George Dixon Wood

George Dixon Wood


In about 1883 dad’s father and mother, John Wood and Mary Marie (Dixon) Wood left Missouri to settle at Rock Creek Township, near Burden, Cowley County, Kansas, and the nearest railroad depot. They arrived on the K. C. L & S. K. Railroad. The railroad opened to Burden (then known as Burdenville) on February 1, 1880. John and Mary arrived with two of their children, Maude Melissa and Guy Manyard Wood.

The population of Burden, Kansas was 400 in 1883. It had seven general stores, a drug store, hardware store, two hotels, jewelry store, three agricultural implement stores, two land and loan offices, lumberyard, three furniture stores, livery stable, meat market, restaurant, millinery, billiard room and two blacksmiths. The town also had two doctors, one of whom was J. M. Wright, and a lawyer named S. S. Moore. Everything a modern town needed.

John was a farmer and one of the earliest settlers of Kansas.


John and Mary began looking for a farm to buy. In the fall of 1884, they bought a 160 acre farm five miles south of Hooser, east of Arkansas City, in Cowley County, an area known as Irish Flats.

Soon after arriving in Kansas, Elmer John Wood, the third child and second son, of John and Mary was born September 6, 1884 at Hooser, Cowley County, Kansas.

They bought the farm from Clara A. and C. H. Carlton. It had an assessed value of $1,200. John paid $1,100 on September 30, 1884. The land was located in Section 36, Township 345, Range 7E.


Dad was born at Hooser, Cowley County, Kansas on May 4, 1888, a leap year.

Hooser was a village of Dexter Township. There was a train station on the Missouri Pacific Railroad 27 miles southeast of Winfield, the county seat. It had a money order post office with one rural route, telegraph, express and telephone facilities, some general stores, and in 1910 reported a population of 23.

Dad was John and Mary’s fourth child. The American Civil War had ended and Abraham Lincoln assassinated just 23 years before his birth. Grover Cleveland was President and had been in office since March, 1885. On June 15 Wilhelm II was crowned Emperor of Germany. Jack the Ripper was still active in London. The Washington Monument opened to the public. George Eastman's Kodak box camera became available. J. B. Dunlop invented the Dunlop pneumatic tire.


Of some significance, since the Wood farm was very near the northern Indian Territory  boundary, Oklahoma opened to settlement. In Pennsylvania, Mary’s place of birth, thousands died in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood. The Eiffel Tower was built for the Paris exposition. Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, was published.

On March 4, 1889 Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd President of the United States.

The so-called Five Civilized Tribes of Indians, had been moved by the federal government from all over the southeastern United States, and placed on the reservation known as Indian Territory. The forced trek by the Indians was called The Trail of Tears. A sad chapter in United States’ history.

The land was to belong to the Indians for as long as the grass grows and the wind blows, said Will Rogers.


The massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota occurred on December 29, 1890 by 500 U.S. Troops of the 7th Cavalry. Some 300 men, women and children of the Lakota Sioux were killed. The massacre is noteworthy as the engagement in which the most Medals of Honor have ever been awarded in the history of the US Army.


The Cherokee Outlet in Indian Territory opened to settlement, a precursor to Oklahoma’s statehood.

The grass stopped growing and the wind blowing. Cattlemen wanted Indian Territory for grazing their herds. The finding of oil, and greed of the white man, resulted in ending the Indians use of the land.

The photo at the right is of John and Mary with their children in 1892, taken at Cedar Vale, Kansas. They were living on the Wood family farm at Cedar, Cowley County, Kansas. Front seated: John Wood, George Dixon Wood (age 4) and Mary Marie (Dixon) Wood Standing: Elmer John Wood, Maud Melissa Wood and Guy Manyard Wood.


On March 4, 1893 Grover Cleveland was sworn in as the 24th President of the United States.

In June 1893 dad’s future wife, Rena Mae Moore, was born in Oklahoma.

On September 16, 1893 the Cherokee Strip was opened to rush of white men. John Wood watched the Cherokee Strip run near the Chilocco Indian School. Dad was seven years old. Dad’s uncle, Thomas William Wood, John's brother, participated in the Oklahoma land run. Thomas ran less than a mile and staked his claim.

Thomas filed an affidavit on October 19, 1891 with the U.S. Land Office at Oklahoma City, O. T. (Oklahoma Territory) claiming his land. He received his land Patent in November 1896.


In 1895 the Kansas State Census reported the John Wood family on March 1, 1895 lived in the township of Cedar, Cowley County, Kansas. Their post office was at Cedarvale. John was farming the family farm. John’s wife, Mary Mariah, was keeping house.

Their oldest child, Maud Melissa, was 16 years of age and teaching school. The census shows she was attending school as well.

Their second child, and oldest son, was Guy Manyard. Guy was 14 years old. The census shows he also was a farmer. I strongly suspect that simply meant he was working on the family farm helping his father, John. That generally also meant Guy could have been working doing farm labor on other farms in the area. Guy was additionally attending school.

Elmer John, the second oldest son, was eleven years old. Elmer was attending school as well.

Last in the census list is my father, George Dixon. He was seven years old and attending school.


Dad’s younger brother, Otis Calvin Wood, John and Mary’s fifth child, was born April Fool's Day, April 1, 1897. His sister, Maude Melissa, was 19 years old, and his oldest brother, Guy Manyard, was 17.

