William Hooper’s 1825 will in Montgomery County, Tennessee referred to “my children that is now in a state of minority, to wit: James B Hooper and Peggy Montgomery [Hooper] and Burrel Young Hooper.” 1 (This same phrase appears twice in the will with “Hooper” inserted after “Peggy Montgomery” in the second instance, omitted in the first instance.) Burrell Hooper was apparently one of the males under 10 in his father’s 1820 census household and was probably the male aged 15-20 in his mother’s 1830 census household. His whereabouts in the 1840 census is uncertain, but on 1 January 1841 B. Y. Hooper was among those listed as voters resident in Montgomery County.2
Sometime in the next few years he moved a few miles east across the county line into Robertson County, Tennessee where, as “B Y. Hooper”, he married M. E. Bishop on 5 October 1848.3 (Secondary sources index his name as B. G. Hooper, but the original record seems clearly to read B. Y. Hooper.)
His wife Mary was the daughter of Nancy Cheatham and her first husband, about whom we know nothing except that his name was Bishop.4 Bishop must have died when Mary was a baby because about 1834 Nancy married an aging widower named Joseph Bradley and had two more children. Joseph Bradley was guardian for Mary E. Bishop and filed guardianship accountings in 1837 and 1838.5 Joseph Bradley died by September 1839 leaving a will dated 25 February 1839 that mentioned his wife Nancy and their two children named Virginia Ann Bradley and William Littleberry Bradley.6 On 2 September 1842 Nancy married yet again to Charles W. Beaumont and had two more children named Richard Cheatham Beaumont and Clarence Washington Beaumont. She was shortly thereafter widowed for the third time. In 1848, evidently having tired of marrying, she moved with her four Bradley and Beaumont children to Tuscumbia, Alabama to be near her father Littleberry Cheatham. She was apparently accompanied by her son-in-law B. Y. Hooper and his wife Mary. In 1870 and 1880 Mary E. Hooper, the widow of B. Y. Hooper, was listed in Nancy Beaumont’s census household as her daughter.
A series of estate records in Robertson County provides most of the proof. 7 James Bradley, Nancy’s second husband, left a will in 1839 naming his wife Nancy, six children of “my first marriage”, and two children by Nancy.8 The six children of the first marriage were adults (one was deceased) by his first wife but Nancy, whom he must have married about 1834, was the mother of two infants named Virginia Ann Bradley (born about 1835) and William Littleberry Bradley (born about 1837). Benjamin W. Bradley, their half-brother, was appointed guardian of the two children. In November 1848 Nancy Beaumont and her two Bradley children, along with her even younger Beaumont children, moved to Tuscumbia, Franklin County, Alabama. Nancy then endeavored to have management of the children’s inheritances transferred there. Nancy’s brother-in-law Joseph A. Guy of Tuscumbia petitioned the Robertson County court to be named guardian of the children. Depositions in the case were taken in 1849 from three residents of Franklin County, Alabama: Mrs. Nancy Beaumont, Burwell (sic) Y. Hooper, and Mrs. Mary E. Hooper, daughter of Mrs. Beaumont. Burrell Hooper’s deposition states that he had recently moved from Robertson County, Tennessee to Franklin County, Alabama.9
Another case involved the appointment of a C. Love as guardian of Richard Beaumont and Clarence Beaumont, Nancy’s children by her third husband. Similar depositions were taken in Franklin County, Alabama from Nancy Beaumont, her daughter Mrs. Mary E Hooper, and her son-in-law Burrell Y. Hooper.10 In both cases, Nancy Beaumont was said to have moved to Tuscumbia to be near her father Littleberry Cheatham.
Unfortunately, Franklin County, Alabama is a burned county for which virtually no records survive. We are left to make do with census records. The 1850 census for Tuscumbia town in Franklin County lists “Bur Hooper” (34) as a grocer, with Mary (21) and a daughter Emma (1). 11 In the adjacent household was Joel Roberts (age 31) also listed as a grocer, perhaps a business partner. Elsewhere in the county was Mary’ s mother Nancy Beaumont with her two Bradley children and two Beaumont children in the household.
In the 1860 census of Tuscumbia, he was enumerated as B. Y. Hooper (39), occupation “taylor”, with wife Mary E. (29), daughter “Amer” B. (10), and son Edward (1). 12
Burrell Young Hooper died sometime in early January 1869. His death was reported in the Mouton Advertiser (of Lawrence County) issue of 15 January 1869: “B. Y. Hooper, constable of Tuscumbia, died a few days ago.”
In the 1870 census of Tuscumbia (which was by then located in newly-formed Colbert County) we find the widow and children of B. Y. Hooper, living with her mother, enumerated on 16 June 1870:13
Nancy Beaumont 60 KY Keeping house
Richard Beaumont 27 TN Clerk in store
Clarence Beaumont 25 TN Clerk in store
Mary Hooper 38 LA At home
Celia Donley 45 AL (black) At home
Ann Donley 22 AL (mulatto) domestic servant
Gabe Logan 25 AL R. R. Foreman
Emma Anthony 20 TN At home
Edward Hooper 11 AL At home
In the 1880 census Nancy Beaumont was living next door to her widowed daughter-in-law Kate Beaumont (widow of Richard Cheatham Beaumont) and Kate’s father Richard Halsey:14 Nancy died in 1890 and is buried in Tuscumbia’s Oakwood Cemetery.
Nancy Beaumont 65 AL
Mrs. Hooper 43 AL
Edward Hooper 21 AL Clerk in RR
Burrell Young Hooper and Mary E. Bishop apparently had only two children:
1. Emma L. Hooper (3 February 1849 – 3 February 1886) She married Rev. Nicholas A. Anthony. Her death, as reported in the Nashville Christian Advocate, occurred on 3 February 1886 in Liberty, Tennessee. See Anthony papers for more detail.
2. Edward Hooper (c1859 – aft1880) He was in his mother’s household in 1880 but I found no trace of him afterward.
- Montgomery County Will Book E, pages 81-2. [↩]
- Montgomery County Court Minutes, Book 21, a list of residents, transcribed online at http://www.tngenweb.org/montgomery/1841voters.html. [↩]
- Robertson County Tennessee Marriage Registers. [↩]
- He evidently died in Robertson County during the period 1832-1835. The record of estates during that period, Volume 8, is missing most of its index. [↩]
- Robertson County Inventories, Wills, Etc. Book 9, page 88 and page 230. [↩]
- Robertson County Inventories, Wills, Etc. Book 10, pages 301-304. [↩]
- A summary of these records was published in the Hooper Compass, Vol. 1, No. 1 (November 1999), page 6. [↩]
- Robertson County Will Book 10, pages 301-304. [↩]
- Jean M. Durrett and Yolanda G. Reid, Robertson County, Tennessee, Abstracts of Chancery Court Loose Papers, 1844-1872 (J. M. Durrett, 1986), Case #19. Reported in Hooper Compass. [↩]
- Durrett and Reid. [↩]
- Page 162, Tuscumbia, Franklin County, Alabama 1850 census. [↩]
- Page 594, Tuscumbia, Franklin County, Alabama 1860 census. [↩]
- Page 155, Colbert County, Alabama 1870 census. [↩]
- Page 462, Colbert County, Alabama 1880 census. [↩]