Oregon Experience: CES Wood

Photo courtesy Oregon State Archives

As a young West Point graduate, Charles Erskine Scott Wood fought in the tragic Nez Perce War of 1877. And he's credited with recording Chief Joseph's famous surrender speech. Artist, writer, civic leader and prominent Portland attorney CES Wood left a lasting legacy.

Premieres Monday, February 11 at 9:00 pm on OPB TV

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About the Program

Charles Erskine Scott Wood was a true Renaissance man whose life and career bridged the 19th & 20th Centuries. As a young West Point graduate, Lt. Wood traveled west, first to engage in Alaskan adventures, then to fight in the tragic Nez Perce War of 1877.

The heart of this program tells the story of Wood's experiences in that campaign, his role in recording Chief Joseph's famous speech at war's end, and his subsequent friendship with Joseph, a friendship that continues to this day between the Wood family and the Nez Perce Tribe. After leaving the U.S. Army and obtaining a law degree, C.E.S. Wood settled in Portland and became a larger than life figure in the life of the young city. Poet, essayist, painter, patron of the arts, civic leader, free speech advocate and defender of radical activists, Wood also played a key role in creating some of Portland's major institutions, such as the first library and the Portland Art Museum.

Subsequently, Wood and Sara Bard Field, a poet and suffragist who would become his second wife, moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where they influenced many notable Americans. During the height of his career, Wood was a national figure, yet he left his most significant legacy in Portland.

About the Program
Learn about the life of CES Wood.
The Artist
A sample of the writings and paintings of CES Wood.
Frontier Humanist
Read an essay about Woods relationship with the American West.
Family Photographs
View a slideshow of photos from Woods life.
Read more about the life and legacy of CES Wood.
Program Credits

© 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting.