John Hooker 1664-1744

John  Hooker,  son  of  Rev.  Samuel  and  grandson  of  Rev. Thomas,  was  Judge  of  the  Superior  Court  of  the  Colony  of Connecticut  and  the  most  eminent  legal  man  of  his  day,  constantly employed  upon  legal  matters,  adjustments,  etc.,  etc.,  in all  parts  of  the  Colony.  He  was  engaged  also  upon  business matters  of  his  father  with  persons  in  England,  and  although and  of  the  family  connection  in  England. grandfather  (Rev.  Thomas  Hooker)  there  cannot  be  any question  of  his  knowledge  of  his  grand-fathers’  early  history,

Most of the information we have about John Hooker comes from Edward Hooker’s The Descendants of Rev. Thomas Hooker:

‘John Hooker, son of Rev. Samuel and Mary (Willet) Hooker of Farmington, Conn., born Feb. 20, 1664 or 1665; married Nov. 24, 1687, Abigail Standley, daughter of Capt. John and his second wife, Sarah (Fletcher) Standley, of Farmington, Conn., b. July 25, 1669, at Farmington. Hon. John Hooker, was one of the most noted men of his day. For many years he was the leading man of the town. He was the magistrate who did most of the business of the town and he was Judge of the Supreme Court of the Colony from 1724 to 1732. He was a member of the Lower House of the Assembly from 1699 to 1723. He then went into the Upper House. He served twenty-one sessions of which he was Clerk two sessions, and Speaker, six. He was chosen assistant in 1723, and rechosen annually for eleven years. He was on important committees and was frequently sent to settle difficulties in towns, churches, etc.; he was charged with important public trusts, etc., and the papers in file in the office of the Secretary of State, attest the carefulness, as well as the confidence, reposed in him.’

The Home ol Judge John Hooker

When he married, his father purchased and gave him a site on the west side of the main street, some distance north of the Meeting House at Farmington, and here he built his house under the branches of a beautiful elm tree, where it soon became a center of generous hospitality, and a familiar gathering place for the sages of the town, who in the pleasant summer evenings seated under the leafy canopy of the Hooker Elm, discussed the passing events, while their long pipes gave forth clouds of fragrant incense, which curling upwards, dispensed itself among the leaves of the beautiful tree.

The “Hooker Elm” was a widely known feature of the pleasant street, famous through all the region round for its great beauty and the pleasant company which gathered under its canopy in the soft summer evenings.

In the course of events the estate passed on to Roger Hooker, a thorough gentleman of the old school, who prized the wide spreading “Hooker Elm,” as his father had done, while he continued the far famed hospitality of the house, and greeting his friends under the beautiful tree, sped the time away with tale and jest, and merry quip. And again, another Roger, a polished gentleman, a Patriotic soldier, a delightful conversationalist, and a brilliant wit and a raconteur, did the honors of the house as his father and grand-father had done, and gathered his story loving, mirth appreciating friends beneath the famous “Hooker Elm.”

Major Roger Hooker was the last Hooker occupant of the place and dying without issue in 1830, the hospitable mansion and its stately guardian, the “Hooker Elm,” passed into other hands and eventually into the possession of Mr. William Gay. The old house was torn out, rebuilt and modernized until scarcely a feature of its Hooker character remained, and as if to obliterate all memories and lingering Hooker associations, because the beautiful tree interfered with making a straight path from the front door to the street, an axe was laid at the roots and the famous “Hooker Elm,” like the generations that had gathered under its leafy canopy, was laid low in the dust. Peace to its ashes—and the last vestige of the Hooker dynasty, together with the far famed beauty of the place, passed away.

