Category Archives: John Hooker

CT HUMANITIES: JOHN HOOKER

An abolitionist, lawyer, and judge John Hooker (1816-1901) lived in Farmington and Hartford. With his brother-in-law, Francis Gillette, he purchased 140 acres in 1853, and they established the neighborhood known as “Nook Farm”. Nook Farm was the home of reformers, politicians, writers and friends; and Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain are the most residences there.

In John Hooker’s memoir Some Reminiscences of a Long Life, he mentioned that he was the son of Edward Hooker, who was the fifth in direct descent from Thomas Hooker, the first minister of the First Church of Hartford. (What page is this source? Please supply.)  (During Hooker’s youth, he was inspired by his ancestor of being reformers of Connecticut; he also had the sense of responsibility to help reform the local community.) John Hooker also experienced Amistad case first hand in Farmington, Connecticut. His memoir alludes to the fact that his law office in Farmington on the store’s second floor in the 1840s. His office was also next to an African men from Amistad captives. The building was originally on Main Street next to the Deming’s house, and later moved to the Mill Lane in the 1930s.

Farmington residence wanted Hooker to stay there and become the minister to preach; however, Hooker decided to move to Hartford to further his legal John Hooker was an active abolitionist throughout his legal career. For instance, he was instrumental in helping Reverend James Pennington gain his freedom from his Maryland slave owner for $150 when Reverend Pennington was a minister at the Talcott Street Congregational Church. This financial arrangement helped Pennington feel safe in the north, and Reverend Pennington returned from exile in Europe. John Hooker was also the president of an anti-slavery committee in Hartford and organized the liberty convention on October 27th, 1846.

Hooker and Beecher raised three children in their home in Nook Farm at the corner of Forest and Hawthorn Streets. Under his wife’s influence, he fought for women’s right and  supported Harriet Beecher Stowe during the initiation of her activist career. John and Isabella Beecher Hooker composed “A Woman’s Property Bill”, published in 1877. (page 13 print out)

John Hooker served as a congregational deacon but with his curiosity, he accepted the Spiritualism belief that it was possible to communicate with spirits.

External Links section (WEBSITES)

 

-Nook Farm page (that we need to make) and this house: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_at_36_Forest_Street

https://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/hbs/nook_farm.shtml

-Thomas Hooker. Is he a descendant of this great figure of #CTHistory?

 

-Charter Oak (no wikipedia page)

http://cdm15019.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15019coll9/id/18049/rec/1 (page that mentions Hooker)

http://connecticuthistory.org/black-history-month-resources/

http://cslib.cdmhost.com/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15019coll9 (connecticut history.org)

-A Woman’s Property Bill https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/Notebooks/Pathfinders/HWProperty.PDF

-Tempest- Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan Campbell

https://books.google.com/books?id=4bX3AgAAQBAJ&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=john+hooker+abolitionist&source=bl&ots=1Sw9zPl0O9&sig=vkQNVaBRLkMRyXtJ65XYA9Ej6cM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjUysbuhsHJAhUCVT4KHViIDIcQ6AEIPzAF#v=onepage&q=john%20hooker%20abolitionist&f=false

446, Labor, Slavery, and Self-Government, Volume 11, Herbert Baxter Adams,

https://books.google.com/books?id=bEY_AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA446&lpg=PA446&dq=john+hooker+connecticut+slave&source=bl&ots=yESupIdLuQ&sig=Ek18tQG5PJUKGcaSYrmPOi79fxA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjU_IXA68DJAhWI4D4KHVEQAHIQ6AEIRjAI#v=onepage&q=john%20hooker%20connecticut%20slave&f=false

-Hartford Historical Society

http://www.hartfordhistory.org/

-Farmington Historical Society

http://farmingtonhistoricalsociety-ct.org/

Obstacle…Being Rejected by Wikipedia

After the public presentation, our class started to publish parts of our work done on different interest sites in order to expand the unknown knowledge of the Underground Railroad in our area. Each of us were divided into groups for different works to be done since there is lots of branches to our project. Vicky, CoCo, Frank and I were responsible for recognizing John Hooker on Wikipedia. CoCo and Frank were responsible to finalize the contents to Hooker’s page whereas Vicky and I were to learn and explain the Wikipedia skills (how to put all information together and design the page). Since we were both new to Wikipedia, we did not know it would be that hard to format a page: there are many codes to learn and memorize. It took us a while to get used to all these formatting skills. At last, although our draft was rejected by the organization, we were not giving up on this prose and will make changes that they recommend on their suggestions on acing a not only satisfying but perfect page for John Hooker.

