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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



Genealogical records indicate that the Hopkins family came originally from Wales, but has been identified with American history ever since the historic landing of the Mayflower. The early representatives in the new world endured all the hardships incident to the upbuilding of a colony on the stern and rockbound shore of New England. From the first they were loyal to the land of their adoption. Intense patriotism characterized each generation, and when the struggle with the mother country was about to break forth Stephen Hopkins signed the Declaration of Independence, becoming thereby one of the patriots whose lives were in constant jeopardy until the final attainment of peace.

During the first half of the nineteenth century S. F. Hopkins was an influential business man of Vermont, where he married Harriet Austin and where he owned for years a mercantile establishment at Cambridge, Lamoille county. Among his children was a son, A. S., who was born at Cambridge March 21, 1837, and received a fair education at Georgia, Franklin county, same state. When sixteen years of age he began to teach school at Cambridge and later followed the same occupation at Grand Isle, Grand Isle county. The tide of migration was drifting toward the west and attracting the sons of New England from its unfertile soil to the rich lands on the frontier. During 1854 Mr. Hopkins joined others moving to Illinois and settled at Crete, a suburb of Chicago, where he taught school for four years. With a desire to see more of the vast and unsettled west he traveled by wagon to Kansas and participated in many of the skirmishes that marked the exciting period prior to the Civil war.

When the Rebellion finally began Mr. Hopkins had returned to Vermont and was working in a bookstore at Burlington. There he enlisted at the first call of 1861 for volunteers for three months. His regiment, the First Vermont Infantry, was ordered to Newport News, Va., and took part in the sanguinary battle of Big Bethel. At the expiration of his time he was honorably discharged and returned to Vermont. The next important event in his life was his removal to California in 1862, when he traveled on the ship Ariel to the Isthmus of Panama and thence proceeded up the Pacific ocean to San Francisco, where he landed on the 30th of June. Proceeding to Marin county, he bought a tract of land and engaged in the dairy business, but in 1863 disposed of the property. Next we find him in the Forest City district, where he had varied interests in mines, a saw-mill and a dairy, but finally he gave up all of these activities and turned his attention to teaching school in Solano county. The same occupation took him to Bloomfield, Sonoma county. During 1865 he became a member of the Maine Prairie Rifles in Solano and was chosen first lieutenant of the organization. During 1866 and 1867 he served as justice of the peace.

Coming to Sacramento February 4, 1868, Mr. Hopkins married, April 17 of the same year. Miss Harriet Hewes, daughter of Jonathan Hewes of Vermont, and a descendant of Cyrus Hewes, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins became the parents of three children, Stephen I., Grace E. and William. After he came to the capital city Mr. Hopkins carried on a news-stand and bookstore for ten years, selling out in 1878 to W. A. and C. S. Hough- ton. Afterward he embarked in the wood and willow-ware business with U. C. Billingsby, who in 1886 was succeeded by E. C. Hopkins, a brother of the senior partner. The firm established a growing trade and maintained the confidence of a large number of customers, who recognized and appreciated their honorable business dealings and sterling integrity of character.

On the organization of the board of trade Mr. Hopkins was chosen a director. In 1886, upon the organization of the Sacramento Improvement Association, he became a director, as he had been a promoter of the new concern, and his connection continued as a permanent contribution to the work. The first Immigration Society, organized in 1878, chose him as its president. When it was separated into the Central and Northern Society he was retained as president from 1880 until 1882. In politics he voted with the Republican party from the time he attained his majority until his death, which occurred April 28, 1891. When the county supervisor, J. A. Mason, died in 1876 Mr. Hopkins was chosen to finish the unexpired term. In addition he served as a school trustee until 1888. For five years he was a director of the free library. Fraternally he held membership with Eureka Lodge No. 4, I. O.O. F., and was past president of the Veterans' Society of Odd Fellows. In addition he was a member of Sacramento Lodge No. 80, A. O. U. W., and Unity Lodge No. 2088, K. of H., besides which he held in memory his service as a Union soldier through congenial meetings with his fellow-members of Sumner Post No. 3, G. A. R. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011