HISTORY OF HERB AND LILLIAN (SMITH) WOOD

(Compiled by Leora Black, 2005)

There are conflicting dates when Herb came to Colorado - and a lot of the other dates.  The following is from interviews given to writers for the Grand County Historical Society journals and/or actual family "recollections".

There were two notes in Mom's handwriting:  (1) "He had a dog named Gypsy" and (2) "Buildings at the mine were all swept away in a slide", doesn't say which mine.

1893 - Herb Wood was in Kansas, bought 36 head of horses and mules to help Joe Coberly build the Stein Ditch and stayed (Stein Ditch was built in 1915-1920??)

Lillian was Herb's nurse when he hurt his hand, and in those days it was shameful to be with a man continuously unless you were married and three days after his accident they were married on Sept 6, 1905 so she could continue to nurse him.  Her sister Lizzie and her husband Louis Wildhack were witnesses at their wedding (I know this because they signed the Marriage Certificate).

Herb worked for the Muddy Creek Lumber Co. (Jack Dunham) - note in Mom's handwriting says: "Dad worked for Dow and Barth Sawmill further up the Muddy when Russell was a baby.  Then decided he would have to go to the Breckenridge area and work in the mining country".

He hauled supplies and rails by mule train (40 burros) from Argentine over the Argentine Pass to Montezuma, everything, including a cook stove once.  After three years or so at the mine together with Bob Williams Jr., they bought the Robert Williams Sr. homestead on the Little Muddy at the junction with Strawberry Creek.

DeWitt homesteaded in 1907-08, Sylvan ditch and reservoir on Hermosa was started in 1908 and completed May 19, 1916.  Kenneth says Herb started to work for Dewitt in 1909.  He was born 3rd (at that time) of three children on the Hermosa.

There is a picture of Herb and Lillian on the Hermosa in 1915-16 according to Vol. XIII No. 1 Grand Co. Historical Assn. Journal (where I got this information).

     

 1919-1920 DeWitt sold the Hermosa and purchased the Coberly Place, Herb Wood and family moved with them and took over day-to-day operations.

In 1920 Herb sold his ranch on Little Muddy (260 acres).

In 1922 they moved to the Cole Place.

1918-1922 Herb cut timber and hauled it to keep the boilers going for steam engines at the Copper Creek Mines (Molly Grove Mine, Happy Dream, Mary Florence Mine, and others), sons (Russell, Kenneth and Allyn too turns) picked up mail by horse back and hauled it to the mine three times a week - there were exactly 13 gates from the home, it took 4 hours on horseback and they earned a whole dollar each trip.

Herb was still working for T. F. DeWitt in July 1923, they planted 70 acres of lettuce, 35 on the DeWitt Place and 35 on the Company Ranch.

On September 18, 1928 Marilyn died of whooping cough on the Coberly Place where she was born in 1923.

Herb died 10/2/1928.  He was working for DeWitt on the Coberly Place.  Was cranking the tractor in the field after he siphoned some gas, didn't feel good, went to the house to lie down and before the doctor got there was dead.  The family lived there for several more years sharecropping until DeWitt sold.

In 1938 the Woods bought the Charles Gustafson & Edwin Grange homesteads.  County records show first sold to Herschel Wood, then transferred in 1947 to Frank & Leonard Wood.  They shipped lots of cream to Denver.

Herb's brand was:  H lazy E (It was registered to J. B. Dolloff in the 1900 Brand Book).

Carl and Debbie still own and use this brand on the "Wood Land & Cattle Company"

Following are three different newspaper articles typed exact. - No identification of dates or Newspaper name was on them.

Hand Smashed
On last Monday afternoon, G. H. Woods millman at the Pennsylvania mill, at Argentine, had the second, third and fourth fingers and a portion of his right hand, extending back to the wrist, cut off.
The Accident happened about 5 o'clock, just before shutting down for the day.  Mr. Wood was working at the rolls of the mill, and noticing a large hunk of ore that did not seem to feed in properly, he attempted to move the "balky" piece of ore so that the rolls could get a better bite, when the greedy machine took the feeder's fingers, hand and all.
Mr. Woods is now here in town, under the care of Dr. Condon, but he will be out of service for some weeks hence, besides losing a potion of one of the most important members of the human body.
  HAND BADLY CRUSHED
Herbert Wood, employed at the Pennsylvania mines and mill, Argentine, had his right hand caught in the heavy rolls when feeding ore at 5 o'clock last Monday evening and that member was so badly crushed that amputation at the wrist became necessary.
Dr. J.F. Condon of this city was summoned to Argentine shortly after the accident and performed surgical operations necessary.  An effort is being made to save the thumb and fore finger and the doctor hopes to be successful.  Mr. Wood came to this city the following day and will be a guest at the Occidental hotel until his injuries have a least been partially healed.  He is getting along nicely at the present writing and does not anticipate any serious complications.
  GEO. HERBERT WOOD
Geo. Herbert Wood was born in Blue Springs, Nebr., July 1st, 1877.  At the age of 16 years he moved with his parent to Long Island, Kansas.  Four years later he came to Colorado with a mule team for Uncle Joe Coberly, and made his home in this state since.  He was engaged in mining, farming and other work.  Sept. 6, 1905 he married Lillian Russell Smith at Breckenridge, Colorado.  Immediately following he moved to a ranch he owned on the Little Muddy known as the Beaton place.  He and his family lived there until 1922, when they moved to the Cole place, and a year later to the DeWitt ranch.
At the time of his death, which occurred October 2, 1928, he was plowing with a tractor about half mile from he house.  Feeling sick, he walked to the house where he died a few minutes from a hemorrhage on the brain.
Mr. Wood was the father of thirteen children, twelve of whom with his widow survive him.  The little daughter Marilyn preceded him in death just two weeks before.
He was a man of sterling character and numbered his friends by his every acquaintance.
He was a kind, loving husband and father.  His widow, nine sons and three daughters and many friend and relatives deeply mourn his loss.

 

Lillian ("Gram" or "Grammy" to all of us):

She lived on the ranch with Uncle Frank and Uncle Leonard till after the war, and then went to stay with Harriet, Sister, Lillian or Bus for several months at a time.  Occasionally she spent a day or two or perhaps a week with some of the other "kids".

In 1968 Uncle Bus bought a "pink trailer house" for her and moved it to Parshall next to Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Josephine (don't know for how long).  She was in Kremmling at the Trailer Court (I know she was there in 1969), where she lived until she came to Denver and lived with Mom and Dad, then went to live with Aunt Harriet and Uncle Orville in Rogers, Arkansas and eventually into an assisted living facility there (I know she was in the home in 1977), where she passed away in 1980.

                   

  LOVED all the little kids, would sit on her "haunches" for what seemed like ages playing.

  Was a registered Democrat.  She helped many years in the county during election.

  Was an avid fisherman AND always got her limit, seldom ever fell in or got wet, muddy yes.

  She was known in the county for baking and preparing meals to take to neighbors "who were less fortunate". 'Course we all got our share of her pies and rolls.

  Always baked a pie on Saturday whether she knew anyone was coming or not.

  Any time "wheels turned" she was on them -- she loved to go.

  Never had any major surgery. (Very amazing woman).

Gram Wood - Article in "The Spoke" (Grand County Historical Society - 2002) by Nina Wood

Middle Park Times article (about 1955)