A chronicler of those days left this account of Mr. Hooker. “On Sunday the bell rang for a while for service and then commenced tolling. At the first stroke of the tolling Mr. Hooker issued from his house and proceeded to the Meeting House, and the minister in like manner started from his house, whichever arrived first at the Meeting House door awaited the arrival of the other; and together they entered the building, as they entered the door the bell stopped tolling, and all the congregation arose to their feet and remained standing while the two walked the aisle together. Mr. Hooker stopped at his pew door—the first pew—and waited until the minister ascended the pulpit stairs, then entering his pew, they both sat down at the same time and then the congregation seated itself. When the service was over, Mr. Hooker stepped outside his pew door, and this was a signal for the congregation to arise and remain standing, at the pew door Mr. Hooker remained until joined by the minister, when they walked down the aisle together to the door, where they took their stand, outside in good weather and inside in bad weather.

“When they were in place, this was a signal to the congregation, who until that time had remained standing in their pews. The pew doors were thrown open, and the people passed out, all bowing as they passed the minister and Mr. Hooker, many speaking and a few exchanging a hand shake. When the people were all out the minister and Mr. Hooker, bowing to each other, shook hands and then proceeded to their homes.”

The chronicler also describes the ending of the Sunday rigidness. “The holiness of the day was supposed to end at sunset, but not a child in the town dared to stir, until the signal came from Mr. Hooker that the day was ended. When the sun had sunk below the horizon, Mr. Hooker, coming to his door with his pipe in his hand, walked down the path to the gate and leaning over it rested his arms upon the top. The moment his arms touched the gate, open flew the doors and out came the children with a wild rush and shout—Mr. Hooker was at his gate, Sunday was over. The shout was taken up and spread to the furtherest ends of the town with a rapidity that would almost put the telegram of the present day to the blush. Mr. Hooker with his pipe was at the gate and Sunday was ended.” ¡

Roger Hooker leaves this note of Mr. Hooker’s appearance, “Mr. John Hooker had dark hair and dark eyes, and a dignity in his air and expression that procured profound respect.” Another description of Mr. Hooker says: “He was a fine looking man, tall, very erect, and had a prominent large nose.

Capt. John Standley, the father of Mrs. Hooker, was a man of wealth and high social position, who had won distinction as a lieutenant and captain in the Indian wars.

Standley. The early settlers at Hartford spelled the name with a “d,” and as they were educated men of high standing, etc., it may properly be supposed that they were correct in so spelling. The history of the Stanley family however assumes that they were wrong and the spelling a mistake, etc., and endeavors to trace the family to the family of Stanley of England. It has since come to light that Sir John Standley was an officer in Cromwell’s army, that the family was then an old one and was not known to have any connection with the famous Stanley family. Probably this Standley family was the one from which the Connecticut settler came and their spelling of the name was correct. The name in America has now become irrevocably changed to Stanley.

Another daughter, Elizabeth Standley, married deacon John North, and was the grand-mother of Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth the famous Commissary General of the Revolutionary War. Col. Wadsworth married Mahitable Russell of Middletown, Conn., a descendant from Rev. Thomas Hooker, and thus while there was no cousinship between Col. Wadsworth and his wife there was a cousinship between each of them and the descendants from Hon. John Hooker and their children bore a double relationship to this branch of the Hooker family.

Col. Wadsworth, son of Daniel Wadsworth, founded the Wadsworth Atheneum at Hartford and presented it to the city, thus erecting a noble monument to the Wadsworth family, and one in which the Hookers of that branch have a kinship interest. John Hooker died at Farmington, Feb. 21, 1745 or 1746. His wife died at Farmington, Feb. 21, 1742 or 1743.

Wife and children

Abigail Stanley or Standley

  • Hezekiah HOOKER (688-1756)
  • Abigail HOOKER (1691-1692)
  • John HOOKER (1693-1693)
  • John HOOKER (1694-)
  • Abigail HOOKER (1697-)
  • Mary HOOKER (1700-)
  • Sarah HOOKER (1703-)
  • Captain Joseph HOOKER I (1704-1764)
  • Ruth HOOKER (1708-)
  • Roger HOOKER (1710-)

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