Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hood Family misinformation

A recent visit to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. turned up a book by Dellman O. Hood titled "The Tunis Hood Family." The book was published in 1960, and is a valuable resource for the ancestry of the Hood family, of which many citizens of Itawamba descend. Thanks to this book, and to the attention the Hood family receives due to its connection to Elvis Presley (Minnie Mae Hood of Itawamba County was Elvis' grandmother), there is a ton of information on the internet and elsewhere about the Hoods. Unfortunately, a lot of the information is just plain wrong as I've recently discovered.

I've spent the past several days researching the Hood family. My husband's great-grandmother was Alma Hood who was the granddaughter of Joshua Harrison Hood, Sr. who moved to Itawamba County about 1854 from St. Clair County, Alabama. The book "The Tunis Hood Family" indicates that Joshua's parents were William and Elizabeth Hood, and that Joshua's siblings were Elizabeth Jane Hood who married a Williams, Hiram Hood, Charles Buren Hood and others. My research indicates otherwise, and I believe that Joshua was actually the son of James and Margaret Hood.

The Hood family has a rich history. Unlike most of our Southern ancestors, the Hoods are of Dutch origin, settling in New York state in the 1600s after arriving from Holland. I'll comment more about their heritage in a later post, but right now I want to focus on the Hoods after they arrived in Alabama following the War of 1812.

Joshua Harrison Hood, Sr. was born in St. Clair County, Alabama on September 13, 1831. The first record we have of Joshua is his marriage in December 1849 in that county to Margaret Johnson, believed to be the daughter of Simeon and Martha Johnson. We find Joshua and Margaret in the 1850 census in St. Clair County, living next to the households of Simeon Johnson and Harrison Hood. This Harrison Hood is too young to be Joshua's father, but could be a brother. No William Hood, supposed father of Joshua, is found in St. Clair County in 1850, or in 1840 for that matter. If William was Joshua's father, we would expect to find him in St. Clair County although it is possible that Joshua was back for a visit with his family, met the young Margaret Johnson, stayed and married her. Entirely possible.

But let's look at the 1840 census to find Joshua as a young lad in the household of William Hood, his supposed father. Since that census only provides us with the name of the head of household and ages -no names- of the household's members, we cannot know for sure where Joshua was living. There is only one William Hood enumerated in the 1840 census for Alabama that has a young male, age 5-10 (Joshua was nine years old), but this William was living in Tallapoosa County and his household contains no other young males. Where would his supposed brothers be living if not with their father? Although it is possible, I don't believe that this household belongs to the father of Joshua Harrison Hood, Sr.

Information from the book and found on the internet indicates that the supposed father of Joshua, William Hood, was a Baptist preacher who moved to Pickens County, Alabama and then to Itawamba County.

Charles Buren Hood is often found as a sibling for Joshua Harrison Hood. In fact, the book indicates that he and Joshua were likely twins. However, Charles Buren Hood himself indicated in a biographical sketch that his father was William Hood, but his mother was Cecilia Quinn. The 1870 census includes a household for William and Celia Hood in Smithville, Mississippi. William Hood was indicated to be a minister. William and Celia can be found in the 1880 census living near their son Hiram Hood, another male purported to be the brother of Joshua Harrison Hood.

Elizabeth Jane Hood, supposed sister to Joshua, was married to Raleigh W. Williams. This couple is enumerated in both Itawamba and Monroe counties in the 1850 census, but the 1860 census shows them at Bigby Fork. As we Itawambians know, Bigby Fork is a long way from Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church where most of our Itawamba Hoods are buried. Opposite sides of the county. Elizabeth Jane Hood Williams consistently indicated that she was born in South Carolin, about 1822. Our Hoods were not known to have ever lived in South Carolina, moving from Tennessee to Alabama before 1820. In 1860, there is a widowed Elizabeth Hood living with Elizabeth Jane and her family, and this Elizabeth Hood has been reported as being Joshua's mother. In my opinion, she is not. Elizabeth Hood and her husband William Hood were living in Pickens County, Alabama in the 1850 census, and both indicated that they were born in South Carolina. Joshua and his bride were across the state in St. Clair County.

I think what has researchers confused is that there were at least two William Hoods, and the information for each has become co-mingled. More research is necessary to better understand the two men and their families. Adding to the confusion is that the Hoods found in Pickens County were not of Dutch ancestry but from Ireland via South Carolina, a different set of Hoods altogether but also with a William Hood among them.

Back to Joshua. Why do I believe that he was a son of James and Margaret, not William and Elizabeth as has been noted by most researchers? If William was Joshua's father, why is he not enumerated in St. Clair County where Joshua was living when he married? Why can we not find Joshua and his purported siblings in William's household in prior censuses? Joshua was living next to Margaret Hood, widow of James Hood in 1850. James Hood had known sons Harrison and James Jr. , and the 1840 census indicates other males in his household, including one that would fit Joshua's age. Joshua named his first born son, James. Joshua indicated in the 1880 census that his mother was born in Georgia, consistent with the place of birth of Margaret, the wife of James.

