Wilford C. Wood


Perhaps best known for his purchase of several Church history sites and artifacts, Wilford C. Wood owned such items as the original uncut sheets of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon; the John Taylor home and original temple site in Nauvoo, Illinois; the jail in Liberty, Missouri; and the Newel K. Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio. Born 22 May 1893 in Woods Cross, Utah, Wood began purchasing important Church history sites after returning from his mission to the Northern States in 1918. At this time there was little interest in preserving such areas, but Wood's admiration for the Prophet Joseph Smith and his appreciation for the Church's early history led him to purchase many of these sites with his own funds (Dockstader, 4). Over several years he secured property at Adam-ondi-Ahman and along the Susquehannah River, as well as many acres of the original Martin Harris Farm. Wood later sold most of these sites to the Church and set up the Wilford C. Wood Museum in Bountiful, Utah, to allow the Saints to view the items he collected.

In addition to his purchase of historical lands and items, between 1934 and 1947 Wood preserved several significant Church events on film, which his family donated to the Church after his death. Wood also owned an original edition of the Book of Commandments and a first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, containing the Lectures on Faith. He reprinted these books, along with an 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon and several historical photographs, in an attempt to "place the reader . . . in the shoes of the men who founded the Mormon faith" (Wood, foreword). Wood served for several years on the board of Utah Trails and Landmarks Association and on the Church's historical committee. He died 17 January 1968 in Salt Lake City at age 74.