John Thomas Hood
In memoriam By Dr. E. D. Russell
Forty years ago when I headed from the State University for the good, old town
of Clare I stepped out at dusk on the little, old, rickety platform of the
little, ramshackle depot, and to make sure I was at the right town, I stepped
over to a well-dressed, fine-looking, tall and thin, extra good looking man
and asked him modestly was this the town of Clare. "Well" quoth he in a
slightly nasal few words, "They call it Clare, but it should be called,
Hoodville." That was John Thomas Hood in days of his youthful vigor. John T.
owned 3,000 acres around Jackson Township, of the finest agricultural land on
earth. His son Joe owned 2,000 acres around Pioneer, a few miles north. Will
Hood owned 300 acres, Ed Hood his brother owned a quarter section and J. M.
another brother owned a section, so you see Hoodville would not be a
nonappreciative name for this historic county.
I was their family doctor and I know every acre. John T.'s homestead was most
productive and beautiful and he sure raised his family in, grand, domestic
surroundings and they all grew to beautiful manhood and womanhood as I so well
The Sunday after my arrival I went to Saint Matthews Church and
unpretentiously stood on the steps to size up my future clientele.
They were a splendid, rosy-cheeked congregation, full of life and vigor,
garbed in homely woolens and I figured I would get out of that town as people
so healthy looking would never need a doctor. Then the teams began to arrive.
Buggies were unknown in those days, only lumber wagons and what they call the
light buggy or cart, hauled the worshippers to church. Presently I saw a man
sitting erect with a caddy. Slightly lifted, holding the lines stiff and
driving the finest spirited team, fit for Barnum and Bailey's Circus, with
heard erect and necks curved like Kentucky saddlers. I noticed four planks on
the light-wagon all of John Thomas's magnificent family. Then cam Ed Hood
with his team of curved neck steppers and then came another brother J.M. with
a magnificent team. The Hoods were the best horsemen in Webster County and
John T. was a superb judge of horses and cattle. Mike Lahiff, John T. Hood,
Otto Klapka, Frank Conway, Con Griffin, Maurice O'Hearn, Martin Hough, Charles
Donahoe, Charley Burke and John Hanrahan were the men who built the historic
town of Clare.
WAS CLARE BOOSTER
John T. was an unlettered statesman in grand sense and judgement. He told the
people, "Spend your money in Clare, no where else; borrow your money from Tom
Donahoe and deposit in his bank for when you are without a bank, the bottom
falls out of the value of your farms. Con Griffin has the best hardware
store, patronize him; so has Charley Donahoe a splendid general store -
When the neighboring town grows and the small town dwindles, you are gone.
That was the philosophy of John T. Hood.
He was my best friend and the friend of every heroic soul. When you drive
through Clare, look south of the Catholic Church and you will see the finest
grove of Evergreens in all Iowa, planted for me by John T.
He is gone, loaded with the tender memories of a faithful family - altar boys
and all. He was an ideal American citizen with none of the levity of so many.
There was never a man who could say John T. did him an injustice. He was true
as steel. I know many lay families in my practice but few of the character he
instilled into them in domestic surroundings. He left something that wealth
could not buy, a profound faith in the old religion the old pioneer Hoods
brought over from Ireland. And that faith was as Solid as the Rock of
Gibraltar and after 94 years in Clare the ceremonies at St. Matthews were
aided by the Hood altar boys. And he was laid beneath the green sod down at
St. James cemetery with his old chums gone ahead. They were all born there
with the echoes of the Magic Voice of their Redeemer ringing in their ears
before their eyes grew dim - the only voice on Earth that has never been
deceived "Everyone that lives in Me shall never die." And like a rainbow of
eternal hope may those words shine in eternal glory, o'er the green sod that
gently embraces them all till like the rolling thunder from the heavens they
shall all listen once again to that Voice of Glory, "Arise, ye dead, and come
John T. Hood passed away on June 19, 1940