Johnson J. Hooper

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A historic marker in Dadeville, Alabama notes the significance of Hooper and his famous character Simon Suggs, a fictional native of Dadeville.
Hooper's grave marker in Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

Johnson Jones Hooper (June 9, 1815– June 7, 1862) was an American humorist, born in Wilmington, North Carolina as the youngest of three sons of Archibald Maclaine Hooper and Charlotte de Bernier Hooper. He moved to Dadeville, Alabama in 1835 where he edited a newspaper and practiced law. All told, he founded or edited six different publications during his career.

His first published work, in 1843, was "Taking the Census in Alabama", drawn from his own experiences as a census taker in Tallapoosa County. In 1844 he began publishing short stories about the rascally Simon Suggs, which he collected and published in 1845 as the Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs; broadly, cruelly, and uncouthly humorous, yet one of the raciest books of its time, descriptive of a gambling sharp of the Southwest in the "flush times." The work made him nationally known, and may have inspired one or more characters of Mark Twain's. His Widow Rugby's Husband and Other Tales of Alabama (1851) was less successful.[1]

Intensely political, he was appointed secretary of the Provisional Confederate Congress in 1861. He moved with the Confederate government to Richmond, where he died from the effects of tuberculosis in 1862 (not 1861, as indicated on the state historical marker) and was buried in that city's Shockoe Hill Cemetery. His grave was unmarked until 1950, when anonymous donors erected the current granite stone.

He married Mary Mildred Brantley in 1845. They had two sons, William and Adolphus.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.