Is There a Connection Between the Chaffee family and John Hooker?

Hi, Loomis Chaffee:

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 8.39.26 AM

The Hezekiah Chaffee House at 108 Palisado Avenue, Image from “Images of America Windsor” by Windsor Historical Society

We are doing a project-base learning investigation on the Other Underground Railroad, we are also focusing on the UGRR in Connecticut. We found John Hooker had a vital role with Reverend Hemengway from Suffield in terms of creating a legal case in the 1840s to free the descendants of Flora, who was kidnaped and sold into slavery. During the research about the possible routes for runaway fugitives and traces of John Hooker, we discovered that the Chaffee House in Windsor was a possible stop for the fugitive slaves from the book “Places of the Underground Railroad: A Geographical Guide” by Tom Calarco. This information is also in Horatio Strother’s text, p. 171: https://archive.org/stream/undergroundrailr1962stro#page/170/mode/2up/search/chaffee

Because John Hooker is one key character, a major figure in the Connecticut abolitionist movement, we are trying to find out as much information about him and his relationship to this area, Windsor and Suffield. Did he have a connection to the Loomis family? If that is the case, we wonder how and why Hooker connected with Revenerend Hemenway in West Suffield. Can you please provide us some information about the relationship between the Chaffee (and perhaps Loomis) and John Hooker if possible? Is there anything in your archives that will shed light? John Hooker relates the the Flora Case in his memoir on pp. 31-33, https://archive.org/stream/somereminiscenc01hookgoog#page/n42/mode/2up/search/flora

Since the Chaffee House is also a possible and an important station in the runaway routine, we did further research on it to make sure the Chaffee family in our research is the same as the one who is related to your school. We found that the house was built for Dr. Hezekiah Chaffee around 1765. Dr. Chaffee’s daughter, Abigail, married Colonel James Loomis in 1805 and later they founded the co-educational Loomis Institute. The Chaffee House and the Loomis Institute then emerged to form the Loomis- Chaffee School in 1970, in which all the information about the Chaffee House matches with our research so far. Fortunately, the records relating to the slaves owned by Dr. Chaffee survive, including the documents for the emancipation of Elizabeth Stevenson. There’s another slave in the Chaffee household, Nancy Toney, who was later owned by Dr. Chaffee’s daughter, Abigail. When she died in 1857, she was the last surviving slave in Connecticut. With the evidence shown that there were slaves in the Chaffee House, we wonder if there is an any further information about who might have participated in the abolitionist activities in this area. Was anyone in the family involved in the abolitionist movement in any way?

Bests,

Coco SA 16’

 

 

Sources:

  1. “Historic Buildings of Connecticut.” Historic Buildings of Connecticut RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.http://historicbuildingsct.com/?p=143
  1. http://www.windsorhistoricalsociety.org/nl_1998-01_pg5.html
  2. Calarco, Tom. “Places of the Underground Railroad.”Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.https://books.google.com/books?id=muBtFTkFH_EC&q=suffield#v=snippet&q=florence%20suffield&f=false
  3. Underground Railroad in Connecticut. https://archive.org/stream/undergroundrailr1962stro#page/170/mode/2up/search/chaffee

 

John Hooker’s Memoir, Excellent Online Source

We first have to remember that here John Hooker spells Reverend Hemenway’s name with an “ing” version of his name. There was a source at the State Library that used that spelling, but for the most part we have seen the “en” version. That said, we have to be meticulous and diligent and check both versions when we do specific searches for Hemenway’s materials. Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 11.18.03 AM.png

It is interesting how Hooker’s memoir gives the Flora case its own chapter, even though it is only three pages long. What is the connotation of that narrative organization? Upon further research, it is also important to note that John Hooker does not have a proper page on Wikipedia. Can we take the time to share what we learn there and show how we learned it? To what other pages on Wikipedia should we connect John Hooker’s page? Why is that a great laboratory for project-based learning?  How might such an enterprize increase our academic network? Does anyone have an account?

Search results on 2/18/16 for “John Hooker” in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hooker

Source: https://archive.org/stream/somereminiscenc01hookgoog#page/n12/mode/2up

Looking for Aid from the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

hbsc icon.gifHooker mentions Hemengway’s letter in his memoir. Do you have this or other similar letters?

