George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 22 March 1796

From Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

Treasury Department March 22d 1796.

The Secretary of the Treasury respectfully transmits to The President of the United States two letters of the 29th of December 1795 & 22d instant (the latter being explanatory of the first) received from the Commissioner of the Revenue, on the subject of a claim made against the United States by George Hooper Esqr. of North Carolina, for his services in inspecting the building & procuring supplies for the Lighthouse at Cape Fear.1

From the representation made by the Commissioner of the Revenue relative to this business, it appears, that Mr Hooper had rendered services other than that of inspecting the building of the Lighthouse, and for which he is entitled to an equitable allowance. The Secretary is therefore of opinion that if Mr Hooper receives two hundred and fifty Dollars in full for all services rendered by him, it cannot be deemed an unreasonable compensation.2 All which is respectfully submitted.

Oliv: Wolcott Jr
Secy of the Treasury


George Hooper (c.1744–1821) was a Wilmington, N.C., merchant. Though a brother of the Declaration of Independence signer William Hooper, he was suspected during the Revolutionary War of being a Loyalist, and he moved for a time to Charleston, South Carolina. However, his connections allowed him to be restored to citizenship, and he became the first president of the Bank of Cape Fear, which was chartered in 1804. Hooper had been one of the commissioners appointed by North Carolina to supervise the navigation at Cape Fear, and when the federal government took over construction of the lighthouse in 1792 he was employed to supervise. He was relieved of his lighthouse duties in July 1795, when the supervision was transferred to the collector at Wilmington (see Tench Coxe to Hooper, 15 July 1795, DNA: RG 42, Lighthouse Letters). In Coxe’s letter to Wolcott of 29 Dec. 1795, Coxe noted that Hooper had entered a claim for $500. Coxe then explained his estimate that an appropriate settlement would fall between $250 and $400. Coxe mentioned in his letter of 22 March that Congressman William Barry Grove had presented Hooper’s claim, but Coxe concluded that $250 was a fair settlement (DNA: RG 42, Lighthouse Letters).

2GW approved this sum (Cox to Grove, 28 March, DNA: RG 42, Lighthouse Letters).

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