Biographical Sketch of Captain John Hood

By Phil Norfleet

Captain John Hood is the man who murdered Lieut. Colonel John Mayfield, the Tory, by shooting him in the back!

The Draper Manuscripts, Sumter Papers, at pages 16VV321 - 323, contain part of an interview conducted by Dr. John H. Logan, in about 1858, with Colonel A. S. Wallace regarding his recollections of events that occurred during the Revolution.  The interview contains several references to Captain John Hood and Major James Meek, including an account of their murder of Lieutenant-Colonel John Mayfield, as follows:  

" ... Maj. [James] Meek, Capt. John Hood & several other Whig partisans succeeded in ridding the Country of the notorious Mayfield of Union, whose house was the rallying point for the Tories.  He was a muscular bully of the time, and kept also a grocery.  He was disposed of in the following manner:  They dressed themselves in British uniforms & approached the house dragging Meek along with them as a Whig prisoner.  Mayfield knew none of them, & was disposed to believe them to be what they seemed; but before getting quite into their hands, he suspected something, & turned to fly.  Hood exclaimed "You may run sir, but I have something here to overtake you" & leveling his rifle [he] shot him dead.  The ball passed through his head.  Meek was father-in-law of Mr. John S. Moore of York.

"Meek and Hood went side by side through all the privations and dangers of the Revolution and escaped without a wound.  They were at Briar Creek, Rocky Mount, Hanging Rock, Sumter's Defeat, Fishing Creek, Fish Dam Ford, Blackstocks, Biggin Church and Eutaw Springs.  At Eutaw Springs Hood's hunting shirt was pierced with seven bullets.

"At [the battle of] Fishing Creek, Hood lost his gun and horse [and] escaped on foot.  The camp was totally unprepared for an attack.  Some of the men were asleep, some bathing in the creek, some playing cards and some cooking.  Sumter was asleep in a brush tent and when awakened by his men on the approach of the enemy, he rose up, rubbed his eyes, took in at a glance his situation and exclaimed, "let every man take care of himself!"  Wilson says that he sprung upon his horse, jerked the bridle from the limb to which it was hitched, and made his escape with a couple of British troopers close on his heels, across the old Nation Ford.

"Hood was an Irishman, a most excellent man, a millwright, brave and generous to a fault, but uncompromising and unforgiving to the Tories.  He did good service after the War in ridding the country of the race of horse thieves that then infested it.  He lived on Clark's Fork just above its junction with Bullock's Creek.  He died about forty years ago [prior probably to about 1858 - which would indicate about 1818 - note by Lyman Draper] in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee.  His widow, Mary Hood, removed to Texas, Titus County, and died there in 1857.

"Hood, towards the close of the War, in the reckless license of the times, shot a Tory while sitting in his wife's lap; he [the Tory] had just come in from his camp or hiding place to see his family and Hood ... stopped his career forever.  This act he [Hood] never ceased to regret and to affect his life.  He became ever afterwards nervous and cowardly.  He was especially afraid of thunder storms and would skulk away into some hiding place with fear and trembling."

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