HENRY CLINTON WOOD was born in Scott County at Pleasant Hill, the old Wood homestead about three miles east of Gate City. He was the son of James 0. and Elizabeth Godsey Wood. He spent most of his life in his native county. He received his early elementary training in the private schools of his county and then entered Fall Branch Seminary, a school then offering a liberal course in the higher branches of learning for that day.
When the Civil War came on, H. C. Wood organized a company in the county, which became part of the 37th Virginia Infantry Regiment. Captain Wood’s company participated in the battles of Cross Keys, Port Republic, Gains’ Mill, and Cold Harbor. At Gains’ Mill, Col. S. V. Fulkerson fell mortally wounded. His death made necessary a readjustment of the officers of his regiment. Capt. Henry Clinton Wood was made Major, and J. H. (Harvey) Wood, his brother, was promoted to the position of Captain. Major Wood was present at, and participated in, forty-two engagements, varying in magnitude from the battle of Cross Keys to the battle of Gettysburg. He was wounded in the battle of Chancellorsville, but lost little time from his command. His was an excellent record in the Army. In military as in civil life he was very popular, making friends wherever he went. His military service was rendered in the Stonewall Jackson division of the confederate Army. Upon leaving for the War, the ladies of his county presented him with a silk flag. At the Battle of Gettysburg, he captured a Federal flag. These two flags were preserved, and highly prized by him.
A number of political honors came to Major Wood. He was recognized as a prominent leader in his party for many years. He served two terms in the Senate of Virginia, and was Speaker of that body for the years 1881 and 1882. In 1885, he was the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with John S. Wise, but was defeated. In 1892, he was a candidate for Congress, but was defeated.
On his return from the War, Mr. Wood engaged in a successful mercantile business. He was prominently identified with the development of southwest Virginia. He labored a number of years in the endeavor to bring a railroad through his native county. He was the first president of the South Atlantic & Ohio Railway, which now owns the Appalachian Division of the Southern Railway.
He moved from Gate City to Bristol in 1891, and spent the remainder of his life in that city. He there became connected with numerous and important business enterprises. He made large contributions to the business and industrial development of his section.
He was a Mason, an Elk, and a Steward in the State Street Methodist Church of Bristol. He was never married. He was born February 15, 1836, and died December 8, 1909. He is buried in the East Hill Cemetery, Bristol, Virginia.
WOOD INFLUENCE ON SOME COUNTY GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES
The Commissioners who made the division of the county gave the names of magisterial districts of the county. Mr. S. L. Cox, a member of this Commission, once told the author that Maj. Henry Clinton Wood, another member, did most of the naming; that Powell District was named for Ambrose Powell; that Taylor District was named in honor of the Taylor family; that Estillville District was named for the county seat; that Fulkerson District was named in honor of James and Abraham Fulkerson, influential early settlers of that section; that Johnson District was named in honor of the Johnson family; that Floyd was named in honor of Governor Floyd; that the naming of his own district was left to him (S. L. Cox); that in his search for a name he remembered his lifelong friend, Tandy Flanary, who by some chance bore the nickname “Dekalb,” and that he named his own district Dekalb, in honor of his friend.
Attached is a photo for your web site of my Uncle, Henry Clinton Wood. Below is some biographical information associated with Maj. Henry Clinton Wood, that I have assembled through the years.
Your friend & Cuz,