William Hooper (c1760-1827)

Very much under construction

In Davidson County, Tennessee by 1783

The earliest certain record of him is his own testimony that he lived “near Nashville” in 1783.  In 1821 there arose a controversy over conflicting land grants made in 1785 in Logan County, Kentucky, which bordered Robertson and Montgomery counties, Tennessee to the north, and testimony was sought from men who knew of the early settlers in the area.  William Hooper was deposed at his house in Montgomery County, Tennessee on 24 March 1821, when he stated that in 1783 he lived near Nashville and that in the year 1784 he explored the Logan County area while engaged in hunting on the waters of Muddy River in Kentucky.1   He made the trip again in 1785 and later years, altogether traveling the same route some 20 times, he said.   Depositions in the same case were also taken at William Hooper’s house from David McFadden, Daniel Ogleby, Isaac Hollis, John Mackey, David Gould, and James Carr.

According to an article in the Hooper Compass, William Hooper served on a jury in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1785, thus placing his birth no later than 1764.2  He and Absalom Hooper appear on the first tax list in 1787 and on 4 March 1789 he married there to a woman named Sarah Hollis.

Possible nephew or other relative of Absalom Hooper?

He was probably related in some way to Absalom Hooper, but apparently not as father and son.  Upon arriving in Tennessee he either lived with or next to Absalom Hooper, as both men were appointed to appraise the estate of one James Moore in July 1786.3  On 30 April 1792 Absalom Hooper sold to William Hooper 85 acres on the east side of Whites Creek just above Nashville, part of a larger tract on which Absalom Hooper lived that he had bought a just a few months earlier.4   Absalom Hooper sold portions of the same tract to his son Joseph Hooper, his son-in-law George Cooke, and to a few apparently unrelated persons.  Exactly how William Hooper was related to Absalom Hooper is uncertain.   Absalom Hooper wrote his will on 15 August 1811 naming three married daughters and three sons.5  However, at least three other Hoopers in early records of Davidson County were not mentioned in that will; how and whether they were related is unknown.

Need to add the Davidson court and deed records

Moves to Montgomery County, Tennessee

In 1796 William Hooper moved several miles west into Montgomery County, Tennessee where he lived out the rest of his life.  On 22 April 1796, as William Hooper of Davidson County, he bought 120 acres from Isaac Hollis on McAdoo Creek in Montgomery County, near the present town of Clarksville.6  A year later on 10 April 1797 he was “of Montgomery County” when he sold to Joseph Hooper the land he had bought five years earlier from Absalom Hooper.7

William Hooper was administrator of the estate of William R. Kelsick, posting his administrator’s bond on 17 October 1825 with Asa W. Hooper and Zachariah Grant his securities.8  Following William Hooper’s death in 1827, Asa W. Hooper assumed the administration of Kelsick’s estate with Robert Davis and Zachariah Grant his securities.9

William Hooper’s will, written on 17 June 1825 and proved at the April court term 1827, left his “beloved wife Sarah Hooper” the use of all his property “for the maintenance of my children who are now in a state of minority during the term of her natural life or widowhood.”10  If Sarah should remarry she was to receive the lifetime use of slaves named Hannah, Sarah and Lewerese [Louise?] after which they were to be divided among “her children”.  His minor children were named as James B. Hooper, Peggy Montgomery Hooper, and Burrel (sic) Young Hooper. When they came of age or married “they shall receive an equal part with the rest that has married, that is one horn saddle and bridle, one bed and furniture, one cow and calf, and as much more as my wife Sarah Hooper shall think right so as to amount to one hundred and twenty dollars.”  James B. Hooper was to have an additional fifty dollars worth of property “for a mare that his grandmother Hollis gave him which was sold for fifty dollars.” Peggy Montgomery Hooper was also to receive “one bed and furniture that her grandmother give her.” After the death of Sarah Hooper the remaining estate was to be sold and equally divided among “all my children” named as follows: Polly Berry, Wilson Hooper, Elizabeth Davis, Pheraby Young, Asa Hooper, Frances Lemaster, Sally Holt, James B. Hooper, Peggy Hooper, [and] Burrel Hooper.” Sarah Hooper and Robert Davis were named executors.   Witnesses were Daniel Oglesby, Elizabeth Oglesby, Joseph Smith, and Andrew Smith.

