Holmes County, Florida
Family Histories

Earl Dee Hood

Submitted by Patricia Ann Hinson Mordes
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Earl Dee Hood, the son of Desota Hood and Dolly French, was born on December 5, 1922, near Westville, Florida.  He was raised on the banks of the Choctowhatchee River.  As a small child he loved to fish, and was constantly leaving home without permission to fish in the river. His mother chastised him from time to time for leaving.  One day while he was fishing, a hog wandered near the edge of the river close to him.  All of a sudden he heard a loud splash and squeal!  Earl looked and saw an alligator jump out of the water and catch the pig for lunch.  That scared him some.

And there was the time he and his ole dog went fishing.  Late in the evening, on his way home, he felt they weren't alone.  Turning slightly, he saw some tawny fur and a really large animal.  His dog showed his teeth and growled.  They kept going.  The presence kept following.  When he returned home and told his grandfather, Zeke French, and his dad, Desota, about the panther, they set about hunting it.  When they returned home with the huge panther, Earl became a little more cautious.

He became his grandfather Ezekiel French's shadow, going everywhere with him, and into the deep woods, learning about the plants, trees and vines and about making baskets out of white oak.  Ezekial French was a full blood Creek Indian.  He was chief of the Choctawhatchee Creek Indians and regularly held Indian meetings on his property.  Attending the meetings were other chiefs from Milton, Chipley, Marianna, Donaldsonville, Georgia and others who lived in adjoining counties.  They came in wagons, on horses, in Model T's and so forth to the meetings.

The people camped there beside the lake, carried on the ancient ceremonies of their people and had oral history of their people given as they sat around the sacred fire.  No stomp dance was done because the whole thing had to remain a secret.  Earl was told not to tell anyone about his being Native American or about the ceremonies held there, as they could be removed, or worse.

When Mr. Hood turned eighteen, his grandfather retired as chief, and Earl was one of the candidates for chief.  There were several young men who competed for the office.  They were required to blaze a trail, trap an animal and perform a special project of their own choosing.  They were quizzed on Creek law and on values and morality.

Earl's grandfather removed himself from the voting.  Earl did exceptionally well on all these tests and decided to trap a panther as a special project.  He only caught a bobcat and an alligator.  He put them both on makeshift leashes and, although they were somewhat reluctant, waltzed them down to the chiefs.  The chiefs were surprised, to say the least, and urged him to let them return to the wild, which they gladly did.

Earl Hood was elected Chief that day, was given the name "Red Eagle", which was the name of his illustrious ancestor William Weatherford, and charged with his responsibility to the Choctawhatchee Creek people.  Since that time, he has been chief of these people, who are now becoming a Nation, including several tribes throughout the state of Florida, and seeking state recognition.

Chief Red Eagle is now eighty two years old, in good health, with a clear mind and a pure heart.  He forges on to help his people and all Native Americans.

Earl Dee Hood served in World War II, Korea (two terms) and Viet Nam.  He retired after twenty four years as an air borne ranger.  Mr Hood was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery in WWII.

After he retired, Mr Hood earned his living as a private detective in Dothan, Alabama, where he had a successful career.  Because he was a small plane pilot and raced cars and boats, this former child of Holmes county, Florida, was recalled five times to the military for special clandestine assignments after retirement. He earned a black belt in Judo and is a member of DAV, Masons and the American Legion.

He is related to the Hoods, Frenches, Bentons, Levinses, Kitrells, Sellerses, Smiths and others from Holmes county.

It is with great pride I contribute this for inclusion in your genealogy site. I hope it will give insight to the many relatives of Mr. Hood’s and help them find their way. He is glad to assist anyone who wishes to contact him.  Earl Hood now resides in Jackson county and his name is in the phone directory.

My name is Patricia Ann Hinson Mordes and I am proud to call myself Chief Red Eagle’s friend.

 


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This page was last updated on: 6 Jan 2005