Decease of our oldest Pioneer.
Joseph Wood, Esq., the oldest citizen of Marietta, and longest resident in the West, departed this life Nov. 13th, 1851.
Judge Wood was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, January 9th, A.D. 1759. He left his native State for the Great West, in the twenty-seventh year of his age, starting for Pittsburgh, July 4th, A.D. 1785. It was his object to engage as a U. S. Surveyor in the N. W. Territory, but the Government was not then prepared for his employment.
He became Land Agent of Messrs. Tilton & Gibbs, of Philadelphia, in attending to their Land Claims in N. W. Virginia.
He left Pittsburgh November 28th, 1785, to locate himself at Belleville, on the Virginia shore, below the mouth of Big Hockhocking. On his way down, he stopped at the mouth of the Muskingum River, nearly two years and a half before Gen. Putnam landed there with his company of Pioneers, to commence the American occupancy of the Great Northwest, by the location of Marietta, and the establishment of permanent settlements in that neighborhood. Fort Harmar was established about the time of Judge Wood's emigration, as a preliminary possession. This was offensive to the Natives, although all the Indian tribes who had any claims along the Ohio River had surrendered them to the United States, by the treaty of Fort McIntosh. The doctrine started by Pontiac was now re-asserted, under the influence of Brant - that all lands belonged to all Indians, and that no tribe could properly cede any lands without the general consent of all. The Indian agitations on this "exciting question" were studiously fomented by British agency. Indian murders took place occasionally, and about the close of the year 1790 some of the Muskingum Indians bore down on the Ohio Company settlements; the massacre at Big Bottom ensued, and the settlers hereabouts were compelled to live a Block-House life, till their lurking adversaries experienced, from Wayne's army, their decisive overthrow.
In the month of April, after the Big Bottom tragedy, the Indians invaded the Belleville settlement. Mr. Kelley, who had removed there from Marietta, was killed - and his son Joseph, now one of the citizens here of longest residence in Ohio, was taken prisoner, and kept by the Shawanoes until rescued by Gen. Wayne, after the peace.
After this invasion of Belleville, 1791, Judge Wood removed to Marietta, and lived there "in Stockade" four years. He then moved on a farm on "Rainbow," about seven miles up the Muskingum, where he resided till 1816.
Soon after the election of Mr. Jefferson, as President, in 1800, he was appointed Register of the United States Land Office, at Marietta - and in this office he continued till 1837.
Judge Wood possessed a mind of more than ordinary intelligence - had a very retentive memory, was fond of reading and of conversation. He was strict and upright in his dealings. He did not seem to possess a very strong physical constitution, but he was regular in his pursuits, and diet, and regimen, careful to undertake no more than he could do - and earnest to do whatever he had undertaken. He could interest himself in the care of a few domestic animals, a small garden, &c., and even in experiments in horticulture, after he had even surpassed the age of three score and thirty.
His extended life was cheered and prolonged, no doubt, by the exemplary filial care of Miss Nancy Wood, his worthy daughter.