Joseph Garner Wood

Arkansas Conference President, 1889-1891

His Early Years

Joseph Garner Wood was born on March 31, 1826, in Hope, New York, to Arnold and Betsy (Bass) Wood. Joseph married Caroline Bass in 1847 and they had four children (Ancestry, 2019). In November 1855, Joseph and his family moved to Spring Grove, Wisconsin, where Joseph and Caroline became Seventh-day Adventists under the preaching of Elder Isaac Sanborn. Caroline passed away on February 17, 1859, leaving Joseph with four children between the ages of four to ten. Joseph was ordained as a local elder on June 4, 1859, and October 11, 1959, Joseph married Adeline Hale. They had five children together. In 1869 the Woods moved to Nashville, Missouri (Ancestry, 2009), where Joseph began his public ministry. In 1872 Joseph was ordained by Elder James White (Burkholder, 1909).

Years of Ministry

(Mountain Echo, 1887)
(Democrat, 1885)

In December 1881, Elder Joseph G. Wood was sent by James White from Missouri to Arkansas. Elder J. G. Wood traveled to Hindsville, Arkansas, in the winter of 1881 and held nine weeks of meetings. As a result of these meetings, nine people “took their stand for the truth, after which they were organized into a church–the first Seventh-day Adventist church in the state” (Norwood, 1910). Elder Wood also organized a church in Siloam Springs, and held meetings and visited interests in Harrison, Yellville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Booneville, Little Rock, and Texarkana. Wood was one of the first ordained ministers to carry on itinerant evangelism in Arkansas (Beeler, 1996). He labored for six years against fierce opposition, but was successful in raising up believers to the faith, in spite of many arrests during this time for Sunday labor. In 1889 Joseph G. Wood became the second President of the Arkansas Conference. Elder Wood was called to Ohio in 1891 where he served several pastorates over the next several years and served on the conference committee. He was afterward chosen to serve on the conference committee several terms in succession. In Ohio, Elder Wood pastored in Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnatti, Portsmouth, and Springfield, where his work ended (Burkholder, 1909).

(Journal, 1899)

Retirement Years

Elder Wood retired from active service in 1906, to give his undivided attention and care, to his beloved wife. On March 23, 1907, he lost his second companion who had faithfully stood at his side for nearly fifty years. The devotion and service to her had drawn heavily upon his physical strength and left him worn and enfeebled in body, although his mind remained clear. With comparatively little suffering other than a sense of exhaustion, death came as a relief to Elder Wood (Burkholder, 1909). Without a struggle he died on October 11, 1909, at the home of his daughter, having lived eighty-three years (Ancestry, 2012). Elder Wood had been a man of sound judgment, true to all points of the faith, and loyal to the Seventh-day Adventist church. In the last letter shortly before his death, he wrote, “My Bible and the Testimonies of his Spirit have been . . . my sure support. These precious gifts from God, coupled with earnest prayer and secret devotion furnish me all necessary comfort and banish all fears” (Burkholder, 1909).


(1885, Dec. 10). Fayetteville Weekly Democrat, p. 3.

(1887, Jun. 17). The Mountain Echo, p.2.

(1899, Aug. 14). Baptism of Converts. The Akron Beacon Journal, p. 8. (2009). 1870 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.

Ibid. (2012). U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc.

Ancestry Family Trees. (2019, Aug. 1). Joseph Garner Wood. Retrieved from

Beeler, Charles R. (1996). A History of Seventh-day Adventists in Arkansas and Louisiana 1888-1996.Keene: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, pp. 17, 25, 33.

Burkholder, H. H. (1909, Nov. 3). Columbia Union Visitor, p. 7.

Norwood, J. W. (1910, Jan. 4). Southwestern Union Record, p. 4.

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