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William Hooper: Wilmington’s Connection to the Declaration of Independence

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Wilmington, North Carolina has a little-known connection to American independence through William Hooper, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Born in Boston in 1742, Hooper chose law over his parents’ preferred path of ministry. After studying at Harvard, he moved to Wilmington in 1764, quickly becoming a respected community member.

Hooper’s political career in North Carolina began when he was elected borough recorder. His marriage to Anne Clark, daughter of a local official, strengthened his standing in the area. As colonial tensions with Britain grew, Hooper became more involved in politics, eventually representing North Carolina at the Continental Congress.

At first, William Hooper was unsure about breaking ties with Britain. However, his views changed over time. Though absent for the July 4th independence vote, he joined other delegates in signing the Declaration on August 2, 1776.

The Revolutionary War brought hardships to Hooper, including the destruction of his Wilmington home by British forces. After the war, he stepped back from public life, living in Hillsborough but maintaining ties to Wilmington.

Today, an apartment complex in Wilmington bears Hooper’s name, preserving his legacy. This building, formerly a school, reminds residents of their town’s link to a key moment in American history.

William Hooper’s story shows that the Declaration’s signers weren’t just distant figures, but people with strong local ties. His connection to Wilmington offers a unique local perspective on the nation’s founding.

United States celebrates its 248th Independence Day, remembers William Hooper, a signer of the Declaration of Independence with strong ties to Wilmington, North Carolina.

This Independence Day, Wilmington residents can take pride in their town’s role in shaping American history through William Hooper, a local figure who helped create a new nation.

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