Tuesday, July 9, 2019

John Bell Hood's Family

Via Susan Lee

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John Bell Hood and his wife had eleven children in ten years, including three sets of twins. Their first daughter Lydia was born in 1869, the next year twins Annabel and Ethel. In 1871 John Bell, Jr. was born, followed by Duncan in 1873. Twins Marion and Lillian were born in 1874, and then, remarkably, another set of twins, Odile and Ida, in 1876. The tenth child, Oswald, was born in 1878, and finally Anna, in 1879.

In 1878, calamity struck the Hood family, along with many others in New Orleans.A yellow fever epidemic ravaged the city during the summer and resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 people. New Orleans was virtually isolated, and the Cotton Exchange closed. All but two insurance companies in the city went bankrupt. During the winter and spring of 1878-1879 Hood was wiped out financially. He was forced to allow his personal insurance policies to lapse, and he mortgaged his house to its fullest value.During the summer of 1878 Hood, as did most wealthy citizens, moved his family from the city. Spending the dangerous months at the Hennen family retreat near Hammond, Louisiana, they had been spared the terror of the epidemic. However, finances would not allow the family to move out of the city during the summer of 1879. During the entire year of 1879 there were only six confirmed deaths due to yellow fever in New Orleans. Unfortunately, three would occur in the Hood home.

One month after the birth of their eleventh child, Mrs. Hood was stricken with the fever. After initially appearing to have recovered from the affliction, she became ill after bathing, relapsed and died on Sunday, August 24, 1879. Completely devastated by the loss of his wife, struggling physically from his crippling war wounds, and under the stress of financial ruin and its impact on the security of his eleven young children, Hood contracted yellow fever on Thursday, August 27th. His eldest daughter Lydia fell victim on the same day. At noon on Saturday, August 29th, Lydia died, and the following day John Bell Hood died.

Anna Marie Hood's elderly mother survived, but was in poor health, and would die the following year. With no means of support, the ten surviving orphans were adopted by the following families:

Annabel and Ethel - Mr. and Mrs. John Morris, New Orleans
John Bell, Jr. - Mr. and Mrs. James Russell, Jonestown, Mississippi
Duncan - Miss Clementina Furniss, New York City
Marion and Lillian - Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher Adams, New York City
Odile and Ida - Mr. and Mrs. George T. McGehee, Woodville, Mississippi
Oswald - Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Harney, Lexington, Kentucky
Anna - Mr. and Mrs. Moses E. Joseph, Columbus, Georgia

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