Husband: Russell Guy Wood (R556a)
Father: Lewis E. Wood [R005]
Mother: Emma (Burger) Wood [R005]
Born: 10/28/1889, at “Wood home near Nimrod Hall”
Died: 4/16/1960. Buried in Horeb Baptist Church cemetery, Bath

Wife: Madge (Shue) Wood (R556b,c)
Father: Joseph Shue
Mother: Emma (McClure) Shue
Born: 12/6/1906 in the Droop Mountain area, Pocahontas County

Married: 1925

Robert Lowndes (Bob) Wood (Fig. R556d), 6/23/1926-1/2/1979.
    World War II veteran’s stone in the Horeb Church cemetery; RM3,
    U. S. Navy
Helen Gay Wood, b. 1/25/1928, m. Everett Lee Cauley, Jr.
Gerald Wilson (Son) Wood, b. 8/19/1929 [R602]
Russell Lewis Wood (Fig. R556d), 10/14/1932-3/21/1991. Korean
    War veteran’s stone in the Horeb Church cemetery; SN, U. S. Navy
William Thomas (Tommy) Wood, b. 9/26/1936, m. Barbara Cutlip

(1996) Quoted passages in the following are from a taped interview with Son Wood [R602], 8/93.

By 1916 Russell Wood (26) was living in Parkersburg W.Va., where his brothers Mill, Doc, and Cecil also dwelt. In 1917 he was a partner there with brother Doc [R553] in the Cottage Pool Room (Fig. R553c). However, by early 1919 he was living at Nimrod again. Much of Russ’s early life oscillated between living at Nimrod, where he was able to provide some support to the efforts of his parents in running the huge ungainly operation, and elsewhere. His father at times despaired that Russ would find a stable livelihood. In 1920, together with various of his brothers, he began taking the train to Detroit and driving new automobiles back to Bath County for sale. In that year he opened a Dodge agency and garage in Hot Springs, together with his brother Burger [R555] (Fig. R556e). However, the business closed in late 1921.

Reputedly Russ lived a rather wild life in the early 1920s; in [S089] his more righteous sisters tsk-tsk about him. Legend has it that he made a profitable trip to Richmond every year, where he taught some of the state Legislators how little they knew about poker. Marriage and fatherhood finally brought him to Earth.

“My mother [Madge] told me that when she was seven years old, [her family] moved from Droop Mountain West Virginia to Iron Gate, Virginia. And I assume her dad was looking for work, when they moved over here. And she attended school there for the seven years that most every child then got, and that was it; and she then became a Singer Sewing Machine salesman, demonstrator, and seamstress. And that’s where she met my Dad.” (By Madge’s account, “I was working in Clifton Forge at Lowry’s Grocery, and Russ came in and bought some cigars and cantaloupes for Nimrod, as they had guests there in the summer. I was 18 at the time, and was going with two other guys and told him I was not going out with him” [S153]. But one thing led to another, and they were married in 1925.)

In May of 1926 Russ and Madge moved to Parkersburg W.Va. and started housekeeping. Russ expected to find garage work, and presumably did. Their son Bob was born there. A year later they left Parkersburg and moved back to Clifton Forge Va. There they took over the house of Mary Siddons [R552], who had left for New York state with her family.

In the late 1920s Russ worked for the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. “I think Mill Wood had quite a bit of influence on getting him on the railroad. And Dad rose to the job of fireman: that was―you had to be a fireman, then you became an engineer. Dad was, from what I’ve been told, was in a severe train wreck, and they found him three or four hours after the wreck was discovered―he was in a pile of cinders along the railroad track, with his left leg broken in about four or five places. And back then, the Brotherhood of Locomotive and their union wasn’t too good. They fixed his leg―they kept him in the hospital till he got that straightened out―and then they released him...as I understood what he told me, he said that had the depression not come he probably would have gone back and gone on up in his trade. But between the depression and the wreck, the wreck happened before the depression hit, those two had a lot of effect on Dad being laid off.”

Thereafter Russ had trouble supporting his family in the depression. His father gave them a small house to live in, on the entry road from Rte. 42 to Nimrod. “I think at one time, it was the servant’s quarters; I’m not even sure about that, where I grew up. I know it was a log house, and it was hand-hewn logs...I’d say it’s 150 [years old]―or more. The walls in the living room are over a foot thick. And they furred it out and put that siding on. I recall that Granddad, in the ‘30s...brought running water down from the garden at Nimrod. But until 19 and 91, my mother refused a bathroom: modern plumbing. [Madge had and has a reputation for feistiness.] And then when my brother died in ‘91, she got his insurance. I went over there and put in a septic system, I put her in a modern bathroom. And―my Lord, that was, well, from ‘31 when they moved there to ‘91, that’s 60 years with no inside―I mean she had running water in her spigots in the kitchen, but she had an outside toilet. And all the time we were growing up, there were four boys and one girl, on a Saturday night at bathing time, they had a hot-water tank on the side of the coal stove, to heat water―no other way to heat it―and my sister got to bathe first; and you took your bath in order of your age. The younger you were―if you wanted to change bath water―I’m talking about foot tubs―the chances are you wouldn’t have hot water.

