Samuel Hooper

Samuel Hooper, (1808 – 1875)

Born in Marblehead, Massachusetts on February 3, 1808; attended the common schools, then entered at an early age the counting-house of his father – who was engaged in European and West Indian trade. Hooper at an early age visited Russia, Spain, and the West Indies before later involvement in the mercantile trading business with some large east coast companies.

Hooper would become involved in Massachusetts politics serving in the State House and Senate. Then, in 1860, he was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Republican convention in Chicago that nominated Lincoln. Hooper was elected as a Republican to the United States House or Representatives and continued to serve until his death. Hooper’s house in Washington, which was noted for its owner’s hospitality, was earlier the headquarters of General George B. McClellan in 1861-62. Hooper was a frequent visitor to the White House and Washington’s social events.

Hooper would be a powerful lawmaker, chaired numerous important committees, and was a strong unionist supporter of President Lincoln. Hooper receives high marks for his successful negotiation of a national loan to finance the war. Hooper’s former daughter in law, widowed, fell in love with Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner – who was 30 years older. They married, but soon after a divorced.

Hooper’s success as a congressman was tainted by his known involvement in the Credit Mobilier scandal. It was this event that probably caused Hooper not to run for Congress the last time.

The Lincoln catafalque, which is a bier constructed of pine boards covered with fabric, was used in 1873 in the Senate chamber for the services of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase – then again in 1875 in the House chamber for Congressman Samuel Hooper. Hooper died in Washington D. C. and is buried in Oak Hill cemetery.

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