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  • Writer's pictureMountain State Mysteries

THE HOOD FAMILY MASSACRE


GEORGE WASHINTON HOOD SR. WAS IN CASWELL COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA IN 1892, HE MARRIED FIRST TO OVANONA WEBB, DAUGHTER OF MARTIAN AND FRANCES WEBB. IVANONA WEBB HOOD DIED IN 1857; HER DEATH RECORD STARTED HER CAUSE OF DEATH WAS HEMORRHAGE OF THE WOMB.

WHERE IVANOVA AND GEORGE WERE MARRIED IS UNKNOWN. HOWEVER, THEY WERE IN THE RALEIGH COUNTY, VIRGINIA IN 1857, WHEN IVANONA DIED.

GEORGE WASHINGTON HOOD SENIOR, ENLISTED IN THE 8TH VIRGINIA INFANTRY, LATER TO BECOME THE 7TH WEST VIRGINIA CAVALRY DURING THE CIVIL WAR. AFTER THE WAR, HE WAS APPROVED TO RECEIVE A PENSION FOR HIS SERVICE IN THE FEDERAL ARMY.


GEORGE WASHINGTON HOOD SR, LATER MARRIED ARMINTA BAILEY, DAUGHTER OF BOOKER BAILEY AND SARAH STOVER, ON JANUARY 10, 1867, IN RALEIGH COUNTY.

GEORGE AND SARAH’S CHILDREN WERE

SARAH ALMEDA HOOD

ALETHA HOOD

JOEL HANSFORD HOOD

GEORGE WASHINGTON JR (WHO’S TWIN DIED AT BIRTH)

LUCY MAY HOOD

ROYAL J HOOD

AND WINFIELD HEZEKIAH HOOD



ARMINTA BAILEY HOOD BORN ABOUT 1846, DIED FEBUARY 14, 1894. SHE IS BURIED IN THE MOUNT TABOR CEMETERY IN BECKLEY, RALEIGH COUNTY OCTOBER 31ST 1909 STARTED AS A NORMAL DAY FOR THE HOOD FAMILY. IN THEIR HOME 4 MILES OUTSIDE OF BECKLEY IN MOUNT TABOR THEY MADE THE MOST OF THE SUNDAY BY ATTENDING CHURCH.

THE FOUR YOUNGER MEMBERS OF THE HOOD FAMILY ATTENDED THE EVENING SERVICE AT THE MOUNT TABOR BAPTIST CHURCH.

IT WAS AN EXCITING DAY FOR THE FAMILY BECAUSE 12-YEAR-OLD EMMA HAS BEEN BAPTIZED THAT SUNDAY MORNING.


ALMEDA, EMMA, WINFRED, AND ROY ATTENDED THE EVENING SERVICE BUT THEIR FATHER DECIDED TO SAY HOME. AFTER THE SERVICE, ALMEDA, EMMA, AND ROY WENT HOME, WHILE WINFRED AND HIS FRIEND WALTER HARPER DECIDED TO GO TO A NEIGHBOR'S HOME WHERE THEY HAD TAKEN SOME YOUNG LADIES.


WINFRED AND WALTER WERE STUNNED TO FIND THE HOUSE ON FIRE WHEN THEY GOT BACK HOME AROUND 11PM.

THE KITCHEN WAS NEARLY CONSUMED AND THE FLAMES HAD REACHED THE SECOND STORY AND THE FIRE WAS BEYOND CONTROL.

WALTER AND WINFRED RUSHED TO THE FRONT DOOR AND KNOCKED IT DOWN BUT THE HEAT AND FLAMES WERE TOO INTENSE THAT THEY WERE DRIVEN BACK AFTER SEVERAL ATTEMPTS.

ONLY A FEW MINUTES WENT BY UNTIL THE ROOF FEEL. THE BOYS COULDN’T HEAR ANY CRIES FROM THE HOUSE.



AS SOON AS THE FLAMES HAD DIED DOWN ON MONDAY MORNING, THE SEARCH FOR THE HOOD FAMILY BEGAN. THE FOUR CHARRED BODIES WERE FOUND IN THE DEBRIS,

THE LEGS AND ARMS OF ALL FOUR BODIES WERE BURNT OFF. FROM THE POSITION OF THE BODIES OF GEORGE HOOD AND ROY THEIR SKULLS HAD FRACTURES ON THEM.

THE GIRL'S BODIES WERE FOUND MISSING THEIR ARMS AND LEGS AS WELL… THEY WERE ALSO MISSING ANOTHER PART OF THEIR BODY.


