JAMES G. WOOD

from EAST OF ANTELOPE ISLAND
by Briant S. Jacobs

One of the outstanding characters of the early times was James G. Wood. Mr. Wood was born in Bountiful, Ut. January 30, 1853. He was educated in his father's private school, which later became a district school. Very early in life he learned the great lessons of carrying responsibilities and industry. His father taught him as a boy how to look after land and the things that grew upon the land--trees, flowers, crops, etc. Mr. Wood early showed a great love for things beautiful and wholesome. In his private diary he never mentions any of the places where he lived without mentioning something about appearance of the place. On December 14, 1874, he was married to Alice Corbridge and after filling an honorable mission for his church in the southern States, he came home, but just prior to his mission he had married Susan Stoddard. After some years of living in some of our neighboring states doing what work he could find to do, he decided to come to Bountiful and settle down to normal life again.. (Those were polygamy days.) Soon after he thus began to labor, he thought of the possibilities of getting a larger tract of land upon the Sandridge. So, borrowing a dollar from a neighbor he boarded the next train and came up into this part of Davis County. Before he returned a couple of days later, he had arranged to sell his farm in Bountiful and had also arranged to purchase a good sized farm in what is now Clearfield. He moved his families up here in May 1890. That year he raised some 3,600 bushels of dry farm wheat, and also planted 200 poplar trees around his place and improved it in other ways, such as fences etc. In 1892, he built a fine brick house for his people where Alvin Wood now lives, and in 1896 he built another house on the corner. He tells us that one of the most difficult problems to solve was that of getting a culinary water supply. He dug a deep well near his first house but the water was salty and smelled bad; however, they used it as best they might. He often hauled water from his neighbors in Syracuse or elsewhere. In 1896 he noticed that some land on the John Traugott place was going wet, so talked to Mr. Traugott, he made a bargain to take care of the water and thus supply his own needs and do a good turn for his neighbor.

In the month of February 1892, there was organized a Sunday School in the one room schoolhouse that stood on the Peter Christensen corner; this organization was to take care of the needs of the young folks of the vicinity and was known as the Clearfield Sunday School. It had eleven officers and teachers and forty-four pupils. Elder James G. Wood was chosen superintendent of this school. He loved people and especially children, and from his diary we can feel his great concern for this his first flock. When the Syracuse Ward was formed from a part of South Hooper and other wards, David Cook was chosen bishop of the new ward and James G. Wood as his first counselor. In this position he served until the Clearfield Ward was organized when he was chosen and sustained as the first bishop.

Thomas J. Steed from Farmington came to Clearfield in 1888. He lived here during the summers only for a couple of years, then built him a home, which still stands; it is known as the old William Thurgood house. Mr. Steed, like Mr. Wood, was a great lover of trees, and so with almost endless toil, he planted trees almost all around the full section of land on which he lived. He was a great love and owner of horses and often owned bands of a hundred or more fine horses at one time. He lived with James Wood during the time he was getting himself established.

In early 1880's the Davis and Weber Canal was completed, by Mr. Wood and his crew - his diary tells it in detail. This done and water from the Weber River was turned into it. This was just the spring runoff, and when this was over the canal was dry, but this had a marked effect on the locality since other settlers moved. The Canal has been, was then also, the main supply of water in the Weber and north part of Davis County for irrigation. It has saved many seasons of crops. People even today marvel at the accomplishment and are very thankful for this canal.

Is is still known as Sandridge because the back wash of old Lake Bonneville had thrown up a ridge of very fine sand which is blown about by the wind each spring and summer. The ridge slopes away both to the north and the south. The settlers hauled water in barrels for culinary purposes from the Weber River, being careful to save all dishwater, etc., to water their trees. Some wells were dug they were deep and some were salty. The roads were very poor. On the ridge they were in deep sand and in the lower levels deepmud in stormy weather ' People traveled in wagons or on horse back. The Weber River was - a great blessing to the homesteaders of Davis and Weber counties, completed 1885.

Retyped from copy by
Norma Jean M. Wood
5 July 1991 1