William Hulme Hooper

Birth: 1827


William Hulme Hooper (1827-1854) was a British lieutenant in the navy, after having passed his examination at Portsmouth was in November 1847 appointed mate of the Plover, under the command of Commander Thomas E. L. Moore, one of the earliest vessels sent out to search for and relieve Sir John Franklin [q. v.] The Plover's orders were to pass through Bering Strait and examine the coast eastward.

She sailed from Plymouth on 30 Jan. 1848, and from Honolulu on 25 Aug. On 15 Oct. she was off Chutsky Nos, and the next day went into Port Providence, where she wintered. Hooper led a party along the coast as far as Cape Atcheen, and through the winter was much among the natives, whom he calls Tuski, and whose language he learned. The next summer the Plover moved over to Kotzebue Sound, and near Icy Cape, on 25 July, her two boats, under the command of Lieutenants Pullen and Hooper (who, though he did not know it, had been promoted to be lieutenant on 12 May), left the ship for a voyage along the coast.

This they examined as far as the mouth of Mackenzie River, and going up it, Hooper wintered (1849-50) on the shores of Bear Lake, close to Fort Franklin, Pullen going a little further up the river and wintering at Fort Simpson. In the summer of 1850 they descended the river and examined the coast as far as Cape Bathurst, whence they returned to Fort Simpson, and there they both wintered (1850-1).

Leaving their boats they afterwards travelled overland to New York, and reached England in October. Hooper's health had given way under the hardships of three arctic winters, and he became a confirmed invalid, relieving the tedium of his illness by writing the account of the expedition in which he had shared. This, under the title of 'Ten Months among the Tents of the Tuski, with Incidents of an Arctic Boat Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin,' was published in 8vo in 1853. It is an interesting, well-written book. Hooper died in London on 19 May 1854.

[The only account of Hooper's service is in his own book mentioned above. There are short obituary notices in Gent. Mag., 1854, vol. cxliii. pt. ii. p. 91 (reprinted in Annual Register, xcvi. 304) and in Journal of the Royal Geogr. Soc., vol. xxiv. p. lxxxiv.]


John Knox Laughton, Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 27. pg. 307.

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