Biography - James Wood

JAMES N. WOOD. One of the leading business industries of Anna, Illinois, is the plant of James N. Wood, who for twenty years has been identified with the commercial interests of this city as a manufacturer of boxes, barrels, baskets and fruit packages, and has developed his present enterprise from a small beginning into one of the leading factories of its kind in Southern Illinois. Mr. Wood belongs to the class of self-made men who have done so much toward building up this section of the state. He started in life as a poor boy, without either educational or financial advantages, and the success which has attended his endeavors has been the result of persistency, industry and a determination to win in the face of all obstacles. A native of Johnson county, Illinois, Mr. Wood was born in 1855, and is a son of Henry and Nancy (Reed) Wood, natives of Tennessee.

The education of Mr. Wood was limited to several months attendance in the public schools, and he was obliged to go to work after the death of his father, who was first a farmer in Johnson county and later a teamster in Anna, whence he came in 1869. As a youth Mr. Wood contributed to the support of his widowed mother and his younger brother, his first employer being R. B. Stinson, who conducted a stave and heading factory. During the six years that he remained with Mr. Stinson he became familiar with all the details of the business, and after leaving his employ worked at the cooper trade until 1891, at which time he established himself in business as a manufacturer of barrels, boxes, baskets and fruit packages, and the business has grown steadily year by year. He now ships his goods to various points, and his sales aggregate on an average of $10,000 per annum. Mr. Wood is possessed of excellent business tact and ability as well as indefatigable energy, and has an extensive acquaintance and solid reputation, not only throughout the section in which he does business, but also in the counties adjoining. He has found time from his business activities to serve his adopted city in public positions, was mayor of Anna in 1906 and 1907, and served as alderman from the First Ward for two terms, displaying unquestionable administrative abilities. His career has been a credit to himself in every respect, and creditable to the city in which he has so long lived and is so well known. His fraternal connection is with the Modern Woodmen of America.

In 1878 Mr. Wood was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Faulkner, of Illinois, and they had three children: Charles, who died at the age of four years; Clara, born in St. Louis, who is now the wife of Cilus Bishop; and Susie, who died in infancy. Mr. Wood's second marriage was to Miss Alice Maxfield, of Union county, and to this union there have been born children as follows: Stella and Birdie, who died in infancy; Harry, who is engaged in the cooper business in Anna; Fred, who is assisting his father in business; Sybil, John and Glenn, residing at home; Ralph, who died in infancy; Helen; Robert, who is deceased; and Orlean. Mrs. Wood and the children are members of the Baptist church, and Mr. Wood, while not a member of any special denomination, has been a liberal supporter of religious and charitable movements.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 608-609.

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