Hook Genealogy

 


James Hook Genealogy

James Hook, son of John Hook, grandson of James Hook and great-grandson of Thomas Hooke, was born in Lower Frederick County, Maryland, in 1749 and died in Greene County, Pennsylvania, January 23, 1824. (See part two for his descendants.) Tradition says that after the death of his father in 1762, he lived with his Uncle James Hook at Potomac Hills until his marriage in 1769, whereupon he and his bride re-occupied the old homestead of his parents nearby. He named three of his sons after three of his Hook cousins.

Diligent search has been made for the maiden name of his wife, but to no avail. Her first name was Mary and according to a weather-worn marker found in the old burial ground on the Hook homestead, located about four miles east of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, on Ten Mile Creek, she died January 30, 181, aged 71 years, 4 months and T9 days. The full inscription was taken from the stone by Mr. Charles A. Kent in 1902. His statement in regard to it is as follows

"At Waynesburg in 1902 I ran out southeast of Town to an old site of a settlement called Hookstown, Hook's Mill being on the way out. I found an old grave four miles east of Waynesburg on which a stone told in crumbling carvings

"Here lies the body of MARY HOOK, wife of JAMES HOOK, who dep. this life Jan. 30, A.D. 1815 Aged 71 years, 4 mo. & 19 days.

"In sickness long my life has been
And much Affliction have I seen,
But now my Lord has set me free
To rein with him eternally."'

The writer saw the same stone in 1923. It was a difficult task to make out that portion of the carvings which referred to her age. The remainder of the inscription was plain.

It is hoped that some enterprising member of the family will continue the search for Mary Hook's maiden name. A record of it must have been left somewhere even if the old family Bible which she and her husband cherished so faithfully is apparently lost.

The records of James Hook and his wife Mary are clear in both Frederick County, Maryland, where they were married and where James at least was born, and also in Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania, where they raised their family. On August 20, 1771, April 10, 1775, and June 17, 1775, they signed deeds of conveyance of the property which had been willed to James by his father John. The purchasers were Abraham Leakin, John Snowden Hook, and Samuel J. Hook. John Snowden Hook was a brother of James and Samuel J. Hook (no doubt the same as James Samuel Hook) was his cousin. (Deed Books Libers O-p CIO, BD-p 408 and BD-p 608, Frederick, Md.) James was mentioned in these deeds as junior to avoid confusion with his Uncle James who was figuring in many land purchases and transfers at the time.

James and Mary, with a young son and daughter, moved to what is now Greene County, Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1772. What motive prompted them to move from the fertile valley of Lower Frederick County, Maryland, where they owned a fine farm among friends, to the steep hills and dense woods of what then was the frontier of Virginia, is not known. In fact, it is hard to understand what a settler, who intended to earn a livelihood from the soil, could have seen in those hills and narrow valleys far away from markets, and among hostile Indians. As a matter of fact, they were only one of many fine families that left comfortable homes in the tide water colonies about that time on that pilgrimage in quest of cheap land, that grew into one of the greatest migratory movements that the human race has ever known.

There is a tendency on the part of historians to confine their heroic and tragic anecdotes of colonization in America to the Atlantic seaboard. Colonization did not end by any means when the Puritans established themselves in New England, or when Virginia and Maryland and New York, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas, carved out their local governments. It did not end until the vast territory reaching all the way to the Pacific was conquered by successive vanguards of settlers, all of whom, even to the last quarter of the nineteenth century, submitted to privations and dangers that called forth fully as much fortitude and courage as characterized the earlier generations.

This family record has not the space to devote to the history of Washington and Greene Counties in Pennsylvania. It is a fascinating history, however, and aside from the tragedy it enacts, it tells of the growth of a pioneer civilization that for incident and romance can hardly be surpassed.

When James and Mary arrived on Lower Ten Mile Creek in what is now Greene County, Pennsylvania, hostile Indians roamed the adjacent country. These Indians, at first friendly but later goaded to desperation by renegade white men who looked upon them as wild beasts that must be exterminated, committed depredations that defy a parallel in American History.

