Charles Erskine Scott Wood
|Charles Erskine Scott Wood|
Wood c. 1910
February 20, 1852|
|Died||January 22, 1944
Los Gatos, California
|Cause of death||Old Age|
|Other names||C.E.S. Wood|
|Alma mater||United States Military Academy|
|Occupation||Author, attorney, soldier, lawyer, satirist|
|Known for||Heavenly Discourse|
|Spouse(s)||Nanny Moale Smith, Sara Bard Field|
|Children||Nan Wood Honeyman, Erskine Wood I|
Charles Erskine Scott Wood or C.E.S. Wood (February 20, 1852 – January 22, 1944) was an American author, civil liberties advocate, soldier, and attorney. He is best known as the author of the 1927 satirical bestseller, Heavenly Discourse.
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Wood graduated from West Point in 1874. He served as an infantry officer and fought in the Nez Perce War in 1877. He was present at the surrender of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. It was Wood who transcribed, and perhaps embellished, Chief Joseph's famous speech, which ended with: "My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." The two men became close friends.
Following his service he became a prominent attorney in Portland, Oregon, where he often defended labor unions and "radicals" including birth control activist Margaret Sanger. He began to write, became a frequent contributor to Pacific Monthly magazine, and was a leader of Portland's literary community.
In 1896, Wood was Oregon’s sole representative on the national committee of the National Democratic Party, known as the Gold Democrats. The party, which had the blessing of Grover Cleveland, championed defense of the gold standard and free trade.
Like many Cleveland Democrats, including his long-time friend Mark Twain, Wood joined the American Anti-Imperialist League. The League called for the United States to grant immediate independence to the Philippines and other territories conquered in the Spanish-American war.
As a lawyer during the early twentieth century, Wood represented dissidents such as Emma Goldman. His politics verged upon anarchism. He wrote articles for radical journals such as Liberty, The Masses, and Mother Earth.
Wood was unflagging in his opposition to state power. He advocated such causes as civil liberties for anti-war protesters, birth control, and anti-imperialism. In 1927, he wrote in Heavenly Discourse that the "city of George Washington is blossoming into quite a nice little seat of empire and centralized bureaucracy. The people have a passion to 'let Uncle Sam do it.' The federal courts are police courts. An entire system with an army of officials has risen on the income tax; another on prohibition. The freedom of the common man, more vital to progress than income or alcohol, has vanished.”
Wood not only advocated for the Native Americans, but he painted them. His love of painting generated numerous studies of landscapes and points of interest along the Oregon and California coastline. He also memorialized some of his favorite places in watercolor including Keats' grave and vistas from his home in Los Gatos, The Cats. His primary medium was watercolor/graphite. The Huntington Library has a good sampling of his artwork online.
Books by C.E.S. Wood
- Heavenly Discourse (Reprint: Kessinger Publishing, 2005) ISBN 1-4179-1765-2
- A Masque of Love (W.M. Hill, 1904) ASIN B00086BIH0
- Too Much Government (Vanguard Press, 1931) ASIN B00085T49U
- Heavenly Discourse (Vanguard Press, 1927) ASIN B00085SZEK
- The Poet in the Desert ASIN B00085YKLW
- A Book of Indian Tales (Vanguard Press, 1929)
- Earthly Discourse (Vanguard Press, 1937) ASIN B00085SZEK
Articles by C.E.S. Wood
- The Pursuit and Capture of Chief Joseph. Appendix in Chester Anders Fee, Chief Joseph: The Biography of a Great Indian, Wilson-Erickson, 1936. Retrieved from pbs.org 2008-04-08.
- Among the Thlinkits in Alaska, The Century , vol. 24, issue 3 (July 1882)
- Chief Joseph, the Nez Perce,The Century vol. 28, issue 1 (May 1884).
- Famous Indians, The Century , vol. 46, issue 3 (July 1893).
- An Indian Horse Race, The Century , vol. 33, issue 3 (Jan 1887)
- Smith, Sherry Lynn (2002). Reimagining Indians: Native Americans Through Anglo Eyes, 1880–1940, p. 22. Oxford University Press.
- Beito, David T., & Beito, Linda Royster (2000). "Gold Democrats and the Decline of Classical Liberalism, 1896–1900". The Independent Review (IV), 555–575.
- MacColl, E. Kimbark (1979). The Growth of a City: Power and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1915–1950. Portland, Oregon: The Georgian Press. ISBN 0-9603408-1-5.
- Quoted in Beito 2000, p. 570.
Books about C.E.S. Wood
- George Venn, Soldier to Advocate: C.E.S. Wood's 1877 Legacy (La Grande: Wordcraft of Oregon, LLC, 2006) ISBN 1-877655-48-1
- Robert Hamburger, Two Rooms: The Life of Charles Erskine Scott Wood (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998) ISBN 0-8032-7315-0
- Edwin Bingham and Tim Barnes (eds.), Wood Works: The Life and Writings of Charles Erskine Scott Wood (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1997) ISBN 0-87071-397-3
- Edwin R. Bingham, et al., (eds.), Charles Erskine Scott Wood (Boise, Idaho: Boise State University, 1990) available online via Western Writers Series Digital Editions ISBN 0-88430-093-5
- Erskine Wood, Life of Charles Erskine Scott Wood: A Renaissance Man (Vancouver, Washington: Rose Wind Press, 1991) ISBN 0-9631232-0-3
- Irving R. Cohen, Charles Erskine Scott Wood: An American Kaleidoscope (1982)
- David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, "Gold Democrats and the Decline of Classical Liberalism, 1896–1900," Independent Review, vol. 4 (Spring 2000), pp. 555–575.
- Edward R. Bingham, "Oregon's Romantic Rebels: John Reed and Charles Erskine Scott Wood," Pacific Northwest Quarterly, vol. 50, no. 3 (July 1959), pp. 77-90. In JSTOR.
- George Venn, "Soldier to Advocate: C.E.S. Wood's 1877 Diary of Alaska and the Nez Perce Conflict", Oregon Historical Quarterly, Spring 2005.
- Ted Mahar, "Oregon Icon Who Fought Conventional Wisdom", The Oregonian, February 9, 2008.
- The Oregon Encyclopedia entry on C.E.S. Wood
- The Oregon Blue Book entry on C.E.S. Wood
- The Lewis & Clark College's Digital Collections of C.E.S. Wood