George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Hoops, 20 May 1789

From Robert Hoops

Sussex County [N.J.] Belvedere 20th May 1789.

The humble Memorial of Robert Hoops on the part of his Brother Adam Hoops respectfully sheweth, that very early at the Commencement of the late Revolution his said brother enter’d as a volunteer in the Army of the United States and was soon after appointed an officer in it, in which Capacity he served untill the glorious Cause for which we took up Arms was happily obtained—Shortly after the close of the War he travelled with Thomas Hutchins Geographer of the United States through the greatest part of the Western Country, by whose directions and instructions he received a pretty extensive knowledge of the Geography of that Country as well as of the principles of Surveying in general, and was appointed Surveyor of the State of Pennsylvania by Congress in the year 1784.

The said Adam Hoops being now absent in the Western Territory, and consequently deprived of the opportunity of making any application in person, Your Memorialist, having been inform’d of the Death of Mr Hutchins, has taken the liberty to address you, in behalf of his Brother, praying that he may be appointed to Succeed that Gentleman as Geographer of the United States.1 And your Memorialist, as in Duty bound will ever pray

Robt Hoops


Robert Hoops of Sussex County, N.J., served as deputy commissary general of issues for the Continental army in 1777 and as deputy quartermaster general from 1779 to 1780. In 1789 and 1790 he was a member of the New Jersey legislative council. Attached to Hoops’s letter is a statement signed by John Barclay, 17 July 1789, certifying that “I heard Captain Hutchins the late Geographer of the United States say that when any thing should occur to induce him to quit the service of the Public He intended to Recommend Mr Adam Hoops to Congress as his successor.” Hoops’s brother, Adam Hoops (1760–1846), served in a Maryland regiment during the Revolution and attained the rank of captain. His surveying experience began when he accompanied Maj. Gen. John Sullivan up the Susquehanna and through the Finger Lake district during the 1779 campaign. In May 1785 he was one of the surveyors appointed to determine boundaries in the Northwest Territory. During the 1790s he engaged in surveying for the Phelps-Gorham Purchase and in selecting land for French emigrés. In 1804 he purchased some twenty-thousand acres of land from the Holland Land Company in the area of present-day Olean, New York.

1On 23 Aug. 1789 Adam Hoops applied to GW on his own behalf, presenting in support of his application the same documents he had sent to the Continental Congress when he applied for a surveyorship. “I am sensible that pretensions to the surveyorship must be founded cheifly on qualifications to fulfil the duties of that department,” he wrote. “The mention Therefore of military services might perhaps appear superfluous—I shall only Observe that early in the war I entered the army and was engaged in active service untill the 16th August 1780 when I was made prisoner of war at Camden and so remained (on parole) ’till peace took place” (DLC:GW).

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