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John Wood




D-8 (909 acres, Apr 1788)

John Wood. Origin: Loyalist.

On 1 May 1778, John Wood was declared by the Colonial Georgia government in Chatham County to be guilty of treason. He was banished from the colony, and his large estate was confiscated. However, he apparently later returned to Georgia, and in December 1778 he married Leleah Johnston, daughter of Dr. Lewis Johnston.

In the Spanish Census of 1783 he is listed as a refugee living in East Florida. It states that he is married, has no children, and possesses 13 negro men, 14 women, and 15 negro children. As his request to the patriot authorities to have his name removed from the Act of Confiscation was denied, he chose to go to Nassau with his brother-in-law, Lewis Johnston, Jr. Between them, they owned 52 slaves. The return of the transport ship, Elizabeth, which arrived in Nassau 30 June 1784, shows they took their slaves with them to Nassau.

In the Bahamas, Mr. Wood received numerous government appointments, plus land on New Providence; 909 acres of land in the current settlement of Grays Long Island in April 1788; and in 1790, he was appointed Comptroller of Customs for the Port of Exuma.

After the chenille bug and other pests ruined their cotton crops, John Wood and his brother-in-law, Lewis Johnston, Jr., returned to Georgia in 1802 with their families and slaves. Wood died in 1829, and his grave monument states that he was born in Yorkshire, England in 1752 and died at his residence in St. Marys, Georgia. John’s wife Leleah Johnston Wood was born circa 1760 and died 19 February 1863. She was buried next to her husband in St Marys, Georgia, behind the Presbyterian Church. They had had but one child, Jane Wood, who married Reverend Horace Pratt of Connecticut. She died in 1829, leaving 3 children.

John Wood’s large land grant in the current Grays settlement area was adjacent to land granted to his brother-in-law, Lewis Johnston. His land grant states he was a Loyalist, and he was given a ten-year waiver from paying quit rent.

References: Siebert and Parrish

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