In 1774 the Indian reign of terror became so great that the settlers on Lower Ten Mile Creek built old Jackson Fort as a means of defense. This old fort, located not far from what is now the eastern boundary of the town of Waynesburg, played an important part in the history of the community. Mr. L. K. Evans, writing in the Waynesburg "Republican" in 1875 and 1876, described this fort as follows

"At first this fortification was but a single cabin remodeled and reconstructed into a sort of block house. But in the course of fleet-footed time, when the inhabitants increased and dangers thickened, a regular stockade of great capacity and superior strength was constructed. This consisted of a regular system of cabins, arranged in the form of a hollow square and enclosing an acre of ground. Between these cabins were palisades ten or twelve feet high and all supplied with portholes and other necessary conveniences essential to effective defense. Each prominent thrifty settler in the neighborhood who looked to Fort Jackson for protection, owned one of its elementary cabins, and besides a home on his farm had a home of defense to which he resorted in case of alarm. The doors of these cabins all opened towards the enclosure and on the outward side there was neither door nor window, except it would be some contrivance of an opening in the upper part as a means of observation. To this fortification there was one common entrance gate, but once inside each family controlled its own apartment and latch string."

James and Mary Hook owned one of the cabins in this frontier fort and repaired there many times with their family from their home further down stream when an Indian attack was impending. There is but small doubt that Mary Hook and her little family lived in her cabin in this fort while her husband was away to war. She hardly would have dared to live alone in the little cabin on the Hook homestead, for, during the eventful years of 1777-1778, but few families in that wild country, who were unprotected, escaped the horrors of Indian tomahawk and scalping knife.

For more than seven years after James and Mary Hook settled on Ten Mile Creek, the whole territory in that section was claimed both by Pennsylvania and Virginia. The boundary dispute which awarded most of the section to Pennsylvania was not settled until 1779.

Like many other of the early settlers, James Hook thought he was living within the jurisdiction of Virginia. He joined the Virginia Militia and became a Captain. This is proved by his application for bounty land for services in the Revolutionary War dated November 22, 1822, in which he stated "That he served some years previously to the year seventeen hundred and seventysix as a Militia Captain of the State of Virginia." Supporting same application is an affidavit in which James Seals of Greene County under oath said that he was acquainted with Captain James Hook in 1774 at which time he was a captain in the Virginia Militia.

In 1776 he was transferred to the Continental Line and commissioned a Captain. As soon as he had recruited his company he was attached to the 13th Virginia Regiment raised by Colonel William Crawford. Early in the spring of 1777 his company was stationed at old Jackson Fort before mentioned. From here he marched his company to Wheeling Fort, and a little later guarded a shipment of gunpowder to Pittsburgh. In the summer of 1777 he marched his company under orders to New Jersey. He commanded his company at the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown. Colonel Russel was commander of the 13th Virginia at this time. In the summer of 1778 the 13th Virginia marched to Fort Pitt on the western frontier. Captain Hook continued his march westward "where his family resided" and continued in command on the western frontier until the close of the war.

The above paragraph summarizes the Revolutionary War record of Captain Hook as disclosed by his application for pension dated October 5th, 1818, and his application to the State of Virginia for bounty land dated November 21, 1822. Most of his statements are corroborated by affidavits of comrades and old neighbors who knew him before, during, and after the Revolutionary War and who were his neighbors at the time of making their statements. The writer was disappointed that all of this mass of records failed to furnish documentary proof to substantiate the family tradition that Captain Hook and his command were at Valley Forge during the memorable winter of 1777 and 1778. There is little doubt, however, that this is a fact, because the Army of Washington went into winter quarters at Valley Forge immediately after the Battle of Germantown. Captain Hook, according to his pension and bounty land applications, was engaged in the latter battle and did mot leave the main army until the next summer. Undoubtedly, he was with the maim army during the winter.

One of the disappointing things about history concerning the Revolutionary War is the scant information that is obtainable about Regimental and Company commands. From the pension papers of Captain Hook, the 13th Virginia Volunteer Infantry on the Continental establishment was organized in the fall of 1776 by Colonel Crawford who was its first commander. Colonel Russel seems to have been its second commander and Colonel Brodhead its third.

The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography under title of "Virginia Soldiers in the Revolutionary War" says that the 13th Virginia Volunteer Infantry on the Continental Establishment was raised in the West Augusta District largely through the efforts of Colonel Crawford of the seventh. It formed a part of Muhlemberg's Brigade. In September of 1778, it was renumbered the 9th Virginia at the White Plains re-arrangement. The 9th was in service west of the Alleghenies in the spring of 1779 reporting one colonel, five captains and 275 rank and file of that year. The assignment to service on the western frontier, according to the above reference, explains why the 9th alone of the Virginia Continental Line was not captured at Charleston, May, 1780.

Crumrime's History of Washington County, Pennsylvania, page 76, says that the 7th Virginia Regiment was recruited by Colonel William Crawford in the fall of 1775. It also says that the 13th was recruited by Colonel Crawford largely from the same district as the 7th.

