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Bob Wood was born Robert Louis Silva on June 14, 1917 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. His father, Severo Pacheco Silva, was born on April 13, 1891 in New Bedford, MA, of Portuguese ancestry. His mother, Minnie Edgerton McNelly, was born on February 10, 1888 in Maine of Scottish ancestry. His parents met when they were both students at Tufts College in the Class of 1913. After graduation they married on September 11, 1916 and had three children, Robert L. Silva (b.1917), Richard H. Silva (b.1919), and David M. Silva (b.1926). The family lived at 29 Tremont Street in New Bedford, MA, where the father was a physician at an insurance company.

On January 5, 1917, during The Great War, the father registered with his draft board and was recorded to be twenty-six, married, medium height, stout build, with brown eyes and brown hair. He was not selected for military service.

On November 14, 1918 The Boston Globe reported, "Dr. Severo P. Silva, a well-known physician of New Bedford, was arrested and charged with forgery and larceny. He is alleged to have engaged in unsuccessful speculation."

After this scandal the Silva family left New Bedford and moved to Arlington, MA, where the father founded the Hamilton Drug Company. Hamilton was the maiden name of his wife's mother, from whom Dr. Silva borrowed money to found the business.

On December 6, 1919 the family's second son, Richard H. Silva, was born.

On June 27, 1925 the headline on The Boston Globe stated, "Dr. Silva Charged With $42,679 Theft. Got Money On Drug Order." According to the arresting officer, Dr. Silva embezzled money under false pretenses from the United Drug Company. Further investigation resulted in grand larceny charges of $170,000, as well as published reports about his previous arrests for similar crimes in Cambridge and New Bedford. During the trial the doctor's wife was called to testify that she gave her wedding ring to one of the complainants to forestall Dr. Silva's arrest.

On February 17, 1926 The Boston Daily Globe reported, "Doctor Silva Given Six-To-Ten Years." He pleaded with the judge for a stay of sentence, saying, "I need time to get my affairs in order. I am penniless. With the exception of two dollars, which I borrowed and gave to my wife, she is completely without funds and cannot obtain food for our children." The judge asked him, "Where would you get money?" Dr. Silva replied, "I would move heaven and earth to get help from my wife's father." To which the Judge replied, "Well, there is no one more capable of doing that than his own daughter." The sentence was imposed.

On September 5, 1926 the family's youngest son, David M. Silva, was born.

In 1928 the father was registered as a physician at the Norfolk State Prison Colony.

By 1929 Dr. Silva was released from jail. Here is a snapshot of the Silva family at the beach in the Summer of 1929.

In 1930 the Silva family lived at 215 Reservoir Road in Brookline, MA.

On December 9, 1931 The Boston Globe reported, "Dr. Severo P. Silva Found Lying In Auto Fumes. Died On Way To Hospital." His wife discovered him lying unconscious on the floor of the garage, with all windows and doors closed, while the car was running. The mortician that performed the autopsy made no public statement as to whether the death was accidental. Dr. Silva was forty years old. His wife, Minnie, was forty-three, Bob was fourteen, Dick was twelve, and Dave was five.

On September 3, 1932 The Boston Globe reported, "Mrs. Minnie McNelly Silva has filed a petition in Middlesex Court to change her surname to Wood. She claimed that the associations connected with the name, Silva, are not conducive to the best mental and social wellbeing of herself and her family. She explained that the name, Wood, is an exact translation of the name Silva." In Portuguese the word "selva" means "woods." After Court approval, the mother and her three sons became known as Minnie Wood, Bob Wood, Dick Wood, and Dave Wood.

In June of 1934 Bob Wood was seventeen, and had completed the eleventh grade of high school. Over the next three years his talent as a cartoonist was brought to the attention of Harry A. Chesler, who ran one of the first comic shops in New York City.

In 1937 Bob Wood collaborated with Charles Biro (1911-1972) to produce "Goodbyeland," a daily newspaper comic strip that ran in syndication for one year.

In June of 1937 the artist's younger brother, Dick Wood, completed the eleventh grade of high school in Arlington, MA, after which he quit school and entered the work force as a rental agent in a local real estate business. At that time the youngest brother, Dave Wood, age eleven, was a fifth grader in elementary school.

In 1937 Bob Wood contributed drawings to The Funny Pages, one of the earliest comic books produced in America that featured original contents, rather than re-printed popular newspaper comic strips. Other artists who contributed to this same publication included Dick Ryan, Claire S. Moe, Richard Speed, Frank Frollo, Fred Guardineer, Charles Biro, Fred Schwab, Jack Cole, and John Lindermayer.

In 1940 Minnie Wood lived at 23 Wellington Street in Arlington, MA, with her two sons, Dick Wood, age twenty, who still worked as a rental agent, and Dave Wood, a thirteen-year-old 7th grader.

By 1940 Dick Wood had left home and moved to NYC, where he joined his older brother Bob, and worked as a writer for comic books. He worked for Lloyd Jacquet's Funnies Incorporated. He sometimes used the pen-name "Dick Hamilton" and "Woody Hamilton." Hamilton was his grandmother's maiden name.

