THE ENOS FLAKE WOOD FAMILY
Some call him "Ene;" others say "Enes Lena," other know him as "Uncle Ene;" his parents named him Enos Flake Wood, and for eighty-one years his home has been Mexico. This is about him.
In Snowflake, Arizona arrangements were all:made for Peter C. Wood and Bishop John Hunt to move their families to Beaver, Utah. During the night, Peter C. was forcibly impressed that he was making a mistake. He went secretly and called upon the Lord, promising that he would do whatever the Lord desired. The answer came immediately to Peter C. to "go straight to Mexico." Peter was amazed because he had never thought about Mexico or even knew anything about it. Early the next morning, he told the Bishop of the revelation and that the Peter C. Wood family must go to Mexico as the Lord had directed Peter C. arrived in Mexico in March, 1889. Since that time to this, September, 1970 (four generations of time) fifteen descendants of Peter C. Wood and Lucy Jane Flake have been called to serve as full time missionaries to the Lamanite people. The Lord's purposes will be fulfilled.
In the Mormon colony of Juarez, Enos Flake Wood was born in a little adobe house on May 5, 1889. He was the first of eleven children born to Lucy Jane Flake and Peter Cotton Wood. Enos F. was reared during a wild era when boys became men fast with pistols on their hips and a good fast mount under them. He didn't start school Until he was big enough to fight his way. At the age of seventeen he quit school to work in the Madera Mountains in lumber camps and sawmills. It was here that he really received his education. Ene learned to speak the Mexican language fluently and was educated to the customs of the people. After three years, he left the camps and traveled to Snowflake where Ene worked with his grandfather, Wm. Jordan Flake, breaking wild horses. He also became a pretty good bricklayer, laying brick for several LDS chapels being built in northern Arizona. Ene became homesick and returned to Mexico where he attended the new Juarez Academy High School. It was this same year, 1910, that the Mexican Revolution erupted; ten years of excitement, danger and tears; a true measure of a man.
Enos courted and wooed Martha Ann Sevey, the daughter of Colonia Juarez's first bishop, Bishop George W. Wevey and Martha Ann Thomas. Finally on February 12, 1912, they were married. Because of the Wood love for music, they formed a band and played at all the socials. Enos F. Played in the band at his own wedding.
During the ten years of the Mexican Revolution, the Mormon colonies were looted many times by starving Mexican Armies. The armies took livestock, horses and any other provisions they needed, but the Saints were left unharmed. However, there are always a few mean, dangerous vultures, who form into renegade bands to profit from the cause. Such bands frightened and threatened the safety of the Saints, until they stocked their homes with hidden arms and ammunition for their own protection. The Church headquarters in Salt Lake became alarmed at the situation and advised the Saints to evacuate the colonies. These inspired leaders knew that fighting back would bring ultimate destruction the Mormon colonies and greatly delay the Lord's work with the Lamanites.
Enos was among the few who could not leave their beloved Mexico and was given permission to start a hauling business, taking fruits, vegetables and grains to Columbus, New Mexico by wagon teams. He returned with badly needed supplies for the U. S. Armies, the Mexican revolutionaries and the remaining colonists. He was a friend to all the Mexican people regardless of their political views. Many of the soldiers were chums who had gone to school with Ene and Mattie at the Mormon school in Colonia Juarez.
On one occasion when Ene and Mattie were riding in a buckboard
behind four wagons hauling beans and corn to Columbus, armed men of the
"Red Flaggers" ordered them to stop, and they were taken as prisoners.
Enos remembers it this way:
"They took us to their camp where Generals Sylvester Quevedo, RodrigoM. Quevedo, and Jose Orosco were in command. The first two men were close friends whom both Mattie and I had gone to school with."
"We are going to execute your husband!' General Sylvester Quevedo said to Mattie. Horrified, she said, 'Execute him, he has done nothing.' They took me on the side of the hill and took Mattie to a shack. After a conference between the generals, they decided not to harm us. I left them two sacks of beans and five sacks of corn. I would have gladly left them more, but they would not accept it. It was a small price to pay for my life and Mattie's safety."During these troublesome times, Enos was called to leave his wife and two young daughters to serve the Lord on a full time mission among the Lamanite people. Enos accepted the call and left with only the clothes he wore, plus fifty cents gold in his pocket. His special love for the Mexican people was his means and support. As his love for them and his love for the gospel radiated, they listened to his message and took care of his worldly needs. Elder Wood returned home two years later with the fifty cents still in his pocket. He and his missionary companions had many spiritual blessings and experiences.
Their enthusiasm and missionary zeal led to opportunities of preaching to large congregations at a time.
