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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



No life is more useful to a city or of greater service to the commonwealth than that which, through forceful and unaided efforts, rises out of obscurity, triumphs over difficulties and emerges into usefulness through the narrow path of self-denial and self-reliance. Such in brief is the history of 0. G. Hopkins, a native Californian, whose early years were filled with privations and whose unusual educational attainments are the result of his own determined efforts. It is the good fortune of Sacramento to have attracted to its professional coterie a man so eminently qualified to benefit civic enterprises by personal interest and to adorn the bar by his thorough knowledge of jurisprudence. As city trustee, to which office he was elected in 1907, he showed a disposition to willingly serve the people and also displayed the ability to bring that service to a successful conclusion. By education, training and experience he is qualified for important work and successful association with professional affairs.

Eldorado county is the native locality of Mr. Hopkins and May 21, 1866, the date of his birth. The paternal genealogy shows a long line of Welsh ancestors. His father, Griffith Hopkins, was born in Wales September 28, 1829, and at the age of three years was brought to the United States by his parents, who settled at Carbondale, Pa. The advantages of free-school education in the east aided him in the preparation for life's duties. During 1853 he became a resident of Coalport, Meigs county, Pa. The year 1855 found him joining the pioneers of California, coming via Panama, and from San Francisco he went to Eldorado county and tried his luck in the mines. Like the majority who follow that occupation he had his good fortune and his ill luck, but he earned a livelihood at the work, so he continued for many years to give much attention to prospecting and mining. Eventually, in 1886, he retired from business and came to Sacramento, where in 1900 his death occurred.

After having completed the studies of the common schools 0. G. Hopkins came to Sacramento in 1884, without money or friends, but with an abundance of hope and ambition. The first position offered was that of clerk in John Riley's grocery and there he worked for three months. Next for two months he worked for A. A. Van Voorhies & Co., saddlery manufacturers. During the ensuing two months he worked for John Eitel, manufacturer of candy, and for a month was employed by Siller Bros., contractors and builders. With them he gained his first knowledge of carpentering and in order to complete the trade he entered the employ of J. H. Moon, a building con- tractor, with whom he continued for two and one-half years. On starting out to work for wages he secured employment as a bench hand with the Telegraph Planing Mill Company and there he remained for three years. These various positions had brought him enough to pay for his board and clothing, but had enabled him to save up little for other expenses, and always he had been ambitious to secure an education beyond that of the public schools. With that purpose in view he entered the Atkinson Business College and studied for three months.

With only $35 in his pocket as his total capital, Mr. Hopkins left Sacramento for San Jose and entered the preparatory department of the University of the Pacific. By working for others during his leisure hours he was able to pay his expenses for the one year of his study in the institution, and he adopted a similar course in order to earn his way through Stanford University, When he was graduated from that institution in 1895, the pioneer class with the degree of A. B., it was with the satisfaction of knowing that his unaided efforts had given him a splendid "education and yet left him without debt. After his graduation he remained at Stanford for one year in order to complete the course in law. In 1896 he received the degree of A. M. from his alma mater. Upon returning to Sacramento he began the practice of law, which he has continued on a growing scale lip to the present. Besides his professional work he has served as a director in the Fort Sutter Bank and as a director of the Roseville Banking & Trust Co., at Roseville, Placer county.

The marriage of Mr. Hopkins and Miss Jennie S. DeMerritt took place in Sacramento October 12, 1899, and has been blessed with two children. The daughter, Evelyn E., and the son, Marshall G., are both students in the Sacramento schools. The family are communicants of the Congregational Church and contribute to the missionary and benevolent measures under the auspices of the denomination. The Republican party has received the support of Mr. Hopkins ever since he attained his majority, and in 1912 was nominated at the primary for State Senator of the Seventh district, embracing Sacramento county. Various fraternities have had the benefit of his active co- operation. In the Independent Order of Foresters he is officiating as past high chief ranger of the High Court of California, an office which he has filled for the past six years. A believer in the splendid principles for which Masonry stands, he has been staunch in his association with its lodge at Sacramento, being a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, and is a member of Islam Temple, N. M. S., of San Francisco. Other fraternal connections include membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Woodmen of the World, Knights of Pythias, Loyal Order of Moose and Improved Order of Red Men.

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