Wholly devoted to home and domestic duties, doing through all the best years of her life the lowly but sacred work that comes within her sphere, there is not much to record concerning the life of the average woman. And yet what station so dignified, what relation so loving and endearing, what offices so holy, tender and ennobling as those of home-making wifehood and motherhood. As man’s equal in every qualification save the physical, and his superior in the gentle, tender and loving amenities of life, she fully merits a much larger notice than she ordinarily receives, and the writer of these lines is optimistic enough to indulge the prediction that in no distant future she will receive due credit for the important part she acts in life’s great drama and be accorded her proper place in history and biography. The foregoing lines are prompted by a review of the career of one of Greenwood’s grand old ladies, Mrs. Eliza Polk Carnes, who is numbered among the most respected and esteemed residents of this favored community.

Mrs. Carnes is a native of the state of Kentucky and the daughter of William and Sarah (Shoptaugh) Polk, both of whom were also natives of the old Blue Grass state. The father, who was a farmer, came to Indiana in 1856, settling in Johnson county, where he followed agricultural pursuits during his entire active life. He built the present attractive brick house in which Mrs. Carnes lives in 1867 and in which he resided until his death, which occurred in 1877. To him and his wife were born nine children, namely: John A., now deceased, who was a member of the Indiana Legislature for two terms: Matilda; Burr H., who was mayor of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and a prominent citizen of that community; Maurice; James M.; Eliza, the immediate subject of this sketch; William L., of Vicksburg, Mississippi; Lizzie and Charles. Mr. Polk was a Democrat in his political affiliations, though not active in public affairs, and he and the members of his family were all affiliated with the Baptist church.

Eliza J. Polk received her education in the common schools, and in 1863 she was united in marriage to Henry C. Wood, who was born in Taylorsville, Kentucky, on December 24, 1832. After attaining mature years he became a druggist, in which he had a successful career, and was preparing to enter the profession of medicine when his death occurred, on December 10, 1867. He was a man of splendid personal qualities of character, and because of his genuine worth and personal manners he had endeared himself to all who knew him. To Henry C. and Eliza Wood was born a son, Clarence H. who is now living at home with his mother and was station agent and operator at Greenwood for ten years. On October 25, 1870, Eliza Polk Wood was united in marriage to Zachariah Carnes, who was born in Grayson county, Kentucky, on January 10, 1839. After receiving a good, practical and common school education, he decided to take up the practice of medicine and matriculated in the Medical School of Kentucky at Louisville, where, in due time, he graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. In 1873 he entered upon the practice of his profession at Hardin Springs, Kentucky, where he remained about four years and then came to Greenwood, where he was numbered among the successful and prominent physicians of this locality until his death, which occurred in January, 1910. He was not only eminent in his profession, but as a citizen he stood for all those things which elevate and advance the interests of a community. He had the greatest sympathy for his fellow men and was ever willing to aid and assist those who were struggling to aid themselves against adverse fate, yet in this as in everything else he was entirely unostentatious. To him life was a sacred trust; friendship was inviolable and nothing could turn him from the path of rectitude and honor. Although his life was a busy one, his every-day affairs making heavy demands upon his time, he never shrank from his duties as a citizen and his obligations to the church, his neighbors and friends. To the practice of his profession he brought rare skill and research, such qualities stamping him as a man of extraordinary talent and a benefactor of his kind. In politics he was a Republican, though not a seeker after public office, and he was a member of the Johnson County Medical Society, of which he served as president two or three terms.

To Zachariah and Eliza Carnes was born a daughter, Floy M., who became the wife of Theophilus J. Moll, an attorney in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mrs. Carnes is the owner of one hundred acres of good land which she leases, and is looking after her business affairs with an ability which bespeaks her strong character and mentality. Despite her advanced age she retains her mental and physical faculties to a marked degree, and is numbered among the popular members of the social circles in which she moves.

Branigin, Elba L. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Indianapolis IN: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1913. pp 670-671

Transcribed by Lois Johnson