Partners in Crime?


Partners in crime may have had more than just a criminal connection. There may have been a family connection as well. Criminal associates are still associates that should be a part of your research process.

What the precise connection there is between the Gideon Rucker and Shem Cooke referenced in the 1773 notice regarding counterfeiters I can’t say. However both were “late” of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, suggesting they were at least working together.  Gideon Rucker and Shem Cook have a possible familial relationship which won’t be stated here until I’m a little more certain of precisely what it is, but they do have probable connections to the same family.

The murder on the Mississippi in the 1770s we’ve mentioned here before. The Absalom Hooper was married to a woman whose last name was Holmes and it’s possible that there was some connection between Charles Holmes and the wife of Absalom Hooper. Innis Hooper is another member of Absalom’s famihooper-mississippily. The connection between the Hoopers and Holmes and the other two is not known at this point. Even if Richard Holloway and Reason Young were not related by marriage or biology, it’s possible that all the men had been associates of each other for some time, perhaps before their time in West Florida.

Criminal associates of your ancestor are still associates and may provide clues as to your ancestor’s origins.

Newspapers are a good way to learn the names of these associates, particularly in the pre-1800 time period from which these records were taken.


Note: These items came from digitally available newspapers at




2 thoughts on “Partners in Crime?

  1. The maiden name of Absolom’s wife is confirmed as follows:

    “Absalom Hooper & Elizabeth Holms was married ye 25 day of Novr Ano Dom. 1765”
    “Journal of William Calhoun,” in Publications of the Southern History Association, VIII:3 [May 1904] p 192.
    An image of the page is available at

    Further evidence of the Hooper/Holmes connection comes from a deed,
    from Clara Langley, abstracter; South Carolina Deed Abstracts 1719-1772, Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC, 1984, p. 146 [also available FHL#975.7/R21]
    Book R 3, pp 327 29, 2 July 1770 Release: Thomas HOLMES, planter, of Prince William Parish, Granville County, to John Pickens, Deputy Sur. of same parish, for 130 Ð currency, 100 acres in Granville County on which ABSALOM HOOPER lives, being the lower half of 200 acres on Russell Creek, a branch of the Savannah River, granted 10 May 1768… Thomas Holmes, bounding on all sides on vacant land (Book CCC p. 199…
    [The area now McCormick Co., SC, formerly Edgefield and before that Abbeville District. The 1775 Mouzon map available at
    marks the Hooper and Holmes lands on Russell Creek just north of Fort Charlotte on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River.]

    There was a Joseph Holmes with land adjacent to this Thomas Holmes on Russell’s Creek in South Carolina. He may be identical with the Joseph Holmes [dead before June 1807] who was a son of the widow Sarah Holmes, both of whom were early settlers in the same area Second Creek area near Natchez where they and Absalom Hooper settled in 1772. That same widow Sarah Holmes had another son named Simpson Holmes, which perhaps is significant in that Absalom Hooper’s son Nimrod named a son “Simpson Holmes Hooper.”

    As to whether these men involved in the Mississippi murder had known each other previously, I’d answer definitely YES.

    And newspaper accounts again give the clue.
    June 28, 1770
    The Pennsylvania Gazette
    CHARLESTOWN (South Carolina) May 10.
    By Letters of 5th Instant from the Long Canes Settlement, … infested with a most desperate Gang of Villains…That many of them had been taken, but always made their Escape; amongst others, Owen Griffin, THOMAS HOOPER, Jun., JOSEPH HOLMES, WILLIAM ABBOT, Jacob Dennard, and Ezekiel Harlow, who …turned upon the Constables, took their Guns, and made off with them… yet REASON YOUNG, Anthony Distoe, …and many others, were known to be amongst them: …that they, and some Indians, have almost ruined all the Settlers upon Little River in Georgia,… were soon to return through Long Canes, and thence proceeds towards West Florida.

    Criminal Journals for October 1770 through early 1771 [see South Carolina Department of Archives and History] in SC show that Thomas Hooper was charged several times – for larceny, felonious escape and suspicion of felony. Thomas Hooper, Jr. was charged with horse stealing. William Abbott also was charged, as was Absolom Hooper, who had four court appearances. He was charged with murder on 16 April 1771 but posted bond and never reappeared before the SC courts in Charleston. In June 1772, he petitioned for land, along with Innis Hooper, for land on Second Creek in British West Florida.

    Of the Mississippi murder gang who escaped the law, most managed to rehabilitate themselves after the Revolution and become respected citizens.

    • I don’t know why I’m just seeing this, but I need to send you an email as these people connect to my children’s ancestors. Michael

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.