MEMORIES OF A MAN KNOWN TO HIS TWO FAMILIES AS
15 March 1964
Grandfather's Old Estate
Woods Cross, Utah
Remembrances never to be erased through the corridors of time had their beginning on mountain sloping to the west situated in the south end of the valley known as Woods Cross.
This patriarch presided over his two families after the pattern of his father, who presided over seven families after the pattern of ancient patriarchs. President Joseph Fielding Smith verified this at Daniel Wood's funeral, saying he continued true to God to the last.
Father was a man of many trades. He was like his father who at the age of ninety-one could jump to the ground from the font wheel of a wagon like a young man. Doctor Middleton said that father's vitality was that of a young man of forty years at the time cancer took his life at the age of sixty-nine.
Father's father, Daniel Wood left a land mark known from coast to coast by prominent business establishments. The only address needed to reach them was Woods Cross also known and Woods X. My address, now still part of the old estate is still Woods Cross, although mail came through Sessions Settlement now known as Bountiful.
The desire of younger generations have forgotten the rights and sacred land marks of those who should have first consideration. Father had met the challenge to fill the first great command and build his own two apartment home. It was built of rock. Barns, a grape packing warehouse, grainery for wheat and vegetables storage were also built of rock in order to endure for one hundred years. Wilford had since added onto the warehouse and barns. He had a fully equipped blacksmith shop... could temper steel. He hammered into shape an iron steel rod two and one-half inches thick and five feet long, making a lever and lock type oak brush root puller which was considered a master piece of workmanship. He set wagon tires, made his own iron tools, rebuilt wagons, replaced spokes, reset hubs with cow manure baking it in a round thimbles. He did his own horse shoeing. Made from inch clay pipes from his own clay hole, piping water nearly a mile from the mountains to a reservoir which held a thirty gallon a minute stream, taking three days to fill the reservoir. He made the reservoir with an outlet of wooden pipe with a three foot lever of wood to shut off water by raising and lowering it with a hammer which he had made.
Cutting and shaping his own timber he tunneled hundreds of feet into the mountains, making four tunnels. Rotted timbers were replaced over many years time. To subdue the earth he reinforced with iron, and eighteen inch handplow, doubling it's weight. He formed homemade double trees for four horses, another set for two lead horses and guided the horses with straps that ran around his own back with a lariat long enough to reach all six horses.
He plowed from sunrise to sunset cutting our partly rotted oak roots after having previously cut off oak and brush from the brush patch. Time and a half? No! Nor did he ever go on strike. God bless his memory. Many times I've seen him eat nothing but bread, butter and garlic. Garlic growing wild in the field. All food came from the farm with not one penny spent except to grind his own wheat. Father said passions should be kept in the bounds set by the Lord, not taking stimulants such as coffee, tea, tobacco and God forbidden drinks which stimulated excessive use of passions. Bringing seventeen sons and daughters into the world and putting them on their way to immortality and eternal life never designates any man.
Father was completely sold on God's recipes of milk and honey and a wheat and vegetable with meat used only as the Lord directed. He raise cane and had his own molasses mill. On this farm were nearly fifty acres of twenty or more varieties of grapes. Nearly four acres of orchard including all types of early and late varieties. Also two acres of gooseberries. Cantaloupes and melons by the wagon load were taken to town everyday.
Never was Father known to gather and sell either at home on the market on that day made sacred by the Lord. No, he did not gather on Sunday night for early Monday morning.
He built a barn in the side of the mountain so large and long that two roadways wide enough for two complete loads of hay, team wagon and all could, with nets, dump the hay off. It would then fall nearly forty feet below landing on the lumber floor beneath, which about thirty head of cattle could get in from the cold.
On the farm, every morning before food was taken a devotional was held as two families assembled. Memory gems and standard works of the Church was memorized including lives of the prophets and Lucy Smith's life of her son, The Prophet. Environments is so vital that it can curse forever our chance to enter God's kingdom. The curse of television cutting away righteous conversation and influence which should dominate the home as God intended. Television today is decimated by Lucifer.
There were times when grasshoppers like clouds shaded the ground, landing on fields of grapes which was our only income of sufficient size to pay our way. Three o'clock in the cold mornings we would use boards that were made to clamp together, smashing the hoppers while they were resting on the top of the vines, too cold to move. Father and his two families of boys and girls killed them by the gunny sacks full, then taking a poplar tree branch one in each hand we walked in a straight line through rows of grapes, driving them out into backfire and main fires that were built in the open field. When the wind was in their favor. At one time the wind changed the hoppers rose high in the air and came back like sheep following each other lightening on the grape vines again. Father requested that we all kneel facing the Temple. Each took his turn in prayer. The hoppers, thick as grass lay dead all over the field. Later on hoppers were found to have died with a worm inside, never before known to have happened. Following this incident Father called a cottage meeting. Patriarchs Tolman and Pace spoke in tongues, saying that from that time on Father's place would be free from grasshoppers because he had paid an honest tithing.
George C. Wood Sr. and Christopher Layton were known as the leading dry farmers in Davis County.
Later in 1910 while I was in the mission field a letter arrived from Father stating Governor Bamberger had offered $50,000 and the Rosedale farm which, is now owned by Smoot Dairy, for our farm. Father said that he wanted to do as I thought best. My answer was that the Lord wanted us to stay on that sacred old place to finish our days here on the earth, and that the money may be our down fall. Father wrote back saying that they had decided not to sell for such an offer. Thank God money was not his God. Even I wondered if I was wrong. Now I have lived long enough to know that Father was right. His father had made a landmark in this valley above that of the average person. It is outstanding that Wilford has that same spirit in protecting that same landmark.
