August 7: Leonard Wood (1927)

In south central Missouri today stands the U.S. Army installation, Fort Leonard Wood. It is named in honor of Major General Leonard Wood, Chief of Staff of the United States Army. After earning his medical degree from Harvard, Wood began his military career as an army doctor on the frontier, where he received the Medal of Honor. Wood was personal physician to Presidents Cleveland and McKinley. It was during this period he developed a friendship with Theodore Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Wood and Roosevelt organized the First Volunteer Cavalry regiment, popularly known as the Rough Riders. Wood became a prominent Republican Party leader and a candidate for the 1920 presidential nomination. He served as civilian Governor General in the Philippines in the 1920’s.

Wood married Louise Adriana Condit-Smith on November 18, 1890. Alice and Louise Condit-Smith were the daughters of Colonel John Condit-Smith and his first wife, Mary Louisa Day. With the early deaths of both parents, the girls were put in the care of family friend Stephen J. Field (Supreme Court Justice & Epiphany parishioner). In 1888, the sisters were in the first confirmation class at Epiphany Chapel in SW Washington. Two years later, Leonard Wood and Louise Condit-Smith were married in the drawing room of Justice Field’s Washington, D.C. residence with the entire Supreme Court as witnesses. The event is recorded in Epiphany’s parish register.

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