In a January 1st article I presented the mystery of a discrepancy between the middle initials of two young Civil War era men who were involved in a controversy over their conscription into the Confederate army. A letter was sent to an Atlanta newspaper by Thomas Hooper of Boltonville (a small 19th century town in Cobb County). It was an attempt to clear the names of Thomas W. Hooper and William R. Hooper, who had been accused of avoiding the draft, although, according to the letter, they were already in the Confederate army as volunteers after a misunderstanding about whether they had been exempt from service earlier. Hooper described the men as his sons. But the prominent Cobb citizen Thomas Hooper had sons name Thomas M. Hooper and William Henry Harrison Hooper.
Mark Cearfoss, who is on the board of the River Line Historic Area (where he handles cemetery projects) and who is also on the Cobb County Cemetery Preservation Committee, sent the following email which clears up most of the mystery:
The two young men mentioned are the nephews of Thomas Hooper, not his sons. They are the sons of his brother Enoch and Priscilla who lived on the Fulton Co. side of the Chattahoochee River.
Both sons are buried in Gwinnett Co. in Shadowlawn Cemetery. See FAG memorials #s106304769 and 106304643
Thomas may have submitted this on behalf of his brother Enoch.
Event Date 1860 Census Event
Place Cooks District, Fulton, Georgia
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
This establishes that the Hooper sons, who were the subject of the controversy, were almost certainly the sons of Enoch and Prissilla Hooper. It doesn’t explain why the letter to the newspaper was sent by Thomas Hooper. The likeliest explanation is the one stated above by Mark Cearfoss, that the letter was delivered to the paper by Thomas Hooper for his brother. If that’s the case, the paper misunderstood who wrote the letter.
This mystery has probably reached a probably conclusion, with one loose end. Unless I uncover some documentation explaining the one remaining question, this case is closed. But I’ll end with this description of directions to Thomas Hooper’s grave at the Hooper-McWilliams cemetery, from The First Hundred Years: A Short History of Cobb County, in Georgia by Sarah Blackwell Gober Temple, published in 1935:
Turn off Dixie Highway at Oakdale Road, a short distance south of the Springhill stop on the Marietta-Atlanta car line. One and seven-tenths miles down Oakdale Road, turn east on Maner Drive, and after a mile turn right and south. It is not quite half a mile down this road to the burying ground which is close to Thomas Hooper’s old home, occupied now by the Misses Emma and Lizzie McWilliams, his granddaughters. To approach the burying ground from the south, turn off Bankhead Highway at Oakdale Road, 4.5 mi. from Mableton, and proceed 2.1 mi. to Maner Drive.