been Cherokees. Source: http://www.carolana.com/Carolina/Explorers/abrahamwood.html

http://www.carolana.com/Carolina/Explorers/abrahamwood_letter_1673_expedition.html - Major General Abraham Wood's Letter Describing 1673 Expedition

http://www.generationsgoneby.com/tng/getperson.php?personID=I20779&tree=1 – another link to information about Abraham Wood.

Petersburg's (VA) history dates from 1645 when the colonial legislature at Jamestown, Virginia ordered a fort built at the falls of Appomattox River, which came to be known as Fort Henry. Major General Abraham Wood, commander of Fort Henry, VA, established a trading station to serve explorers for western expeditions and himself completed three exploratory expeditions from Fort Henry, venturing to the falls of the Roanoke River near the Caroline line, across the Appalachian Mountains, and into Cherokee Indian country, helping pave the way for settlement of the mid-west. By 1675, Peter Jones was operating the prosperous trading station, to which the growing population referred as “Peter's Point”. The name of the Town of Petersburg evolved from “Peter's Point”. (Today the ruins of the trading station can still be seen and visited, thanks to the preservation efforts of Historic Petersburg.Foundation. Petersburg has survived three major wars: the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and as some would still say, the “War of Northern Aggression” also known as the American Civil War. Source: http://www.historicpetersburg.org/

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Maj. Gen. Abraham Wood's Timeline

1614
1614
Tottingham, Yorkshire, England
1631
1631
Age 17
Langdon, Essex, England
1634
1634
Age 20
VA
1640
1640
Age 26
Charles City Co., VA
1641
1641
Age 27
Richmond, Virginia, United States
1646
1646
Age 32
Charles City Co., VA.
1650
1650
Age 36
1683
1683
Age 69
Ft. Henry [Petersburg], Prince George, Virginia
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