HORACE A. WOOD, now living retired in Petersburg, was until recently engaged in the nursery business. He was born on the 30th of June, 1842, in Cattaraugus county, New York, a son of Solomon and Ann (Shewman) Wood. The father was born in the Empire state in 1812 and was of English lineage, while his wife was of German descent. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a militia man in New York at an early day and when the country became involved in the second war with England he enlisted in its defense and served throughout the period of hostilities. Solomon Wood was reared to manhood in the state of his nativity and throughout his business career followed the occupation of farming. His birth had occurred in Putnam county, New York, but he removed from that section of the state to the western part, settling near Ithaca and later he took up his abode in Cattaraugus county, where he became a landowner and carried on agricultural pursuits. He married Miss Ann Shewman, who was of German lineage, born in New Jersey in the year 1814. It was soon after their marriage that they removed to western New York, taking up their abode near Olean, which was the starting place for the western emigrants, the travelers securing their outfits there and proceeding from that point down the Allegheny river. Solomon Wood died in 1890 at about the age of eighty-five years, and his wife passed away three years previously when about the same age. In their family were five children, of who Horace A. was the fourth in order of birth. Abraham, the eldest, spent his entire life in New York. Harriet, deceased, was the wife of Sylvester Gray, who lived in the state of New York, where Mrs. Gray spent her entire life. She had three sons and three daughters. Halsey, who owns the old family homestead in western New York, married Sarah Maybe and they have one daughter and an adopted son. Jennie, the youngest of the family, became the wife of Montiville White, and both are now deceased. They resided in the empire state and had one son and three daughters.
Horace A. Wood began his education in the district schools of his native state and afterward continued his studies in an academy in Rushford, New York. Later he attended a private school and subsequently went to Poughkeepsie, where he entered Eastman's Business College, completing his education by graduation from that institution. On putting aside his text-books he began traveling for a nursery company, his territory being principally Illinois. Later he embarked in the nursery business in Menard county on his own account and grew nursery stock for seven years. He then dealt in nursery stock for a number of years and was at one time connected with a business of manufacturing bed springs and mattresses, following that pursuit for about thirteen months. He owns seventy acres of land adjoining the corporation limits of Petersburg. In Menard county and this part of the state was known as an enterprising and reliable business man, and whatever success he achieved is due entirely to his own labors, for he started out in life on his own account with limited capital.
In 1869 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Wood and Miss Lizzie Miles, a daughter of James Miles, whose biography appears elsewhere in this volume, and unto them were born three children, two sons and a daughter; Florence, born in 1874, is now the wife of Dr. George Spears, who is engaged in the practice of dentistry in Petersburg; Beulah, born in 1881, is a graduate of the Petersburg high school and has spent two years as a student in the State University of Illinois and is now teaching in Menard county. Harlington, born in 1884, is also a graduate of the Petersburg schools and was a student in the State University, where he pursued the study of law. He is now teaching school, but will continue his law studies in 1905.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Wood hold membership in the Christian church and their children are also identified therewith. He gave his political support to the Republican party until 1896, in which year he voted for William Jennings Bryan, but he has again became connected with the Republican party and he is enabled to support his position by intelligent argument because he keeps well informed upon the questions and issues of the day. He began life as a poor boy, but his financial valuation is now creditable. His life has been one of activity and usefulness and has been characterized by the most unswerving integrity and honor in all his business transactions and in his varied relations with his fellow men.