Hook Genealogy


Thomas Hooke of Maryland

There seems to be at least two families by the name of Hook in the United States today, whose emigrant ancestors reached the shores of America before the year 1700. One of these descended from William Hooke, second son of Humphrey Hooke, Alderman of Bristol, England, who came to Kittery, Maine, in 1633. The other descended from Thomas Hooke, who came to Maryland in April, 1668, and settled near Providence, now the city of Annapolis. Several others of the name of Hooke came to America during the seventeenth century, but the writer has not been able to prove that any one of them became progenitors of a family that endured to the present time.

No definite relationship between William Hooke of Kittery, Maine, and Thomas Hooke of Providence, Maryland, has been established, although both seem to have descended from common ancestors. Both William and Thomas were common names in the family in England which originally settled in the southern part of England, near London, at the time of the Norman Conquest. The family from which William descended stood very high in the community of Bristol. The family of Thomas, according to family tradition, was one of small freeholders residing to the west of London in the County of Middlesex, but closely related to the Hooke family in London and County Surrey. To this day the tradition persists independently and in widely parted branches of the family that Thomas was heir to a large fortune in England.

William Hooke who came to Kittery, Maine, to look after the Agamenticus patent of his father, Sir Humphrey, and his brother, Thomas Hooke, of Bristol, England, became one of the early governors of the Maine territory. For a time in later life he lived in Salisbury, Massachusetts, and his descendants are found to-day in many parts of the United States and Canada.

After 170o a number of Hooke immigrants found their way to America. One of these was Robert Hooke who with his wife Jean and son William proved their importation on May 22, 1740. They came from northern Ireland at the time of the great ScotchIrish emigration and landed in Philadelphia. They settled in Augusta, now Rockingham County, Virginia, near Cross Keys where they patented land in 1741 and became progenitors of a large family whose descendants are now living in all parts of the United States.

In the middle of the eighteenth century a number of families named Houk, Hok, Hoock and Hoak, later Hook, came to America from Germany and Holland. For the most part they settled in Pennsylvania and Maryland where some of the descendants still live. Other descendants of these families moved west into Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

The emigrants from England and Ireland spelled the name with the final "e" but the latter was gradually dropped by succeeding generations until now only a few families, principally those which descended from Robert, cling to the original spelling. This is to be regretted as the final "e" ties the family to its English and French origin and should be preserved by practically all who can trace their ancestry to the British Isles.

There is little doubt but that the immigrants who came from England and spelled the name with the final "e" descended from common ancestors. The family was scattered throughout the British Islands and was one of standing in many communities. There is a striking resemblance, to this day, in the stature, voice and general facial characteristics of the descendants of the three principal immigrant ancestors above mentioned.

The record of any family is so thoroughly intertwined with the history of the community in which it settled and lived, that it is important that some historical facts be restated in order that a family record be understandable and clear. Maryland was the colony that claimed Thomas Hooke, the immigrant ancestor of the American Family of Hook, which this book records.

Maryland was settled for the most part by the same classes of English people as her neighbor Virginia. These were the planters, redemptioners, white servants and black slaves. The planters paid for their passage from England and were granted tracts of land of various sizes depending upon the will of the Lord Proprietor and upon the number of able-bodied settlers that they brought into the colony. The redemptioners were those settlers, usually young unmarried males of good families, who contracted with ship masters or merchants or large planters, for passage to America, agreeing in return to labor on their transporters' plantations until their passage obligations should be discharged. The white servants came from a variety of sources in England. Many of them were the persecuted members of the higher gentry, and from this they graded down to criminals and renegades of the slums that were banished by the English government. The black slaves, as the name implies, were the colored element that was imported from Africa.

The first settlement in Maryland was made by Leonard Calvert, brother of Cecilius the Lord Proprietor, and about two hundred colonists who sailed from Gravesend, England, in two ships, the "Ark" and the "Dove," and arrived in lower Maryland late in March, 1634. The Calverts were Catholic in their religious faith and many of the early settlers were also of that faith. In 1649 a group of persecuted Puritans from Virginia were offered an asylum in Maryland by the tolerant Cecilius. They settled on the west shore of Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River where they founded the village of Providence, now the city of Annapolis. This settlement was the beginning of a Puritan migration to Maryland that assumed such proportions that by 1690 over seventy-five percent of the population was of that faith. In 1692, however, the face of things was changed by William and Mary who proclaimed the English Church the established religion in the colony. (See "Old Virginia and Her Neighbors" by John Fiske.)

