Hooker

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Hooker Surname Genealogy

The Hooker surname
seems to have derived from the Old English word hocere,
an occupational name for a maker of hooks. This
was a skilled occupation in olden
times. They were not made as today from
iron or steel, but were fashioned using heating and steaming from
animal
bone.
Others have suggested that Hooker,
like Hook or Hooke, might be topographical, describing someone who
lived near a
headland or a spur or bend in a river.

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Hooker Resources on
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Hooker Ancestry

England.
The surname may have
had its origins in East Anglia. Osmundus
Hocere was recorded in Ely, Cambridgeshire as early as 975. The spelling became Hoker and then
Hooker. The first prominent family of
that name, however, was to be found in Devon in SW England.

Devon.
The Devon Hooker family was originally Hooker alias Vowell. Vowell
was the male line from south Wales; Hooker the family name (probably
from
Cambridgeshire) of the female heiress who had married into the family
in the
1450’s.

Descendants here included:

  • John Hooker, the first Chamberlain of Exeter
    and a historian of the town.
  • John’s
    nephew Richard Hooker, known as “the Judicious,” an influential
    Protestant
    theologian of the late 1500’s. His
    statue is to be found outside Exeter Cathedral.
  • John’s son the Rev. Zachary Hooker of Caerhayes in
    Cornwall and the line
    from his son Valentine in Crediton, Devon. There
    were later Nonconformist Hooker ministers at Crediton
    and at
    Chumleigh.
  • and Joseph Hooker who
    migrated from Exeter in the 1770’s and set himself up as a wool-stapler
    in
    Norwich. From his line came the famous
    father-and-son botanist family of Kew, William Jackson Hooker and Joseph Dalton Hooker.

Elsewhere. Hookers
date from about 1500 in
Leicestershire. Thomas Hooker was a farm manager on the Digby estate
in the
mid-1500’s. He evidently was a man of
some substance as his will of 1559 reveals.
His grandson Thomas, born in Tilton parish in 1586, was a
Puritan
preacher of considerable renown.
Persecuted by Archbishop William Laud for non-conformity, he
departed
England first to Holland and then on the Griffin
to New England in 1633.

William Hooker
was first sighted at Berkhamstead in Hertfordshire in 1622. His
son Sir
William Hooker
prospered as a grocer in London and was its
mayor in
1673. He lived in some splendor in
Greenwich.

His coat of arms was the same
as that borne by the Hookers who acquired Broad Oak at Brenchley in
Kent in
1698, although they probably had different antecedents.
The Brenchley forebear here may instead have been Thomas Hooker, born
around 1620 at Oldberry Hill near Sevenoaks. Hookers were
to remain in residence
at Brenchley during the 18th and 19th centuries.

“Samuel Hooker was well known at Broad Oak
for his country roses. In 1848 he
produced a new gladiolus species which he named
Gladiolus x Brenchleyensis.”


The architect John Marshall Hooker was born at
Brenchley in 1829.

John Hooker, related to this family, was the owner of Tonbridge Castle in Kent in the 1730’s. His son Thomas lost the family fortune sometime in the
1780’s when their gunpowder mill blew up. His grandson Thomas
then became the vicar at Rottingdean in Sussex, holding that position
from 1792 until his death in 1838.
During that time he supplemented his income by acting as
the lookout man for the smugglers who used Rottingdean as their base.

America. The Rev. Thomas Hooker, who
arrived in 1633, was a towering figure in the early development of
colonial New
England. Known today as “the father of
Connecticut,” he had founded the colony at Hartford after dissenting
with the
Puritan leaders in Massachusetts.

His
descendant line, via his son the Rev. Samuel Hooker the minister at
Farmington,
is large and was covered in Edward Hooker’s 1908 book The
Descendants of Rev. Thomas Hooker
. Samuel and his wife Mary raised ten sons and two
daughters.

