LIFE SKETCH OF JOSEPH COTTON WOOD
Here in this land, where a man, to live, was a real man; in this land of granite, marble and gold, man's strength was like the strength of the hills. This land of oaks, cedars and pines, man's grace was like the untamed trees, and the atmosphere was like the atmosphere of places that remained as God made them; wild rolling mountains, meadows, and pastures where freedom was not bounded by fences. Here men have won fame, fortune, honor, and great power in the affairs of mankind. Great statesmen, generals, pioneers and others have risen to renown; but a number of our real heroes and pioneers that have made history kept in the background to really and truly live. Such a pioneer was our father and grandfather, Joseph Cotton Wood.
On 28 Oct. 1856, the subject of our sketch was born in a humble pioneer home in North Canyon Ward, Davis Co. Utah Territory just 2 min past two o'clock Tuesday afternoon and two hours before the moon changed and received a father's blessing when three hours old. (Taken from his father's family history or records.)
Joseph was a descendant of John Wood and Johanna Heglington, who emigrated to America in 1680, from Derbyshire, England and settled in Ulster County, New York. His father was Daniel Wood, and his mother Peninah Cotton who were pioneers of 1848 from Missouri.
When Joseph was born his mother was living in the old adobe house on the Wood Farm just east of where his present home is. He was the sixth child of seven children, six boys and one girl, Daniel, Heber, Peter, George, Josephine, Joseph and Caleb.
Joseph's school days were few, even though his father kept a private school in those early days. He liked raising vegetables, herding cows, rather than learn his abc's. When he was very small, he thrilled in the out of doors with the animals and loved being with his older brothers on the farm. One of his mother's hobbies was horseback riding. Many a time, when he was very small, he and his mother rode horseback together to Salt Lake City and back to shop. Quite a ride don't you think?
On his father's eighty acre farm, in what is now known as "Woods Cross," Joseph helped his father and brothers plow with ox team, two yoke of oxen to the plow. He helped to cut grain with a hand sickle and cradled it by hand. Every year they cut and hauled the wild hay from the Jordan Bottoms along the river to feed the stock in winter.
At the age of eight, he was chosen as the herd boy from the rest of the brothers, a task he faithfully filled, until he was past thirteen. Every morning from early spring until late fall, Joseph would be seen driving his herd to graze with a red bandana handkerchief filled with bread and molasses, corn bread and bacon and sometimes some dried fruit as his lunch which was tied to a stick and carried over his shoulder. With a whistle and song off he went driving his cows and sheep to the herd ground which was then south as far as the Hot Springs and east to the foot hills west to Jordan River and north almost to Farmington. He earned his first money herding cows for the neighbors, for fifty cents month per head and this meant Sundays and holidays as well. Even though the days were long and sometimes hot as well as cold, the trails rough and hard this little lad (the pride of his mother's heart) went barefoot all summer, his clothes were home spun.
Well does he remember helping his mother cut the wool from the sheep, wash it, card it, help spin it, then assist her in making genes cloth with a hand loom. Not until he was fourteen did he have a suit of clothes bought from a store. This suit cost $20.00 and was bought from the old Aurbach Store on Main Street in Salt Lake City, and how badly his mother felt because of the exorbitant price he paid. One of his real achievements when very young was to make moccasins out of beef hide to wear in place of shoes in winter when going barefoot was impossible.
When Joseph was ten his father gave him a small piece of land to cultivate and raise watermelons, musk melons and bunch onions. Button onions were set out in the spring, one at a time in rows, and the seeds were carefully planted. This work he did before and after herding time each day. When his precious vegetables were ready for market, he sent them with his father's load. Not having springs on the wagon or paved roads the vegetables were place on straw to keep them from bruising. As soon as he had saved enough money he bought a fine horse all of his own and was he proud.
Being very handy with a team of horses or oxen Joseph, when only in his teens went with his brothers Daniel and Heber to drag wood and haul lumber from the "Old Mill Creek Saw Mill" east of Bountiful down to their home in the settlement. Often they hauled lumber from this mill down to Salt Lake for the tabernacle. This was done with ox teams and took fourteen hours to make the trip one way. They hauled brick from Bountiful taking 800 brick to a load with two yoke of oxen hitched to the cart or wagon. The was in 1868-69.
