William Hooper of Reading

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William Hooper

Birthplace: Berkshire, Reading, England
Death: between 1680 and 1683 (62-66)
Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Husband of Elizabeth Hooper and Ruth Hooper
Father of Mary Taylor; James Hooper; Sarah Wardwell; Ruth Hooper; Rebeckah Ballard and 5 others

Occupation: Weaver, William Hooper "aged 18 years" came in the ship from London, sailing July 13, 1635. he resided at Reading, Massachusetts in 1644, as town records show;may have been there before.
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About William Hooper of Reading

There's some confusion about his death date. He died after his will (August 5th, 1678). He was still married to his second wife, Ruth, in 1679, but was death by the time she re-married in November 1684.


William Hooper, born in England in 1617, came in the ship "James" in September, 1635, and settled in Reading, Massachusetts, in 1644; was admitted a freeman May 10, 1648; married Elizabeth -----, who was also a member of the Reading church; died December 5, 1678. The "James" left London, England July, 1635 with her master, John May, arriving in Massachusetts Bay the last week of September 1635.


  1. Mary, born November 24, 1647. Married Thomas Taylor
  2. James, born & died 1649
  3. Sarah, born December 7, 1650. Married Adam Hawkes. Married second, Samuel Wardwell.
  4. Ruth, born April 15, 1652, died April 15, 1653.
  5. Rebeckah born October 26, 1656. Married John Ballard.
  6. William, born November 3, 1658 (resided in Reading and could not be the William of Manchester)
  7. Hannah, born March 31, 1662. Married William Ballard.
  8. Elizabeth, born August 20, 1665. Married John Trull.
  9. Thomas, born April 2, 1668
  10. John, born July 5, 1670.

The last two children were the children with Ruth, his second wife. There's some discrepancy with respect to Elizabeth since he may have married Ruth in November 1664. See below. Needs further research.


The image is a painting from 1733, in the public domain, author unknown, entitled The Unloading of the James.

Source: Hooper Geneology by Pope, Charles Henry. Publisher: Boston, C. H. Pope. NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT.

William Hooper, " aged 18 years," came in the ship James from London, sailing July 13, 1635. He resided at Reading in 1644, as town records show; may have been there before. He was admitted a freeman of the colony May 10, 1648, which implied that he had previously joined the church; his wife Elizabeth was also a member. It has been conjectured that she was a sister of Captain Thomas Marshall, because William Hooper called Captain Marshall "brother;" and Thomas Marshall and Elizabeth (? Marshall) may have been children of Thomas Marshall, Sen., of Lynn, 1638.

He (William Hooper) resided in the part of old Reading which is now included in Wakefield. He owned considerable land, and also carried on the business of a weaver. He married a second wife, named Ruth, of whose connections there is no intimation in the records.

In the company of Capt. Daniel Henchman, raised at Boston from that town and the neighborhood for service in the conflict with the Indians known as " King Philip's War," the name of William Hooper appears in 1675, and in the company of Capt. Wadsworth in 1676 ; as William Hooper, Senior, was about sixty years old at that time, we cannot suppose he was that soldier, but there is a probability that his son William was the person.

The town records show assignments of lands to him from time to time, and the county records show transfers of lands by him, one of them signed also by his wife Ruth in relinquishment of her dower, Dec. 14, 1664.

Before finishing his rather brief life in this new world he made his will, and we herewith present a copy of the document. As he had experienced the change of focus which threescore years usually bring, and as he had not, probably, suitable glasses, he was obliged to depend on some friend to write the will, and he made his mark instead of writing his name, as we do not doubt he had formerly done. He died Dec. 5, 1678, " aged 61."


of Reading, made the fifth day of August. 1678 being in my perfect Memory.

first I give my soule to god whoe gave it to mee. and my body to dust: from whence it came

It. I give halfe my land. upland and Meddow ground to my wife during her life and the other halfe of my land and Meddow. I give to my son William and his heirs for ever: And my will is. That hee shall improve it all. And his mother to have halfe the profitt during her life. and at her decease: hee my son William to have all my land and Meddow and Cattle: And to pay to my six children that are unmarryed ffive pounds apiece. as they shall come to age: But hee shall not pay any for two yeers after my decease. And my Will is that my two younger sons shal be with their mother and my son William till they bee fifteene yeers of age to be helpfull to them And then my Will is That they may be sett to some Trade. And if either of them have amind to bee a weaver. Then I doe will to him to have my Loomes. and all my Tackling to them. And my household stuffe. I give it all to my wife to bee at her owne dispose. But if my wife should marry. All my lands and Cattle shal be my son Williams. only the household goods: to bee my wifes. as is willed before as witnesse my hand

the marke of

Witnessed by William W hooper

Thomas Marshall

John Severne

Thomas Bancroft

And my will is that my brother Captayne Marshall. and my Cousine Ensigne Bancroft shalbe my overseers to this will as abovesaid


He sailed from London, England, on the "James" on 13 Jul 1635, age 18 years. He was probably a weaver as he left weaving goods in his will, and Reading was probably his place of birth as he and two other young men who were related were the original settlers of Reading, MA. He was still alive and married to his 2nd wife, Ruth, in 1679 and apparently died prior to 1684 as his widow married Thomas Dutton of Billerica on 10 Nov. of that year. William's 1st wife was named Elizabeth.

Came from London, leaving on July 13, 1635 at age of 18 on the James.

1635, July 13- Came in the ship "James" from London, England at age 18 years.

1644- Settled at Reading, MA.

1648, May 10- Admitted Freeman of the Colony.

He owned considerable land.

view all 15

William Hooper of Reading's Timeline

Berkshire, Reading, England
November 24, 1647
Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Reading, Middlesex, Ma
December 7, 1650
Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
April 15, 1652
Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
October 26, 1656
Reading, Massachusetts, United States
Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
March 31, 1662
Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
August 28, 1665
Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States