Captain Hook's application for Bounty Land reads as follows (Originals on File at Virginia State Library, Richmond, Va.)

PENNSYLVANIA,
GREENE COUNTY, S. C.

"Personally came Captain James Hook aged seventy-three years, before me a Justice of the Peace in and for said County and on his solemn oath did depose and say that he served some years previously to the year seventeen hundred and seventy-six as a Militia Captain of the State of Virginia, that in seventeen hundred and seventy-six he was appointed and commissioned a Captain of the Virginia line upon the Continental establishment and as soon as he had recruited a company, which was done in the same year, he was attached to the thirteenth Virginia Regiment, remained with the Regiment until the fall of seventeen hundred and seventy-eight at which time agreeable to a general order Colonel Brodhead was to have gone with his Regiment on the Western Frontier, he being at that time Commandant of the thirteenth Virginia Regiment. Colonel Brodhead pursued his march westward as far as Fort Pitt where he halted for awhile, deponent continued his march westward, where his family resided. by the entire approbation of Colonel Brodhead, deponent continued in command on the Western Frontier until the close of the War, fighting against the common enemy, never was re-attached to the State line after he joined the Continental line in 1i76, always considered himself in the Continental service, deponent was in many skirmishes both in the eastern part of the Continent and the Western, never was in but two general engagements, Brandawine and Germantown.

Signed, JAMES HOOK, SEER (Seal)

Sworn and subscribed before me this twenty-first day of November eighteen hundred and twenty-two. THOMAS BURSON."

The above claim for bounty land was granted and warrant for 4,000 acres delivered to his attorney, Joseph Sisdon, February 12, 1824, less than a month after Captain Hook's death. The latter, anticipating favorable action on his petition, deeded the moiety of said land to three of his sons, James, Stephen and Israel, a few days before his death.

The claim for Pension reads as follows :--(Interior Department, Washington, D. C.)

PENNSYLVANIA, GREENE COUNTY.

"Before me one of the Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the county aforesaid, personally appeared James Hook who upon his solemn oath and affirmation deposeth and sayeth: That in the fall seventysix he was appointed a Captain in the Regiment raised by Colonel Crawford, the 13th Regiment, that he served on the Western frontier untill the summer of seventy-seven when he was ordered to headquarters (at Trenton) where the command of the regiment devolved on Colonel Russel, that he was in the Battle of Brandywine and Germantown, that he served in the Revolutionary War from November, 1776, 'till June, 1778, at which time he left the service by the consent of his commanding officer (Colonel Brodhead) this deponent further sayeth that he is old and poor and needs the aid of his country for his support.

Signed, JAMES HOOK.

Sworn and subscribed before me this 5th day of October A. D. 1818. DAVID GRAY."

On June 19th, 1821, Captain Hook made another statement in support of his claim for pension in which he pleaded poverty somewhat beyond the bounds of reason in view of the fact that he was living among several thrifty sons, all of whom were amply willing and able to take care of him. He did owe considerable money at the time, largely because of his great generosity in giving to all worthy projects more than he could afford. But he might not have listed his scant belongings which, as a matter of fact, were all he had left himself after parcelling out most of his personal property after the death of his first wife in 1815. He married again late in 182o and attempted to renew housekeeping which in his advanced age and infirm condition of health he could not do. Eighteen months later when he made application for bounty land, he was back with his sons James and Daniel and in a better state of mind and health. The second statement, however, throws some additional light on his Revolutionary War Services. He repeats that he was in the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown. He states that he "was stationed for some time at Wheeling and guarded some powder to Pittsburgh in the spring of 1777." He served under Colonel Crawford until the latter's resignation, after which he served under Colonel Russel who succeeded Crawford. He was marched back to Pittsburgh in 1778, where he was under the command of Colonel Brodhead. He quit the service in "the fall or latter part of the year 1778," but he does not say that he resigned his commission which other records say he did not. He stated that he was 72 years old and that his family consisted of a wife about fifty-six years of age. He said he had formerly been a farmer and afterwards a merchant, and that he. was now very unhealthy and incapable of labor or any kind of business.

