One of the first discoveries made in my quest for answers was this article published in the Tombstone Epitaph on July 7, 1928. “TOURIST HOTEL CHANGES HANDS HERE LAST WEEK – Joe Hood Is New Owner of Well Known Hotel Here; Will Repair Building. The Tourist Hotel, for many years operated and owned by Mrs. Josephine Rock, pioneer resident of this city, was sold last Saturday to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hood who took possession immediately. There has been no official announcement made as yet in regard to proposed improvements or changes in the hotel building but it is thought that the new owners will go to considerable trouble and expense in repairing, enlarging and renovating the building. Mrs. Rock left this week for California where she will visit for a short time before deciding where she will make her permanent home. She is well known here, being the widow of John rock, pioneer merchant and one time member of the Board of Supervisors from this district. The new owners announce that they will not change the rates now in effect and will run the hotel along the same lines that it has been run in the past, giving twenty four hour service to transients.”
The Search Begins
As evidenced by Jim Hinckley’s America, I am possessed with an insatiable curiosity. And so shortly after my dearest friend and I married nearly forty years ago, stories told about Joe Hood by her family piqued my interest and set me on a quest for information that continues to this day.
Joe, my wife’s great grandfather, was born in 1880. Based in Tombstone, Arizona, he served as the sheriff in Cochise County in 1921 and 1922. He owned the Tourist Hotel that burned in 1942, and later, an auto court on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona. And he died in 1960.
So, first hand accounts of his early life were hard to find, even among family. Most recollections were little more than family lore that had been tainted by the passing of years and faded memories. Even heirlooms such as a .41 caliber Colt revolver that Joe purportedly carried during his tenure as sheriff was shrouded in mystery.
The Search Continues
A recent breakfast with artist and author Bob Boze Bell of True West magazine provided incentive to dust off my research, and to dig deeper into Joe’s story. Bob is the early stages of a book about colorful personalities associated with Route 66 in westeren Arizona. Joe Hood certainly qualifies for inclusion.
Surprisingly, Joe’s life in Kingman has been the hardest to document. Often an answered question leads to more questions. In turn, trying to answer these questions leads to interesting discoveries that raise even more questions.
Sometime after the fire in Tombstone, Joe and his family relocated to Kingman. Why? A hint of an answer was found in an unrelated research project about Oatman, Arizona. While digging through old newspapers I found a brief reference to Bert Macia, formerly of Tombstone, that had accepted as a superintendent at a local mine.
In 1906, Joe Hood had married Olive Macia in Tombstone. Her sister was Ethel, and as it turned out, her husband was Bert. So, now I had a family connection to the Kingman area. But I also had problems. Bert returned to Tombstone before 1912. He and Ethel became the owners of the historic hotel now known as the Rose Tree Inn in 1920. So, was there another family connection to the Kingman area?
Joe and his family moved to Kingman sometime in the mid 1940s. They purchased an auto court and built a market, according to family legend. But did Hoods Court exist before Joe built it? There is scant evidence that a court, but not a market was at this site in about 1940. What was its name and its history?
Over the years the quest for information about Joe has had many twists and turns. A few of those side trips have uncovered amazing and suprising stories. Bert’s name was actually James. And he had a son, James Herbert Macia Jr.
James Jr. lived a most interesting life. Born in Tombstone, he joined the United States Army Air Corps on June 24, 1940. Over the course of the next twelve months he completed navigator training and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. As a navigator he volunteered to join General Jimmy Doolittle on a daring raid on Tokyo. This daring group of aviators became known as Doolittle’s Raiders.
This suicide mission was his first, but not last, daring exploit in WWII. He served two combat tours and flew eighty combat missions in B-26 Marauders with the 320th Bomb Group in Europe from March 1943 until April 1945.
As I chase the ghost of Joe Hood, I can’t help but wonder what other stories are awaiting discovery.