Located 3 miles west of Mt Sterling on US 60 in Montgomery County
Biography of General John Bell Hood, CSA
John Bell Hood was born on June 29, 1831, in Owingsville (Bath County), Kentucky, a son of Dr. John and Theodosia French Hood.
Records indicate that the Mt. Sterling, Kentucky home of Dr. John Hood was one of comfort, but not extravagance. Upon the death of her father James French in 1835, Theodosia inherited $700.00 in cash, and apparently used those funds to purchase a home. The two-story brick structure still stands today (May 2001) on US Route 60, three miles west of Mt. Sterling, and is occupied as a personal residence.
In 1841 Dr. Hood began acquiring land that ultimately totaled approximately 600 acres. Although Montgomery County tax records were destroyed by fire, the size of the farm suggests that Dr. Hood would have owned slaves. However, the absence of any evidence of slave quarters on the current home site indicates that the number of slaves was probably not significant.
Although folklore tells of John Bell Hood being a wild youth, there is no record whatsoever of any legal problems. Legend also speaks of his fondness and pursuit of girls. One legend is that of his affair with Anne Mitchell, featured in the October 25, 1948 issue of Life Magazine, "The Ghost of Anne Mitchell." Again however, this may also be less than totally credible since a civil libel lawsuit was filed soon after the story’s publication by a descendent of one of the main characters in the story. Hood’s reputation for being compulsive and rambunctious, as well as his reputation as a "lady’s man", seems to have evolved many years after the Civil War, and has no known verifiable or documented evidence to confirm its accuracy or authenticity.
John Bell and his siblings were left with their mother for approximately eight months each year during the middle and late 1840’s during Dr. Hood’s annual visits to Philadelphia, where he taught medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. During the extended absences of his father, young John Bell would be influenced significantly by his grandfather Luke, the old Indian fighter, and his grandfather James, the Revolutionary War veteran. He would also no doubt be told stories of the war experiences of his great grandfathers, and uncles.
John Bell was urged by his father to take up the study of medicine, and was even offered an opportunity to study in Europe. However, John Bell desired to follow in the soldier’s footsteps of his forefathers, and with the assistance of his uncle, Judge Richard French, he received an appointment to West Point, enrolling on July 1, 1849.