Benjamin Wood (American politician)

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Benjamin Wood, Congressman from New York

Benjamin Wood (October 13, 1820 – February 21, 1900) was an American politician and publishing entrepreneur from the state of New York during the American Civil War.

Life and career[edit]

Wood, the son of Benjamin and Rebecca (Lehman) Wood, was born in Shelbyville, Kentucky, on October 13, 1820, and was the brother of US congressional representative and New York City Mayor Fernando Wood. The Wood family moved from Kentucky to New York City, and Benjamin Wood was educated in New York City. He entered the mercantile and shipping business, and in 1860, he purchased the New York Daily News (not to be confused with the current New York Daily News, which was founded in 1919), of which he was the editor and publisher until he died in 1900.[1]

In 1861 the federal government effectively shut down the paper (by suspending its delivery via the postal service) as being sympathetic with the Confederacy during the Civil War. During the interval, he wrote a novel: Fort Lafayette or, Love and Secession. Wood was able to re-open the paper 18 months later. In the period 1863 to 1865 the paper printed letters from the readers (southern spies) with coded messages for readers in the south, the editor was arrested in 1865. After that Benjamin Wood was regarded as a traitor by many northern citizens.

Wood was elected as a Democrat to the 37th and 38th United States Congresses (March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1865) He was a member of the New York State Senate (4th D.) in 1866 and 1867 and elected to the 47th United States Congress (March 4, 1881 – March 3, 1883).

Death and personal life[edit]

He died in New York City on February 21, 1900 and was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Queens.

His wife, Ida Mayfield Wood, became a recluse and miser, who resided at the Herald Square Hotel for 24 years, refusing contact with the outside world, and was the subject of a famous court case after her death in 1932, when her true identity of Ellen Walsh came to light.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Congressional bio
  2. ^ Karen Abbott (January 23, 2013). "Everything Was Fake but Her Wealth". Smithsonian.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel Sickles
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district

1861–1863
Succeeded by
Moses F. Odell
Preceded by
James Kerrigan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 4th congressional district

1863–1865
Succeeded by
Morgan Jones
Preceded by
Nicholas Muller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district

1881–1883
Succeeded by
Nicholas Muller
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Christian B. Woodruff
New York State Senate
4th District

1866–1867
Succeeded by
William M. Tweed