WOOD, ASHLEY ELIJAH (1885~1955) Ashley Elijah Wood, attorney, state senator and first Chairman of the Game, Fish and Oyster Commission, was born December 14, 1885, and graduated from Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1909. He began practicing law with his brother, D. B. Wood, in Georgetown, until he moved to Ballinger, Runnels County. In 1919, after practicing for ten years, he returned to Williamson County, to the small community of Granger, and was elected to the Texas Senate that same year.
Representing the "Austin District," Wood became a champion for the University of Texas. As Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, he pushed the legislation that eventually allowed the University to expand out of its original 40 acres of land to what it encompasses today.
In his last legislative session, Wood became known as the "father of modern game management," when he sponsored a bill to abolish the position of Game, Fish, and Oyster Commissioner and replace it with a new, six member, Game, Fish and Oyster Commission. After the bill was signed into law and Wood left the Senate, he was appointed by Governor Dan Moody, on July 16, 1929, to be the chairman of the commission that he helped to create.
After taking office, Wood served as Chairman until 1935, when Governor Miriam Ferguson failed to reappoint him. He was returned to the Commission in 1937, by Governor James V. Allred and served as Chairman until 1941, when he stepped down. Even though he was no longer an appointed member, he continued to work with the Commission as an unofficial counselor. By the end of his life, Wood had become one of Texas' leading promoters of game conservation and had created a state agency that eventually became the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
During his association with the Commission, Wood continued with his law practice and served as counsel for several insurance organizations until his death on September 13, 1955. He was survived by his wife, Martha Elizabeth (Mattie Beth) Colbert. The couple had no children. Senator Wood was buried in the Texas State Cemetery the next day.
Information provided by Mrs. Marjorie Bogusch and was taken from Senator Woods obituary in the Tuesday, September 13, 1955 edition of the Austin Statesman and "TEXAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Wed Aug 25 15:38:01 US/Central 2004].