Joel Wood

Joel Wood

Joel Wood was the son of Samuel Wood and Huldah Cole, born on December 10, 1810, in Smithfield, Pennsylvania. He married Hannah Rockwell of Canton, Pennsylvania, on August 10, 1834. The couple settled in Troy Township but were not satisfied there so bought an improved farm near Alba, Pennsylvania. Six sons were born to them: Thomas, Marshall, Crawford, Samuel (died in 1843), Ezra, and Emersen. They remained there until 1846 with little financial success. They sold the farm and traveled to Palatine Township by wagon. Joel Wood purchased 80 acres of prairie here at Palatine Road and Northwest Hwy. for $1.25 an acre. He built a cabin for his family, raised a crop of wheat, and cut it with the first McCormick reaper used in Cook County. He later bought 40 more acres of land. Hannah bore him three more children named Henry, Sarah, and Emma. The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was planning a train line to run through this area and Joel Wood did some work for them constructing an embankment. He bought 80 more acres along the rail line and with Mason Sutherland solicited the building of a station here by offering a $10,000 subscription to the company, more than the offers made in two other areas. He built that depot in 1855 for which the railroad company paid him over $1,000. He surveyed and platted a new village around the depot. Elisha Pratt moved his small store across the tracks from the depot the same year. Hiram Thurston built the first house in town. Joel Wood donated land for Methodist and Lutheran churches , a school, and a cemetery. The school, of course was named after Joel Wood as was the street it was on. The original section of Hillside Cemetery along Smith Street was donated and sadly, one of the early burials there was wife Hannah when she died of lung congestion in 1857. Three of the Wood boys fought in the Civil War; Thomas, Emerson, and Marshall who came home wounded in 1864 and died. Ezra and Crawford died of illnesses before and after the war. A couple of the children married and moved away. With his family gone, Joel Wood sold his farm and holdings and moved to Kansas. He started a grocery store in Grantville, but that venture was a failure. He moved to Lyon County, Kansas, bought a farm, and in 1874, he married widow Elizabeth Campbell. He attended a family reunion of 225 relatives in Smithfield, Pennsylvania, on his father’s homestead. He was then the oldest living member of the Wood family. In 1888, they moved to Elmira, California and planted a fruit orchard. In 1891, they returned to Kansas where his wife died in 1896. He lived with his daughter, Emma, in Kansas well into his 90’s, but he never returned to Palatine.

About David Hammer

I'm a volunteer for the Palatine Historical Society.
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