In 1776 on his way to N.C. with John Penn, William Hooper writes to Joseph Hewes in PhiladelphiaWilliam Hooper Autograph Letter Signed "Wm Hooper," one page, 7.5" x 12.25". Head of Elk [Maryland], Friday Evening. Undated, but March 1776. Integral leaf addressed by Hooper to "The Honorable Joseph Hewes esquire/one of the Delegates for the/Province of North Carolina/at/Philadelphia." Docketed on the address leaf "Wm. Hooper" by Hewes.
In full, "My dear friend, With my usual care (you'll say) I left my Watch at Mrs. Withy's in Chester, where it still remains. Whether I hung it on a Chair at my Bedside, or omitted to bring it from the Privy, I am not very certain. Be so kind as to write her & desire her to send it to you. I wish I may be equal to the long Journey I have undertaken, I find no disa[gree]able change yet, I have some appetite & Mr. [Pen ]n with his usual flow of Conversation will assist to keep up my spirits. Remember me kindly to my Congress friends & assure them that purely from Indisposition I failed to bid them a formal Adieu. My best Wishes attend them - Let me earnestly recommend to you to pay great Attention to your Health than you at present do & to use more exercise. My warmest wishes are for your perfect Recovery. I am most affectionately Yours." Seal tear at the mid-left edge deletes part of one word and most of the name of Hooper's companion on the trip, John Penn, who with Hooper and Hewes comprised North Carolina's delegation to Congress; all three signed the Declaration of Independence. Mrs. Withy's Inn, a boardinghouse about 15 miles south of Independence Hall in Chester, Pennsylvania, owned by widow Mary Withy, is probably where Hooper stayed while attending Congress.
William Hooper and John Penn left Philadelphia for North Carolina in March 1776 to attend its Fourth Provincial Congress which met in Halifax, N.C., from April 4th through May 14, 1776. In a letter written by Joseph Hewes on Wednesday, March 27, 1776, to Robert Smith, his shipping business partner in North Carolina, he writes, in part, "Unless Hooper or Penn should return I cannot leave the Congress. I dare not leave our Province unrepresented, or perhaps you might get some trusty person to come express in the service of the Province in case they should think such a thing Necessary to bring any particular information." In this letter, penned on "Friday Evening," Hooper writes from Head of Elk (today, Elkton), Maryland, about 30 miles south of Chester, Pa., so it was written on his way to North Carolina, most likely on Friday, March 15th or 22nd. On April 12, 1776, the 83 delegates present at the Provincial Congress of North Carolina, including Hooper and Penn, unanimously adopted the following resolution: "Resolved that the delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be empowered to concur with the delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency," thereby becoming the first colony to authorized its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence. The date "April 12, 1776" appears on both the flag and the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina.
Hooper letters written in 1776 are exceedingly rare. Only a handful have ever been sold at auction. This one, in fine condition, penned on laid paper with significant content, is extremely desirable. Written by William Hooper to Joseph Hewes, mentioning John Penn and their "long Journey" to Halifax, North Carolina, where Hooper, Penn, and Hewes would be authorized to vote for independence, the first delegates so authorized by any colony, this letter would be an extraordinary addition to a Signers collection.
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