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Milam County, Texas

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James D. Hooker

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 292-294.

JAMES D. HOOKER - There is no fact better established in the history of this country, not to go beyond it for illustration, than, that family blood is transmitted from father to son, and that a pride of ancestry, when rightly understood, and acted upon, exercises a most salutary influence in the shaping of individual character. The history of a dozen or more of the leading families of America, such as the LEES, the MARSHALLS, the BAYARDS, the BRECKENRIDGES, RANDOLPHS and others of lesser note, whose names have become household words in the land, affords abundant evidence of the truth of this, while it is a matter of common observation, though in a less degree, in the daily affairs of life.

The subject of this sketch comes of a family that has been long established in this country, and one that has an honorable record. The HOOKERS were originally from England. They emigrated to the New World in Colonial times, and settled in New England, where they are credited with having founded the town of Hartford, Connecticut, and where they secured a strong footing and were afterward influential factors in the settlement of that locality. From there the branch to which the subject of this notice belongs moved to North Carolina, where three brothers settled at a point in what is now Greene County, named Hookerton for them. JOHN HOOKER, the grandfather of JAMES D. HOOKER, of this article, was a North Carolina planter, a man of some means, and a patriot in the times that, as the historian wrote, "tried men's souls." He served in the Revolution and died in South Carolina. JAMES W. HOOKER, the father of JAMES D. HOOKER, was born in South Carolina, in 1797 and there grew to manhood, receiving a liberal education in the schools of that State. He exhibited a taste for mathematics and became in a few years proficient in astronomy and other applied branches of that science. When a young man, he went to Alabama, where he married and became a planter and slave trader. Later he moved to Jackson County, Florida, where he spent the remainder of his life. He served in the Seminole war under GENERAL JACKSON; filled the office of Justice of the Peace in his county, became a minister of the Methodist Church, which he served faithfully for twelve years, and died in the enjoyment of a large property, and in the consciousness of a well-spent life. He was greatly respected and exercised a wide influence both as a citizen and as a minister. His learning, his readiness as a talker, his earnestness, his character as a man, made him a tower of strength for order, law and morality and Christianity in the newly settled localities where he lived, and made his death a public loss. He died January 16, 1841.

LAVICA SIMMONS the wife of JAMES W. HOOKER, and the mother of the subject of this notice, was also a native of South Carolina, being a daughter of FOUNTAIN and ELIZABETH SIMMONS, who were probably born in South Carolina, being residents of the locality where the HOOKERS lived, and who moved about 1820 to Alabama. It was the attachment that had been formed for the daughter LAVICA in the old State that took JAMES W. HOOKER to Alabama. This lady died in 1829, leaving four children, three of whom, MARTHA HOOKER, ELIZABETH HOOKER and JANE HOOKER are now deceased, the only survivor being JAMES D. HOOKER of this article.

The last named was born in Dale County, Alabama, June 24, 1828. He was reared in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, and received good educational advantages. In 1850 he came to Texas and entered Fowler Institute, at Rusk, where he remained three years. He then engaged in teaching in Cherokee County. Later he engaged in farming, in that and Houston Counties, following this successfully till the opening of the war. He entered the Confederate army in 1861, enlisting in Company A, CARTER'S brigade of cavalry, with which he served about a year, when he had to quit on account of sickness, and returned home. In 1863 he moved to Milam County and settled on a farm near the present town of Milano, where he followed farming for twenty years. In 1882 he moved to Milano, where he embarked in the mercantile business to which and his farming interests he has since devoted his time. He owns a large amount of real estate in Milam County, which represents his earnings since moving here thirty years ago and considerable personal property also. He has served as Commissioner of the county two years, and has taken an active interest in county and neighborhood affairs.

April 5, 1855, he married MARTHA J. CARR, a native of Tennessee, then residing in Cherokee County, this State, her parents, ERASTUS and MARY (MILLICAN) CARR, having moved to Texas about 1843. The fruit of this union has been twelve children, but four of whom are now living, although eight reached maturity. The names in the order of their ages are: MARTHA HOOKER, TOM HOOKER, FRANK HOOKER and JAMES C. HOOKER, deceased; JULIA (HOOKER) BEARD, deceased, wife of I. A. BEARD; SUSAN (HOOKER) SMITH, wife of T. P. SMITH of Atascosa, Texas; GEORGE D. HOOKER, of Milano; DORA HOOKER, deceased; W. FREEMAN, of Trinity County, this State; ROSA HOOKER, deceased; CHARLES HOOKER of the home; and MARY H. HOOKER, deceased. For more than twenty years in early life, MR. HOOKER was a member of the Church of the Disciples, of which he was also a minister and did much work of a ministerial nature; but recently he has identified himself with the "New Church", a late organization, in which he is now a minister, and of whose doctrines he is an exponent of recognized ability. His life has been devoted largely to the good of his fellow man, in the capacity of a minister.

We must say a special thank you to Judy Huggs Grimes of Yorba Linda, CA for typing this biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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