Thomas Hooke was born near London, England, about 1645 to 1650 and died in Prince George County, Maryland, late in 1697 or early in 1698. He came to Maryland on the ship "Goulden Wheat Sheaf" of London in April, 1668. He was bound to Captain James Connaway, merchant of Ratcliffe, County of Middlesex, and the Master of the "Goulden Wheat Sheaf" whom tradition says was his uncle, until he had paid for his passage. As a part of his passage pay he relinquished his right to fifty acres of land that Lord Baltimore was then giving to all settlers who settled within his domains. Fifty others came on the same ship with Thomas and the land to which they were entitled was granted to Captain Connaway in one tract on the northern bank of the Severn River directly north of what is now the city of Annapolis. Here Thomas Hooke lived and labored. How long was required for him to become a freeman is not known, but old records left by Captain Connaway, wherein he stated as early as August of the year 1668 that he had used his rights so far as Thomas Hooke and two others were concerned, leads one to believe that these three had been transported on some special terms not accorded the others. Unfortunately, many old Maryland records were lost or destroyed during the revolution of 1688 when the Capitol of the colony was removed from St. Marys to what is now Annapolis so that much of the personal history of the early settlers is undoubtedly missing. The Archives of Maryland, however, mentions` Thomas Hooke as a taxable freeman in 1677 when he was assessed thirty pounds of tobacco to help pay the expenses of the colonies' expedition against the Nanticote Indians. He was the only person in the colony by the name of Hooke who was assessed. In 1681 he was again assessed by the General Assembly of Maryland for thirty pounds of tobacco to help pay expenses incurred for the "Public Good." At this time there was another Hooke in the colony whose name was on the tax lists. He was Jeremiah Hooke who came to Maryland as an immigrant in June, 1670.

Somewhere about 1680, Thomas Hooke moved to what is now Prince George County and lived on leased land not far from the present site of Laurel. Here he made his will on September 23d, 1697, and left his property to sons James and Thomas with the provision that both sons remain with their mother, "until they be on and twenty years of Eage." The full text of the will as recorded in Liber I, page 4, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is as follows

"The last Will and Testament of Thomas Hooke of Prince George County, Province of Maryland.

"In the name of God Amen, first I bequeath my soul to God who gave it and my body to the ground and after my funeral charges is paid all my debts yt can be made hinistly apps I bequeath as followeth-My will is that my sonn James Hook and my sunn Thomas Hook shall remain with their mother until they be on and twenty years of Eage and if please God, my wife should dy the shall booth be at Eage and at their own disposing, Itam I give to my sunn James my cow betey and all her female increase and to my sunn Thomas I give my cow Pritey and all her female increase and the rest of my good and Chattele I leave to my wyfs disposing. This is my will in witness whereof I have unto put my hand and Seall this 23rd day of September 1697."

Wittnesses- Henry Dryden
Robert Bigg Signed Thomas Hook Joseph Harrison

It is to be said that Thomas signed his will with a mark and that the final "e" was omitted. All the early records used the final letter and his wife Annaple who signed the administration bond on May 26, 1698, in her own hand, wrote the name Hooke. Undoubtedly the person who wrote the will carelessly omitted the final letter. Succeeding generations, however, almost universally used the simpler spelling.

The inventory of the estate, which listed among other things, a crop of tobacco, three cows and calves, one barron cow, three horses and one yearling, one mare, eight head of hogs, one spinning wheel, one pad, saddle and bridle, money and household utensials, was appraised by Joseph Harrison and James Watts on the 8th of June, 1699, and signed by them. The administrators of the estate were John Wright and "his wife Annaple" and they appeared and swore to the inventory, July 24, 1699. It is quite evident, therefore, that Annaple Hooke married John Wright some time between May 26, 1698, and July 24, 1699.

Thomas Hooke, undoubtedly, was an adherent of the English Church from his first appearance in Maryland. While there are no records to prove this, it is known that his son James and his grandchildren James and John were active members in that denomination. The family in England, for the most part, remained loyal to the established church. Some, however, became militant Puritans and after the fall of the Commonwealth were obliged to seek aid and protection from their loyal kin, who always stood well with Parliament, to avoid persecution.

Thomas Hooke, Jr., son of Thomas and Annaple Hooke, seems to have dropped out of sight altogether. The son James Hook first entered the records of Prince George County in 1708. On November 17 of that year, according to the Queen Anne Parish records, Mary Hook, daughter of James and Margaret Hook, was born.



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