Frank Wood, 1842-1914

No. 7216 Printed photo of Frank Wood published in Men of Progress. Boston, 1896.

See also the page for 34 Alban Street, Frank Wood’s home

From Bob Rugo

Frank Wood was born in Ireland in 1842 and may have come to the US in 1848. He was a printer who operated a business at 353 Washington Street in Boston at least from 1877 to 1908. He did a lot of printing for MIT and Wellesley College. The Dorchester Historical Society has publications printed by him in 1878 and 1883 which relate to the Second Parish Church in Codman Square. He also published a number of genealogical reports for Boston families.

In 1871, at age 29, he married Annie M. Smith, age 32, a first marriage for both of them. They never had children.

I haven’t been able to find out where they lived before building the house at 34 Alban Street.

In 1883 Frank purchased a plot at Cedar Grove Cemetery with space for 18 graves. They appear to have  buried Annie’s father there in 1883; he had died in 1859.

In 1891 they buried Frank’s mother there, Sarah D. Dunlap, age 70, ( her maiden name was Roundtree, married James Wood in Ireland, married Henry Dunlap in East Boston in 1855).  At the time of her death she had been living at 62 Welles Avenue, just around the corner from the Wood house on Alban Street. It looks like Frank and Annie may have had 62 Welles Ave. built, between 1884 and 1889, shortly after they built their house on Alban Street, perhaps specifically for his mother. Annie Wood is shown on atlases as the owner of 62 Welles from 1889, shortly after it was built, until her death in 1907.

In 1900 Annie’s widowed mother Harriet Colgate Smith was living with them on Alban Street, along with a coachman, cook, lady’s maid and a dressmaker. Harriet died in 1906 and was a buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery with her husband.

Annie Wood died in February 1907 at age 68 and was buried in Cedar Grove. Frank, age 66, remarried in June 1908 to Lillian Neale, a 39 year old physician who had lived at 10 Exeter Street in Boston. It was her first marriage. Frank died six years later in March 1914 and was buried at Cedar Grove. His widow remarried 18 months later to a bank treasurer, Charles Alvin Bradway, from Monson, Massachusetts and she apparently moved there as she is listed there in the 1920 census, although she, as Lillian Wood, is shown as the owner of 62 Welles Avenue on the 1918 atlas.

No. 323 Frank Wood Convalescent Home

According to the Sherrill House website:  “In his will, he (Frank) stipulated that his forty acres of land on Morton Street in Mattapan, along with a $50,000 bequest were to be used to establish a “home for destitute convalescents and a home for needy incurables.”  In accordance with his stated wishes, the Frank Wood Home for Convalescents and Incurables was built, and operated as a 62-bed, not-for-profit nursing home for many years.”


The 1933 atlas shows the land Frank left for the home, but no buildings. The Frank Wood Home on Morton Street was not built until the 1950s, apparently following the resolution of a dispute over Frank’s will. According to the 1950 annual report of the Massachusetts Attorney General. “As representative of the rights of the public in public charitable trusts, the Attorney General successfully resisted efforts to have a trust created under the will of the late Frank Wood of Dorchester terminated and its assets distributed. The Supreme Judicial Court on January 3,1950,sustained the position taken by the Attorney General and, as a result, a trust fund totaling in excess of three million dollars will be devoted to the construction and maintenance of a convalescents’ home and a home ‘for incurables.”


Again according to Sherrill House, “Over time, efforts to expand or modernize the facility were deemed impractical, due to the building’s design and site.  Consequently, in the early 1990s, the Trustees of the Frank Wood Home determined that Mr. Wood’s legacy could best be served by merging its operation with that of Sherrill House.  This merger was completed in 1995, and the subsequent infusion of resources enabled Sherrill House to erect an expansive new wing and fully renovate the existing facility. In his will, Mr. Wood expressed his belief that “some great good can be accomplished” by caring for the most vulnerable among us.  The Frank Wood Wing at Sherrill House, Inc. is named in his honor and in his memory.  The wing was dedicated on Wednesday, October 26, 2005.”


Frank Wood in Men of Progress

Men of Progress. One Thousand Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Leaders in Business and Professional Life in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (Booston, 1896), 193.



Wood, Frank, printer, Boston, active I the Indian rights movement, is a native of Ireland, born in Cavan, May 3, 1842, son of James and Dorothy (Rountree) wood.  He is of Scotch and English ancestry on both sides, descended from Scotch Presbyterians and Puritans who went to Ireland in the time of Cromwell. He came to Boston with his parents when he was four years old and has lived here ever since. He was educated in the Boston public schools. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to Fred Rogers, at that time one of the most skilful printers in the city to learn the printer’s trade, and served till his majority. Then he was foreman of the office for seven years, and at the age of twenty-eight entered business on his own account. For about (our years he was a member of the firm of Batchelder & Wood, and since 1875 he has conducted his large establishment alone. His methods are in some respects unusual, and have brought him gratifying success. He is not confined to any special branch of the printer’s art, but engages in all kinds — book, job, railroad, illustrated and colored work. He does a strictly cash business so far as buying is concerned, never having given a note in his life. He employs no solicitors, yet in twenty years he has not seen a dull week. Mr. Wood is also connected with several manufacturing and business corporations as president, treasurer, and director. He has long been actively interested in public affairs, church affairs, reform movements; and a working member of numerous organizations for the advancement of philanthropic and benevolent undertakings. He has been connected with the Boston Indian Citizenship Association since its foundation, and has for some years been treasurer of the Lake Mohonk Indian Conference which meets annually at Lake Mohonk, N.Y. He is treasurer also of the Delft Haven Memorial Committee; is a trustee of the Northfield Seminary; a trustee of the New England Conservatory of Music ; a director in a number of religious and charitable societies ; was president of the Old Boston Congregational Club in 1893 ; is a member of the Municipal League, of the Pilgrim Association, and of the Boston Art Club. In politics he is Republican, with Independent leanings. He was married November 1, 1870, to Miss Annie M. Smith, of Boston. They have no children. Mr. Wood resides in the Dorchester District of Boston, where he is largely interested in real estate. He possesses a fine library and a choice collection of paintings and rare engravings.


Posted on

December 15, 2021

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