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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Walter Elwood

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 723-724 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Walter Elwood, author and playwright, whose books and plays have attracted considerable attention in literary and dramatic circles, was born on the fine old farm on which he is now living in the town of Florida in Montgomery county and has always regarded that as his home, though his travels often have taken him far afield. The lure of the beautiful valley of the Mohawk has always brought him back. He was born on April 13, 1886, and is the son and only child of the late Judge Emery Elwood, concerning whom further and fitting mention is made elsewhere in this work and whose death in 1923 was widely mourned, for he was a member of one of the real old families of the valley and for more than seventy years had been a resident of Montgomery county. His kindly ways had endeared him to the hearts of all who knew him, and there were few in this district who had a wider acquaintance than he.

Reared on the home farm in the vicinity of the city of Amsterdam, Walter Elwood received his initial schooling in the schools of that city and then entered Cornell University, from which institution he was graduated in 1908 as a Bachelor in Arts. In that same year he accepted a position with the Bureau of Education for the Phillippine Islands and went to the Islands, where for three years (1908-11) he was thus connected with the program of school developments in our island territorial possessions. Upon his return to the States in 1911 Mr. Elwood became principal of the New Market public school at New Market, New Jersey, and was thus engaged for four years (1911-15).

In 1916 Mr. Elwood was made superintendent of schools for the Second supervising district of Montgomery county, a position he was occupying at the time this country took a hand in the World war in the spring of 1917. His patriotic spirit responded to all local calls in behalf of war work and he rendered effective service through the medium of the fifty schools in his charge, particularly along the lines of the Red Cross and the junior extension work. In March, 1918, he received leave of absence from school work and enlisted in the American Red Cross for overseas duty, in which service he was commissioned and the recipient of the French Medal of Honor. Upon his return from France, in October, 1919, Mr. Elwood resumed the superintendency of the schools in District 2 and finished his term of service in that connection. Meanwhile, he had been giving much attention to the pursuit of his literary labors and had come to be recognized as a writer of force and ability, the distinctive style and character of his novels, short stories and plays having attracted a degree of attention that determined him to give up school work and give his whole attention to his literary work. One of the best known of Mr. Elwood's works is his novel, "Guimó", a tale of life in the Philippines that received very favorable notice when it was brought out and which has had a wide and popular reading. Several of his best known short stories and plays also have attracted much attention in literary and dramatic circles and his friends are quite agreed that a promising future awaits him in the literary field.

Mr. Elwood is affiliated with the Cornell Club of New York city and is a member of Artisan Lodge, No. 84, F. & A. M., at Amsterdam, and of the Masonic Club of that city. Mr. Elwood continues to make his home on the old Elwood farm place in the town of Florida, Rural Mail Route No. 1 out of Amsterdam, where he has delightfully pleasant quarters, this hospitable old home offering an ideal situation for the pursuit of his literary labors.

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