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Lot 1019: William Hooper

American Revolutionary War Collection of Richard Newell

by RR Auction

December 15, 2012

Amherst, NH, USA

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  • William Hooper
  • William Hooper
  • William Hooper
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Description: Signer of the Declaration of Independence from North Carolina (1742-1790). Good content and fine association war-dated ALS, signed "W Hooper," one page, both sides, 7.75 x 9.5, with a postscript on the adjoining integral transmittal leaf, no date [prob. September 1779], no place [prob. Wilmington, North Carolina]. Addressed in his hand on the transmittal leaf to fellow Signer Joseph Hewes (1730-1779) in Philadelphia and marked "Free." Hooper begs his friend, in great detail, to furnish him with a fashionable hat (unobtainable in North Carolina) so he does not resemble a mere "butcher boy," and reporting British withdrawals from South Carolina and Georgia to St. Augustine, Florida. Hooper writes in full, "I wrote you a few weeks ago. I hope that scrawl got safe to hand altho the subject matter was not otherwise interesting than as it assured you of my constant remembrance of your kindly attention to me and my earnest wishes to have it in my power to be made convenient to you. This is intended to give you a fresh instance of my readiness to call your obliging disposition into exercise. You must know that I am almost unhatted, my present chapeau would be a scandal to a butcher boy and neither South Carolina nor this state can supply me with a better. Pray apply in my behalf to friend Tybout or some other of the craft and get me a fashionable hat made and forward it to me to Halifax to Gilchrid or to your House at Edenton that I may find it at one or the other at the Sup Court. Some Traveler perhaps may be prevailed upon to bring it along. The longest string enclosed must be the measure of the circumference of the crown of the hat the other of the greatest diameter. My hat you may recollect is one or two sizes larger than yours-I said a fashionable hat I do not mean in the excess, but I approve of large hat as best calculated for this Climate-The short string is perhaps unnecessary. We have no news here, it is said that the Enemy have all of them returned to Augustine except the 71st Regt which is ordered to N York. Remember me respectfully to your Brother delegates. I wrote very lately and very long letter to friend [and fellow NC Signer John] Penn and shall write [Cornelius] Harnet when I hear that he has arrived...P.S. I see advertised in the Phila paper copper plate copy books for Children pray send me one or more of them if there are of different sorts-& let me know the expense both of the hat & them that I may depposite the amount in Contc. with Mr Smith." In very good condition, with intersecting folds (vertical fold passing through the signature), trivial pin holes near top edge, scattered overall toning, and writing showing through from opposing sides.We are not sure where Hooper obtained his intelligence, but it appears to be wrong. The 71st Highland regiment, which helped capture Savannah in 1778 and Charleston in 1780 remained in the Southern Theater for the duration of the war. Hooper may have been unknowingly referring to a move by British troops out of South Carolina to help defend Savannah against a combined Franco-American attack in September, 1779. Hooper resigned from the Continental Congress in 1777 and moved home to North Carolina. When Cornwallis moved into Wilmington in 1781, both his city home and his plantation were burned by the British. As a signer, Hooper was a wanted man by the British, and was forced to go into hiding keeping him separated from his family for over a year. In all, the letter is a superb association piece, written to a fellow signer and mentioning a third, with fine content.

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