William McKinley became president in March of 1897.


The Spanish-American War occurred. It was a conflict between Spain and the United States that took place from April to August 1898. The people of Cuba were revolting against Spain for their independence. The short war gave the United States ownership of the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam. The war was the end of the Spanish Empire.


In 1900 the United States Census of the John Wood household was recorded on June 5, 1900. The family still lived in the Cedar Township of Cowley County, Kansas.

  • John, head of the household, was 50 years of age. He and Mary had been married 23 years. John was still farming his farm that he owned, free and clear of encumbrances.
  • Mary was age 42. She was born in Pennsylvania in March 1858. Out of five children she bore, five still lived.
  • Maude was still at home and single at age 22, helping keep house.
  • Guy was 19 years old, born in Missouri. He was now a school teacher though he had been unemployed for eight months.
  • Elmer was 15 years old, born in Kansas in 1844. He was attending school.
  • Dad had reached age 12. He was attending school.
  • Otis Calvin Wood, was born in April 1897 in Cowley County, Kansas, He was three years old.

Money was scarce. A bank statement showed how seldom a checking account was used. Page 740, Cedar Vale, Kansas, Dec. 1, 1900. John Wood, In account with Dosbaughs Bank (a private bank). One $10 check written and paid on Nov. 1, left a balance of $38.33. On Nov. 19, $15 was deposited leaving a balance $43.33. A two cent documentary stamp, Series 1899, was affixed. The check was cancelled by hand, dated and initialed in ink by a J. W., Nov. 9, 1900, issued in Cedar Vale, Kans., Nov. 10, 1900, by Dosbaughs" Bank. It said, "Pay to the Order of Guy M. Wood, $10," and was signed by John Wood.

It was the year the Indian Wars ended. The Indians lost.


President McKinley began his second term as President. He was assassinated in September. Theodore Roosevelt, his Vice-President assumed the presidency. Dad was 13 years old.

Queen Victoria of England died. But things were happening around the world. The first radio transmission was conducted across the Atlantic.


John and Mary’s sixth and final child was Neal Edward Wood, born August 6, 1902.

Both Aunt Maud and Uncle Guy were born in Madison, Monroe County, Missouri. The remaining children were born while they lived on the family farm at a place called Irish Flats, Cowley County, Kansas.

Things improved. Mary got her second wood stove, one that had two ovens. She was well known throughout the county for her vinegar cobblers and Jenny Lind cakes.

Uncles Guy and Elmer walked two miles in the early freezing morning winter rain to the nearest neighbor to get a bucket of hot coals when they accidentally let their fires burn out.

The Wood boys ran the land cultivator with a team of horses, milked the cows, and gathered the eggs, slopped the hogs and fed the chickens. When not working their favorite pastime was hunting with their dogs. They played marbles, in a game called "mumbly-peg."

Maude helped her mother, Mary, boil clothes in a large cast iron pot. The same pot was used to render lard when the hogs were killed. The chitlins (pig skin) left from the lard rendering was used to make lye soap.


The year 1903 brought forth some significant occurrences. Henry Ford, with $100,000 in capital, founded the Ford Motor Company. And the Harley-Davidson motorcycle was introduced onto the scene. Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished the first sustained flight.


In 1905 the state of Kansas conducted a census of Cedar, Cowley County, Kansas. The post office was located at Cedarvale, Kansas. The John Wood family was included in the census.

  • John owned his farm property free and clear of mortgage. He was 55 years old.
  • Mary Maria was 47.
  • George Dixon was age 16.
  • Otis Calvin was 8. Neal Edward was age 2.

Since the 1895 Kansas Census Maude, Guy and Elmer were no longer in the home. I don't know where Maude, Guy and Elmer were in 1905. Furthermore John and Mary had two more children: Otis and Neal.

Historically, Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity. Theodore Roosevelt began his second term as President.


April 18, 1906 the great San Francisco earthquake hit. It was a 7.7 - 8.3 magnitude tremor which destroyed the city and causing $400 million dollars in damages. The Mack truck came into existence.


Oklahoma was admitted to the union as the 46th state.


Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile in Detroit, Michigan. The horse and buggy would recede into history. Ford got some competition. General Motors was formed and fountain pens became popular. William Howard Taft became President.


The 1910 United States Census was completed April 21 and 22, 1910 of the Cedar Township, Cowley County, Kansas showed:

  • John, head of the home, male, white, age 61, married 23 years, born in Kentucky, his father born in West Virginia, his mother in Kentucky, spoke English, farmer, literate.
  • Mary M., wife, female, white, age 52, married 23 years, bore 6 children, 6 living, born in Pennsylvania, both her  parents born in England, spoke English, literate.
  • Guy M., son, male, white, age 29, single, born in Missouri, father in Kentucky, mother in Pennsylvania, spoke English, farm laborer, literate.
  • Elmer J., son, male, white, age 25, single, born in Kansas, father in Kentucky, mother in Pennsylvania, spoke English, farm laborer, literate.
  • George D., son, male, white, age 21, single, born in Kansas, father in Kentucky, mother in Pennsylvania, spoke English, teacher in public school, attending school, literate.
  • Otis C., son, male, white, age 13, single, born in Kansas, father in Kentucky, mother in Pennsylvania, spoke English, farm laborer, attending school, literate.
  • Edward N., son, male, white, age 7, single, born in Kansas, father in Kentucky, mother in Pennsylvania, spoke English, attending school, literate.


