Historical facts frequently get lost over time. But thanks to the extensive records kept at the genealogy section of the Hooks Public Library, I discovered some fascinating facts about the Hooks family tree and the small town’s humble beginnings.

1. What's In A Name?

According to a manuscript written in 1986 titled “Be What You Seem to Be” by H.A. Hooks, M.D., the Hooks family originated in Wales. Early records show that the family name was initially spelled ‘Hooke,’ but the ‘e’ was dropped when the family moved to the United States.

2. Across the Pond

Prior to relocating to America, the Hooke family moved to Ireland shortly after the bloody Royalist Insurrection of 1655. Weary of the injustices of European rule, they moved to the New World and landed in what is now North Carolina in 1657.

3. Last Will and Testament

Nearly two centuries later, William Hooks wrote his will on Aug. 7, 1820, which divided his property, slaves, belongings and wealth between his wife Dorcas; daughters Sarah, Polley, Morning, Smithery, and Nancy; and sons Blake, Warren and Robert. He signed his will with an “X.” Of the three sons, Warren received the majority of his father’s property, including land, five slaves, a horse and other household items. Robert only received $1.

4. All My Children

Warren Hooks was born on Jan. 27, 1802 in Wayne County, North Carolina. He married Elizabeth Roberts and they had eight children, all of whom were born in Leighton, Alabama. Warren was also the legal guardian of three of his brother’s daughters.

5. Stranger in a Strange Land

Warren moved to Bowie County, Texas with his family and 91 slaves shortly after his youngest child was born in July 1845. The town of Hooks, named for Warren, was established in 1848.

6. Custom Built

The Hooks family owned a 5,000-acre plantation. After designing the plans himself and fashioning it after old colonial architecture, Warren had the original family home built with slave labor on Myrtle Springs Road. While lumber and many materials were shipped from New Orleans on the Red River, the bricks were made on site by slaves.

7. End of an Era

Warren Hooks died on Jan. 8, 1876. The Hooks home burned to the ground in December 1958.

Bonus Trivia

When the Hooks family came together in 1997 for a reunion, they received a letter from President Bill Clinton that read,

When families thrive and flourish, each generation better prepares the next to make its mark in the world. Your celebration is a reminder of the strength that comes from unity.”