In 1943 the artist's youngest brother, Dave Wood, age seventeen, completed the eleventh grade at Arlington High School, after which he visited his older brothers in NYC, where he and Dick Wood formed a writing team. At that point all three of the Wood brothers were working in the comic-book industry. When Dave decided to stay in NYC, his mother, Minnie Wood, left Massachusetts and moved to 170 East Hartsdale Avenue in Hartsdale, a suburb of New York City, where Dave Wood could live with her, and commute to Grand Central Terminal on the Metro North railroad.

On November 22, 1944, during World War II, after one year of working as a writer of comic books, Dave Wood entered military service. He was stationed in Germany, where he worked as an Army reporter for the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces.

The March 1945 issue of Crime Does Not Pay included a story "inside a Comic House" which featured portraits of Charles Biro and Bob Wood.

After the war, Dave Wood was honorably discharged and returned to NYC, where he again joined with Dick Wood to resume his career as a co-writer of comic books. Dave Wood sometimes used the pen-name "D. W. Holz." Holz is the German word for "Wood."

The 1946 NYC Telephone Directory listed Bob Wood as a resident of 114 East 32nd Street. That was the business address of Lev Gleason's Comic House Publications.

The May 1948 issue of Crime Does Not Pay included a photo of the editorial board, Bob Wood, Lev Gleason, and Charles Biro.

Bob Wood contributed drawings to Silver Streak Comics, Daredevil Comics and Boy Comics from Lev Gleason, as well as Pep Comics and Top Notch from MLJ, and Target Comics from Novelty Press.

On December 7, 1951 the "Inquiring Fotographer" of The Daily News was asking passers-by "What is the closest you've come to being enticed into matrimony?" One the gentlemen who happened to respond was David Wood of Hartsdale, NY, who said, "The closest call I've had happened in Germany. I was a newspaperman working for the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. She was lovely and my intentions were serious, but I was saved from matrimony by a job in the United States. I hope to go back some day and meet her again. I'm sorry I left her."

According to news accounts, the artist Bob Wood had married and divorced two times between 1940 and 1958, but no archival records of such marriages have been found.

On August 27, 1958 Bob Wood was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Violette Phillips (b.1913). Eleven days earlier the couple had checked into a hotel "Mr. & Mrs. Robert Brent of Arlington, MA," which was the town he had lived in from 1923 to 1937. The artist claimed to have accidentally killed her during a drunken brawl. Nationwide newspapers covered the sensational crime.

Two weeks after this arrest, on September 8, 1958, nationwide newspapers published the much-heralded first installment of "Sky Masters," a syndicated comic strip on the exploration of outer space, drawn by Jack Kirby (19-20) and written by Dave Wood, as well as Dick Wood. Inking was done by Wally Wood. This innovative strip ran for three years.

After the murder trial, Bob Wood was sentenced to three years in prison on December 2, 1958. Two years and eight months later, he was paroled on August 8, 1961. Six months after that, on February 19, 1962, he was arrested for parole violation, and spent back to prison.

While still serving time in jail, on September 19, 1962, the artist's mother, Minnie Edgerton McNelly Silva Wood, died at the age of seventy-four in Hartsdale, NY.

On July 3, 1963 Bob Wood was released from prison. He was unable to resume his career in the comic book industry, but instead found a job as a dishwasher at the Melody Diner in Clifton, New Jersey, beside the Garden State Parkway. Three years later, on November 7, 1966, Bob Wood died at the age of forty-nine in a traffic accident. He was reporting to work at 6:30 in the evening, and attempted to cross the highway, when he was struck and killed by a passing car. The motorist stayed at the scene, was not charged with neglience, and was released.

His brother, Dick Wood, had an impressive career. He wrote for Lev Gleason's The Claw, Crime Does Not Pay, and Little Dynamite, DC Comics Batman & Robin, Green Arrow, Tomahawk, Our Army At War, and House Of Mystery, Hillman Publications Airboy (1947) Harvey Comics Spyman (1966), King Comics Mandrake The Magician (1966), Charlton Comics The Phantom (1969), Western Publications The Twilight Zone, Secret Agent, Boris Karloff's Tales Of Mystery, Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Star Trek. His short stories also appeared in Sherlock Holmes Magazine (1969) and Golden Magazine (1970). Dick Wood died at the age of fifty in 1970.

The youngest brother, Dave Wood, also had an impressive career. He wrote for DC Comics Batman & Robin, Adam Strange, Animal Man, Blackhawk, Daniel Boone, G.I. Combat, Green Arrow, Jimmy Olsen, My Greatest Adventure, Superboy, Supergirl, Tomahawk, and World's Finest Comics. Adventure for Harvey Comics, Bombshell for Lev Gleason, and Creepy for Warren Publications. Dave Wood died at the age of forty-seven on July 7, 1974.

                      © David Saunders 2019

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