The Chinese Revolution occurred. The Chinese Revolution was a republican revolution which overthrew China's ruling Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, and which established the Republic of China.


April 15, 1912 the Titanic sunk after hitting an iceberg. The "unsinkable" ship sunk causing approximately 1,517 fatalities.


On August 25, 1913 dad, at age 26, married Rena Mae Moore, age 20, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. They were married at the Oklahoma County Court House by Judge George W. Clark. Witnesses were Guy G. Fisher of Oklahoma City and Mrs. J. F. Moore of Oklahoma City.

Rena was born in 1894 in Oklahoma. She was from Harrah, Oklahoma the day she married.

Her father, John Fausett Moore, was born November 9, 1861 in Arkansas. He was remembered by Kessler, his grandson, as an old Prussian. Mr. Moore was buried on the edge of Oklahoma City just south of Edmond. An obituary in the Edmond Evening paper read:

Funeral services were conducted Tuesday afternoon at the First Baptist Church, over the remains of J. F. Moore, aged 72 years who passed away Monday, December 11, 1933. Reverend McLaughlin conducted the services. Burial was in Grace Lawn Cemetery (actually Memorial Cemetery) with Baggerley funeral director in charge. Mr. Moore is survived by his wife and six children. Virgil Moore of Chickasha. Kessler Moore of Goltry. Mrs. Alta Reynolds of Edmond. Rena Wood of Wewoka. Mrs. Carne Smith of Enid and Mrs. Bessie Coleman of Elkhart, Kansas, two brothers and two sisters.

Mr. Moore is buried with Ambrosine Moore, born June 26, 1869 – died August 25, 1931. All three flat head markers have the quotation “Gone but not forgotten.” The graves are in block 8 of the Memorial Park, Oklahoma City. Rena’s mother, Ambrosine, was born in Kentucky.

In 1913 dad was a member of the college Senate Debating Team.

Woodrow Wilson became President.


June 5, 1914 my mother, Katherine Maybell Wright, was born. She will ultimately become dad’s second wife. It is interesting to note she was born just over a year after dad married his first wife, Rena.

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austro-Hungarian empire, was assassinated. The assassination set into motion a series of fast-moving events that escalated into a full-scale war. July 28, 1914 World War I begins.

Additionally, the Panama Canal was opened.


The state of Kansas had a census of Cedar, Cowley County, Kansas on February 15, 1915.

  • John was 55 years old. He and his family were living on the Wood farm, which they owned free of mortgage.
  • Mary was 47 years old.
  • Dad was 16.
  • Otis was 8.
  • Neal was age 2.

On October 25, 1915 Kessler Edmond Wood was born to George and Rena, their first child, in Edmond, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Kessler became better known as "Kay."

NOTE:. Kay was my oldest half-brother. Of course I wasn't born yet.

Dad was still attending college when Kay was born.

Kay wrote about his first memories.

I was born Oct. 19—1915—in Edmond. My first memories are of living in Tulsa. They had bought an acreage and were teaching school in a four room school close to home. Dad was the principal and I remember going to some function at the school. It was raining and hailing, raising hell. Dad had a Model T touring car, no side curtains & the hail had me scared to death and bouncing off my head. I had lumps on my beeny. I also remember watching the moon come up.


In 1916, at age 66, John and Mary Wood retired from farming. Their son, Otis, had been attending college in Edmond, Oklahoma, living with his brothers, dad and Uncle Guy.

When dad and Guy moved away from Edmond Otis was left alone. John and Mary turned the Kansas farm over to their daughter, Maude, and her husband, Walter Foltz. John and Mary moved to a rented house in Edmond, Oklahoma, just outside Oklahoma City.

In December of 1916, John and Mary bought a small frame house at 116 East Second Street, Edmond, Oklahoma. The house had a front porch and small back porch. Second Street later became famous as Route 66.

Dad graduated from Central Normal school (now known as the University of Central Oklahoma) in Edmond, Oklahoma with an L.C.

Approximately 7,000 people died from one of America's worst polio epidemics.


The United States joined into World War I. Woodrow Wilson began his 2nd term as President.

Dad registered for the military draft for World War I. He was 29 years old. He lived at Rt. #2, Sapulpa, Oklahoma. His registration card shows he was born at Hoosier, Kansas. His occupation was a school teacher. He was teaching in District 30, Sapulpa, Oklahoma. He was of medium height and weight. His eyes were blue and complexion light. He was married and had one child (which would have been Kessler). He indicated he was needed at home for the support of his family. He never had to serve.


The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed between 20 and 40 million people, more than the number of people killed during World War I. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history.

Otis, dad’s younger brother, was one of those epidemic victims. Otis died of pneumonia on March 24, 1918 while in the United States Army at Fort Worth, Texas. Otis was buried at Grace Lawn Cemetery, Edmond, Oklahoma.

The population of the United States passed 103 million people.

World War I ended November 11, 1918.


On September 4, 1919 Leonard George Wood was born in Oklahoma to dad and Rena, their second son. Leonard died December 16, 1978, at Albany, Shackleford County, Texas at age 59 years, 3 months, 12 days.