THE HEADS OF ALMEDA AND EMMA HOOD WERE MISSING.

OFFICIALS BEGAN TO WONDER WHY THE FLAMES BURNED HOT ENOUGH TO DESTROY THE HEADS OF THE GIRLS AND NOT THE MEN.

THEY ALSO WONDERED ABOUT THE FRACTURES IN THE MENS HEAD. COULD IT HAVE BEEN FROM A GUNSHOT? WHY DID THEY FIND AN EMPTY CARTRIDGE SHELL NEAR WHERE THE FATHER AND SON WERE LAYING?


AS MONDAY WENT ON A LARGE CROWD TRAVELED TO THE SITE OF THE FIRE. ONE MEMBER OF THE CROWD WAS PROSECUTING ATTORNEY DUNN, SQUIRE P. P. TRAIL.


IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARD, THEY EMPANELLED A CORONER’S JURY.

DRS. HUME, SNUFFER, AND SAMPSON WERE INSTRUCTED TO EXAMINE THE BODIES. EACH DR CONFIRMED THAT ALL OF THE BODIES WERE IN SUCH BAD SHAPE THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER DEATH WAS THE RESULT OF THE SUFFOCATION FROM THE FIRE OR IF THE HOOD FAMILY HAD BEEN MURDERED THE NIGHT BEFORE.


THE CORONER’S INQUEST CONTINUED IN BECKLEY ON TUESDAY MORNING. ALL 3 OF THE DOCTORS WERE CALLED ON TO TESTIFY CONCERNING THEIR EXAMINATION OF THE BODIES.


DR. SNUFFER SAID THAT THE REMAINS OF ALMEDA, EMMA, AND ROY WERE FOUND IN THE EAST WING OF THE HOUSE. GEORGE WAS FOUND LYING PARTLY UPON A BEDSPRING IN THE WEST END OF THE HOUSE.

THE DR ALSO STATED THAT THE SKULLS OF TWO OF THE VICTIMS SHOWED CONCLUSIVELY THAT THERE HAD BEEN VIOLENCE AND THAT THE DEATHS HAD NOT BEEN CAUSED BY SUFFOCATION.

ACTUALLY, SMALL PIECES OF BONE WERE FOUND EMBEDDED IN THE BRAIN AND CAVITIES OF THE HEAD OF ROY, WHICH BASICALLY INDICATED A BLOW TO THE HEAD.


THE JURY RETURNED WITH THEIR VERDICT.


“WE, THE JURY FIND THAT THE DEATHS OF G.W. HOOD SR, ALMEDA HOOD, ROY HOOD, AND EMMA HOOD WERE CAUSED BY BURNING OR OTHER VIOLENCE.”


THE REMAINS OF THE HOOD FAMILY WERE PLACED IN TWO CAKETS AND INTERRED IN THE AT THE MOUNT TABOR CEMETERY. ON MONDAY AFTERNOON IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE HOOD FAMILY WERE LAID TO REST. OFFICIALS STARTED TO FIND THE MURDERER.

THE NEARBY COMMUNITIES WERE UNEASY AT THE THOUGHT THAT THERE COULD BE A COLD BLOODED KILLER JUST WONDERING AROUND.


THE PERSON SUSPICION FELL ON WAS MIKE FERRELL WHO HAD BEEN INTERESTED IN ALMEDA. THE SUNDAY OF THE FIRE, FERRELL HAD GONE TO THE HOOD HOME TO VISIT HER. HOWEVER, HE HAD BEEN DRINKING AND HIS ACTIONS WERE FOUND TO BE OFFENSIVE BY HER FATHER.

GEORGE HAD TOLD MIKE TO LEAVE, FERRELL LEFT BUT REMARKED THAT HE WOULD RETURN LATER THAT NIGHT TO ESCORT ALMEDA TO CHURCH.

HE DIDN’T SHOW SO THE GIRLS WENT ALONE.


BY SATURDAY, INVESTIGATORS WERE READY TO MAKE AN ARREST. THEY TRACKED MIKE DOWN WHO WORKED ON A 5-MAN BRIDGE CARPENTER CREW FOR THE VIRGINIAN RAILWAY.

NOPE THEY ARRESTED THE ENTIRE CREW.

THEY HAVE BEEN LIVING IN A SHANTY CAR ON THE SIDETRACK NEAR HERBERTON (WHICH IS NOW WILLIS BRANCH NEAR PAX WV)

THE CREW INCLUDED MIKE FERRAL, NELSON THOMPSON, RILEY DURHAM, AND ED SCRUGGS,


FERRELL, LIVELY, AND THOMPSON WERE TRANSPORTED TO BLUEFIELD WHERE THEY WERE GIVEN A “SWEATING” BY THE BLADWIN FELTS OFFICER, JAMES O’CONNER.

