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A 19TH CENTURY IMMIGRANT'S VIEW OF LOWELL
 
smaller ports on the New England coast.  We can only conjecture that he came here to try to improve his situation.

     In Wood's letter of 1858 to his brother in England, he requested that mail be sent to him care of William Robinson, Machinist, in Lowell. Research has revealed that William Robinson was married to Ann Spencer, one of three daughters born to Sarah Spencer, John Wood's sister.  Sarah had immigrated to Lowell sometime after 1842.  John appearently found employment with the Merrimack Corporation and was able to stay temporarily with his sister and her family From reading his letters, we can see that he was sending money home on a regular basis for his children's support.  We do not yet know what happened to Margaret.

     In September of 1861, while living in Lowell, John married Mary Rock, who had immigrated from Canada. In 1862 and 1863 there is no record of John and Mary Wood living in Lowell.  It is possible that they went to Canada, where her family was living. During the Civil War years, life in Lowell was quite grim with regular work very difficult to obtain. 

     From 1864 to 1866, John was living at North Franklin Court and was listed as a carpenter in the Lowell City Directory Edwin Wood, his only son, was listed as living with him in the 1865 Census and 1866 City Directory.  John's wife Mary died of dropsy in February of 1866. Edwin disappeared from the area soon after and his whereabouts were unknown.  In 1868, John was boarding at 220 Merrimack Street and working as a cabinet-maker at 135 Central Street.

The Tragic and Untimely Death 
Out of work for several months, dispirited and despondent over the deaths of his mother and daughter in England, as well as the death of his wife Mary, John Wood left his boardinghouse after midnight on August 11, 1869. In the early hours of the morning, he drowned himself in the 
Merrimack Canal, a few feet from Huntington Hall and the old railroad depot (near the present Dutton and Merrimack Street arch).  He was forty-nine years old.  When his body was discovered several hours later, it was brought to the home of Mrs. Senior, the owner of the boardinghouse.  There, Reverend Theodore Edson, rector of St. Anne's 
Church, prayed over his body and, later: 
"...At grave side I read De Profundia and a very qualified committal and collects--and the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." (diary entry of Rev. Edson for Wednesday August 11, 1869) John Wood was buried in the New Burial Ground (later Edson Cemetery) where his wife Mary was also buried.

     In his letter of May 1859, John gave his nephew Mark the following advice.  Unfortunately, overburdened and distraught, these words of wisdom were not able to carry him through his own series of tragedies:
" ...don't let him lack spirit wich is the greatest curse a man could be troubled with .... whatever you do infuse a dominant independent spirit in all your children and you will give them something superior to wealth to carry them through this world..."
 

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