NOTE:. Leonard was my second half-brother.

Kay wrote to his children about Leonard. He wrote:

Your uncle Leonard came along about four years after me and the folks moved to Okmulgee, Okla.

Dad had gone to work as a warehouseman for some oil company. They built a house on a tank farm where the warehouse was. We lived there for two or three years till they built a much nicer home in town.

We lived there till I got thru the 5th grade some months later.


The January 31, 1920 United States Census of the George Dixon Wood household, Dawson, Tulsa County, Oklahoma was finished.

  • Dad, was head of the family. He was age 31 working as a civil engineer for an oil company.
  • Rena (misspelled Reina on the census), his wife, was age 26. She was born in Oklahoma.
  • Kessler was four years old.
  • Leonard was four months of age.
  • George had purchased their home and it was free of debt.

August 18, 1920 women were given the right to vote. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, granting suffrage to women.


Warren Harding became the 29th President on March 4.

Nine days later, March 13, 1921, my maternal grandmother, Mary Maria Dixon Wood, died, leaving John to live alone. She was buried in the family plot near her son, Otis, at the Grace Lawn Cemetery, Edmond, Oklahoma.


My paternal grandfather, John Wood, died two years after Mary while at home in Edmond, Oklahoma on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1923. He was 73 years old. He lies buried adjacent to Mary and their son, Otis, at Grace Lawn Cemetery, Edmond, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.

John's obituary appeared in the Edmond Sun newspaper on Thursday, February 22, 1923:

“John Woods was born in Kentucky, January 29, 1850. He died at his home on East Second Street, February 14, 1923.

“His family moved to Monroe County, Mo., when he was six years old. At the age of 27 he was married to Mary Maria Dixon. To this union six children were born.

“The wife of the deceased died March 13, 1921. One son, Otis C. Wood, died in army camp, March 24, 1918. The rest of his children are living and all were present at the funeral except Elmer J. Wood of Seattle, Wash.

“Funeral services were conducted from the family residence February 16, Rev. Ishley officiating for Rev. McGehee, who as absent from the city.”

Dad’s residence address in 1923 was Box 39, Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

Calvin Coolidge became President.

Kessler wrote about John and Mary:

 About our family. I don’t know much. My dad and mother were kind of loners and did not mix and mingle.

I never saw my granddad or mother Wood but a few times. They lived in Edmond, Oklahoma. The few times I saw them I remember him as quite austere, stern and reminded me of pictures I saw of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. I don’t remember grandmother Wood at all.

NOTE: I never saw either John or Mary, either. They had both died before I was born. My experience with dad was similar to Kay’s. Dad didn’t talk much. I have no memory of him ever mentioning John or Mary—nor did I ever have enough sense to ask him about them. I did get a chuckle about Kay’s comparison of John to Kaiser Wilhelm.


Calvin Coolidge began his 2nd term as President.

Kay wrote about this time period:

“About that time mother became a little sickly and the docs said to go west so they moved to Borger, Tx.

This was in about 1925-26. Dad got a job in the oilfield alright and Leonard & I had a great time catching loose horses and riding them everywhere.

I started school there alright but about the 2nd or 3rd of Sept I come one of those blue northers and snowed about 6 inches.

As we were living in a tent (impossible to get a house) and they did not want to face the winter in a tent, back to Okla we went.”

“They found work and settled in an oilfield camp between Bowlegs and Seminole, Okla. We lived there for a couple of years.”

“They then bought an acreage close to Wewoka. I went to school in Wewoka 8th thru high school.”


Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic to France nonstop.


On March 12, 1928 the St. Francis Dam, in Santa Paula, California collapsed leaving 450 dead. Years later dad will live in Santa Paula, Ventura County, California.

Women over age 21 were allowed to vote.


Herbert Hoover became President. Wall Street crashed. The Great Depression begins.

The Dust Bowl, the longest drought of the 20th century took place throughout the United States causing a "dust bowl" that covered 50 million acres of the south-central plains. The epic struggle depicted by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was underway. Jobless rush to California for promised work in the harvests.

The 1930 United States Census counted the population of Brown Township, Seminole County, Oklahoma on April 9, 1930.

  • Dad was head of the household having reached age 41. He may not have had much else but he had a radio. He was farming, engaged in truck farming. He was not a military veteran.
  • Rena was age 36, having married dad at age 20.
  • Kessler was now 14 years of age and going to school.
  • Leonard was age 10, also going to school.

NOTE: According to Kessler, dad and his mother Rena Mae Moore, separated about 1928. However, Kessler must have been mistaken because they were clearly living together on April 9, 1930. Therefore, they must have separated sometime after that date. I do not know how the marriage between dad and Rena ended. I presume a divorce.

Kay wrote"

“During my high school days is when the Great Depression hit. Things got pretty hairy. People would almost kill to get a job. Mother & Dad divorced during that time and things really got tough. We had a place to live and never went hungry, we still didn’t know how long that would last. The last semester in school another boy & I had a garage apt--$6 a month and I don’t remember who paid the bills.”

“After graduation I got in the CCCs the gov’t paid us $5 a month & sent 25 home that is what mother & Leonard lived on for a year that I was in the CC. The CCC was a godsend for thousands of boys like me. They clothed, boarded and roomed us. I really don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t. It also taught us the rudiments of work and how to get along with other people.”


