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Item 154 - North Carolina: William Hooper Catalog 491 (Jan 2017)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $1,000.00
Sold Price: $19,500.78 (includes buyer's premium)


Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Continental Congressman from North Carolina (1742–1790). Revolutionary War-era ALS, signed "W Hooper," one page, both sides, 7.75 x 9.75, no date but circa September 1779. Letter to fellow North Carolina signer Joseph Hewes, 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 [fellow North Carolina signer John] Penn and shall write [Cornelius] Harnet when I hear that he has arrived.” Hooper adds a postscript to the adjacent page, “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." Addressed on the reverse of the second integral page in his own hand and marked "Free." 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.

Hooper’s intelligence appears to be wrong given that 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. After resigning from the Continental Congress, Hooper moved home to North Carolina to resume his law career in 1777. However, peace was short-lived as Hooper’s involvement in the revolution marked him as a wanted man by British troops. Hooper separated from his family in 1781, eluding captors for over a year while Cornwallis’s troops burned his estates in both Finian and Wilmington. Written to a fellow signer and with mention of a third, this is a superb missive from the scarce North Carolinian signer. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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