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Agnes (Stoner) Wood


Agnes Wood

Agnes Colline (Stoner) Wood was born on March 5, 1902 in Sistersville, Tyler County, WV, the daughter of Nathan C. and Letitia (Harbaugh) Stoner. She was named for one of her father's favorite relatives, Agnes (Stoner) Collins.

As a girl, Agnes moved with her parents to Robinson, Crawford County, IL, where her father was engaged in a national oilfield leasing business. She was a vibrant, energetic young woman, standing five feet, six inches tall, with brown eyes and dark brown hair.


"Flapper" Agnes

On July 6, 1927, in Marion County, IN, the 25-year-old Agnes married 26-year-old Ralph Forest Wood (1901-1968). He was a native of Illinois and had completed the ninth grade before leaving high school..

They were happily married for more than 40 years, but did not reproduce.

Early in her adult life, Agnes worked in a clothing store, and always was well-dressed. She enjoyed telling her nephews and nieces that she had been a "flapper" during the Roaring 1920s -- a term which meant a new breed of woman who went to parties, danced, voted, bobbed her hair, wore makeup and took risks.

The Woods made their home in a huge Victorian house in Oblong, Crawford County, not far from Robinson, where Agnes' parents lived. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows the couple in Oblong, with Ralph working as a general store merchant.

When Agnes' father died in 1936 in Robinson, Agnes hosted a large funeral dinner, attended among others by her out-of-town aunts Susie Conn and Lucinda Younkin Johnson who had made the long automobile journey from Pennsylvania.

After the death of Agnes' father, her widowed mother came to live in their home, and maintained an independent life there for many years, despite having suffered a stroke that paralyzed her left side. The United States Census shows Agnes and Ralph in Oblong, with her mother Letitia under their roof, with Ralph employed as proprietor of a battery shop..


Funeral of Agnes' father, 1936, L-R: Agnes Wood, Mary Weiand Stoner, Letitia Stoner, Susie Conn, Lucinda Younkin Johnson



Agnes and Ralph

During World War II, when it appeared that brother in law Harold "Red" Sheldon would be drafted into the Army, Agnes' sister Dorothy and baby daughter Sharon came to live with the Woodses in Illinois for several months.

Ralph's battery shop in Oblong was always more of a hobby than a profit-making venture. He received the bulk of his income from royalties from the family farm where oil had been struck.

In the 1950s, while visiting Agnes' sister Dorothy Sheldon in Perrysburg, OH, Ralph paid cash for a new Ford automobile, stunning both the dealer and Ralph's in-laws.


Ralph and Agnes

Agnes and Ralph kept gardens, including grape arbors and sweet corn, and she enjoyed quilting, following a longtime family tradition. Agnes was a homemaker and a member of Martha Circle, Compliment Club and Order of the Eastern Star. They were staunch Republicans, and kept a collection of old campaign buttons.

During World War II, Agnes was a "spotter" for the Civil Air Patrol, and was trained to search the skies and to identify he shapes and sizes of enemy aircraft.

The Woods rented part of their home to tenants over the years.

Ralph passed away in Robinson on Jan. 17, 1968.

After Ralph's death, Agnes made a major decision in 1971 to leave her beloved house, and longtime friends and neighbors, and to relocate to Findlay, Hancock County, OH, to be near her sister Dorothy.


Agnes at her Oblong home


Agnes at home in Oblong

Agnes moved into a house in Findlay owned by the Sheldons, and later to an apartment on West Hardin Street. She and her sister Dorothy enjoyed bus trips to New York City, where they attended Broadway shows. 

While in Findlay, Agnes joined St. Mark's United Methodist Church.

Agnes passed away on Nov. 6, 1979. As the right to vote was so important in her life, it was fitting that she died on Election Day, and that all the voting flags were flying that day.

Her remains were returned to Oblong for burial beside Ralph at the Oblong Cemetery.


Copyright 2005, 2020 Mark A. Miner