On October 31, 1932 dad married my mother, Katherine Maybell Wright, in Seminole, Seminole County, Oklahoma.

Mother was the daughter of Hollis W. “Jack” Wright and Edith Georgia Tedford Wright. Mother and dad’s marriage ceremony was performed by J. W. Davis, minister of the Free-Will Baptist Church. Witnesses were Mrs. H. W. Wright (my maternal grandmother), and Mrs. Mattie Davis (I have no idea who she was), both of Seminole. Dad was 44 years old. Mother was 18 years old, a 26 year difference in their ages.

NOTE: Although I cannot recall the source I understand that dad had been working in the oil fields in the Seminole, Oklahoma area. He lived alone and mother took care of his housework. From that beginning I was apparently conceived and they married.


I was born Wednesday, June 7, 1933 at Wewoka, Seminole County, Oklahoma.

Kay recalled:

“Dad had remarried and had a little boy 16 or 17 years younger than I. He was teaching in a country school down south of Ada, when the Fittstown Boom broke out. He had worked with some of the oil company bosses before and he got me a job there in Fittstown in the fall of 1934.”

NOTE: That "little boy" Kay refers to was me. The "country school" was called Franks, just on the outskirts of Fittstown.

Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and Franklin Delano Roosevelt became President of the United States.


In 1934 dad, shortly after I was born, was teaching school in the Franks School District #39, south of Ada, near Fittstown, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma.

Franks School was established in 1897 by B. F. "Frank" Byrd when he bought the old mill from the Rev. J. R. Harden. Franks School was probably organized ca 1900-1905. Included in the photo section of this history are pictures of the 1906, 1907 and 1910 classes of Franks School, Mr. J. J. Townsend, teacher.

The early schools were called subscription schools which meant that parents paid a certain amount of tuition before a child could attend. The official Franks School property was purchased for $25.00 from B. F. and Maime Byrd: Lots 5-6-7 of Block 19 of Franks; also 2-3-4 of block 20 of Franks. The first recorded bond issue was made June 11, 1909, in the amount of $1,000- rate of interest - 6%. The earliest school census reported was for 1912. There were 53 white male students, 47 white female students, 9 Negro males and 8 Negro females, making a total of 117 students. Racial integration came early there. For more please see McLish Schools -- Alumni.

The oil boom came to Fittstown in 1934 resulting in a large influx of oil workers and their families and the need to increase the facilities of the local schools.


In 1935 a meeting in Fittstown was called to order by Otto Strickland, who was chosen chairman by acclamation, as was also Lester Watson for secretary, and Glen Borin, assistant chairman. In the election which followed, Q.B. Mitchell was re-elected director by 252 votes. Ralph Moore of the Main Cafe, a new member of the board, also received 252 votes.  For clerk Geo. D. Wood of Moore's Camp polled 219 votes while George McDonald, his opponent, received 28 votes. "The Fitts Oil Field is going to have adequate facilities for the children of oil field workers by the time school is scheduled to open. This was decisively decided at the bond election for $18,500.00 bonds which was held from 2 o'clock to 6 o'clock at the Baptist Church Monday, June 24, 1935, The enormous majority piled up for the bond issue is ample evidence that the citizens of the school district realize to the fullest that the welfare of the children in Fitts Oil Field was of more importance to the citizens than a few paltry dollars in taxes." See McLish Alumni abd Ada Weekly News

NOTE: The reference to "Geo. D. Wood of Moore's Camp" above is a reference to dad. I recall as a child my mother talking about dad being on the school board when we were living adjacent to the E.H. Moore Oil Company's "Moore Camp" located east of Fittstown at Harden City, Oklahoma.

NOTE: Dad gave up teaching school. I don't know why except my mother said he preferred working out of doors. He began working in the oil fields. The more reliable explanation was that he could make more money in the oil field than he could teaching school.


The main school district of McLish was formed with the McLish High School being located about midway between Fittstown and Harden City. "Wing" elementary schools were built, one of which was in Harden City just a stone's throw from the E. H. Moore Camp.


My younger brother, Phillip Maynard Wood, was born March 12, 1937 in Seminole, Seminole County, Oklahoma.

NOTE: I should point out that I'm a bit confused as to exactly when we moved to Harden City. It would appear that since my brother, Phil, was born in Seminole in 1937, we had not yet located in Harden City.

On May 26, 1937 dad’s oldest son, my half-brother, Kessler Edmond Wood married Lucille Rose at Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma.

Franklin Roosevelt began his 2nd term as President. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened. Amelia Earhart disappeared on a flight in the South Pacific.


1939 turned out to be a bad year. The following item appeared on the front page of the Ada Evening News on March 14, 1939.

Clerk Of School Board Charged
George Wood, clerk of the school board of Union Graded district number two entered a plea of not guilty when arraigned before County Judge Hoyt Driskill Tuesday on a charge of making and delivering a false certificate.

Wood was released after making bond of $500.

The complaint alleges that as enumerator Wood was required to make a school census and while doing this on February 10 he made a false certificate regarding the number of children in the family of Hugh Hall.

The complaint also alleges 'that Hall's signature on the certificate was false, and the certificate was not sworn to as required by law.”