Some of their descendants
based themselves in Hartford, as merchants in the firm of Hooker &
Chaffee. This company provided supplies
to the American forces during the Revolutionary War.
Captain James Hooker fought in that war and
it is his house, built around 1772, that is still standing in Hartford. His line led later to Union General Joseph
Hooker, nicknamed “Fighting Joe,” during the Civil War.

Other lines from Samuel:

  • via his son Nathaniel led to three Hooker
    brothers – Horace, James, and Henry – who settled in Rochester, New
    York in the
    1820’s.
  • via his youngest son Henry led to
    Samuel Hooker, a carpenter, who migrated from Massachusetts to Albany,
    New York
    in 1772. His son Philip became a prominent
    Albany architect.

Another Samuel
descendant was Seth Hooker who moved to New Hampshire in the 1780’s,
settling
in Hinsdale. Two of his descendants
headed west to California in the 1860’s:

  • Henry Clay Hooker,
    born in
    1828, who migrated to Arizona territory
    where he established the Sierra Bonita Ranch in
    1872. It became one of the largest
    ranches in Arizona and was held by family members for several
    generations.
  • and
    John Daggett Hooker, born ten years later, who settled in Los Angeles
    in
    1878. There he initiated the building of
    the
    100-inch Hooker Telescope
    , completed in 1917, one of the most famous
    astronomical telescopes of the 20th century.

Ira
Allen Hooker and his family had come west earlier, leaving Missouri by
wagon
train on the Oregon Trail in 1848 and settling in what was to become
Polk
county, Oregon. Ira was a descendant of
Matthew Hooker who had arrived in Massachusetts as a young boy in the
1640’s. Ira, born in Vermont, had lived
in New York and southern Illinois before heading west.




Hookers in the South
. William Hooker
was in Virginia by the 1680’s
and died in Chowan county, North Carolina in 1717.
Later Hookers of this family migrated to
Tennessee. The sons of Thomas and Sarah
Hooker in Tennessee all ended up in Texas:

  • James
    Hooker, born in 1807, set off by covered wagon for Missouri in 1833
    and later made his home in what was to become Hunt county, Texas. There he founded Hooker’s Community on
    Hooker’s Ridge and built the area’s first steam mill.
    He became a judge and state legislator.
  • Thomas
    Hooker
    , born in 1821, migrated as a young man to Mississippi
    where he
    became a Baptist minister. He moved to
    Hunt county in 1854.
  • and
    three other Hooker brothers also joined James and
    Thomas there.

German Hookers. Some Hookers in America
were of German
origin. Johann Hockertz came to America
with his family in 1846 and settled in Tippecanoe county, Indiana. Their son George Hooker fought in the Civil
War and had a difficult life afterwards.

“Never wealthy, he worked hard his entire life. He lost everything he had in a 100-year-flood
and had to file for bankruptcy. Despite
having filed for bankruptcy, he worked hard to pay back the debt so
that his
wife would have no shame in her small community. He
died poor in 1921 while checking his
fishing nets for food.”


New Zealand
. The Hooker and Vercoe
families left St. Just
in Cornwall on the Timandra in 1842
for a new life in New Zealand. They made
their home in New Plymouth, Taranaki and are among the longest
established
families there. John Hooker who came
there was a blacksmith, Henry and Nathaniel stone masons.
John Hooker, an Australian-based writer in
the 1970’s, was a descendant.

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Hooker Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

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Hooker Names

Richard Hooker,
known as “the Judicious,” was an influential Anglican theologian of the
late
1500’s.

Thomas Hooker
was a prominent Puritan in early New England, known today as “the father of
Connecticut
.” He was
one of the great preachers of his time.
Sir
Joseph Hooker
was
a noted British
botanist and explorer of the 19th century.

LJ Hooker
, born Tingyou of Chinese
heritage, built up the largest real estate company in Australia after
World War
Two.

John Lee Hooker
was a well-known American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Mississippi


Select Hookers Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in New Zealand)

 

 

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