During our early researches, the class found out that John Hooker (1816-1901), as an abolitionist, served a vital role with Reverend Hemengway in the case. After some brief online research, I found out his relations with Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford, and that indeed John is the grandson of him. Also, he worked as a lawyer and judge in Farmington, a significant stop for the underground railroad, and as an advantage for his abolitionist activities. Significantly, a breakthrough came when we learnt about Isabella Beecher Hooker, a women suffragist, who was indeed his wife. We went on from that direction and learnt much more information of Hooker, including from Susan Campbell’s book, Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker.

After that, the class focused on the book Love of Freedom, so we changed directions on finding sources relating to Oliver Hanchett, Flora’s owner and Exeter, Flora’s husband’s court cases. Recently, we brought our attention back to Hooker and found out more about him. We contacted Susan Campbell on Twitter and she suggested us to make use your organization in digging out Hooker’s history. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s website indeed aided a lot on our research. First, we get to know a lot more about Hooker in his career being a judge from hyperlinking to the CT State Library page. Then, we connected the dates to branch out much more data regarding his family and life. For example, I found a book written by Thomas Hooker that recorded all descendants of him including John, as well as notes John wrote about his father Edward, and properties of the Hooker family passed on to John. Despite all information found, realizing the center is keeping over 1000 letters of John Hooker’s from a manuscript collection guide became the biggest breakthrough throughout our research on him.

This project requires lots of research skills and critical thinking skills, and it’s hard to find and see original paper form documents. It had taken us a good deal of effort to be in the position we stand right now, and we hope the center will be able to provide the letters or just any clues of John Hooker relating to our case, especially the conversations between Hooker and Reverend Hemengway. We believe any documents relating their partnership will bring us a big step forward.

Solving the Mystery of Underground Railroad

276002v.jpgIn the very first American Studies class, we, students, received a very complicated puzzle to be solved- the mystery of the Underground Railroad. Not even a finished picture given, we planned to collaborate for the next six months in order to put these small pieces into a fine image.

9780819573407.jpgTo start with, we first analyzed the Flora’s Slavery Case. Each student researched a separate person, law or movement that was involved with the case I was given with an abolitionist, John Hooker. After some brief online research, I found out his relations with Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford, and that indeed John is the grandson of him. Also, he worked as a lawyer and judge in Farmington, a significant stop for the underground railroad, and as an advantage for his abolitionist activities. Furthermore, Hooker married Isabella Beecher, a member of the famous Beecher political family, in 1841. Hooker somehow transformed Beecher to start her activism career as she happened to read a case of legal standing within woman’s rights during the times when she was visiting his office. After that, Beecher eventually influenced Hooker, who previously was not paying much attention to such a serious matter at all, to join her activist activities and led him in becoming one of the heroes with regards to woman’s suffrage. He then wrote the “A married women’s property bill” and worked on it with Isabella until a similar bill was being passed in 1877. I also found a case that strongly proved Hooker’s commitment to the anti-slavery movement. When someone granted him a slave, he only owned him for a day as he paid one-hundred fifty dollars for a doctor of divinity and wrote the slave a writ of manumission the next day for the slave’s freedom. Finally, other than just getting to know the actual information related to the project, I also learnt organization skills and the importance of team spirit through working on an individual outline then combining the sources of my peers on the Google drive.

Now that we put some pieces of the puzzle together; however, there are still a majority of parts to be jointed. For my part, I am going to investigate more on the book found online which I gathered the information of Isabella and John Hooker above: Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker by Susan Campbell, published just in 2014. Now that I have the actual book in my hand, I can look into more details of John Hooker through the life of Isabella Beecher, as she is his wife, the most closely related person to John. Moreover, our class as a whole has learnt about David Ruggles, an African-American abolitionist who actively participated in the anti-slavery movement, but this hero is still not being widely promoted to the public with his vital works yet. I believe our class should and will attempt to find out more about him then help raise attention for this remarkable role model of us.

Regarding to skills, the class will make the best usage of technology, such as a cooperation of Google docs and Twitter, in order to group information and to get our knowledge exposed to the rest of the world. Last but not least, except only sitting in the classroom and learning, exploring sources from the limited multimedia world, the class will go on field trips once in a while to hopefully find some brand new evidences and information to be added into the underground railroad history.

Sources:

Isabella Beecher Hooker, Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, http://bit.ly/1Q4WuQJ

446, Labor, Slavery, and Self-Government, Volume 11, Herbert Baxter Adams, http://bit.ly/1TphkIt

Tempest- Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan Campbell, http://bit.ly/1XFCqZN