NOTE: I don’t know how the court case turned out but dad encountered some notoriety from it.

World War II began on September 1st 1939, Germany invaded Poland without warning. By the evening of September 3rd Britain and France were at war with Germany and within a week Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa had also joined. The U.S. didn’t enter the war until after December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

On a happier note dad’s second son and my other half-brother, Leonard George Wood, married Joan Laura Holcomb on September 14, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri.


U.K. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain handed over leadership to Winston Churchill. Churchill formed a coalition government. Churchill's ability to motivate the nation was a key morale booster during the war.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the first in history, began his 3rd term as President. People didn’t want to change Presidents during a war.

On a more positive cultural note, for some reason dad liked the prose of English literature. He would recite the following from Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott to me:

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade;
But when the sun his beacon red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
The deep-mouthed bloodhound's heavy bay
Resounded up the rocky way,
And faint, from farther distance borne,
Were heard the clanging hoof and horn."

He called my attention to the words The deep-mouthed bloodhound's heavy bay resounded up the rocky way commenting one could visualize and hear those bloodhounds from Scott’s descriptive words. Dad tried to interest me in English literature, but mostly failed. He complained that Kay and Leonard only wanted to read cheap pulp western books, popular in their day.

The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was launched on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 by the Empire of Japan's 1st Air Fleet against the U.S. Pacific Fleet and other US armed forces stationed at the harbor.


On April 19, 1942 dad showed up in another news item in The Ada Evening News:

Questionnaires to Go Out This Week
Must be Filled, Returned in Short Time; Uncle Sam Needs Information

County draft board officials this week will send out more than 2,000 occupational questionnaires to the men of the third draft registration and they stressed Saturday the importance of filling out these information blanks.

The questionnaires will begin going out Monday and will continue at the rate of 400 a day.

The survey is being made jointly by the United States Employment Service and the Selective Service System. Questionnaires are being sent but this week to all men between the ages of 20 and 44 who registered for the draft on February 16.

The survey is being made to get from each man a statement as to his occupation and skills. Accompanying the questionnaire is a list of 225 jobs essential to war production. Every man is asked to check those in which he had experience or training.

Must Be Returned Soon

The questionnaire must be filled out and returned to the draft beard within 10 days.

The questionnaires will be filled out in duplicate and one set of answers will go to the United States employment office, treaded in Ada by John Gallimore.

Gallimore urged Saturday that every man receiving a questionnaire use the utmost care in filling it out correctly.

He pointed out that the county advisory board will be available to assist anyone in filling out this questionnaire.

Employers, union representatives or the U. S. employment office also will aid men filling out the questionnaires.

Advisory Members

Members of the advisory board include the chairman. County Judge Hoyt Driskill; t members Robert Orton and Lowery Harcell, and the associate members, S. S. Bradley, Franklin Bourland, Sam Katz, John Roy Harris, Rev. Mitchell S. Epperson, Charles A. Breitung Mrs. Bonnie Allen, all of Ada.

William E. Mead, Bryan Gillum, Grady Miller, Jack Wright, Jesse Bond, all of Allen, and,

Walter E. Harris and Tom Carmichael, Ada, Rt. 2, Leon. McKey and Elmo Thompson of Stonewall. Kenneth Larsh, Rolf. William H. Powell, Francis. Chester Shelby, Fitzhugh; Carl Standridge, Vanoss and Gaar Cornery, George Wood, Fittstown and Harden City. Harve Ferris, Steedman. Bob Davis, Lula.

Added to this list to aid in filling out the occupational questionnaires are Mickey McDaniel, highway department. Victor Hughes, glass plant; Claude McMillan, cement plant; J. F. Canards, dry ice plant; Sterling Price at the Lawrence quarry.”

NOTE: It did not escape my notice that County Judge Hoyt Driskill, the same man who arraigned dad on the criminal charge in March 1939, was heading up the advisory members which included dad.


In 1943 World War II was in full swing. We were still in Harden City. Dad participated in an air raid drill as an air raid warden according to the Ada Weekly News issue of January 21, 1943. I can recall him sitting at the radio listening to the war news every evening.

The elementary school of McLish in Harden City would turn out for scrap iron drives for steel, iron, metals of all kinds across the landscape. Being an oil field town meant there was a lot of it. Tin cans in which the grocery stores carried beans, peas, and the like, were flattened and the two ends of the cans placed inside the flattened cans. The cans were turned in for the war effort as well. Even old newspapers were collected, bundled, and turned in for the war effort.

Almost everything was rationed. Sugar, gasoline and other such items were rationed. Rationing stamps were issued to the populace which were necessary to buy such rationed items. Automobiles were no longer made—the factories were turning out war equipment instead.

World War II was a burden on the entire population of the United States. Everyone sacrificed one way or another.

On the other hand, World War II changed the nation. Women were working in war defense plants nationwide, leaving their housekeeping existence behind.

The jobs created also ended the long depression which had held the United States for years.


In 1944 we moved from Harden City to Allen, Oklahoma. Dad, for some reason, was no longer working for E. H. Moore oil company. He worked on an oil lease near Allen for the Sunray Oil Company.

The house we lived in was on the edge of a heavily wooded area. The Canadian River was nearby.

Phil and I were bused to school at McCall’s Chapel. It was a small one room country school a short distance from Allen, Oklahoma.

