Reuben Wood was a governor of Ohio during the early 1850s.
Wood was born in Middletown, Vermont, in either 1792 or 1793. His father, a minister, taught his son at home until his death when Wood was fifteen years old. At that point, Wood moved to Canada to live with his uncle, and he studied the law. When the War of 1812 occurred, Wood was conscripted into the Canadian army, but he escaped back to the United States. He served briefly in the American army and then returned home to his mother in Vermont. After the war, he continued to study the law and taught school.
In 1818, Wood moved to Cleveland with his wife and young daughter. He soon became a member of the Ohio Bar and began to practice law in Cleveland. His legal practice allowed him entry into the political arena, and he served in the State Senate between 1825 and 1830. In 1830, Wood became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the Third Judicial Circuit, before being elected in 1833 to the Ohio Supreme Court. He served as a Supreme Court justice from 1833 to 1847.
Over time, Wood became associated with the Democratic Party. In 1850, he ran for governor on the Democratic ticket, ultimately defeating Whig Party candidate William Johnston and Free Soil candidate Edward Smith. By the time that Wood took office, the Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1850 was in session. When the Constitution of 1851 went into effect, it stated that governors would be elected on odd years. Wood's first term of office was limited to only one year, but he then was reelected to a second term in 1851.
In 1853, Wood resigned from the governorship when he became American Consul to Chile. In 1855, he returned to the United States and retired to his farm in Cuyahoga County. He died on October 1, 1864.
- Fess, Simeon D., ed. Ohio: A Four-Volume Reference Library on the History of a Great State. Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Company, 1937
- The Governors of Ohio. Columbus: The Ohio History Connection, 1954