In those days of pioneer life, dancing was the main entertainment for young and old, and Daniel and Peninah's family all seemed gifted in music. Their father when the boys were just young men organized an orchestra and called it the "Wood Band." When Joseph was only eleven, he became a member playing a tambourine. This was in 1867. He next took the cello and later his brother Daniel got married and Joseph had his base vile, the instrument he plays to this day. This was the first orchestra in Davis County, and the Wood boys went all over the county to play for dancing and entertainments often playing until early morn.
Daniel Wood's private meeting house, known all over in the days when Joseph was a growing boy, was the meeting place for his family on Sunday for religious purposes and private family meetings then for dancing and entertainments during the week. It was here that little Joseph learned to step dance and sing when he was so small that he was boosted up on a box or stool so he could be seen in the audience. When he grew older, he took an active part in the family entertainments and plays, where the public was invited to take part and enjoy the evening. In this meeting house was a belfry, where a large bell hung, and tolled the hour of meeting and could be heard all over the country. It was also used for day school. This bell was brought across the plains by ox team.
In later years the brothers, Heber, Peter, George and Daniel married and moved away all except Joseph and George. It was then that Joseph joined the Heber Paekins Orchestra with William Brown and Frank Stanley, this was October 28, 1937, Joseph is the only one alive to tell the story of those happy days.
At the age of eighteen Joseph was the proud possessor of six head of horses and bain wagon. When Brigham Young organized the United Order Caravan to go to Arizona; when George and Peter went, Joseph gave this wagon and a team of horse to help the cause.Soon after this, he bought six acres of land from his father. This property was located west of his present home and east of the Oregon Short line at Woods Cross. The land was covered with wild willows and it was the tilling of this soil that Joseph began his efforts for a farm and home of his own.
One night in the winter of 1876, the Wood Brothers were playing at a dance in the old Rock School House in North Centerville, and the boys met for the first time the Chase girls, daughters of George Chase. Not long after that, they had an engagement to play at the old Reaves Hall in Centerville proper. George Chase was the manager that night and after the dance the boys were asked to go home with the Chase girls for supper. This was an eventful night for them all, for the Chase girls were known all over for their beauty, grace and loveliness. Their charming dad usually chaperoned them all to evening entertainments going on a hay rack with straw or wild hay for soft seats for comfortable riding. This Reve Hall was formally the first stopping place for the Wells Fargo Coach Co., across the country between Salt Lake and Weber. It was later remodeled and turned into a dance hall.
It was at this midnight supper that Joseph made the acquaintance of Josephine Chase, the 2nd eldest daughter of George and Josephine Streeper Chase. He never did know that her name was Josephine until they knelt at the altar of matrimony, for she was always called "Inez." Yes, she became his bride on Dec 12, 1878.
They were married in the old Endowment House on Temple Square by Daniel H. Wells. A lovely wedding was given that same evening at the brides home, and a lovely wedding it was. Josephine was born at the Liberty Park, in Salt Lake City, September 8, 1858. The park property was then owned by Isaac Chase her grandfather, a pioneer of 1847.
Joseph and Josephine's first home they rented from Mr. John Pack and is located back in the field east of the Woods Cross Cannery in West Bountiful. They lived there until after their first child Inez was born which was November 16, 1879. In March of this same year, Joseph's mother Penninah C. Wood died of a tumor.
Not long after their marriage a terrible epidemic of diphtheria spread all over the country, and the happy bride and groom were separated. Joseph took the dreaded disease, and Caleb, Joseph's baby brother died along with several other members of the Wood family. Josephine went to Springville to stay with her grandmother Prudence Streeper until it was over. She escaped the disease and was gone over three months.
In the year 1880 Heber, Joseph's brother sold his home and five acres of land to him, and with the exception of a front porch and the addition of two more rooms, this home was where their eleven children were born. They were the proud parents of twelve children, Inez Matilda, Isaac, Ethel, Prudence, Joseph Hugh, Josephine, Peninah, Cotton Hazelton, Kate Queen, Streeper, Zora and Dewey Eldridge. His loving wife passed