Father went all out in proving what he thought could be done. He planted watermelons on land so steep that when they were fully ripe they would pluck themselves from the vine and roll downward. No water, only cultivation would hold the moisture in, and this resulted in a sweeter flavor. His melons took state fair prizes for four years in succession and would have continued had father so desired. Constant cultivation made our place green and attractive in the middle of the parched desert. Water? Yes, but very little. Governor Bamberger knew not why the farm looked so beautiful but he wanted it. Yes there was a reason for this. The patriarch spake in tongues saying, "The God of heaven would bless our farm, and he did. Father worked for a living instead of living like a parasite off of others.
Father was six feet without shoes. He was large boned and had hands the size of two average hands. His flowing beard, it's beauty hard to match, came nearly to his waist at times.
It was father's desire that we stay on the old farm to build our homes and work it as a corporation of Wood brothers. United Order? The Lord tried it but it just didn't work long among his people. Why? For the same reason that we are not yet ready for the sealed part of the Book of Mormon which is later to be reveled. Just think of it, that is what Father wanted. Do you remember? Well neither did I until this moment while in solemn prayer I tried to recall the past and what he said to us. He didn't even want to give us a deed to our homes. He wanted to remain presiding patriarch over his posterity to decide what he thought was best after the style of ancient patriarchs for that is just what they did when the patriarchal order prevailed in ancient times. This order will yet rule the earth when Christ comes again.
That we may not forget it. When the thrashing drew by about ten men came to separate the straw from the wheat, and dinner was served, these men were not allowed to eat until they knelt in prayer around the table. A blessing and thanks for the food was offered three times a day as often as they ate. No, we were not less in need of prayer than the Prophets Alma or Daniel. These were fathers sentiments.
Once a fifteen pound calf, tied and standing in our buggy jumped out .while on the way to market. Father and I found it hanging outside the buggy. We stopped and untied it and it fell to the ground lifeless. Father laid his hands on its head and in the name of the Lord called it's spirit back, saying, "We could have it for beef, but we need the money badly. Could it finally come back to life? Was it's spirit called back? That isn't important. It is father's nature that counts. When he stands before his maker he to be judged his failing will disappear like the dew before the morning sun. He knew where he came from. He knew where he was going. He knew all that God had revealed because he took time to find out by the way he live. Thanks be to God that he was my father in mortality. He was a beautiful man standing six foot straight as an arrow, flowing beard to his waistline. When he worked he braided his beard and put it in his pocket under his chin. His breath had the odor of a beautiful forest because he lived so free from man made sweets which contributed to decay and bad odor.
More of this story could be told--the nature of which would be different. Lucifer a Son of the Morning, standing high in authority in the heavens, with power to turn a rod into a serpent, called down fire from heaven, a devout enemy of God, how reigns with blood and horror on this earth. He would delight in having brought to light all of failings, by the tattle tale bearers who unwittingly play into his hands. Lucifer, our common enemy who seeks to have us in his kingdom that he might rule over us as our God. Now turn to page 88 in the Deseret song book, to "Nay Speak No Ill." He who indulges in such is worse than the one he is accessing. Wilford never did devote his time to finding fault with his brothers that he might publish it aloud. I wish I could match Wilford's life. There is such a thing as tenuous and dramatic says by displaying themselves sanctimoniously.
Father was a great violinist. Willard Weijh, a great violinist of America called on Father because of his reputation as a violinist and said, "George, you have better control of the violin than I do." He asked Father to travel with him. Father said, "No, that he had a great mission to fill and that wasn't making money." When Professor Ensign of the Church Music Committee came to check on our ward chorister for his efficiency he said, "I take a back seat, Brother Wood can lead you better than I." Father was an accomplished musician. He also composed music. Few ever equaled him on the violin. He led his brothers, forming an orchestra consisting of a flute, base viol and two violins. When Heber J. Grant was a young man he attended their dances and concerts and said that there was none better in Davis county. President Grant's brother married my grandmother's sister Lucy Fackrell who also attended the concerts.
While in Scotland, on his mission, Father could not afford to take a violin with him. While holding a street meeting, a man near by was playing a violin for donations. He allowed Father to play for the audience and it was so well liked that Father went home and prayed that the way would be opened for him to get a violin. He did get one. A man walked from the alley--had a violin and handed to Father saying, "You can keep it." I remember Father saying he did not know the man nor from whence he came. Father brought the violin home with him and finally gave it to me. He gave all the boys one as a gift. .
I developed an inferiority complex more severe than any other member of father's family. It came about when the devil and his angels were after my father because I was his son as a result of honorable wedlock to my mother. They would have been ashamed to have their private lives revealed. Not so with Father, his conscience was clear from God. Too bad they didn't live in the days of Abraham; their pay-roll would have been extended many years. Would it register on their minds that Father had made a solemn vow to keep his passions limited to the bounds set by God. And he did to it! I bear witness with all the evidence I need that he did. Father confided, telling me that while on his mission in England, a young lady came to the rom (or room) that he and his companion rented. She told him she wanted a child resembling him before he left for to go home. Father answered, "Do you realize what that would do to me?" He left the room and did not return until his missionary companion returned. Father was true to me and my mother.
Father was locked up for three years living on food of the worst kind. His courage never failed. He come out triumphant, a man of God.
I bear this witness before God and Angels that I speak the truth.
George C. Wood, Jr.
Typed from a typed photocopy by
Norma Jean M. Wood
21 July 1991