Our stay on the Sunray lease was short, lasting only a few months. Dad moved us to a room he rented in a private residence in Allen. He was looking for work.

He found employment in a war defense plant at McAlester, Oklahoma.

We then moved to McAlester. We lived in an apartment on the 5th floor of a brick building in an apartment located in downtown McAlester. The ground floor of the building was a hardware store. We used an elevator to upstairs to our apartment.

The apartment had hot and cold running water. I can recall taking hot showers in the apartment bathroom. That was really new and different from bathing in #3 tin washtubs during the years before.

In fact, living in McAlester was a new way of living.


Franklin Roosevelt began his 4th term as President. He died, however, on April 12, 1945. Roosevelt had been elected to an unprecedented four terms in office. He served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. He had been President during my entire lifetime at that point. Harry Truman succeeded Roosevelt.

We lived in McAlester for about a year.

At some point in 1945 we moved again.  From McAlester dad had found us lodging in a rear room of a farmer’s residence 11 miles southeast of Holdenville, Hughes County, Oklahoma. The farmer was a man named John Brill. John and his wife lived in the house, renting the back room to mom and dad.

Phil and I slept in a corn crib at the rear of the house. Mother had “kitchen” privileges which meant she cooked our meals for us in the Brill’s kitchen.

Dad was working in an oil field again. I don’t know for whom he worked nor did I ever visit any of their oilfield leases.

After living a brief time living in the farmer’s residence, dad bought 40 acres of farmland about three miles away from the Brill’s farm. Our farm was 2 miles south of Horntown, Hughes County, Oklahoma.

Horntown isn’t really a town at all. It is an intersection of two highways. Highways 75 and 270. Horntown primarily consisted (and still does) of the Horntown Store. It was the place where local farmers in the community came for gasoline, groceries and the like. Inside it had a large pot-bellied coal stove for heat around which farmers would gather and talk about local events of the day.

Nearby was the Banner Baptist Church at which the locals gathered on Sundays for the weekly preaching of the pastor, the Reverend T. W. White. Reverend White’s wife led the congregation in singing. One of their daughters, Mary Frances White, played the piano.

During summer evenings the church hosted revivals. Chairs and benches were set out in front of the church for the nightly revival meetings. A revival would run a week or so, convening each night. People came from miles around to hear the guest preacher admonish us all as lost sinners who must repent and seek forgiveness of their sins else risk eternal damnation in the fires of hell. It would have made Elmer Gantry proud.

Our farm, for me, became the focal point of what “home” means to me, and remains so to this day.

The 40 acres was a square plot of ground. There was no inhabitable house on the property.

Somewhere dad bought a two-room white house which he moved onto the northwest corner of the property. It was immediately adjacent to Highway 75 which runs north-south alongside the western boundary of our 40 acres. Going north on highway 75 took us to Horntown; going south took us across the Canadian River into Calvin, Oklahoma. From Horntown one goes west on highway 270 to reach Holdenville, the largest town nearby the farm. Holdenville was the place we went to do the weekly shopping.

He drilled a water well behind the two-room house so that we had water we could use. Up went a "privy” behind the house.

The school, called Moss, was two miles away. Phil and I rode the school bus to the school every day.

We lived in the two-room white house while dad and I renovated an old farm house on the southwest corner of the property. If there was one thing dad was good at it was work. He knew how to work and certainly taught me how.

We began on that old farm house which consisted of a living room, one bedroom, a kitchen, and an add-on room at the rear of the house which Phil and I slept in. A porch ran almost the length of the west side of the house, around the corner to the south side of the house.

There was a front door, which was rarely used, leading into the living room. Another door on the southside of the house which allowed entry into mom and dad’s bedroom. The third door allowed entry into the kitchen from another porch at the back side of the house. The final and fourth door led off the back porch into Phil and my bedroom at the rear of the house.

A water well was situated at the south side of the house. We had a pulley and rope which lowered a long aluminum cylinder down into the well. Fill the cylinder with water and pull it up and empty it into a bucket for the water.

The bathroom, using the term loosely, was an outside two-holer, complete with Sears, Roebuck catalogs for toilet paper. The “privy,” as it was called, was about 25-30 feet east of the rear of the house.

The old farm house must have been nearly 100 years old. It was known around the Horntown community as the old Hillary Bell place. That seemed to readily identify where it was in people’s minds.

That old house was near collapse. The roof leaked like a sieve. The walls were permeable so that the wind came whistling through. The floor sagged in all the rooms.

Dad and I began to cut down trees which were plentiful on the east half of the 40 acres. Wood axes and crosscut saws were the tools of the day. As we fell each tree we cut sections off the trunk and used them to brace up the foundation of the house. It took a number of trees and many sections to achieve sturdy stability of the floors.

Dad then bought rolls of tarpaper with which we covered the walls and roof of the house. That ended the wind and rain problem.

While all this was going on my half-brother, Leonard and his wife Joan (pronounced “joe-ann”) arrived. Leonard has just gotten out of the U. S. Navy following the end of World War II. He was looking for a job and left Joan with us while he went job searching.

We finally completed the old farm house and moved in. It was considerably larger than the two-room house.

