Alias Simon Suggs
The Life and Times of Johnson Jones Hooper
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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Spring came early to Cape Fear in 1830. All up and down the narrow, humid peninsula yellow jasmine and azaleas tinted the sandy countryside. Palmettos, windswept and scraggly, rattled and rustled from Corncake Inlet to Old Topsail and magnolias for miles along the river were white-splotched with...
I. “… people is more like hogs and dogs …”
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Willis Brewer says that in going from his father's home in Wilmington, North Carolina, to his brother's home in frontier La Fayette, Alabama, Johnson Jones Hooper "journeyed through the Gulf States, and remained in Tuscaloosa several months."� To have reached this West Alabama community, on...
II. “… Yonder goes the chicken man!”
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Young Hooper's first years in and about the monotonous little village of La Fayette were uneventful and, it may well be imagined, uninspiring. Day after day he read law in his brother's office and met his brother's friends, familiarizing himself with Alabama's legal procedures as well as its people...
III. “… good to be shifty in a new country …”
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On Saturday December 17, 1842, two days after Hooper's marriage, John F. Gilbert & Son, enterprising job-printers of La Fayette, published what is believed to have been the first issue of Chambers County's first newspaper, the East Alabamian, a small weekly dedicated in principle to American...
IV. “… a rough road to travel …”
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"Please send us the back numbers of the 'Whig' from the date you have been connected with it," Porter wrote Hooper early in September, 1845. "The first ... we have received is that for the 2d inst."� A month later he quoted a lengthy Whig editorial in the Spirit, and in November again reminded his...
V. “… dead–as dead as a mackerel …”
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At the tumultuos Baltimore convention of 1852, when the pro- and anti-slavery delegates came to a final parting of the ways, the death warrant of the American Whig party was finally signed.� The beginning of the end had indeed long been foreseen. Hooper himself, who had tenaciously clung to...
VI. “… If Mr. Suggs is present …”
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Despite Hooper's continued but not unusual plea for more subscribers, by 1856 the Mail was an already successful, expanding, though youthful concern. Barrett and Wimbish, publishers of Hooper's Read and Circulate, had moved into the establishment a few months before, greatly increasing its...
VII. “… then, where shall we be?”
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The year 1858 was a quiet one in Alabama politics, enlivened only by William Lowndes Yancey's continual fight to gain active leadership of the Democratic party.� Simply, his plan was age-old: to divide and conquer. Withdrawal from the national party was to be the first move. Then, in order were...
VIII. “… at liberty, is this our birth month …”
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Despite the separating wedges of internal strife, in April, 1860, Alabama's delegation, led by Yancey, entrained for the national convention with great hopes, positively instructed to take their stand against any encroachment on the rights of slavery in the territories.� Hooper, who was destined not to...
IX. “… If it be agreeable to the Convention …”
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The problems instantly befalling Alabama after the passage of the Ordinance of Secession were vexatious and many. First, the state had somehow to be converted rapidly but gracefully into a new "free and independent Republic." Most surely this was a colossal undertaking. Matters previously...
X. “… through spits of rain and snow …”
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By June, 1861, Confederate Richmond, whose pre-war population of 40,000 new-comers found swelled to almost three times that number by the sudden pressure of soldiers, politicians, businessmen, and hangers-on, had quickly gone mad.� Wretched hotel accommodations or rooms in cheap...
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At the time of his death in 1862 Johnson Jones Hooper was one of America's best-known literary comedians.� His Adventures of Simon Suggs, first issued by Carey & Hart of Philadelphia in late 1845, had gone into a second edition before the end of that year, a third by early 1846, a fourth in...
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Publication Year: 2008