Wood, Charles Drury (1870–1966)

By: Bill Wright

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1996

Charles Drury Wood, businessman, was born in Bolivar, Tennessee, on January 27, 1870. His parents operated a cotton plantation sixty miles east of Memphis. He enrolled at West Point in 1889 but did not graduate. He joined the United States Army in July 1898 at the time of the Spanish-American War. He was commissioned and spent one year in Cuba, after which he was mustered out of service. A few months later he reenlisted, and his regiment was sent to the Philippines. He was stationed mostly in Cavite Province until 1901, when he was again mustered out of service. During the period he was in Cavite, he met Julia Bousquet, a missionary teacher from Iowa; he requested to remain in the Philippines on special assignment. He and Julia were married in 1905 in Hong Kong. Wood returned to the United States and entered a real estate venture that proved disastrous; he then went to work for a railroad company in Queen's Crossing and Butler, Pennsylvania. The Woods had a son on October 24, 1905, in Ottumwa, Iowa. Wood moved to Marathon, Texas, in 1911 after learning about fluorspar deposits in the area from a mining engineer in Pennsylvania. His attempt to mine the fluorspar deposits was unsuccessful, and he established a candelilla wax factory at Double Mills as that industry was beginning to flourish. He moved to McKinney Springs in 1912 and to Glenn Spring in 1914, where he established wax factories. His partners in the candelilla wax business at McKinney Springs and Glenn Spring were W. K. Ellis and Oscar de Montel. In Glenn Spring, Wood built a home at Robbers Roost, about three miles from the factory. The house was destroyed by the National Park Service when Big Bend National Park was established, but the foundations of the brick bathtub built for his wife and the windmill tower remain. Wood later moved his factory to Reagan Canyon and had another factory at Agua Fria Mountain. When synthetic waxes came on the market, the demand for candelilla wax diminished, and the family moved to Alpine. Wood ran for county judge, was elected twice, and served for five years, also entering the real estate business. He retired in Alpine and died in April 1966.

Clifford B. Casey, Mirages, Mysteries and Reality: Brewster County, Texas, the Big Bend of the Rio Grande (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1972).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Bill Wright, “Wood, Charles Drury,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wood-charles-drury.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1996