Bio-Pen Pictures

            David Wood was born in Schenectady, New York, May 4, 1817.  His father and mother were both natives of New York and both died in Illinois.  The subject of this sketch was reared in New York and emigrated to Illinois in 1842.  In 1849 he started for California, with an ox team, and reached Sacramento August 23, 1849.  In October he went to the mines at Coloma and vicinity, where he remained about two months.  In November he went to San Francisco, and January 1, 1850, took a steamer for San Diego, which at that time was a mission, five miles from the ocean.  At San Diego Mr. Wood and his comrades purchased about fifty animals and brought them up the coast by land, traveling from mission to mission.  There were no fences along the route, it being a stock-raising country.  His idea at that time was to fit out a pack train and go to packing in the mines, but in this he was not successful, on account of not having the proper arrangements for packing, and, finding the business unsuited to his taste, sold out.  He then purchased an ox team and went to freighting, in which he was successful, his last trip being in July, 1850, when he made the journey from Sacramento to Shasta, clearing $500 in twenty-one days.

 At this time he was taken with malarial fever, sold his outfit, went to San Francisco, and from there returned, via Panama and New Orleans, to his old home in La Salle County, Illinois.  He soon became dissatisfied with the country and decided to return to California, and again crossed the plains, in company with five other men, arriving in Sacramento August 21, 1853.  On this trip he visited Santa Clara Valley, and was impressed with it as a desirable place of residence.  He again returned to the East by way of Nicaragua and New Orleans, and, being satisfied that he would reside in California for life, he brought his family with him, coming by way of New York and Panama, and arriving at Sacramento May 5, 1855.  He then removed to Gilroy Township, on a ranch five miles from Gilroy, and having some difficulty on account of land titles, he went to Tulare County, and in 1874 returned to Gilroy, where he has since resided.  He was married  in New York, September 8, 1842, to Mary Miles, a native of that State.  To them were born eight children:  Charles A., and Nelson H. (deceased); Mortimer D., a resident of Stanislaus County, California; James T., of Fresno County, California; George R., of Merced County, this State; Martha, Frank R., of Fresno County, and Mary, wife of Henry Hecker.

            In politics Mr. Wood is a Republican, and was an anti-slavery Whig.  He formerly owned a ranch in the San Joaquin Valley, of 7,200 acres, which he sold in 1874.  He has now retired from active life, but has an interest in the banks of Gilroy, Hollister, and Salinas City, and is one of the leading stockholders in the electric light company at San Jose.  He has been an eye-witness to most of the substantial growth of California.  The first time he crossed the San Joaquin Valley he came upon a herd of 600 elks.  When he lived in that valley, the Spaniards had a corral about five miles from the place, and he often saw them lasso wild horses and in half an hour ride them.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 342-343
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight