Ann Hooper (Clark)

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Anne Hooper (Clark)

Birthdate: (28)
Birthplace: New Hanover, NC, USA
Death: August 1795 (27)
Orange, NC, USA
Place of Burial: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas Clark, Sr. and Barbara Clark
Wife of William Hooper, Signer of the "Declaration of Independence"
Mother of William Hooper; Elizabeth Watters and Thomas Hooper
Sister of Colonel Thomas Clark (Continental Army)

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About Ann Hooper (Clark)

Anne Hooper Continental Congress delegate Wife of Declaration of Independence Signer: William Hooper

William Hooper

William Hooper was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1742. His early education, at the age of seven, was seven years at the Boston Latin School. When he completed these studies, he entered the sophomore class of Harvard College in 1757, at age 16, graduating in 1760 with a B.A. degree and in 1763 with a M.A. degree. Although William Hooper's parents wanted him to enter the clergy, but much to the chagrin of his father rejected the ministry as a profession.

The next year, he further alienated his Loyalist father and isolated himself from his family by studying law under James Otis, a brilliant but radical Boston lawyer. After passing the bar exam, he decided to leave home, because Boston already had too many attorneys.

In 1764, Hooper settled in Wilmington, North Carolina, to begin the practice of law. He was warmly received by the planters and lawyers of the lower Cape Fear region and became a Circuit Court Lawyer, following the sessions of the court and traveling hundreds of miles on horseback. By June 1766, he was unanimously elected recorder of the borough.

On August 16, 1767, William Hooper married at King's Chapel in Boston, Anne Clark of New Hanover, North Carolina, the daughter of Barbara Murray and Thomas Clark, Sr., a wealthy early settler to the region and the late sheriff of New Hanover County. The two had a son, William, in 1768, followed by a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1770 and then another son, Thomas, in 1772.

Anne was the sister of Thomas Clark, Jr., who became a colonel and brigadier general in the Continental Army. It was the fortunate affluence of the Clark family that enabled the Hoopers to survive the difficult years of the American Revolution.

Anne and William lived either in Wilmington or at his nearby estate, Finian, about 8 miles away on Masonboro Sound, rode the circuit from court to court, and built up a clientele among the wealthy planters of the lower Cape Fear region. Ambitious, he harbored political aspirations and by 1770-71 had obtained the position of deputy attorney general of North Carolina.

Hooper built a highly respected reputation in North Carolina among the wealthy farmers as well as fellow lawyers. He increased his influence by representing the colonial government in several court cases. But from the beginning, his health was precarious in the low-lying Wilmington area.

Initially Hooper supported the British government in North Carolina. The increasingly popular Hooper was appointed Deputy Attorney for the Salisbury district in 1769, and Deputy Attorney General for North Carolina in 1770.

As Deputy Attorney General of North Carolina, he sided with Royal Governor William Tryon, and worked to suppress a rebellious group known as the Regulators, an uprising that lasted from 1764 to 1771, where citizens took up arms against corrupt colonial officials.

In 1770, it was reported that the group dragged Hooper through the streets of Hillsborough during a riot. Hooper advised Governor Tryon to use as much force as was necessary to stamp out the rebels, and even accompanied the troops that defeated the rebels in the Battle of Alamance in 1771.

But Hooper's support of the colonial government began to erode, causing problems for him due to his past support of Governor Tryon. Hooper had been labeled a Loyalist, and therefore he was not immediately accepted by the Patriots.

Hooper eventually was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 1773, where he became an opponent to colonial attempts to pass laws that would regulate the provincial courts. This in turn helped to sour his reputation among Loyalists.

During his time in the assembly, Hooper slowly became a supporter of the American Revolution and independence from Britain. After the governor disbanded the assembly, Hooper helped to organize a new colonial assembly. His Loyalist father was displeased and disowned his patriotic son.

William's prophetic observation in a letter of April 26, 1774, to his friend James Iredell is often quoted as a landmark of colonial foresight at this early period. Hooper wrote: The Colonies are striding fast to independence, and ere long will build an empire upon the ruins of Great Britain; will adopt its Constitution, purged of its impurities, and from an experience of its defects, will guard against those evils which have wasted its vigor. This was the earliest known prediction of independence, which won for Hooper the epithet Prophet of Independence.

William Hooper became a man of prominence in the legislative body, and in 1774 was chosen as one of the delegates to the First Continental Congress. With Thomas Jefferson, he served on a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. He was elected to the Second Continental Congress, but much of his time was split between the congress and work in North Carolina, where he was assisting in forming a new government.

Because of those duties, Hooper missed the vote approving the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July, 1776, but arrived in time to sign it on August 2, 1776.

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Ann Hooper (Clark)'s Timeline

August 16, 1767
New Hanover, NC, USA
May 30, 1795
Age 27
Hillsborough, NC, USA
August 1795
Age 27
Orange, NC, USA