Henry Sanders Wood
Life Of H. S. Wood
How do you sum up the life of an individual? His contributions to the world would certainly be taken into consideration. When considering the life and work of Henry Sanders Wood, there would be a number of things that could be said to show that he contributed in numerous ways. Though information a hundred years after his death is scarce, some things should be called to remembrance.
Henry was born February 13, 1824, and for the next 79 years, 10 months and 16 days he continued to bless the lives of those who knew him. Until his death on December 29, 1903 he ceased not to live in humble faith in Christ.
Consider his family. Henry was married to Nancy Jane Altom, a Tennessean by birth from Lawrence County, and greatly committed to the life and work of her husband. Together they had nine children: William H. Wood born in 1841; Nancy Jane Small in 1844; Eliza Ann Roberts 1846-1921; Christian Charity Hendrix 1848-1915; Rachel M. 1851-1937, George W. born in 1853; Alexander Holland 1856-1941; Evelyn Elmira Russell 1858 and Mancil Samuel, 1861-1920.
H. S. Wood was a farmer, like most in the region. He and his family supported themselves in this way throughout the years of the 19th century. However their greatest accomplishments were found in their work in the Church of Christ.
Roan's Creek in Carroll County, is recognized as one of the earliest, if not the earliest works in West Tennessee. The church of Christ there dates its history to 1825 when settlers from NE Tennessee and southern Kentucky planted themselves in the area. These were Christians influenced by John Mulkey, a former Baptist minister who gave up his Calvinistic background to preach only the Bible, as early as 1809. In time others came into the Roans Creek area who were influenced by Barton W. Stone, and ultimately of Alexander Campbell.
Many churches were planted from Roan's Creek including Christian Chapel, Holly Hill and Stray Leaf (Mt. Pisgah) in Henderson County; Williams Chapel and Christian Chapel and Huntingdon in Carroll County. It was at Christian Chapel that we are introduced to Henry S. Wood.
It is has been documented that some of those who came west from around Tomkinsville, Kentucky were members of the Wood family, and it is suggested here that Henry was probably from that family, though his name does not appear on the list of Roan's Creek's original members, others members of the Wood family are mentioned.
The first information available is that H. S. Wood was an elder and preacher in the church at Christian Chapel. It has been suggested by some that he was probably baptized by John W. Johnson, who preached at Roan's Creek for eighteen years and was recorded as having baptized over 500 people.
Wood began preaching as early as August, 1870, and preached and taught the gospel to many in the area. He was instrumental in planting a number of churches. He was involved in campmeetings and protracted meetings as well. Many recognized him as their "father in the faith."
It was my pleasure in June, 2007 to preach a Gospel Meeting at Austin's Chapel in Scott's Hill, on the border of Henderson and Decatur Counties, Tennessee. Austin's Chapel, officially recognizes its existence back to when brother's Jesse and Benjamin F. Austin and their wives had heard about the Christian Movement in Carroll and northern Henderson Counties. According to the family history, they left their children with family and the four set out on four mules from Scott's Hill and travelled the eighteen miles each way to hear lessons preached by H. S. Wood at Beech River Schoolhouse in August of 1872. They obeyed the gospel be buried in Christ in baptism at the hands of Henry S. Wood. The following day they returned to Scott's Hill and formed two congregations in their homes, one in Scott's Hill and the other out southwest of town in what is now the Austin's Chapel community.
On a personal note, after returning from my meeting at Austin's Chapel, I was back at my home congregation where I preach in Buford, Georgia. I was speaking with one of our deacons, Randy Anderson. He asked me how my meeting went in West Tennessee. Then out of the blue, as it were, he asked, "Well, I wonder if the church there had been influenced by my great, great, grandfather? When I asked who his ancestor was, his response was, "Henry Sanders Wood!" Talk about coincidence! I had just visited Wood's grave and had discussed at length with members of the Austin's Chapel church about their history, and then I get home and find that Wood's descendants are members of the church where I preach. It truly is a small world!
With my knowledge of Randy and Carol Anderson, it seems my connection with H. S. Wood is complete. H. S. Wood touched the lives of many individuals during his life. And he being dead, yet speaks in the lives of his physical and spiritual descendants. To his memory and to the lives of those whom he continues to touch we dedicate this page in his honor! Henry Sanders Wood was a true soldier of the cross.
-Scott Harp, Sources for this material come from numerous places, but one in particular is a book on the history of Austin's Chapel Church of Christ, entitled, Austin's Chapel: The Tribe Of Benjamin, by Jeanne Crews Taylor (An Austin Descendant).
Directions To The Grave Of Henry S. Wood
In West Tennessee take I-40 to Exit 108, Lexington, and head south toward Lexington. Head south on Hwy. 22 7.4 miles and turn right on Oak Street and go 4/10 of a mile and turn right on the Old Huntingdon Road. Go about 6/10 of a mile and the cemetery is on the right. When you enter the cemetery, the graves are at the far end of the cemetery and on the back rows.
Oakwood Cemetery, Milan, Tennessee
Special Thanks: To Tom Childers for assisting me in bringing to light and helping me to locate and visit the grave of H. S. Wood. I visited the grave in June, 2007 while involved in a series of meetings at Austin's Chapel Church of Christ in Scott's Hill, Tennessee. Many thanks to Tom and his inspiration to continue producing sites like this honoring those who have blazed the trail of godliness. His site has some of this information as well as further info on the life of H. S. Wood.