“In the 30s Granddad got Dad a Foreman’s job at Mountain Grove, building―it wasn’t a high school, it must have been a middle school, or elementary...Dad worked there, and―oh, he had some kind of an old rattletrap of a car, but we would come in on a Friday evening, he’d have five dollars, I remember that. And that was a pi-ile of money back then. We’d go to the Mick-or-Mack. Burger owned it. And I can remember many a night, with that five dollars, and money left over; we’d fill that car with groceries. Now whether Burger was giving Dad a discount because, you know, Burger had no kids, I don’t know; but it seemed like we bought an awful lot of groceries for five dollars. We never went hungry, I do remember that. Now this had to be before we even opened the store over here, and that was in 1935, so what I’m talking about must have been around ‘33 or ‘34.

“And what we ate...Do you know what salt herring are? Fish? Came in kegs? Dad always kept a keg of them down there. Some local wholesaler distributed a keg of ‘em every fall. And they were just split open, flat, and full of salt. The only way to eat ‘em was to soak ‘em, and I don’t know, maybe twice a month, my Dad would tell my Mom to get some of those fish out on a Friday night, that we were going to have salt herring Saturday morning, for breakfast. And Bunk Porter would say don’t soak ‘em too much, make them kids drink a lot of water and think that they’ve got their bellys full. If you get the idea. This was about half truth; but we always had pork. Dad had two or three hogs over here, and we had a cow and calf, and we had fresh milk. We had chickens, so a lot of folks in town didn’t live near good as we did. And we always had beans and potatoes. And that was your basic diet, in the wintertime... salad, we called it “roughage,” but nobody ever fooled with it much. Must not have been too healthy―Granddad wasn’t but 93 when he died, was he?”

Lewis Wood got Russ a position with the WPA, surveying historical buildings in the County. All the descriptions of old Bath County buildings on this site rely on the reports and photographs of Russ Wood. (Many of the buildings are gone now.) He teamed up with his sister Elsie [R561] to write the reports. “I can remember Dad sitting in front of an old roller-type desk, like the one that was up at the [Nimrod] Post Office... he would sit there and write, all night, and then Aunt Else, had a little more education than Dad did, she would edit and get it more useable. But they would go into Williamsville and Burnsville and all the back parts of the County, and I’ve heard him talk about cannonballs that went through chimneys and things during the Civil War―some of the old houses; he knew all that.”

In 1935 Lewis Wood underwrote the construction of a gasoline station and general store on Rte. 42, outside the turnoff to Nimrod, which was to be Russ’s livelihood for the rest of his life. “Buck Anderson, George Luckett, and my Dad built the thing in 90 days... They used a horse that they borrowed from Nimrod, and a log chain, and they went up here in the woods and cut the logs, and drug ‘em down there, and used a one-man crosscut saw to cut the notches, and then they used an axe to chop ‘em out. And they put the thing together in 90 days, and when they got the building up, Granddad came over and paid George and Buck Anderson 25 dollars apiece for three months work, and told ‘em he didn’t think they did a very good job. That, I remember about the building. And then Granddad stocked the building, and I don’t know what day, but it was in ‘35, that Dad opened up for business. [Sold] Esso gas. And Atlas tires. And we had a grease rack. And in the wintertime, there was a slim chance I could make some money, if anybody had any money, and they came by and wanted chains put on. I could get out there and wallow around in the snow, but we didn’t have any way to lift them up; you laid the chains, and then backed the car up on ‘em, and then crawl up under with all the mud and the drip and hook ‘em up. But―people didn’t come from farther than Clifton Forge back then... there just wasn’t any travelling.

“...the store business, it never was anything big, but it became a local meeting place, at night. Dad had a radio. Joe Louis was boxing, and they’d get in there and get their heads up in that radio on boxing night, and the kids weren’t allowed to listen; we had to pump gas and keep things going. The old folks―Joe Luckett, Oz Luckett, and Bunk Porter―he’d come in once in a while―but when any of ‘em got lonesome, they all met right there. And they’d discuss everything that country people discuss...”

Sources: [S003, S089, S133, S142, S162]