Biography of Guy L. Wood

Guy L. Wood, a prominent financier and successful business leader in Grant County, has made significant contributions to the commercial growth of Milbank. Born in Canada and raised in Minnesota, Wood pursued higher education at the University of Minnesota while working various jobs to support himself. He later ventured into the hardware trade with his brothers before establishing a thriving loan and trust business. As president of the Farmers’ Bank, Wood played a pivotal role in its transformation into a respected state bank. Additionally, he founded the G. L. Wood Farm & Mortgage Company, expanding its operations and land ownership across multiple counties. Wood’s remarkable achievements reflect his entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering dedication to his community’s progress.

GUY L. WOOD. — Conspicuous among the successful business men and representative citizens of Grant county is the well-known financier whose name furnishes the caption of this review. G. L. Wood, for many years identified with the commercial interests and material growth of Milbank, and now president of the Farmers’ Bank, is a native of Canada and one of six children who formerly constituted the family of Walter A. and Martha P. (Jacobs) Wood, the father born in Wales, the mother in New Hampshire. Mrs. Wood was descended from old colonial stock, her ancestors in an early day having been prominent in the annals of New England, and her grandfather fought in the war of the Revolution. Of the seven children, three sons and a daughter live in Milbank, South Dakota, one brother resides in New York, one brother in Minnesota, and one brother is dead.

G. L. Wood was born November 5, 1860, and when about five years of age was taken by his parents to Wisconsin, and later to the southern part of Minnesota, where he spent his childhood and youth, receiving his preliminary education in the public schools. Actuated by a laudable desire for more thorough scholastic training, he entered the University of Minnesota, and while attending that institution devoted his vacations to teaching and to various other kinds of employment in order to defray the expense of his collegiate course. Leaving the university in the sophomore year, he went to Ortonville, South Dakota, where, in connection with his two brothers, he engaged in the hardware trade, establishing in 1878 a prosperous business which they conducted until 1880. In that year, the firm added lumber and machinery and continued handling the three lines during the ensuing two years, at the expiration of which G. L. sold his interest to his brothers and established a loan and trust business which he conducted in Milbank until the spring of 1891 when he organized the Farmers’ Bank. Later, this institution was incorporated as a state bank with G. L. Wood as president, J. C. Wood as vice-president, and J. C. Elliott as cashier, under which official management it soon became an influential factor in the financial and business circles of Grant county and vicinity, its prestige continuing with steadily growing interest to the present time. In addition to his connection with the bank, Mr. Wood has promoted and established various other enterprises, including the G. L. Wood Farm & Mortgage Company, which has extended its operations over Grant and other counties and which now has several branch offices. The company has built up an extensive business, owning at the present time about four thousand acres of land in different parts of the country and handling over a quarter million dollars annually. The business is constantly growing in volume and importance, and it is not too much to claim for its energetic president the credit of the enterprise, as it has been largely the outgrowth of his fertile mind and its success is the result of his judgment, method, and capable management. Mr. Wood is essentially a businessman and as such easily ranks with the most energetic and progressive of his peers in his adopted county and state. He keeps in close touch with the times in financial and general business matters, is familiar with economic and industrial conditions of the section of the country in which he operates and, realizing the wants of the people, he has supplied the same generously and unsparingly.

Like all good citizens and progressive men, he is deeply interested in his own community and few have contributed as freely as he to its material advancement, and none have been more active in promoting its social and moral welfare. His relations with his fellow men have been characterized by a high sense of honor.

Mr. Wood is a Methodist in religion, and at this time is on the official board of the church at Milbank. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen of America, and in politics supports the Republican party.

On September 27, 1883, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Wood and Miss Frankie L. Morrill, daughter of Jefferson and Helen E. Morrill, the father being connected with the Withington Tool Company, of Jackson, Michigan. Mrs. Wood is a native of that state and has presented her husband seven children, four sons, and three daughters, whose names are as follows: Ray M., Helen E., Hugh J., Marion, Guy L., Ayvant A., and Rosamond.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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