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John Wood

Quincy founder John Wood came west from Moravia, New York, in 1818 and settled in the Illinois Military Tract. Wood became the first settler at what was originally called "Bluffs" to recognize the limestone promontory overlooking the Mississippi River.  In 1825 Quincy became the county seat and was named in honor of newly elected President, John Quincy Adams. Elected Illinois’ lieutenant governor in 1856, Wood became Governor in 1860..

John Wood Timeline


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Born December 20, 1798, in Moravia, Cayuga County, New York

Parents were Daniel and Katherine Krause Wood.

John’s father, a surgeon
in the Revolutionary War,
could speak several foreign languages fluently and was assigned to George Washington’s headquarters

One sister named Clarissa

Headed west November 2, 1818

Located in Pike County.
Illinois in 1820 to farm

Bought 160 acres in Military Tract for $60 from a Mr. Flinn

Came to Quincy area in 1822 with Willard Keyes and built
log cabin at foot of today’s Delaware Street

Married Anna M. Streeter in Quincy on January 25, 1826

Eight children: Ann (1827-1905), Daniel (1829-1922), John Jr. (1830-1889), Emily (1833-1835), Adah (1835-1844), Joshua (1837-1910), Henry (1839-1842), James (1842-1850)

Wood and wife went to Galena, Illinois, during rush to lead mines in 1827

Built Greek Revival home at 12th and State (1835-1838)

Volunteered for Black Hawk War in 1832

Mayor of Quincy 1844-1848, 1852-53 and 1856


Donated land for Woodland Cemetery in 1846

Wood and sons Daniel and John Jr. went to California in 1849 for gold

Elected to Illinois State Senate in 1850

Elected Illinois Lieutenant Governor in 1857

Began construction of  Octagonal House in 1857

Became Illinois' 12th Governor when William Harrison Bissell died in 1860

Governor Richard Yates appointed Wood a delegate from Illinois to Peace Congress to avert secession of Southern states in February 1861

Served as Quartermaster for IL during Civil War

Wife Ann died in 1863

Married Mary Ann Brown Holmes, widow of Rev. Joseph Holmes in 1865

Octagonal House cost $200,000 to build

Gave Greek Revival house to son Daniel

Had to sell Octagonal House because financial reverses due to recession and failed businesses in 1876, moved back to Greek Revival home with son

Died in Greek Revival home on June 4, 1880 and buried in Woodland Cemetery





This statue in the Illinois state capital in Springfield was sculpted by Cornelius G. Volk. It was donated by the people of Quincy.