In 1858, when little Nathan Wood was less than a year old, he was thrown from a wagon on his parents' farm and killed.
The grieving parents, Daniel and Emma Wood, laid his body to rest under the shade of an apple tree on the northeast corner of their property. Two other little graves were already there: the daughter and son of one of Daniel's daughters by his first wife.At the time of Nathan's burial, Daniel marked off a plot of ground three rods square and, according to family records, "as the family sorrowfully stood around the three small graves, Daniel raised his hands and dedicated the plot marked off as the resting place for all of his family who wished to be placed therein and said the plot of ground should be kept as a sacred resting place for himself and family and asked God to protect it and recognize his prayer in heaven."
Apparently it was recognized. Although the apple tree is long gone, that little plot of ground - now containing the grave of Daniel Wood himself as well as 31 other family members and associates - is still there, a quiet little monument to pioneer faith and devotion on an otherwise bustling street in west Bountiful.
Daniel Wood's history was closely linked to that of the early LDS Church. Born in New York in 1800, he moved to Canada, where he was baptized into the church by Brigham Young in 1833. Joining the saints in Ohio, he traveled and suffered with them there and in Missouri and Illinois.
At age 48, Daniel captained 50 wagons in the 2nd Company that left Winter Quarters in the spring of 1848. He later settled in what is now Davis County, building an adobe house that was the only religious meeting place in the area for a number of years. Later he built the first public hall, complete with belfry and bell that rang for all public affairs.
When the railroad came, it crossed through a section of Daniel's homestead, and the whole area was named Woods Cross by Brigham Young.
Daniel's body was laid to rest in the little cemetery plot in 1892, and in 1893 an iron fence was designed and built around the burial ground by Joseph Cotton Wood, the son of Daniel and Peninah Shropshire Cotton Wood.
That fence is still there, as are a number of faded headstones. "Most of them are old sandstone, and they've weathered quite badly," said Streeper Wood, a great-grandson of Daniel who took care of the cemetery for 12 years before recently passing the task on to another descendant. The plot has been owned and cared for all these years by family members, but "it's considered a historical site now," said Streeper, so no more burials take place there. The last to be laid to rest was Margaret Morris Wood, the last surviving wife of Daniel, who died in 1916.
In all, Daniel, six wives, seven children, one stepson, 10 grandchildren, one great-grandson, two daughters-in-law, three Indian children and a hired hand are known to be buried in the plot, although there might be more, said Streeper. "We really don't have an accurate list of burials."
In 1962 a monument to Daniel Wood as the "pioneer founder of Woods Cross" was added, dedicated by another of Daniel's great-grandsons, Henry D. Moyle, who was then a counselor in the First Presidency.
Daniel might be surprised to see how the city has grown up around his little cemetery. Even Streeper has seen a lot of changes during his 78 years. "I can remember when Fifth South was a dirt road lined with poplar trees," he said.
Located on 500 West, just north of 500 South, the Daniel Wood Cemetery is now sandwiched between a David Early tire store and a little shopping center that is home to Kwiky Copy, Bountiful Cleaners and L.A.C.E. by Louise.
But the plot has survived and in many ways is typical of the small, private cemeteries that dot the state, said Tanya Tully, who is compiling a list of all the cemeteries - big and small - for the Utah State Historical Society.
This one, perhaps, has received more loving attention over the years than some. But they all help preserve and record a chapter in our history when family cemeteries were a part of life, a reminder of a time when pioneer parents sought and found solace in the shade of an old apple tree.