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 win an appointment as a common pleas judge. Her mother was a daughter of a wealthy merchant.  Both parents had ancestors among the early Puritan settlers of New England.

King Hooper

Anna Green Winslow was sent to Boston to live with her father’s older sister, Sarah Deming. She then learned 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.

The King Hooper mansion

King Hooper 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.

But people didn’t like him enough for him to survive the outbreak of the American Revolution, and he and his family left for the Canadian Maritimes in 1775. He returned to Marblehead after the war, but never regained his fortune. He died insolvent in 1790.

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Anna Green Winslow casually noted her visit with the wealthy merchant:

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 belongs to the National Register of Historic Places. Currently the Marblehead Arts Association uses it as its headquarters.

With thanks to Diary of Anna Green Winslow, A Boston School Girl of 1771, edited by Alice Morse Earle. Images: King Hooper mansion By John Phelan – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9928890.

This story was updated in 2021.

 

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