John William Wood, the son of John Hayward Wood and Lucy Miller Wood, was born December 14, 1833, at OAK HILL, a plantation on the western edge of Sperryville, in Rappahannock County, Virginia. In 1854, he left home on horseback and headed west to seek his fortune. The phrase "Go west, young man" had appeared in "The New Yorker," a weekly literary paper founded by Horace Greeley. This advice prompted many of the young, unemployed and ambitious to leave the eastern part of the country at that time.
John W. Wood's original objective was to save $10,000 and return to the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains and the plantation life he had known as a young man. His first step was Atchinson County, Missouri, where he became a partner in a mercantile business.
On September 6, 1859, at the age of 25, he married Eliza Ann Hopkins, age 16 of Linden, Missouri. Eliza was the daughter of Nelson Orlando Hopkins, an area farmer, who had been a '49er in the California gold fields. To this marriage was born five sons and six daughters.
Soon after the beginning of the Civil War between the North and The South, on April 12, 1861, John W. Wood attempted to return to Virginia to join his five brothers in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Traveling "home" was prevented due to the lines between the North and South being closed and he returned to Atchison County where he worked on his father-in-laws's farm.
During the closing days of the War it became apparent that a southern sympathizer is a border state such as Missouri, would have a difficult time in business so the decision was made to move further west. In the Spring of 1865, the family, which by now consisted of two sons and a daughter, ages four, two and one, moved to Magnolia, Iowa. With the financial backing of Messrs Rudasill & Low of Atchison County, Missouri, a mercantile business was started under the name of Rudasill, Wood & Low. In the second year of operation, from the spring of 1866 to the spring of 1867, the store did $60,000 of business. The ability of John W. Wood to understand German was a big help in dealing with the German farmers in the Magnolia area who had emigrated from Germany.
In 1871, John W. Wood was elected Harrison County Treasurer and served in that office for two terms. Upon leaving the treasurer's office, he purchased the John Stocker farm northwest of Logan and conducted a general farming and cattle feeding operation until 1900.
On November 15, 1888, the banking house, formally operated by Phineas & William Cadwell, was purchased for $1,800. A private bank, under the name John W. Wood & Sons, was started to provide a business for the Wood sons. The original managers were Charles Nelson Wood and WIlliam Henry Wood, the two oldest sons. Charlie, (C.N) as he was known to everyone, had taught school for one year, worked in the Harrison County Auditor's office for one year and worked in the holbrook bank in Missouri Valley before graduating from law school, he practiced law in Onawa, Iowa, and then was employed in a Kansas City, Missouri, bank. The bank statement for the close of business on November 15, 1888, showed Assets of $8,604.14, which included cash of $2,344.21.
In 1898, the original wooden bank building was torn down and a new building of Kasota red sandstone and pressed brick was constructed at a cost of $12,000.
Since the original name of the bank has been John W. Wood & Sons, it was only fitting that the younger sons, interested in the banking business, would be employed in the bank. John Franklin Wood, the third son, was engaged in farming next to the "Home Place" west of Logan. Subsequently, he moved to Delisle, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he homesteaded on a wheat farm and became the only son not to work in the bank. James Brereton Wood, Brue or B.J.) as he was known, was a student at the University of Nebraska in April 1898, when the United States declared was on Spain. He and several classmates enlisted in the army and after service in the Philippines, B.J. returned home and became the third son to be employed in the bank.
The bank continued as a private bank, with John W Wood, Charles Nelson Wood and William Henry Wood as partners, until incorporation on January 1, 1903. On May 3, 1903, the bank became a national bank under the name "The First National Bank of Logan" with a capitalization of $50,000. Currency was issued in the bank's name by the U.S. Treasury with the bills being signed by bank officers. Ownership of the bank's five hundred shares was divided as follows: John W. Wood, 300 shares; Charles N. Wood, 40 shares; William H Wood, 100 shares; B.J. Wood, 10 shares and John W. Read, 50 shares. Officers elected were John W. Wood, President, C.N. Wood, Vice President; W.H. Wood, Cashier and B.J. Wood Assistant Cashier. Salaries were $100 a month for C.N. and W.H. Wood, with B.J. being paid $50 a month. John W. Wood, although president and principal stockholder, was not an active employee and received no salary.
A statement for the bank dated June 9, 1903, showed assets of $178,605.13 and loans of $65,572.57. Deposits were $128,499.76, capital stock was $50,000 and undivided profits were $105.37.
John W. read, one of the original stockholders, was a valuable member of the Board of Directors and his contribution to the success of the bank in the early days cannot be overlooked. He was the son of Amanda Wood Read, sister of John W. Wood. At the age of 17, he had served as one of Mosby's Rangers in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, he cam west and worked at the Ogden Hotel in Council Bluffs before moving to Logan as operator of a mercantile store under he name of Wood, Rudasill & Read. With the backing of Mr. Rudasill and "Uncle John", the Logan store has been started as a branch of the Magnolia store.