HOOPER, WILLIAM. (1742–1790). Signer. North Carolina. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 17 June 1742, William Hooper graduated from Harvard in 1760 and then studied law under James Otis. He moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1764, where he was active in the law and politics. In 1770, as deputy attorney general, he took the royal government's part against the Regulators, and in 1771 he marched with Governor William Tryon against them. By 1773 he was opposing the Crown's arbitrary measures in the general assembly. A member of the Committee of Correspondence, Hooper presided at the meeting that called the provincial congress, to which he was duly elected. Sent to the Continental Congress (1774–1777), he signed the Declaration of Independence. Active on committees, including the Board of War, Marine Committee, and Secret Committee, he played an important role in helping to arm the Continental army. After getting yellow fever in Philadelphia, Hooper returned to North Carolina and resigned from Congress on 29 April 1777, though he returned to the assembly from 1777 to 1781. The British invasion forced him to flee Wilmington in 1782, and much of his property was then destroyed. Back in the assembly from 1784 to 1786, Hooper was a leader of the conservative faction opposed to debtor relief and in favor of restoring Loyalist property. He died in Hillsborough, North Carolina, on 14 October 1790.
SEE ALSO Regulators.
Kneip, Robert C. "William Hooper, 1742–1790, Misunderstood Patriot." Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane University, 1980.
revised by Michael Bellesiles
Revd Dr William M. Marshall