Family Genealogy Research,  Wood

John Reid Letter to Isabella Wood 29 August 1874


James Wood sold his land in Scotland for $485 an acre and bought land in Texas for 25 cents an acre.  Yes, he paid for the land associated with the Colony of Kent, and yes, he lost all of that money.  After paying for transportation costs to Texas, was he out of money?  I would like to think not, but in his letter to his brother, Hugh tells James that he will provide money to cover any needs James has.  Notice he doesn’t say “I’ll transfer your money to you.”  So my original theory that James left his cash with his brother is kinda shot.  Hugh also states in his letter that James is his sole heir.  All of Hugh’s money, once bills are paid, was to go to James and his family.  This didn’t happen.

Hugh Wood died intestate (without a will, although he made his intentions clear in the 1852 letter to James).  When Samuel and Margaret Candlish get involved as administrators, things went a bit shady.  John Reid clearly states below, that there is at least one untruth in the indenture paperwork.  He also mentions that folks in Sheffield (Sheffield, England where Hugh Wood resided) did not do what was right in regards to the estate.  I do not have whatever enclosure he refers to.  I would love to see what he sent to determine just what kind of shenanigans the Candlish couple pulled in court.

What is interesting is this…it appears that James sold his home and all possessions to Hugh for $3500.  I don’t have any record of James buying it back and I believe this may be the deed John Reid mentions in his letter.  I have the title abstracts and they clearly show Wyman getting the land from the State of Texas.  Wyman sells it to James Wood.  James Wood sells it to Hugh Wood and the next thing we know, the heirs of James Wood are dividing it after his death.  But if he sold it to Hugh and never bought it back, the property would have been divided between the heirs of Hugh.  It is a bit of a puzzle.  I panicked at first and thought, maybe I don’t own the house after all.  But then I remembered that I do have a copy of the letter in which Hugh states he was leaving everything to James.

The Letter

208 Lacock Street

Allegheny City, Pa

29 August 1874

Mrs. Wood


Yours of the 11th August has just come to hand and glad to believe correspondence was again renewed.

I can assure you that not one of your friends here ever heard of any of the letters you refer to of November and February last, or they would have been responded to.

The enclosed is evidence that I have not been annoyed by your scribbling, and am happy in saying you have never given me nor mine any occasion of being annoyed although during your late husband’s lifetime several things were don very much to your own hurt, and the support of your English knaves, who premeditated your utter financial ruin, often causing me much trouble, which I readily forgave you, believing you did it with honest intentions.

You should have had a copy, same as the enclosed, signed by Candlish and wife for you to keep, before signing one for them to keep, they refuse you copy and laugh at you.  I took copy here before returning it (hence enclosed)

Though some of Sheffield folks refused to do what was morally right in many instances, I trust they found their match inequity, and had I been aware that any document existed on Record in Texas in favour of Hugh Wood after his death, special reference would have been made to it by me so that all subsequent trouble would have been passed before now.   I think it will be improper to cancel the document on Record.  ____ you not, rather get deed for it.

Perhaps one of the safest ways will be to allow it to be sold at sheriff’s sale and you can then get proper deed for it.  But not being sure what the document is, you refer to, and my ignorance of your state laws, prevents me giving the opinion I might otherwise give you.

These may suffice.  If not, advise immediately.

My implicit belief was, and is, that James Wood was to get the money consideration, over and above, all that he possessed, as well everything which formerly belonged to his late Brother Hugh Wood in Texas.

The Indenture on Page 2 line 20 from the top is false.  My reply is, I often asked to be shown books and yes, and as often refused.

Truly yours,

John Reid

PS Mrs. Reid will write in her usual way soon.  I thought always to be a source of pleasure to help.  Our Creator helps all who call on him in sincerity and truth. JR

Images of the Letter

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