John Wood, born in Moravia, Cayuga County, New York, on December 20, 1798, was the founder and multi-term mayor of Quincy, a state senator, lieutenant governor and governor of Illinois. Wood was not an abolitionist, but he was against slavery.
Wood’s connection to Lincoln began long before the 1860 presidential campaign. Both men had been Illinois Whigs and then members of the new Republican Party, and they shared much in the turbulent years before and during the Civil War. Holding similar beliefs, they became close allies. Lincoln was among the delegates that nominated Wood for lieutenant governor at the Republican Convention in 1858. Each would campaign for the other’s cause during their political careers.
In 1857 Lincoln and Wood helped finance publication of the Missouri Democrat, a Republican newspaper in St. Louis, thus promoting its circulation in downstate Illinois. Wood was one of the Republican leaders attending a meeting in December 1858 with Horace Greely during which fellow Quincyan Henry Asbury suggested Lincoln as a possible presidentia l candidate. Based on his amity with Lincoln, Wood was appointed in May 1861 as Illinois Delegate to the Peace Convention in Washington, D.C. During the Civil War, Lincoln strengthened Wood’s position as Quartermaster General of Illinois by arranging for arms as requested and by the appointment of a mustering officer in Springfield, Illinois. In 1863 at the age of sixty-four, Wood became Colonel of the 137th Illinois and led the unit until September 1864.
Upon Lincoln’s death, Wood led the Adams County fund drive for the Lincoln Memorial in Springfield.
John Wood died on June 11, 1880, and is buried in Quincy’s Woodland Cemetery. – Ann Busse
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Stephen A. Douglas
Debate Site Redevelopment
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