Joseph Wood Nudges Georgia Toward Revolution
Joseph Wood was a leader in Georgia's push to independence.
His work in St. John's Parish led to his community sending a delegate to the Continental Congress before the colony did.
Please note, there are a lot of references to St. John's Parish in this article. At the time, in Georgia, a Parish was similar to the counties we have today.
By the 1770’s, Pennsylvania born Joseph Wood had taken up residence in Georgia.
As the Revolutionary War neared, Georgia's Provincial Assembly was hesitant to disobey Great Britain by sending delegates to the Continental Congress.
Wood, however, was a resident of St. John’s Parish. This county, with a large percentage of the population having been born in the North, had a more rebellious attitude.
Supporting The Rebellion
Wood was a member of his Parrish’s Committee of Correspondence. This group decided not to wait for the whole colony.
Joseph joined two other men on a trip to Charleston, South Carolina. They delivered a letter of support to their neighboring colony's delegates to the First Continental Congress.
Georgia might not stand with them, but St. John's Parish certainly did.
Their goal was not wholly altruistic. If the Congress passed a boycott of British goods (which they would soon do), then Georgia needed to join rebels or risk an adverse effect on their economy. Being the youngest colony, this Georgia did not enjoy the same international trade as it's more established friends. They needed to tag along.
Back at home, Joseph Wood pushed his Committee to go even farther. Simply telling the other colonies they wanted to be part of the team was not enough.
This group decided to send a delegate to the Continental Congress despite Georgia's timidness. St. John's Parish selected Lyman Hall to represent them (if not the colony) in Philadelphia.
A Continental Mindset
After independence was declared, Wood was not content just sitting around Georgia. He returned to Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Continental Army where he achieved the rank of Colonel.
Joseph resigned the following year when he was selected to represent Georgia in the Continental Congress (they had finally decided to participate). Wood spent two years in the Congress, helping to oversee the war effort and organize the new nation.
Joseph Wood was one of the few members of the Continental Congress who served his entire duration as a delegate while that body was meeting in exile in York, PA. At age 65, he was the oldest member serving in that city.
After his time in York, not much information is available about Wood. We do know that he retired and lived twelve more years on his Georgia plantation.
To learn more about Georgia's participation in the American Revolution (and, vicariously, Joseph Wood), check out 'Georgia and the Revolution' by Ronald Killion. It is perhaps the most authoritative reading on Georgia's early days of rebelliousness. Grab it at the library or through our affiliate link below.
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