Each morning as dad would be leaving for his oil field job he would give me my instructions for the day. I began plowing the tillable west side of the farm, at first with a team of horses dad had rented for the year. Later, to my delight, he bought an Allis-Chalmers tractor which I could use.

We grew corn, and what he called Kafir Corn with which he was familiar from his days on his own father’s farm in Kansas.

We stocked the place with chickens, cows, and hogs. Through a federal County Agent we got a pond drug which provided the cows with a water source while in the pasture, not to mention a swimming hole for Phil and I.

That same County Agent educated us about terracing the farm land to retard soil erosion.

I became a member of the Future Farmers of American and a member of the 4-H Club. Raised my own cow from a calf provided on condition I return the first born calf to the County Agent.

All that led to my first professional job—farm labor—which began as a back-wirer on a local hay baling crew.

Life was hard, but it was good. Saturdays we’d all go into Holdenville for the weeks grocery shopping. I had begun trapping possum and skunks and would sell their hides to a farm store in town picking 10 to 15 cents a hide. I had money in my pocket.


I spent my teen-age years on that farm. Became active in playing baseball and basketball at Moss High School. Ran around with the boys and became interested in girls. One day was pretty much like another.


The Korean War began June 25, 1950. On 21 July 1950 I enlisted in the United States Air Force.

My leaving left dad, mother and my brother, Phil, to run the farm. Dad had become unemployed from the oil fields. He re-embarked on the occupation of his own childhood, farm labor.

I set up a military allotment to dad as dependents. I contributed a monthly amount from my paycheck, the military added some to it and sent it to mom and dad. That helped alleviate their financial bind. I learned later that they took the portion of the allotment I contributed and put it in a savings account for me.

Dad had always visited and kept in touch with his older brother, Guy Wood, about once a year if possible. Kessler remembered that in the early 1950s they visited Uncle Guy at his home at Milo, Oklahoma and picked pecans from one of his orchards.


While I was in the Far East with the Air Force Dad sold the farm and headed to California. Mother was not happy about selling the farm. She was even more unhappy when dad, in California, made contact with her sister, Myra and her husband Harrison Horn, in Santa Paula, Ventura County, California. Mother, for some reason, never cared much for Myra.

Dad bought a lot on the outskirts of Santa Paula on the highway to Ojai, California. He then located an old house which he bought for the lumber with which to build his new home.


Dad incurred the wrath of mother for selling the farm, with which mother felt secure, and then poured salt into her wound by hiring Harrison to help him build a house in Santa Paula. Not only that but dad had rented a bedroom from Harrison and Myra and then sent for mother to join him in California.

Harrison was sort of a shade tree carpenter. In mother’s eyes it was essentially treason to hire Harrison and actually pay him money to work on the new house dad was to build. But she survived.

In January 1953 Dwight Eisenhower took office as President. On June 26, 1953 the Korean war ended.

When I returned from the Far East in September, 1953 my home in Oklahoma was no more. It was now in California.

I had a month leave from military duty upon return from Japan so I headed to Santa Paula from Seattle, Washington to see mother, dad and Phil. My intent was to see them then go back to Holdenville to see my friends there.

Mom, dad and Phil were still living with Harrison and Myra while they built the new house.

Dad had the foundation down, the wall structures were up, and he was putting the roof on the house.

When they moved from the Oklahoma farm they had left some belongings there. Phil and I took off for the Oklahoma farm to retrieve the belongings and see our old comrades while we were there.

Phil and I spent about a week in Oklahoma. To conserve money we slept on the floor in our old house. I rented a trailer and we loaded the stuff. But we didn’t have room for an old Victrola phonograph. It was truly an antique and filled with old records which were irreplaceable. There simply was no room left in the trailer for the Victrola. We left it setting on the porch of the old farm house and returned to Santa Paula, California.

I reported to Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas to finish my term of enlistment in the Air Force.

Dad finished the house and they moved in. He found a job with the state of California working at Camarillo State Hospital, Camarillo, Ventura, California. He was a Psychiatric Technician.

That relieved a lot of pressure on dad. He intensely disliked being unemployed with no income flowing in. The job at Camarillo State Hospital paid him around $200 a month. He now had his house free and clear. All he had to do was keep food on the table for mother and Phil. Phil was attending school at Santa Paula High School and became the prime pitcher for the Santa Paula Cardinals high school team.


I was discharged from the Air Force on June 26, 1954 at Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas.

I had been in the Air Force for four years. I had matured a lot and learned even more. As I drove away from Sheppard AFB I pulled off the highway and looked back at the base water tower, a landmark. I realized I was closing a chapter in my life and was about open another in California. Off I went.

Mom and dad were settled in their new home and seemed content. Dad was working at the hospital. Phil was finishing high school, building quite a name for himself as a baseball pitcher.

I had the distinct proud pleasure of watching Phil sign a baseball contract with the then Brooklyn Dodgers. Lefty Phillips, of the Dodgers, signed him up on our dining room table.

I enrolled in Ventura College and began getting an education thanks to the G.I. Bill. Initially I got myself a job as a Psychiatric Technician Trainee at Camarillo State Hospital along with dad. I had been living at home.

In due course I met my future wife who was a Texan living in Visalia, Tulare County, California. But that’s another story.


Lillie and I married in January 1956. I moved to Visalia and continued my schooling at the College of the Sequoias and later at the University of California at Fresno.