The history of all wars lays uncommon stress upon the valor and sacrifices of the soldier who bore the arms. In the glory of these achievements one is apt to forget mothers like Mary Hook who remained at her frontier home in Western Pennsylvania caring for a family of small children and enduring privations and hardships that would try a heart of steel. We may speak of Valley Forge, we may honor the names of those brave patriots who fought in defense of their country, but where do we find in all the pages of history an example of sacrifice and devotion that equals that of the brave mothers who, like Mary Hook, lived at the very edge of civilization, braved the dangers of starvation and protected the family and home while their husbands and sons were away to war? Any one who would take the trouble to read the history of Southwestern Pennsylvania between 1776 and 1779 may properly ask the question-do human beings like Mary Hook any longer exist?

On March 1, 1780, James Hook purchased 400 acres of land located on Ten Mile Creek from David Owens. The consideration was 2,000 pounds lawful money of the State of Pennsylvania (Deed book B, Vol. I, p. 60, Wash. Co., Pa.). The tax list of Washington County in 1781 lists James Hook as owning 400 acres of land, two horses, three cattle and four sheep. (Vol. 22-3 series Penna. Archives.)

A deed dated May 20, 1785, in Washington County (Deed Book B, Vol. I, p. 133, Wash. Co.), conveys 400 acres of land to James Samuel Hook of Frederick County, Maryland. The conveyor is described as Captain James Hook of Ten Mile settlement of Washington County, Pennsylvania. Again on May 25, 1785, Captain Hook conveys to James Samuel Hook of Frederick County, Maryland, 200 acres of land on the south fork of Lower Ten Mile Creek in Washington County. (Deed book B, Vol. I, P. 135, Washington Co., Pa.)

Captain James Hook and James Samuel Hook were cousins. The above land is now a part of Greene County, Pennsylvania, which was formed out of the southern part of Washington County by an act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania dated the 9th day of February, 1796.

On November 8th, 1796, the appointment of James Hook as the first sheriff of the new county was confirmed by the governor of the state.

There are many other deeds on record in Washington County in which Captain Hook was the grantee or the grantor. None of them, however, reveal any genealogical information or family history of importance. The same may be said of the old civil and probate court records.

On May 30, 1797, Greene County records (Deed book I, p. 125, Greene Co., Pa.) a deed issued from James Hook, Senior and his wife Mary to John Snowden Hook of Allegany County, Maryland. The grantor and grantee of this deed were brothers and a witness was Samuel Hook, son of the grantor.

Other deeds prior to 1800 in Greene County show James Hook, Senior and James Hook, junior, as grantees to land in Greene County. A lot in the new town of Waynesburg was conveyed to James Hook, Senior, very shortly after Greene County was formed.

In 1875 and 1876 the editor of the "Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Republican," Mr. L. K. Evans, published a series of historical sketches of early life and events in Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania. In August, 1896, "The Woman's Centennial Paper" was published in Waynesburg to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Greene County. These publications contain much information relating to the Hook families, some incidents of which are applicable to this history. In Article No. 22 by Mr. Evans appears the following anecdote pertaining to Captain James Hook that must have occurred about 1775 or 1776.

"It appears that John Minor and Jacob Vanmeter, both holding justice of the Peace Commissions from the Governor of Virginia, had visited Fort Jackson on some business connected with the public interests of the settlement. Whilst making known their errand they were surrounded by all the male inhabitants of the fort. Among them appeared the redoubtable Joe Archer, a rough, burly fellow, and at this time with his hands and clothes besmeared with blood. 'Jas. Hook, the grandfather of Capt. Jesse Hook, who now owns the fort premises, asked him what was the matter. He made answer, `I have been marking hogs,' and placing his hand with an open knife in it to Hook's ear, he said, `would you like to be marked?' Hook gave a sudden jerk, and by some means Archer's knife came in contact with his ear and actually took off a slice. Hook considered that carrying the joke too far, and struck Archer, when a fight became imminent. Jacob Vanmeter being a rigid Baptist, as well as a justice, interferred and commanded peace. Minor, however, regarding the act as a piece of barbarism deserving punishment, succeeded in beguiling Vanmeter into a cabin and entertaining him there whilst the fight was renewed and fought to the bitter end. Hook being long winded and tough, finally got the better of Archer and after a long and desperate struggle succeeded in biting a piece out of Archer's ear fully as large as had been cut off his own. This appearing to all the bystanders as the one handsome thing to do, the belligerents were separated and the difficulty stood adjudicated for all time to come. Thus the god of battles was the arbiter of peace and might the measure of justice."

An interview with Mrs. Margaret Strawn, an old lady of nearly one hundred and three years, was published in the "Woman's Centennial Paper" above referred to, and that old lady referred to Captain James Hook several times as follows

"A man named Jim Hook had the first sawmill in Waynesburg. He gave the ground for the church and furnished the lumber to build it. It was a Methodist Church. My father belonged to it. The Methodists

were very good people-very good people. Jim Hook gave the ground for a -rave yard near the church. Jim Hook gave the lumber that built the bridge below town and the people built it. It was a very strong bridge."

