Wood, Samuel Newitt, one of the men who played an important part in the stirring events of early Kansas history and for many years assisted in making her laws, was born at Mount Gilead, Ohio, Dec. 30, 1825, the son of Quaker parents, from whom he imbibed his anti-slavery sentiments at an early age. He received the ordinary common school education of the locality where he was born and reared, and while still a mere youth became greatly interested in politics and the burning questions of the day. In 1844, although too young to vote, he was chairman of the liberal party central committee of his county. Four years later he supported Martin Van Buren, the Free-soil candidate for president. One of the lines of the underground railroad passed near his home in Ohio, Mr. Wood being one of the conductors on the route. In 1859, on his return from a trip with some negroes, he made the acquaintance of his future wife, Margaret W. Lyon. He taught school and at the same time read law and was admitted to the bar on June 4, 1854. Long before that time he had determined to cast his lot with Kansas to assist in her admission to the Union free from the taint of slavery, and two days after being admitted to practice, he was on his way to the territory. Early in July he located on a claim 4 miles west of Lawrence. Mr. Wood immediately entered into the political and social life of the locality and became an acknowledged local leader of the free-state party. He was one of the men who rescued Jacob Branson from Sheriff Jones, an act which brought on the Wakarusa war (q. v.); was a delegate to the Pittsburgh, Pa., convention which organized the Republican party in 1856; to the Philadelphia convention the same year, and to the Leavenworth constitutional convention in 1858. The following year he removed to Chase county; represented Chase, Morris and Madison counties in the territorial legislatures of 1860 and 1861; was a member of the first state senate in 1861 and again in 1867; was a member of the house in 1864, 1866, 1876 and 1877, and speaker during most of the last session. In 1864 he was appointed brigadier-general of the state militia, and in 1867 judge of the 9th judicial district. For two years he was in Texas; was one of the original stockholders of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad; was part owner of the Kansas Tribune of Lawrence in the '50s; established the first newspaper at Cottonwood Fallsthe Kansas Press; and at Council Grovethe Council Grove Press. He was later connected with the Kansas Greenbacker of Emporia, the Topeka State Journal, the Woodsdale Democrat and the Woodsdale Sentinel of Stevens county. He was always a reformer or a progressive in politics, and was a member of the Republican, Greenback, Labor and Populist parties. He was killed on June 23, 1891, by Jim Brennen, as the result of a county seat fight in Stevens county.Page 933 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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