DURHAM AND SCRUGGS WERE TAKEN TO THE BECKLEY JAIL.


NO MATTER THE AMOUNT OF INTIMIDATION NOTHING SHOOK THEIR STORY AND THEY ALL PROVED TO HAVE ADEQUATE ALIBIS.

RALEIGH COUNTY OFFICIALS WERE DETERMINED TO SOLVE THIS CASE AND EASE THE MIND OF THE CITIZENS.


TWO WEEKS AFTER THE MURDERS RALEIGH COUNTY COURT OFFERED A $1000 (WHICH WOULD BE $33,420.55 IN 2023)

FOR THE ARREST OF MURDER OR MURDERERS OF THE HOOD FAMILY.


DEPUTY MARSHALL DAN CUNNINGHAM WAS BROUGHT IN TO ASSIST WITH THE CASE. NOT TOO LONG AFTER JOINING HE UNCOVERED A CLUE THAT SEEMED PROMISING. HE LEARNED THAT A COUPLE DAYS AFTER THE MURDER, NICK KEEN HAD SENT A SUITCASE FULL OF CLOTHES FROM HARPER TO HIS WIFE IN BECKLEY. HE SENT THE CLOTHES BY THE HACK-DRIVER HUGH WRIGHT. KEEM TOLD HUGH TO TELL HIS WIFE THAT SHE NEED NOT BE EXCITED BECAUSE OF THE BLOODY CONDITION OF THE CLOTHING IN THIS CASE.


HE INSTRUCTED HUGH TO TELL HER THAT “THE BLOOD CAME OFF THE OTHER FELLOW”


THAT RIGHT THERE WAS ENOUGH FOR CUNNINGHAM. THE VERY NEXT DAY KEEN WAS PLACED UNDER ARREST BY CUNNINGHAM AND GEORGE W. WILLIAMS AND TRANSPORTED TO CHARLESTON. KEEN WOULD BE ABLE TO PROVE THAT HE WAS NOT IN THE BECKLEY AREA DURING THE TIME OF THE MURDER AND POLICE WERE FORCED TO RELEASE HIM.


A WOMAN FROM HUNTINGTON NAMED MRS.BLAKE WHO WAS FAMOUS FOR HER ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE DEAD.

WITH NOONE BEING ARRESTED YET A FRIEND OF THE HOOD FAMILY VISITED MRS. BLAKE AND BEGGED FOR HER HELP.


SHE AGREED AND THE VISITOR LATER REPORTED THAT HE HAD A CHANCE TO INTERVIEW THE “SHADE” OF GEORGE HOOD.



ACCORDING TO THE WITNESS, HOOD EXPLAINED THAT HE AND HIS THREE CHILDREN WERE MURDERED BEFORE THEIR BODIES WERE BURNED.

THE TWO GIRLS WERE STRANGLED AND THEIR HEADS WERE CHOPPED OFF AND PLACED INTO A SACK.

AFTER THE HEADS WERE TAKEN TO THE DEEPEST RAVINE ON THE HOOD PROPERTY AND BURIED IN THE SAND.

ROY HAD BEEN SHOT AND GEORGE WAS KILLED BY A HEAVY BLOW TO THE HEAD BY THE BUTT OF A PISTOL. THE HOUSE WAS RANSACKED.



THE GHOST OF GEORGE MAINTAINED THAT THE CRIME WAS PLANNED BY A WHITE MAN BUT CARRIED OUT BY THREE AFRICAN AMERICANS IN MASKS.


OFFICIALS DENIED ANY FAITH IN THE COMMUNICATIONS OF MRS. BLAKE, A SEARCH FOR THE HEADS OF THE HOOD GIRLS TOOK PLACE AND IT WAS UNSUCCESSFUL.


IN APRIL OF 1910, WEST VIRGINIA GOVERNOR WILLIAM E. GLASSCOCK OFFERED A $500 REWARD WHICH WOULD BE AROUND $16,710.27 IN 2023 FOR ANY CLUES IN THE HOOD CASE BUT NO ONE CAME FORWARD.


TODAY THE ONLY THING LEFT WITH THIS CASE IS THE WHITE MARBLE PILLAR WITH THE NAMES OF THE HOOD FAMILY AND THE WORDS “GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN”



IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE CASE OF THE HOOD FAMILY

MOUNTAINSTATEMYSTERIES304@GMAIL.COM








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