Husband: John Armstead Wood (Figs. R560a-c,e,f)
Father: Lewis E. Wood [R005]
Mother: Emma (Burger) Wood [R005]
Born: 11/22/1897, at “Wood home near Nimrod Hall”
Died: 2/19/1976. Buried at Horeb Baptist Church, Bath County

Wife: Lillian Cary (Hall) Wood (Fig. R560d-f)
Father: William McCoy Hall [R572]
Mother: Edith Myrtle (Cary) Hall [R572]
Born: 3/7/1910
Died: 10/29/1996. Buried at Horeb Baptist Church, Bath County

Married: 12/12/1929, by Rev. S. R. Neel

John A. Wood Jr. [R606], b. 7/28/1932, author of this document.
Linda Cary Wood (Fig. R560e), b. 7/18/1936 in Orlando Fla., m. 1961
    to Gerard F. Murphy; div. Ch. Elizabeth Cecile (b. 3/17/1962 in
    Boston Ma., m. 6/28/1986 in Philadelphia Pa. to John S. MacDermott
    [b. 9/16 /1961 in New Rochelle, N.Y.]), John Alec (b. 8/5/1964 in
    Summitt, N.J.). Linda died in 2001.

(2014) John (my father) was not able to tell me the origin of the middle name we share. Like most of his brothers and sisters, John was born in the Wood home at what had been the McDannald Place. To supplement the somewhat sketchy education he received in Bath County, his father sent him to the Greenbriar Military Academy in Lewisburg W.Va. for (I believe) a year, a preparatory school that had been founded in Lewisburg W.Va. by John’s second cousins Houston and John Moore (see [R350]). In 1917 he entered VPI as a “rat” in the Corps of Cadets, in an engineering curriculum.

The U.S. had entered WWI in April of that year, and several of the Nimrod sons talked about enlisting, even Kemp. Their mother was outraged. In a letter to Kemp, Emma said [S089] “Burger has taken a great notion to volunteer he says he will be drafted later, but I hope not & I donot believe in pushing your self in to dainger I know Eva is not willing for you to go in the wore Now please aband this ida I think you can do lots of good here & some must stay...Change your mind & stick to your little family untill you are compelled to go to wore. It is a sad thought to think that we have raised up our boys & now they want to take them off to wore...” In the end only John served in WWI, and he came nowhere close to the war. After his first year at VPI John left to attend a U. S. Army Instructors’ Training School at Plattsburg Barracks, N.Y. This was a program instituted by the Army, which apparently anticipated a long war, to provide 60 days of training for college ROTC instructors. Presidents of ROTC institutions (such as VPI) could nominate one student from each 50 students at their institutions, and one faculty member for each 250 students, for the program. John reported for training on 7/18/18 (Fig. R560b). He completed the program and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Infantry, on 9/16/18 (Fig. R560c). He was assigned to service as an ROTC instructor at the Rhode Island State College (now Univ. of Rhode Island), Kingston R.I.

The war ended on 11/11/1918, and the Army rather hastily dismantled the training structure it was in the process of setting up: John was honorably discharged from the Army as of 12/20/1918. He reentered VPI as a civilian student, but dropped out by the end of the 1920 spring semester (see [S148]). Thereafter he knocked about in various pursuits until 1925. He ferried cars from Detroit to Bath County with brother Russ [R556], found it necessary to revisit Rhode Island (one wonders why), and in 1921 worked with brother Doc [R553] in Parkersburg W.Va. He taught the spring term of 1922 in the Bath County public school system. This was in a one-room schoolhouse of uncertain location (perhaps on land in the Sitlington area that his father had donated to the county for the purpose); he taught all the grades in the schoolhouse, 1 through 7. Mrs. Katherine (White) Peters, who was one of his pupils, recalls that he was driving a large touring car at that time, and on the last day of school he loaded all the kids into it and took them (apparently in one trip) to Nimrod, for “a full day of activities and a grand time”

That spring John considered reentering VPI in an electrical engineering curriculum (he and brother Russ had been much interested by the light plant that was installed at Nimrod in 1920), but decided not to when he learned two more years of college would be required. In the fall of 1922 he began work as a machinist for the Norfolk and Western Railroad, apparently in a strikebreaking capacity. Then in 1925 George Jennings (a Richmond insurance executive of some distinction, and a regular guest at Nimrod) got him a job in the Engineering Department of the South-Eastern Underwriters Association. This was an organization that fire insurance companies relied upon to inspect and impartially assess the fire risks of properties they insured. On 1/2/1926 he reported to the Association’s headquarters in Atlanta Ga. for training. Two years later he was assigned to duty in Virginia, serving successively in Lynchburg, Richmond, and then Roanoke.

Lillian was born in Charleston W.Va., but moved with her parents to Roanoke Va. about six months later. She graduated from the Thomas Jefferson High School there (1928) and registered in an art program at Roanoke College, but economic circumstances forced her to give up this plan and seek employment. She had worked as a secretary the previous summer for the Clerk of the Court, Roanoke County, and on his recommendation she now applied for a job that turned out to be as John’s secretary. They began dating, a relationship that her parents disapproved of strongly, and affairs quickly reached a point where her only options were to stop seeing him, or elope. She chose the latter, fibbing about her age (then 19) to get a marriage license.

Lillian’s father’s employment history in the depression was very spotty, and John helped support his parents-in-law in those hard times. He assumed the mortgage on their home to avert foreclosure, and the two families lived together for several years.

In 1935 the SEUA, which had many field offices in the southern U.S., transferred John to Orlando Fla., which carried the family to that exotic state. From ~1937 to ~1938 they lived in Augusta Ga., and from ~1938 to 1947 (i.e., through WWII) in Norfolk Va. In 1947 the family moved to Jacksonville Fla., where they lived at 1390 Talbot Avenue. Figure R560e shows them in that era. John was appointed District Engineer for the State of Florida in 1958, and retired from the SEUA in 1965.

In 1971 John and Lillian sold their Jacksonville home and moved to an apartment in Richmond, to be closer to their families (“but not too close”). John died at home on 2/19/1976. Lillian remained at the Richmond apartment until 1993, then moved to a retirement community in northern Virginia for the rest of her life.

Sources: [S003, S007, S028, S089]