|| John Howland Wood (1816-1904) was born in Dutchess County, New York. Trained in the mercantile trade and apprenticed to a painter, Wood enlisted in the New York Battalion to aid the Texas revolution. He arrived in Texas in 1836 in time to participate in the Battle of San Jacinto and several other major events at the close of the war. Wood settled at Victoria as quartermaster of the Texas Army, marrying Nancy Anna Clark in 1842. They became civic and political leaders and the parents of twelve children.
The woods moved to St. Mary's, later called Bayside, where they opened a mercantile business and began to acquire vast land holdings throughout the state while John established himself as a cattleman. In 1849 they purchased this property, establishing a ranch which Nancy Wood dubbed "Bonnie View." Lightning damage to the original house led to the construction of this magnificent edifice on its foundations in 1875.
Erected by contractors Viggo Kohler and Hugo Heldenfels, the structure combines a typical Greek revival plan with exuberant high Victorian Italianate detailing. The two-tiered, full-height projecting portico supported by Italianate columns establishes the house's imposing character. The house also features pedimented window surrounds, bracketed eaves and a "widow's walk" or "captain's walk," reflecting the architecture of John Wood's native New York.
The house's presence on the rural Texas Coast, where few mansions were built, surely impressed visitors and area residents alike during the post-Civil War era. An outstanding example of the Italianate style, it remains one of the area's most substantial and least-altered country mansions of the period. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1998