About Samuel Newitt Wood
Samuel Newitt Wood (December 30, 1825 – June 23, 1891) was an American attorney and politician.
Wood represented Chase, Morris, and Madison counties in the Kansas Territorial Legislature in 1860 and 1861, was a member of the first Kansas State Senate in 1861 and again in 1867, a member of the Kansas House of Representatives in 1864, 1866, 1876, and 1877, and speaker during the last session.
Early life & family
Samuel Newitt Wood was born at Mount Gilead, Ohio, December 30, 1825, fifth child to David and Esther Ward (Mosher) Wood. His paternal grandfather was a leader in the meetings of the Orthodox Quakers until his death. His maternal grandfather became a leader in the more progressive wing of the Society of Friends known as the Hicksites. Having been raised a Quaker, Wood’s hatred for slavery grew very strong. His family home was the site of a station on the Underground Railroad. In 1849, during one of his many attempts to carry runaway slaves to freedom, he met his future wife, Margaret Lyon, daughter of William and Elizabeth Lyon. They were married on October 3, 1850. Their children were: David, born August 25, 1851; William Lyon, born March 10, 1853; Florence, born January 20, 1857; Dearie, born July 7, 1865.
Involved in politics from an early age, Wood was chairman of the Liberty Party Central Committee of his county in 1844. Wood was a delegate to and spoke at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Convention which organized the Republican Party in 1856, and a delegate to the Leavenworth Constitution Convention in 1858.
On on July 27, 1861, he was appointed and commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln as Collector of Customs at Paso del Norte, New Mexico.
Before the American Civil War, Wood was an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States and later was an advocate for the women's suffrage movement. He also participated in Jacob Branson's rescue which brought about the short-lived Wakarusa War in 1855. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakarusa_War
In 1867, Wood was appointed Judge of the 9th Judicial District.
Wood was part owner of the Kansas Tribune of Lawrence in the 1850s. He later established the first newspapers at Cottonwood Falls, The Kansas Press, and at Council Grove, The Council Grove Press. Wood was also connected with The Kansas Greenbacker of Emporia, The Topeka State Journal, The Woodsdale Democrat, and The Woodsdale Sentinel of Stevens County, Kansas.
Wood's service in the Civil War began as captain of Company I (nicknamed the "Kansas Rangers"), 2nd Kansas Infantry, which fought at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. Afterward he was assigned to a battalion of Missouri troops, "Fremont's Battalion," which he had recruited, serving as major and subsequently lieutenant colonel. He fought at the battle near Salem, and formed a part of the command of Maj. Gen. Samuel Curtis in his campaign through Arkansas. In 1864, Wood was appointed brigadier general of the Kansas State Militia.
Stevens County seat war
As the founder of Woodsdale, Wood strongly advocated that his town would become the county seat of Stevens County, which locked him in a contentious battle with the rival town of Hugoton. One of the events of this confrontation was the Hay Meadow Massacre, in which Hugoton supporters disarmed and murdered four Woodsdale supporters. Wood attempted to prosecute the men, but it was ruled that no court had jurisdiction in "No Man's Land" (the Oklahoma Panhandle) where the event took place.
As a direct result of the vicious county seat fight, Wood was assassinated outside the Hugoton courthouse on June 23, 1891, by James Brennen. Wood was buried in Prairie Grove Cemetery in Cottonwood Falls.
Woods County, Oklahoma was named in his honor. Woodsdale is now a ghost town, with nothing remaining of the settlement.