WOOD FAMILY STORIES
Ginevra Madie Wood Gililland
Ginevra Wood Gililland 10/5/1892 - 9/11/1986
This story was written by Grandma Gililland for the Otero County Pioneer Family Histories,
Vol. 1 Page 464-465
THE JOHN HENRY WOOD FAMILY
BY Mrs. Ginevra Wood Gililland
My dad and mother, John Henry Wood and Alice Johnson, were married
about 1889 in Socorro, New Mexico, and, about that time, my granddad, Henry
Wood, died in Taos, New Mexico. My dad was a cowboy and worked for
mama's brother-in-law, Ed Brown. Ed was married to mama's sister, Nettie
Johnson Brown. After Granddad died, dad had to take Grandma Wood and
the family back to Edwards County, Texas. Most of dad's brothers lived in
Edwards County. Dad raised goats and farmed there.
Dad and mama had seven children while in Texas: Riley, Ginevra (me), Cynthia,
Pete, Amnon, John, and Cloma. We were all about two years apart.
In 1901, dad moved our family, along with Becky Wood (mama's sister), Lum
(dad's brother), Lycenia Miles (mama's sister), my Grandma Johnson, and
Charles Wood (dad's cousin that worked for him) back to New Mexico. Dad
had two covered wagons and a hack. Grandma Johnson drove the hack as far as
Pecos City, Texas; she left us there and went to her son, Jim Moore, in
Oklahoma City. He was a son by her first marriage. Mama was driving one
of the wagons, as was dad.
After grandma left us, I had to drive the hack on to La Luz, New Mexico. I
felt very grown up and was determined to do a good job of it to prove my maturity. The
trip itself was uneventful as far as trips went. I was ten years old at the time.
Gin drove the hack down the mountain at age 10.
We had to put up with heavy rain and wind storms, sick animals, and all
the other discomforts associated with covered wagons, but we accepted the hardships
and enjoyed the good times as they came. The worst part of our trip was coming
off Cloudcroft hill in the Sacramento Mountains. When we got to Cloudcroft
and started down the mountain, mama said to dad, "John, it's rough, lock both my
hind wheels". I spoke up and said, "Yes, dad, lock mine too". Dad said, "The
horses will hold the hack back and you know how to use the brakes".
I thought, "I know how to use the brake, but how will the horses hold the hack back?"
I didn't know the harness would help them. I'm sure I stood
much taller and straighter when dad said that, but I wasn't so tall and
straight by the time we reached the bottom of the mountain. There were
times when I wished dad didn't have so much confidence in me and I
wondered if the horses were half as smart as he thought they were.
However, we reached the bottom and arrived in La Luz late in the day.
we met a man there who asked us to spend the night at his place and we gladly
accepted his invitation. The next day we went to Grandpa Johnson's place in
La Luz Canyon.
We located in La Luz Canyon, but when school started each year we moved to
La Luz. The second time we moved out we moved to a farm below Grandpa
Johnson's place. Miss Carrie Covington was our teacher and we only attended
school three months a year.
Dad and mama had four more children born in New Mexico: Tom, Dollie,
Grace, and King Franklin (Buster), who died at the age of two, supposedly from
a spider bite.
In 1905, we moved to San Andres Mountains, in Good Fortune Canyon, while
dad tended Angora goats over in Bear Den. We all later walked out to be
with him and never went back to Good Fortune Canyon. Since there was no house at
Bear Den, we lived in two big Army tents until dad built the two-room log house - he
used pinion logs. The tents nearly rotted down before the log house was built. Both
rooms of the house were long, the kitchen had room for a bed, and the front room
had a big fireplace in the back of it. It took a lot of wood to keep warm. Bear Den
was a pretty place with rd hills and grassy flats. There was no school the first three
years we lived out there, then we got a teacher three months a year. They built a
log cabin down Bear Den Canyon. This school house burnt down, it was supposed
to have been struck by lightning but some of the kids books were out under a tree, so
it looked like someone had it in for some of the kids parents. They built another school
house and had a teacher come to teach and she lived in one end of the school house.
Gin meets Dick at a Dance.
(Although she doesn't mention it here, Ginevra met Dick at a dance. I remember
trying to picture that!!!)
On March 30, 1911, I married Dick Gililland in Alamogordo. Dick was born in
High Rolls, New Mexico on August 7, 1888. His dad was W. F. Gililland.
He and Dick's brother, Jim Gililland, had moved to San Andres Mountains
when Dick was a young boy. They had some cows in the Sacramento Mountains
that they moved into Lava Gap, just this side of San Andres Mountains. dick was
a cowboy wanting to settle down on a place of his own. so in 1912, after Alice was
born, we bought a large ranch from Ed Brown on the northwest side of San Andres
Mountains. We lived in a tent until Dick's dad built a two-room house for us.
(Editor's note: Mother, (Alice) said, "Pappa wasn't very handy". They didn't have
an outhouse or cistern, until Jim Smith spent a summer out there, building an outhouse
and digging a cistern for them. When the windmill broke, it was grandma who fixed it!)
We had six children: Alice (Mrs. Clay Smith), Sam, Dixie (Mrs. Roy Tucker),
Lola (Mrs. Hansel Tucker), Pete and Jess. All of them still live in
Tularosa or Alamogordo.
The government took our ranch for part of the missile range in 1941. We moved
to Tularosa and Dick went to work at Holloman air Force Base as a fireman.
This was when the base first opened. he worked there a little while and then gained
co-use of the ranch. so, he quit out at the base and continued ranching, until
the government decided they wanted everything off the range. He sold his cattle and we
bought a house on Hawaii Avenue in Alamogordo. Dick died January 25, 1962.
I bought a house at 1305 Catalina, so I could be close to my daughter
and her husband, Lola and Hansel Tucker. I'm 88 years old, born in 1892. I
still enjoy traveling to visit my sisters and brothers, and to go anywhere when
I can get a ride, and don't have to stay too long.
LETTER NOVEMBER 3, 1915 REGARDING BUSTER'S DEATH.
LETTER IS FROM JOHN HENRY WOOD TO WILLIAM RILEY WOOD.
Dear boy - i have sad news - poor little buster died last nite at
half past 2 - his breath left him - Cloma and Dollie and Gracie don't know
it yet - i
don't think we will let her know it if we can keep her from knowing it - it is
to bury him without sending word to you all and let you see him but we just
as he would be busted by the time you all could get here so we will bury him
this evening at bout 3 - so don't grieve as we all have to go sooner or later and
it may be soon - we don't know so try and be ready to meet him in heaven
if not on this earth - i can't hardly write for the tears - you don't know just
how i feel now -
your mom is a crying and all of you are out there and can't see him buried but
don't think hard of us - we have done everything in our family but done no good -
send this to ginney as soon as you can and let her know it - you can come in with
the horses as soon as you get this but we can't leave here before the 10 or 15.
Good by - JH Wood