Keeping the home fires burning while her husband was away, Mattie had some tense moments.
The early morning was windy and cold when Mattie, staying with her mother, Magtha Ann, heard a commotion, a lot of banging and yelling. A band of revolutionaries had reined up in a neighbor's yard and were banging,on the locked doors. The lone women knew how frightened the dear sister next door must be. Mattie knew their home would be next. Inspired, Mattie and Mother Martha hurriedly prepared breakfast. When the soldiers approached the Sevey home, Mattie's whole body was trembling with fear, but with a prayer on.her lips, she bravely threw open the door. She faced the grizzly bearded, dark eyed, scowling men. Mattie braced herself and received them with a friendly greeting, "Much frio! Pase, pase." She invited them to eat breakfast and warm themselves by the fire. Mexican people are by nature friendly and hospitable, they respected Mattie and her mother. They behaved gentlemanly and left well fed, warmed, and befriended. Nothing in the house or around was disturbed.
One of the most thrilling experiences that Ene recalls is when he met General Pancho Villa. He loves to tell it over and over: "When Mattie and I took a wagon load of peaches into Ascension, I knew that Pancho Villa was camped there and I asked the colonel to get me a personal interview with the great general. He assured me that General Villa had already given me permission to sell my fruit and rode off with peaches for Villa's dinner. The next day, after I had sold my last box of fruit, the Colonel returned. 'Come on, I am taking you to meet the General.' We walked through one room to another when we came face to face with a man with a big Stetson hat, wearing a silk shirt with a knotted bandana around the neck and a pair of Levis. The colonel said, 'Senor Lena, meet General Pancho Villa.' We shook hands and he escorted me to a table in the center of the room where we sat down to talk. In less than a half hour I felt that I had known him all my life. What a grand friendship we formed in that hour or two we visited together. He asked me all manner of questions and I answered them explaining my beliefs. He said, 'Senor Lena, don't you ever leave Mexico. Mexico is as much your home as it is mine. And if the time ever comes that my army takes you prisoner or threatens you just tell them you have a special message for 'El General Francisco Villa' and I cannot give it to anyone except the General himself. I promise you that you will be turned over to me unharmed, reluctantly bade him goodbye and never had the privilege of meeting him again." In his favorite chair on the porch, snoozing in the warm sun, Dad.
Grandpa. . . Uncle Ene is comfortable and content in the pleasant surroundings of his century old, two story brick home, shaded by a gigantic cottonwood tree. But, never happier than when he has an audience of grandchildren or great grandchildren listening to this favorite story of the revolution in Mexico.
"One morning about 1:30 a.m. General Miqquel Hernandez came to my house with one hundred fifty men and wanted me to guide him to the camp of General Manuel Gutierrez and the "Red Flaggers" or Liberals. I told the general that I minded my own business and wanted to be left out of politics. I wanted there to be a good feeling with all my friends on both sides when this war was all over. And if I informed, I would have to leave my home and family and go into hiding. I would never be able to look my friends in the face again. He agreed that I was right and left. The moon was full, the biggest moon I have ever seen in all my life. It was so bright that all the town knew that the Villistas had stopped at my house. Consequently, when they attacked the "Liberal's" camp the next morning I became a victim of circumstances."
"Three of four days later the "Red Flaggers" or Liberals came to town, General Quitierras sent a soldier over to my place asking me to lend him guns if I had any. My brother Lee and I gave them two guns. Later the General sent for me to come over to the saddle shop. Unaware of trouble, I went right over. To my surprise, I was taken prisoner and received a pretty warm reception. I was taken out of town on a good walk--me on foot and all of them on horseback. In the procession was a good friend of mine, a general from Sonora, who was leading a high-powered horse. He stopped beside me and told me to get on the horse. I think he wanted me to escape, but I'd seen too many men that had been shot trying to get away. I mounted and rode up the lane with them, praying that my life would be spared so that I would live long enough to do some good to my fellow men. When we arrived at the designated spot, the ground was already marked where I, was to stand. Five of my old school chums had taken their places for the execution and they seemed pretty darn anxious. One Mexican fellow was an old neighbor of ours and my father had practically kept his family in food when things were rough for them. I tried to talk to them and tell them that circumstantial evidence was strong against me but that I was not guilty. But nothing doing, they had made up their minds and didn't want to listen to the truth. The general was tying a blindfold over my eyes, when one of them spotted a gringo approaching. Brother Ernest Hatch was just rounding the bend riding a burro. (My prayer was being answered.) The general asked him, 'What do you know about this?' Brother Hatch replied, 'Nothing!' 'Well, get down the road or we'll do you the same way.' Adding a few bad names. I don't think the general wanted any other Mormon gringos as witnesses."
