We happily stand corrected - and educated.
In an editorial Wednesday in which we gave some of the history of Gen. Robert E. Wood in preparation for the opening of the new Gen. Woods Parkway in Evans, we said, "As best we can tell, Wood had no local connection."
It turns out Wood actually had significant local ties: He married Mary Butler Hardwick, an Augusta resident. A story from The Augusta Chronicle archives reports the nuptials took place May 30, 1908 at St. Thomas' church in New York.
The tip to hunt for this information comes from the director of elementary student learning for the Columbia County school system, Phyllis Means. And she should know: If not for Wood, she wouldn't be here.
Means says Wood hired her father, Joe Means, and brought him from Greensboro, Ga., to manage Wood's "upper farm" in the area around Tubman and Old Louisville roads near Appling.
Wood, who rose to prominence as a Sears executive, also owned a "lower farm" that encompasses the land now occupied by Riverwood Plantation and the Greenbrier schools.
"I think it's great that he's getting recognition" with the road naming, she adds, pointing out that even though he didn't live here, Wood was very generous to the community; among other things, he donated the land for Lampkin Grove Baptist Church.
Cecile O'Bryan, the retired manager of Sears at Augusta Mall, also remembers that Hardwick's brother, an Evans resident, would often stop by the store when it was located downtown. There, he would use his handkerchief to lovingly dust off a plaque memorializing Gen. and Mrs. Wood.
That plaque now is on display outside the Sears entrance at the mall. The road sign naming Gen. Wood(s) Parkway, then, will be the area's second visible reminder of Wood's local impact.
Having found his bride here, it's clear Wood saw more in our community than just the land he accumulated!
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