Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Case of Two Men Named Grover Cleveland Wood

I have two different men named Grover Cleveland Wood in my family tree born 16 days apart in the same state. It wasn't until I examined each record carefully that I realized I was dealing with two different men instead of one:
  1. Grover Cleveland Wood (1885-1957)
  2. Grover Cleveland Wood (1885-1959)
Grover Cleveland Wood #1

Grover Cleveland Wood was born on 1 February 1885 in Bonsack, Virginia, a small unincorporated community in Roanoke County to William Garrison Wood and Anna P. Thrasher. He married Nannie Alberta Scott on 25 January 1911 in Bristol, Virginia. They had three children:
  • Mildred MacDonald Wood born 6 July 1912 in Washington County, Virginia; died 18 May 2010 in Roanoke County; married 1) John Reginald Watkins in 1938, divorced, 1942 and 2) Gilfert Witt Coalter in 1968.
  • Marcus Scott Wood born 8 December 1913 in Campbell County, Virginia; died 4 January 1995; married Marie Babette Metz on 5 September 1947 in Kobe, Japan
  • E. Garrison Wood was born 6 July 1915 in Campbell County, Virginia; died 23 November 2010; married Elizabeth Jean (Arington) Jessee, who had previously been married to Earnest Filmore Jessee, Jr.[1]
After his wife, Nannie, died in 1945. Grover #1 married Amy J. (Newman) Overstreet, the widow of Silas W. Overstreet.

A brief ancestry of Grover Cleveland Wood is:

Father: William Garrison Wood (1856-1942), married Anna P. Thrasher
Grandfather: Samuel Gilbert Wood (1818-1896), married Amanda Gish
Great Grandfather: Stephen Wood, III (1786-1850), married Lydia Holland. He was a Baptist minister and the high sheriff of Franklin County, Virginia.
2X Great Grandfather: Stephen Wood, Jr. (1751-1816), married Ann Smith

Home of Stephen Wood, III, courtesy of Ancestry member vernell190

Grover Cleveland Wood #2

Grover Cleveland Wood was born on 16 February 1885 in Powhatan County, Virginia, to William Washington Wood and Elizabeth "Bettie" Ann Davis. On 20 May 1915 he married Alma May Martin in Richmond, Virginia. They had no known children.

William Washington Wood Family; courtesy of FAG volunteer Elizabeth C.
Unfortunately, I do not know which son was Grover. He was the 7th of nine
children who lived.

A brief ancestry of Grover Cleveland Wood is:

Father: William Washington Wood (1844-1909), married Elizabeth "Bettie" Ann Davis
Grandfather: Joseph T. Wood (about 1817-1982), married Lucy Jane Davis
Great Grandfather: William Edward "Neddy" Wood (1777-about 1848), married Sarah Gilliland
2X Great Grandfather: Joseph Wood (about 1740-1916), married Mary Epperson

I do not yet know how this Wood family fits into my tree. A daughter of Joseph T. Wood married Joseph Sampson Jennings, son of Daniel Oscar Jennings. He is a mystery. I believe his father, or perhaps grandfather, both currently unknown, may be a brother of my Jennings brick wall: Benjamin Jennings (about 1740-1815).

A second tenuous connection to this Grover Cleveland Wood was through his second cousin, Lelia Demarius Wood, who married Samuel Hutchings Price, my second cousin three times removed.

A search for any Grover Cleveland Wood born between 1883-1887 reveals 23 different people. Be careful when you research; often times names are not as uncommon as you might suppose!

[1]Earnest Filmore Jessee was my 4th cousin.

A great resources for descendants of Joseph Wood (about 1740-1816) is the Woods and Others website.


  1. Interesting! And, a great point to remember. Grover Cleveland became president in 1884, so the popularity of this otherwise unusual name makes sense in this time period. It also tells you about the political views of these families.

    1. It does tell you about their political views, doesn't it. With given names like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, I think they are just naming sons after famous people, but when named after a current president, it makes you think.