The Morning Oregonian
The Morning Oregonian
Contributed by Diane

Description: Obituary of Mary Ramsey Wood

Date: January 2 1908

Newspaper published in: Portland

Source: Knight Library Microform

Page/Column: Front Page

Oldest Oregon Woman is Dead ---Mrs. Mary Ramsey Wood Dies at Hillsboro. ---
Age Proved to be Over 120 --- Remembered Many Statesmen of Her Day. ---Jackson Her Favorite ---

Staunch Democrat to End-Born in 1787 and Crossed Plains in 1852 on Horseback - Closely Connected with Early History--

Mrs Wood's Life: Born in Tennessee in 1787. Joined Methodist Church in 1799. Married in 1804. Moved to Alabama in 1837. Went to Georgia in 1838. Removed to Missouri in 1849. Crossed the Plains in 1852. Married Leland Trim in 1852. Died January 1, 1908, aged 120 years 7 months 11 days.

Hillsboro, Or., Jan. 1. ---(Special.)---'Grandma' Mary Ramsey Wood, who was 120 years old May 20, 1907, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. C. B. Reynolds, in this city, at 5 o'clock this morning. The cause of her death was general debility. Mary Ramsey Wood was the daughter of a brick mason, Richard Ramsey, and was born at Knoxville, Tenn., May 20, 1787. At
the age of 12 years she joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. She married Jacob Lemons in 1804, and born the following children: Mary Jane Lemons, born in 1806, died 1904; Isaac Lemons, born in 1809, and died 1866; Mrs. Nancy Lemons Bullock, born 1816 and died 1868; Mrs. Catherine Reynolds, born 1830, and at whose home the aged woman has resided for many years.
- Crosses the Plains on Horseback -

Mrs. Lemons moved from Tennessee to Alabama with her husband in 1837, and to Georgia in 1838. Lemons died in 1839. In 1849 she moved to Missouri. In 1852 she crossed the plains to Oregon, riding the entire distance on horsback on a mare she christened Martha Washington Pioneer. She settled in Washington County and on May 28, 1854, she was wedded to John Wood, who died in the sixties.

Wood built the first frame hotel in Hillsboro. This was a tavern and saloon combined for some time, and Mrs. Wood frequently tended bar for the husband when he was otherwise engaged. She thought nothing of this, as it was the custom in those days. She was descended from English stock, her ancestors settling in the Carolinas. Her mother died at the age of 110.

- Remembers Andrew Jackson -

She was a great reader in her prime, and had many times seen General Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other statesmen of her younger days. Her best recollection, however, as to public men, seems to have been centered on the great Andrew Jackson, with whom she danced, as a girl, many times.

Mrs. Wood always took an active interest in National politics, and was an uncompromising Democrat to her last hours. Andrew Jackson was her ideal of a statesman. She once said: "Andy Jackson was the President for you. He knew how to fight, and he know how to make laws, and, better yet, he know how to enforce them."

- Her Age is Authentic -

There has been some doubt expressed as to the correctness of her age, and Mrs. Reynolds wrote to relatives at Warm Springs, Mo., asking for a record of the family Bible. The answer was received and the excerpt gives Mrs. Wood's age as 120 last May. This letter, which the Oregonian correspondent saw and read, was lost, the holder not at that time (several years ago) appreciating its importance. The family moved from Warm Springs and it has been impossible again to get into communication with the writer of the letter giving the date of her birth.

- Strong Dislike for Hearse -

Her Jacksonian simplicity ruled strong, even in her last days. It was her wish that Mrs. Catherine Wehrung wife of Pioneer Henry Wehrung, should line her coffin, and she was emphatic that her remains should not be conveyed to her last resting place in a hearse. She said that it was her wish that she be taken to the grave in a hack or "democrat wagon." as she called it, and that a quilt must cover the receptacle on the way to the cemetery.

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Submitted: 10/18/05

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