Revolutionary War Soldier,

Moses Hopper, alias Moses Edwards

© 1999 by a c goodwin
This information was first posted on 26 January 1999, but is subject to updates when additional information becomes available.
The compilation was originally prepared for publication by a c goodwin's Family Source Compass. That company expressly permits use of this file on the site [].

Hooper and Hopper confusion

The 1800 census of Pendleton County, South Carolina lists several households headed by men surnamed Hooper. These Hooper families fall into two apparent groups:1

pages 7a and 7b

#335 Andrew Hooper 10010-00010
#368 Absalom Hooper 22010-50010
#369 Clemons Hooper 30100-20100
#370 Thomas Hooper 20010-10100

page 24
#320 Matthew Hooper 10110-20100
#321 Richard Hooper 23010-21001

The above Matthew and Richard Hooper belong to the Obadiah Hooper lineage, and were born in Virginia.

Absalom Hooper was born near the mouth of the Green River on the Broad River (near the present border of Rutherford and Polk Counties, North Carolina. Clemons Hooper testified that he was a younger brother of Absalom. Andrew and Thomas Hooper both are likely brothers or cousins of Absalom. Absalom Hooper had received a land grant along Oolenoy Creek, which is a tributary to the Saluda River.

In between Andrew Hooper and Absalom Hooper, the Pendleton enumeration adds:

#360 Moses Hopper 41010-31010

Did the census taker mistake the surname?
Could this Moses Hopper really be another relative of the Andrew, Absalom, Clemons, Thomas Hooper group?

Probably not. The deed evidence below suggests the surname was correctly written as Hopper.

4 March 1791. William Stevenson to Moses Hopper, of Abbeville County, planter, for 25 pounds sterling, 140 acres on branch Big Generostee called Lucas Fork in 96 District, bounded by land Surveyor Martin sold to William Shelton, John Green, John and Robert Shelton, above the Ancient Boundary Line granted to William Henderson, 7 February 1791. Witnesses: John Barnett and Robert Schelton.2
6 September 1791. Moses Hopper to Amos Barnett for 33 pounds for ____ acres on branch of Big Generostee Creek in 96 District, bounded by land surveyed for Martin, sold to William Shelton, bounded by John Barnett and Robert Skelton, granted William Stevens. Signed Moses (x) Hopper. Witnesses: John Barnett, Rolly (x) Hopper. Recorded 4 Aug 1806.3
1 January 1795. John Green, planter of Abbeville County, to Moses Hopper of Pendleton County for 50 pounds sterling for 150 acres on branches of Big Generostee. Witnesses: Andrew Hamilton and John Lowry.4
State grant to Moses Hopper, 298 acres on Weavers Creek, granted in 1798, recorded in volume 37, page 40. Adjacent to this grant was one to Wm. Durram [sic] for 78 acres on Weavers Creek, granted 1793, recorded volume 29, page 136.5
(Weavers Creek is a tributary to Oolenoy Creek. The name immediately preceding Moses Hopper on the 1800 Pendleton District census was William Duncan [sic]. As previously mentioned, the Absalom Hooper who was listed so close to Moses Hopper on the 1800 census also owned land on Oolenoy Creek.)
15 October 1801. Moses Hopper for $10 sold to Ezekiel Putman 150 acres on Big Generostee Creek of Savannah River, surveyed for John Calhoun on 27 May 1785, granted to John Green on 7 Nov 1791. Signed Moses (x) Hopper. Witnesses: Thomas Putnam and Jacob Skelton.6

Clearly, Moses Hopper regularly appeared with a different surname from Absalom, Andrew, Clemmons, and Thomas Hooper. So who was this man? Documents in the Revolutionary War pension file for Moses Edwards (alias Hopper) reveal much about his life. The abstracts below are based on notes taken from that file. Surname spellings appear as they did within the documents.

Moses Hopper, Revolutionary War Soldier

On 22 May 1845, Grayson County, Kentucky, resident Moses Hopper, aged 83, made an affidavit in order to receive the benefit of a federal pension provided for Revolutionary War soldiers. The former soldier testified that he had been born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He was an "orphan" who was bound out under the name of Moses Edwards at the age of ten, in said county, to William Trainum.7 Moses Edwards was so mistreated that he ran away to Guilford County, North Carolina where he had relatives then living.

On 1 March 1781, Moses Hopper entered patriot service for three months, under Captain Rethell (Bethell?). He remained in that service until two days before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, when his leg was burnt by a campfire. Major Owens gave him a permit to go to his (Owens's) house and remain until he was able to perform duty. Thus, he was not at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. After he had remained for two weeks with Major Owens, Captain Rethwell arranged for him to enter the North Carolina State Troops for twelve months as a substitute for a man named Dorris.