"Well, I never knew so much Spanish before or since, but I took advantage and spoke it all and then some. finally the General said, "We are going to turn you loose.' Then he ordered the Captain to give me twenty-five stripes with his sword. The Captain questioned, 'How many?' He ordered to work on me until he was worn out. I was silent until after the captain had given me three stripes, then I hollered, 'STOP!' He said, 'I'll give you more to show you how it's done.' After the next stripe, the eighty men who had all been local men, ordered him to -STOP!' He released me with a warning to get out of the country. I took out fast on foot."
"Brother Hatch was still in sight so I motioned with my hand for him to hold up. After a few minutes, he decided he didn't want to wait. I yelled, 'Take me out. I've never seen a burro that could out run me from here to town."
"When I got to town I felt that they would come after me, so I planned an escape route just in case. Then I placed my cot in front of our bay window. Suddenly, I was wakened by the jingling of spurs, just in time to see six "Red Flaggers" dismount at our front gate. Instead of taking my planned escape under the staircase, I went up the stairs to the unfinished part of the second story where there was a false partition. There was about two feet of space, just enough for an average-man to crawl into. I crawled in and around the corner where my brother, Lee had hidden all of our guns and lots of ammunition. I strapped on two belts of ammunition and sat with a 30-40 U. S. rifle ready to defend my life at the first sight of a head around that corner. From where I was crouched I could see through the cracks and could see what was going on below. One soldier was stationed at the gate, and another at the front door and the other four were searching the house and taking everything in sight. My mother-in-law, who was born deaf, was arguing with them the best way she could because she didn't want them to take two beautiful blankets that General Hernandez of the Vilistas had given my wife. Then they started up the stairs and one soldier was on his hands and knees ready to crawl into my hiding place. I was ready with my rifle raised, praying with all my might that I wouldn't have to use it. Immediately my prayer was answered, for the hungry soldiers spied a bin of apples and all of them darted for the apples, forgetting about me. After a time they all left, taking as much with them as they possibly could; including about $100,000.00 pesos in Vilista money."When Ene returned from his mission and the tensions of the war settled down, Ene took his family to the dedication of the new temple in Mesa and to have-them sealed to him for all time and eternity. The trip in their old Model T was a scarry and hilarious experience that only Mattie can tell with justice, (if she doesn't get hysterical before it got told). Ene could master any wild critter with ease, but the Model T just couldn't seem to understand. . . "Whoa, #!#** you, WHOA!" Ene and Mat felt honored to be the first lead couple of the very first session that went through the new temple.
Times were hard and money scarce during the years that they were raising and schooling their own five children, but that didn't keep Uncle Ene and Aunt Mat from boarding, without pay, at least fifteen if not more other young people who were attending the Academy. Four of these were Lamanite youth.
Ene and Mat have had a devotion and love for each other and a. love for their fellow men that radiates, which has always been an example to their children.
Maudie, the oldest, lovingly called, "the Gefe," has been a "nightingale" to her family, neighbors, and friends. She always dedicates herself to anything the Lord calls her to do. She has been Relief Society President in her ward for the past seven years, and is never satisfied until she goes the second mile.
Hannah, Marene, and Betty all filled full time missions in Mexico among the Lamanite people. Hannah and Marene spent ten years in Peru with husbands and families. Both families worked diligently with the Indian people and were instrumental in the progress of the missionary program with the Lamanites in Peru.
Three sons were born to Mat and Ene, but only one was permitted to remain on this earth for a short season. Sevey had a special talent for playing the guitar and his voice was like a choir of angels, singing was the joy of his life.
Enos F. has served the Lord as a stake missionary off and on for fifty years. He has been MIA Superintendent, Sunday School teacher, home teacher, a counselor to the Bishop of the Juarez Lamanite ward, and even at the young age of eighty years old, was serving as Sunday School Superintendent of the Juarez Lamanite Ward.
Our Dad and Grandfather has many fine qualities, but the most meaningful is his love for the missionary work with the Lamanite people and the love and hospitality he extends to his family, friends and strangers. Grandpa's vision of heaven is being surrounded by his daughters, twenty-five grandchildren, and thirty great grandchildren.
To Mat and Ene:
We love you, Mother and Dad. Grandma and Grandpa, and pay tribute to you. You have been our source of strength and have set a pattern of unselfish love for us to follow. You have given us all a good solid foundation to build our lives on. We are proud and thankful that the Lord chose you to be our parents.
Submitted by Peggy Nelson (Granddaughter)
Retyped from typed copy by
Norma Jean M. Wood
12 March 1990