Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Fernando Wood, a pivotal player in Lincoln movie

Cousin Larry, the genealogist of our Wood family, spotted a distant ancestor in the new Spielberg movie Lincoln: Fernando Wood. (He's played by Lee Pace, and has a surprisingly juicy part.)

Fernando (left) was mayor of New York in the 1850s/60s and, earlier, served as one of the state's representatives in the US Congress during the 1840s.

Among his bizarre ideas was that New York City should secede from the union (1861), becoming the Free City of Tri-Insula. (Thanks to Keith Muchowski of the Strawfoot Civil War/NYC blog for mentioning the proposed name of the city after secession!)

After initially supporting President Lincoln, he became an ardent supporter of the Confederate side and appears in Lincoln in that role. Fernando died in 1881 and is buried in New York City's Trinity Church Cemetery (tombstone above).

As Cousin Larry points out, you can choose your friends but not your family.


  1. Ms. Wood, I am Keith Muchowski, a librarian and blogger (thestrawfoot.com) who lives in Brooklyn. I have always had a special interest in New York City during the Civil War. My wife and I saw the Lincoln movie this past Monday and enjoyed it a great deal. Fernando Wood was indeed one of the great characters of the period. I have been to his grave in upper Manhattan several times over the years; it is in a tucked away little corner of the city. It had no real chance of ever passing, but I always wondered what might have happened if NYC had seceded and become the Free City of Tri-Insula. Anyways, I thought I would say hello and tell you I enjoyed your post.

    1. Keith, thanks so much for visiting and commenting. The Big Apple as Free City of Tri-Insula?! What an idea. I really appreciate your new info!