Thereafter, he served under Captain Dunahoe, Major Armstrong, and Colonel Dickson in the First Regiment, North Carolina State Troops. He entered this service at Hillsboro, Orange County, as Moses Hopper. After serving at the Siege of 96 (in South Carolina), he was discharged at Charlotte, North Carolina. After this discharge, he went back to Guilford County.

Then with some of his relations,8 he moved to South Carolina to the "Old Town on the Saluda." Then the Tories became troublesome. For four months in the winter and spring of 1783, he served as a scout and spy under Captains Britten and Norrell and Tolls. He lived in South Carolina from then until he moved to Grayson County, Kentucky about 30 years prior to the testimony date.

After Congressional passage of the Act of 1832, he tried to get a pension. He went to Tennessee to see some of his "old fellow soldiers" but they were dead. He spent about $70 making searches but could not find anyone for proof. Finally, he gave it up since he was told the rolls at Raleigh had burned.

Then, in the middle of February (1845), he was told that he could be on existing rolls. He testified that he had never drawn a previous pension. The testimony was signed, "Moses Edwards alias Moses Hopper his mark." According to an attachment, Edwards suffered from extreme old age and feebleness. Due to the distance from his residence to the county seat, he did not appear in open court to make his testimony. Two men, W. Loyd and Richard Porter, were identified as neighbors in 1845.

Supporting documents for the pension application include a statement from a North Carolina official that the muster rolls showed twelve months of service by Moses Hopper, beginning 12 May 1782. A letter dated 20 February 1845 described Moses Hopper as an old man. Willis Green, on 22 May 1845, testified he had been acquainted with Moses Edwards, "who lives five to six miles from me," for fourteen years. Green said Edwards had talked to him about his war service.

Another affidavit, by John Brown, provides a wealth of added family information. On 23 May 1845, John Brown, a 75-year-old resident of Grayson County, stated that he was the half brother of Moses Hopper alias Edwards. John Brown had lived with his uncle Charles Gilley in Guilford County, North Carolina when Edwards came from Pittsylvania County to "his said uncle" early in 1781. On the day Edwards entered the service, he took Brown and showed him a mare and a red cow. These animals had been paid for by the man for whom Edwards was substituting. Edwards told Brown that he (Brown) was to have this livestock if Edwards failed to return from the military. John Brown further declared that his brother Moses had used the Hopper surname during the war and in South Carolina and until after he had moved from South Carolina to Grayson County, Kentucky.

The Widow

Not long after the soldier's pension was awarded to Moses Edwards/Hopper, he died. The widow, "Mary Edwards alias Hopper," filed a Bounty Land Claim under the Act of 3 March 1855. She made her affidavit on 29 June 1855. Her age was 72. Because of her old age and infirmity, she was unable to appear at open court.

Mary stated that Moses had died in Greyson County, Kentucky on 10 August 1847. He had been pensioned at a rate $46.66 per annum. Before their marriage in November of 1803, she had been Mary Tweedle. A Justice of the Peace named McMullen performed the marriage, but there was no family record of the marriage, nor of the dates of the births of her children.

Two near neighbors - Edward Porter and John England - identified Mary as Moses's widow whom they had known at least 38 years. Porter and England testified that Moses and Mary raised a family of children "who are respected members of society." Yet another affidavit was taken on 25 June 1855, by Allen Wilson and Champion Edwards. No relationship between Champion Edwards and Moses Edwards was stated within the document. The testimony showed "that Moses Edwards alias Hopper was a Revolutionary War pensioner and died 10 August 1847 leaving Mary Edwards alias Hopper his widow."

(1) The age categories for the 1800 census are as follows: under 10, 10-16, 16-26, 26-45, and over 45. Males are listed in the first five numbers, then females in the second group of five.
(2) Willie, Betty, 1982, Pendleton District, S. C. deeds 1790-1806: Southern Historical Press, Easley [SC], page 19, from Pendleton Deed Book A, pages 354-355..
(3) ibid, page 406, Book H, page 395.
(4) ibid, page 104, from Book C-D, page 150-151.
(5) Clayton, Frederick Van, 1988, Settlement of Pendleton District 1777 - 1800: Southern Historical Press, Easley [SC], p. 76.
(6) Willie, page 309, Book G, pages 333-334.
(7) The first page of the non-selected records within the pension file contains an explanatory statement. Moses stated he was illegitimate. His mother was an Edwards, his father reputed to be Hopper. Moses bore the name Edwards when apprenticed out. He took the name Hopper and bore it in the Revolution and for some years thereafter. "Delicacy forbade him making this disclosure in his Declaration in a publick manner."
(8) Rolley (or Raleigh?) Hopper, who had witnessed one of Moses Hopper's deeds, might be one of those relatives.

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