William Hooper

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Founding Fathers
William Hooper
State North Carolina
Religion Christian- Episcopalian [1]
Founding Documents Declaration of Independence

William Hooper (June 28, 1742 – October 14, 1790) is an American Founding Father. Hooper was a Harvard graduate, established his own a law firm and was appointed Deputy Attorney General for the Colony. He was elected to General Assembly of North Carolina and he was a delegate from North Carolina to sign the Declaration of Independence in the Continental Congress. Also, Hooper would be a state Senator and Federal District Judge. He was known to be an aggressive opponent of British rule and taxation.[2]

Early life

William Hooper was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Scotch Congregationalist minister. His father William Hooper Sr., who had attended the University of Edinburgh,[3] had hoped for young William to follow him and become a minister. The young William chose law instead. He would graduate from Harvard and gained employment with James Otis Jr. at his law offices. Hooper received his Bar after he moved to Wilmington, North Carolina with his new bride Anne Clark. She would bear him three children. In 1770, his popularity earned him the position of Attorney General for North Carolina. In 1773, elected to the colonial legislature and in 1774, the Continental Congress.[4]

American Revolution

By the time Hooper reached the Continental Congress his mind was made up. He held out hope that the breakup would not lead to war, still he wanted out of British rule. Hooper's father was loyal to the King of England and unhappy with his son's beliefs. In 1776, his law business was suffering and he had to spend much of his time out of Philadelphia. By the time he returned the vote for independence had already happened. Even though Hooper missed the vote,[5] he was lucky enough to sign the document on August 2nd. In December of 1776 he was elected to his third term in Congress but by February 1777 he would resign in order to devote more time to his business.

Hooper was a marked man and the British were hunting him down. During their pursuit, they destroyed one of his homes in Finian[6] but he alluded them by moving to Hillsborough, North Carolina. Wilmington fell to the British and they torched his estate there as well as destroyed his property. After the Battle of Guilford Court House, General Cornwallis ordered his troops to fall back to their safe locations at Wilmington.

He would stay in Hillsborough and serve as a state legislator.


By 1787, Hooper's health had deteriorated. At the age forty-seven he was appointed to the Federal Bench, with one notable case involving a border dispute between Massachusetts and New York.[7] A year later, he retired altogether. He died in 1790 in Hillsborough at the age of forty-eight. His remains were re-interred under the Signers Monument[8] together with John Penn at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, which commemorates the Battle of Guilford Court House.

His final home the Nash-Hooper House was added to the National Historic Landmarks in 1971, which is located in the Hillsborough Historic District.


  1. http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html
  2. William Hooper, Virtuology.com
  3. The Object and Means of the Christian Ministry: A Sermon, Preached at the Ordination of the Rev. Cyrus A. Bartol, as Junior Pastor of the West Church in Boston, Wednesday, March 1, 1837
  4. William Hooper, USHistory.org
  5. A Synopsis of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
  6. Losing America, Conquering India: Lord Cornwallis and the Remaking of the British Empire
  7. Signers of the Continental Association
  8. Makers of North Carolina History