An undated inventory was filed on 15 October 1827 following an estate sale of a few of the livestock held on 15 August 1827.11  An accounting of the estate was filed by Robert Davis on 11 June 1828.12


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  1. Polly Hooper (1807 – ?)  She was “Polly Berry” in her father’s will, the wife of Jonathan Berry
  2. Wilson Lee Hooper (7 February 1792 – 26 February 1870)  He was enumerated in Davidson County in 1850 and Montgomery County in 1860.  The journal of Rev. Jeremiah Wesley Cullum, a Methodist circuit rider, reports that he was carried to the Poor House in 1869, having “idled away youth and manhood and has no home in age”.  The same journal reports his death at the Poor House as well as his date of birth.
  3. Elizabeth Hooper (17 Oct 1793 – 1 May 1875)  She was “Elizabeth Davis” in her father’s will.
  4. Phereby Hooper (1805 – 1870)  She was “Pheraby Young” in her father’s will.
  5. Asa W. Hooper (c1798 – 1881)  was enumerated in Montgomery County, Tennessee in 1850 (age 52, farmer) and in Cheatham County in 1860 (62) and 1870 (71) as a physician.  In 1880 he was living with a daughter in Calloway County, Kentucky (age 82).  The birthplaces of his parents were left blank in the 1880 census.
  6. Frances “Francie” Hooper (9 August 1801 – 21 February 1854)  She was “Frances Lemaster” in her father’s will.  Lemuel Lemaster and his wife “Franky” later sold their interest in the legacy of her father’s will to Asa W. Hooper.13  The 1850 census of Macon County, Illinois listed Lemuel (age 51) and Frances (age 49) with five children.  Frances evidently died before the 1860 census when Lemuel was enumerated with no wife in the household.  Both Lemuel, who died in 1872, and Frances are buried in Decatur’s Mt. Gilead Cemetery.  Her stone gives her age at death as 53 years, 11 months, and 12 days.
  7. Sarah “Sally” Hooper (1804 – 1876)  She was “Sally Holt” in her father’s will.   She was evidently the wife of Reuben Holt, who was in the 1830 (as Reuben Holt Jr.), 1840, and 1850 censuses of Montgomery County.   Sally Holt (age 46) and Reuben were enumerated in the 1850 census with five children.   In 1860 Sally headed a household of herself (age 56) and her daughter Isabella.
  8. James B. Hooper (27 September 1809 – 10 January 1881)  He was listed among the Montgomery County voters in 1841 and was enumerated there in the 1850 (age 38) and 1860 censuses.  He and his wife are buried in the Sango Cemetery.  According to the biography of a son, James Obediah Ragland Hooper, his father married Eliza Hodge and his grandfather “William A. Hooper” was born in North Carolina and “came to Tennessee when the settlers were  obliged to take refuge in forts to protect themselves from the Indians.”14
  9. Peggy Montgomery Hooper (1794 – ?)
  10. Burrell Young Hooper (c1815 – January 1869)  See separate page.
  1. Montgomery Vanderpool, Logan County, Kentucky Abstract of Equity Cases, Vol. 1, page 20. []
  2. Hooper Compass, Vol. 1, No. 1 (November 1999), page 5. []
  3. Davidson County, Will Book 1, page 47.  Courts typically appointed nearby neighbors to conduct inventories and appraisals of estates, thus we can safely conclude that Absalom and William Hooper were both close neighbors of James Moore. []
  4. Davidson County Deed Book C, page 28.  Absalom Hooper had bought 640 acres on White’s Creek on 29 July 1791 (Deed Book B, page 211). []
  5. Davidson County Will Book 4, page 246. []
  6. Montgomery County Deed Book A, page 464. []
  7. Davidson County Deed Book  D, page 262.  Although the acreage was ten less and some of the corners and lines different, this appears to be the land he had bought five years earlier but defined by a more recent survey, []
  8. Montgomery County Will Book D, page 498 (bond), 513 (inventory) and 535 (estate sale). []
  9. Montgomery County Will Book E, page 132. []
  10. Montgomery County Will Book E, pages 81-2. []
  11. Montgomery County Will Book E, page 190. []
  12. Montgomery County Will Book E, page 359. []
  13. Montgomery County Deed Book M, page 411. []
  14. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present… (Goodspeed’s Publishing Co., 1886; 1979 Reprint, Southern  Historical Press), page 1053. []