UA Journey

Richard C. Wood 1917-1918

Fairbanks

Richard Wood was born in Winnemucca, Nevada in December 1876 to Richard and Martha Wood.  He went to Dawson during the Klondike stampede, arriving in Dawson from Los Angeles on May 30, 1898. For several years Wood went back and forth between Dawson and Seattle as a clerk for the White Pass & Yukon Railroad.

In 1904, Wood established the Fairbanks Banking Co., together with E.T. Barnett and J.W. Hill as Barnett’s cashier, and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the bank. Wood resigned his position as cashier of the Fairbanks Banking Co. after the merging of the Washington-Alaska bank and soon after organized the First National Bank of Fairbanks, becoming its president and manager. Fairbanks Banking Co. closed its doors in 1911 as an insolvent institution.

Wood marries in 1907 and was divorced in May 1917 from his wife for alleged cruelty. In August of that same year, Governor John F. Strong appointed Wood to the board of trustees of the Agricultural College and School of Mines. Wood later resigned from the board of trustees a year later. H. Claude Kelly was appointed to take his place on the board.

In 1920 he marries Marion Creamer. “Dick is one of the first comers to Fairbanks and is known to everyone, and the newlyweds are assured of happiness and prosperity from the start of their married life,” the News-Miner reported in the wedding announcement.

Wood helped play a key part in the development of aviation in Fairbanks along with W.F. Thompson, editor of the News-Miner. Wood and Thompson formed the Farthest North Airplane Co. with Carl “Ben” Eielson as pilot, and help launch commercial aviation in 1923.

Wood resigned his bank presidency in 1924. He sold his interests and left the state. He returns in 1934 and becomes manager of the Fairbanks Agency Co., handling real estate and insurance. Richard Wood died on October 15, 1944 in Fairbanks from suffocation.


Sources:

BOR file
 
Polks Gazetter 1903 directory
 
Cole, Dermot. 1999. Fairbanks, A Gold rush town that beat the odds. Canada: Epicenter Press
 
Cole, Terrence. 1984. Crooked Past. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press
 
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, May 28, 2000