The career of this stirring gentleman in an exceptionally complete manner exemplifies the hardships and labors of the pioneers, and also he has demonstrated what success can be achieved by care and industry.
Joseph P. Wood was born in Umatilla County, Oregon, on November 11, 1863, being the son of Joseph and Jane (Carey) Wood. The father was born in Knox County, Tennessee, on February 16, 1809, and died on August 3, 1878. He was a pioneer in Umatilla County in 1863, being one of the very first men to farm in that County. He crossed the plains with ox teams and remained on his homestead until his death. The mother of our subject was born in Ohio and died in Oregon in 1899. Her parents were pioneers in Ash Grove, Iowa, and her father. Jonathan Carey, was a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, becoming such at the age of twenty. Joseph grew up and was educated in his native place.
He remained with his mother until he was twenty and then married Anna White, who died eighteen months later. Subsequent to this, Mr. Wood travelled over the northwestern states and spent one winter in the Yellowstone region. Then he came to Walla Walla, married and settled down to farming, buying land. He prospered until 1893, when everyone was broken financially or sadly shaken, and he suffered with the rest. He struggled on and operated a threshing machine and had to undergo much sickness, but at the time of the opening of the reservation he came to Nez Perce straightway, and there located his family while he searched for a place.
He selected his present abode, three and one half miles southwest from Melrose, and filed. He brought his family thither with much difficulty, as there were no roads and he was obliged to sell his wagon to procure food. He lost a fine horse in hauling lumber, and for the first year or two it was a desperate struggle to keep back the wolf. However, Mr. Wood was possessed of determination and skill, and he continued and now has a fine place, well improved, owns two hundred and forty acres, raises cattle, horses, hogs and diversified crops.
In Walla Walla, in 1891, Mr. Wood married Miss Jennie, daughter of Daniel Priest, a soldier of the Civil War, a pioneer in Ohio and Michigan, being a native of Indiana, and is now dwelling in Lynn County, Kansas. Mrs. Priest was born in Indiana, had thirteen brothers and sisters. Mrs. Wood was born in Wayne County, Ohio, on June 2, 1861, and has twelve brothers and sisters, nine of whom are living. Mr. Wood has the following named brothers and sisters: Clarinda A. Beard, in Walla Walla; Mary E. Maxin, in Oakland, California; George, on the old place in the vicinity of Walla Walla; William, also on the old homestead. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Wood, Roy and Edna.
Mr. Wood and his wife are devout members of the Methodist Church. He is a Democrat and takes part in some of the conventions, but is liberal in his principles. Mr. Wood has been a member of the school board from the first and is always striving for betterment in this line. He advocates better schools and is strongly in favor of raising the money for them.
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903