Dellman O. Hood did a wonderful job in laying the foundation for Hood family research, but some of conclusions have not been updated. Today's technology and ease of access to information provide opportunities to reassess those conclusions and findings. The way the information stacks up today, in my mind at least, Joshua Harrison Hood does not appear to be the son of William and Elizabeth.

There is no doubt that Joshua Harrison Hood, Sr. belongs to the St. Clair County family of Hoods, but the question is whether Rev. William Hood and his wife Elizabeth were his parents, as indicated over and over in family trees and on Elvis websites. Based on my research to date, it does not appear likely. Elvis Presley fans, beware. Not only is the Presley heritage in doubt (that's another story) but the Hood heritage, at least as has been circulated, is as well. If there is anyone 'out there' who is researching this family, and has further information, I'd love to hear from you. My e-mail address can be found on my profile page.


Anonymous said...

Mona, this information isn't about the Hood families; however, this death and funeral notice for A. J. Dulaney (70) of Hamilton will be more easily read here. He died April 30, at his residence in Hamilton, AL. His funeral is today, Sat. at 1 p.m. with burial in New Hope Cemetery.

It gave no survivors nor other family information. bettye woodhull

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Bettye, thanks for the info. He is undoubtedly one of "ours" but I'll have to ask around to see how he "fits in" the family.

Don Dulaney said...

I believe it to be RN Dulaney's Father.

Don Dulaney said...

Wow! said...

My direct ancestors are Eleanor Adams Hood and Solomon Reid, both pictured in Dellmann O. Hood's book, p. 225. They were from Monroe, NC, area (it should be remembered that the boundaries for North/South Carolinas changed in that area in about 1825 or so. It is often misread, such as the question of the birthplace of Andrew Jackson).
The name Harrison occurs frequently as a middle name in the book, indicating relationship with Tunis Jr. wife Eleanor Harrison.
It might be posssible to find more information of the family by checking out Mechlinburg County, NC and Mint Hill, NC where Tunis and his family are buried.

Richard said...

i'm only 2.5 years late in reading your post, Mona, but i'm glad to find that you also doubt Dellman Hood's information about Joshua Hood's parentage. before i discovered this book, i had reached my own conclusion that James was likely Joshua's father. i just didn't believe the connections in the book. i'm glad to know that you and i are in agreement!

Richard Foster

Unknown said...

I'm a decendent of a Soda Hood my great great grand father and I'm looking for him so if any one can help me please in box me at my email address

Manda said...

I haven't read the book, and I didn't know this mis-information was out there, but I think your suppositions are correct. There has been a family story that my grandmother was related to Elvis through "his mama's people". I doubted it, but after finding our Hood's and following them to St. Clair County, I added Joshua Hood to my tree, supposing he was the son of Margaret Hood, because he was next door to them. My 3rd great grandfather is the William Hood in their household in that census. I didn't realize there was an Elvis connection until later, but since it fits with an oral family tradition, and is supported by census documentation, I think it's more than likeley that Margaret is his mother. I'll be checking your blog for more information, as I haven't gone past this particular generation.

Stephan Pollard said...

I have found misinformation in the book as well. I am a descendant of Beatrice Arminta Hood b. 7 MAR 1869 • Belle Fontaine, Choctaw County, Mississippi, USA. Beatrice first shows up in the record with the enumeration of the 1870 Census of Choctaw County, Mississippi. Her father is listed as being Matthew Hood born about 1820 in South Carolina, her mother as Elizabeth A Hood born about 1827 and also born in South Carolina and the father's of both also born in South Carolina. Marriage records for Alabama, found on suggest the two were married in Tallapoosa County, Alabama in 1846 and that Elizabeth's maiden name was McGarrh/McGarrah, an arguably Irish sounding name. The Tunis Hood Family: Its Lineage and Traditions, however, lists Beatrice's father as being William Matthew Hood born about 1840 in Alabama and mother as being Elizabeth (Betsy) McGarrh (no birth or death date listed) (Page 112), the two's descendants listed "according to family Bible record furnished by their grandson, Benjamin B. Hood of Ripley, Mississippi". Clearly, Beatrice's father information does not agree with that found on the census in regards to both name and place of birth. Further, it seems unlikely, due to age differences, that William Mathew Hood, about 20 years Elizabeth's junior, at Age 6 would have married Elizabeth and then fathered children by her, though I suppose it's remotely possible! Much to my disappointment it is with our Matthew Hood and Elizabeth McGarrh that my understanding of my Hood lineage ends. If anyone is able to shed light on the heritage of Matthew and Elizabeth of South Carolina I would be very grateful to know of it.

NFallon said...

9 coats of arms listed under the surname Hood in Burke's:
Hood Coat of Arms