On June 17, 1742, William Hooper, one of North Carolina’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born. Hooper grew up in Boston and attended Harvard before moving to Wilmington and opening a law office there in 1764. Within a few years he was active in politics.
In 1774, Hooper wrote to a friend that the colonies’ independence would not be far off, and within a few weeks he was selected to play a central part in it. At the First Provincial Congress in North Carolina, Hooper was elected as one of the colony’s three delegates to the Continental Congress. He remained in Congress for the next few years. Although absent when the Declaration of Independence was voted on, he signed his name to the document on August 2. The next year he helped with devising the North Carolina state seal.
In April 1777, Hooper resigned from Congress and returned to Wilmington, which he represented in the General Assembly for several more years. When the British took Wilmington in January 1781, the family fled to Hillsborough.
Hooper died at age 48 in 1790. A 19-foot tall statue at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park memorializes Hooper, whose remains were moved there in 1894.
For more, check out North Carolina Signers on Kindle from North Carolina Historical Publications.
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