Arts and Leisure

Anna Green Winslow Dines with King Hooper

Anna Green Winslow led quite a busy social life as an 11-year-old schoolgirl in pre-Revolutionary Boston. She socialized with the town’s elite, including the daughters of Connecticut Gov. Matthew Griswold, Revolutionary War leader Col. Josiah Quincy and Martha “Patty” Waldo, who married a future U.S. attorney general. On Sept. 22, she went to see the fireworks celebrating the coronation of King George III. The next day, Anna Green Winslow wrote in her diary that she dined with another king — Robert ‘King’ Hooper and his wife.

King Hooper by John Singleton Copley

King Hooper by John Singleton Copley

She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Nov. 29, 1759  a member of the prominent Winslow family. Her father Joshua Winslow would be named a common pleas judge, and her mother was a daughter of a wealthy merchant.  She was descended on both sides of the family from early Puritan settlers of New England.

Anna Green Winslow was sent to Boston to live with her father’s older sister, Sarah Deming, to learn the skills required of a well-brought-up young lady: sewing, dancing and handwriting. She also learned how to behave in the polite society of King Hooper and his wife.

King Hooper made his fortune in the salted cod trade. He was one of the wealthiest men in New England before the Revolution but, like Anna Winslow Green’s father, he was a Loyalist. His ships called at all the ports in Europe and the West Indies.  He was well-liked for his fairness in dealing with fishermen, for his benevolence to the poor and for provisioning his ships with plenty of water and high-quality food. He lived in princely style in his Marblehead mansion, where he frequently entertained.

He wasn’t popular enough to survive the outbreak of the American Revolution, and he and his family left for the Canadian Maritimes in 1775. He returned to Marblehead, but never regained his fortune. He died insolvent in 1790.

Anna Green Winslow casually noted her visit with the wealthy merchant:Screen shot 2014-09-23 at 6.49.00 AM

I din’d at aunt Suky’s with Mr & Mrs Hooper of Marblehead. In the afternoon I went over to see Miss Betsy Winslow. When I came back I had the pleasure to meet papa. I came home in the evening to see aunt Deming. Unkle Winslow sup’d here.

King Hooper’s house on 8 Hooper St. in Marblehead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

With thanks to Diary of Anna Green Winslow, A Boston School Girl of 1771, edited by Alice Morse Earle.

 

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