Mrs. Strawn was then asked for a story of early days and this is the story she told

"Betty Storen and Betsy Manning went to the still-house and got a halfgallon jug of whisky. Who kept the still-house? Let me see-DuvallLeonard Duvall, and they crossed the creek on the ice, going over to the still-house, and when they carne back they thought they could cross it well enough down below. But there must have been an air hole and they both got in. Betty went down and Betsy called her daughter to help her, and she got her by the hand and pulled her in too. They got them out, Betty was drowned and the little girl was dead, but Betsy was still alive and asked for her jug. She died in a little while. But Jim Hook would not let them be buried in the graveyard, because they were drunk, and they were buried close on the hillside in some bushes."

The story recited by Mrs. Strawn is very interesting from the fact that it indicates that Captain James Hook must have had a change of heart since the Whiskey Insurrection in 1791-93. During those memorable years Captain James Hook was interested with several other prominent people in the neighborhood in a distillery. There are no records so far as I have seen that prove for sure that he owned one, or that he partially owned one, but it is said that together with Reverend John Corbly, Esquire Sedgwick, and none less than his old Colonel in the Revolutionary War, William Crawford, he prominently opposed the excise tax that the Congress on March 3, 1791, imposed on spirituous liquors. These men were, in fact, the leaders of the sentiment against the new law in the neighborhood. The law had also been bitterly opposed and debated in Congress, and none less than Thomas Jefferson called attention to its odious nature and strongly applauded the popular clamor against it. Of course the whole opposition was wrong, but for the moment and in light of the circumstances and sentiment in those isolated frontier communities, there was much about it to commend. When the soldiers of the government arrived, Corbly, Sedgwick, and others, were arrested and taken to Philadelphia for trial. Captain Hook was too foxy for them and took to the woods and remained there until the excitement was over and the soldiers gone. It is said that during his hiding, his daughter Sarah kept him supplied with food.

Captain Hook and his wife were devoted Methodists and donated the land in East Waynesburg (called Hookstown) for the old church, parsonage and cemetery. He left no will, but a deed dated January 19, 1824 (Deed book 5, p. 241, Greene Co., Pa.), conveys to his sons James, Stephen and Israel Hook, the moiety in land granted to him by the state of Virginia f or his services as Captain in the Revolutionary War. It reads as follows

"Whereas, 4,000 acres of land was granted to me by the State of Virginia for my services as a Captain in the Revolutionary War, 2,000 acres of which I gave Colonel Rees Hill for his trouble in procuring the same.

"Now know all men by these presents, that in consideration of the natural love and affection and the many good offices rendered to me by my son James Hook, I do hereby convey unto to him all my right, title, claim and interest in and to 1,000 acres of my moiety of said land.

"To have and to hold the same, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever. The residue of my 2,000 acres of said land I give to my two sons, Stephen and Israel Hook to be equally divided between them."

About 1818 Captain Hook married his second wife who is mentioned in his application for pension, filed in 1821. Her name is unknown. Issue by first marriage, nine children as follows:-There was no issue by second marriage.

(1) Sarah Hook.
(2) John Hook
(3) Samuel Hook.
(4) James Hook.
(5) Stephen Hook.
(6) Israel Hook.
(7) Daniel Hook.
(8) Arthur Hook.
(9) Thomas Hook.

The family records of only four of the sons of Captain James Hook have been found, and some of them are not complete. The children of these sons (James's, Stephen's, Daniel, and Arthur), were all born in or near Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, where descendants of all except Stephen still live. The son Samuel is said to have moved to Missouri at a very early date and all record of him seems to have been lost. John, according to family tradition, moved to Kentucky about 1795. It was probably he who married Esbell McClimans in Washington County, Ohio, December 14, 1801 and had a daughter Mary (called Polly) who married Notley Drown, April 11, 1820. Israel Hook visited his brother Stephen's in Perry County, Ohio, about 1845. His wife's first name was Mary, but no record of any children has been found. He was living in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, in 1824, when he was an Orderly Sergeant in an organization known as the Franklin Rangers. Earlier records refer to him as a blacksmith. Sarah, the only daughter, married and had children but records pertaining to her family have not been found. Thomas, the youngest son, is thought to have married Mary Ann (probably) Adams and to have died without issue in 1837.

 

 

 
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