History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts- Leonard Wood

Pulaski County Missouri History and Heroes

Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri is named in honor of United States Army officer Leonard Wood.

General Leonard Wood, via Wikimedia Commons.

General Leonard Wood, via Wikimedia Commons.

1. Wood served as personal physician to Presidents Grover Cleveland and William McKinley.
2. Wood, and future president Theodore Roosevelt, organized the Rough Riders, “one of the most unique army units the world has ever seen.” The unit was comprised of “western fighters and bronco-busters.”
3. While Military Governor of Cuba (1898-1902) Wood sanctioned Walter Reed, a U.S. Army physician, to carry out experiments that confirmed the theory that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes. Wood called the conquest of yellow fever “worth the cost of the war, and probably the most important (advance) in the field of medicine since the discovery of the vaccination.”
4. Wood received the literary wrath of popular American author Mark Twain after the First Battle of Bud Dajo, also known as the Moro Crater Massacre.
5. Wood, on former President Roosevelt’s recommendation, ran for the 1920 Republican Party presidential nomination. Warren G. Harding prevailed and went on to win the presidency.

The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio), 6 January 1919
Samuel Clemens, “Comments on the Moro Massacre” (12 March 1906)

History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts is an occasional series of interesting facts regarding namesakes and historical figures in Pulaski County, Missouri.

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