His Majesty having directed me to use my best endeavors to recruit his forces under my command in his Colonies in North America, I have appointed Capt. Hopkins, Lieut. Chaloner, and Lieut. Smith to repair for that purpose to your province not doubting your giving them all the assistance in your power to levy soldiers not only for completing Col. Gooche's Regiment, but if practicable to raise a greater number either to fill up the vacancies in the two old corps and in the marines, or to form another battalion, as it shall be found best for his Majesty's service."As I have no means of supplying the recruiting officers with money, you will Sir, be pleased to give the aforesaid Captains credit for such sums as may be wanted for that service, and to draw upon the Rt. Hon. Henry Pelham, Esq., the Paymaster General, for the said use. As to the particular sums to be paid to the said recruiting officer, I refer you to his Instruction which he will lay before you.All such as will enlist themselves on this occasion will be entitled to the advantages offerred by his Majesty in his instructions on the first raising Col. Gooche's Regiment. I don't doubt Sir, but you will take the proper measures for their being transported hither, to support which charge, I flatter myself the respective Provinces will make a provision, as all his Majesty's dominions in the West Indies are particularly interested in the success of this Expedition.I beg leave to assure you Sir, that such young gentlemen as shall give their assistance in raising men, and shall be properly recommended, will be provided for in the vacancies which may happen in Col. Gooche's Regiment. I shall Sir, have a more particular regard to your friends, being I amYour Most Obt. Humble Serv't.Kingston, Jamaica,
2d Feb., 1741-2.
Quit Claim Deed from Wm. Hopkins to Joseph Wilkinson.
"Know ye all People Before whome these presents Come: That whereas my Honored Grandfather, Capt. Samuel Wilkinson, Late of Providence, in the Colony of Rhoad Island and Providence Plantations in New England: deceased, dyed Intestate; whereby his lands and Reail property fell to be divideable among all his Children, both sons and daughters; according to the law of said Colony that was then in force at the time of his death; Therefore, know yee that I, William Hopkins, Jun'r of said Providence and Colony aforesaid: Being Eldest Son and Heire to my deceased mother, Ruth Hopkins: whose maiden name was Ruth Wilkinson; for, and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and fifty-four Pounds Currant money of New England by mee in hand already Received and well and truly paid by my Unckle Joseph Wilkinson of said Providence and Colony aboue said; yeoman—the Receipt whereof I doe hereby acknowledge and myself therewith to be fully satisfied, contended and paid: Have Remissed, Released; and doe by these Presents Remise, Release and wholly Quit Claim unto him the said Joseph Wilkinson, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever, all his title, claime and Interest in and to the Lands, meadows and commons that belonged to my said Grandfather Samuel Wilkinson, deceased; as I fully represent my said deceased [mother] sic the aboue named Ruth Hopkins; that is to say as well that which was the homestead farme of my said deceased Grandfather Wilkinson: with the houseing buildings, fenceing and Improvements thereon, as also, all the other Lands, meadows and Commons within the Towne and Jurisdiction of the Towne of Providence abouesaid; To haue and To Hold all the abouesaid Released Lands and Privileges abouesaid unto him the said Joseph Wilkinson, his Heirs, Executors, Administrators, and Assigns, and unto his and their own proper use, benefit behoofe, free and Cleare forever: And, I the said William Hopkins for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators doe couinant and Promise to, and with the said Joseph Wilkinson, his Heirs, Executors, Administrators and Assigns; that I the said William Hopkins, my Heirs, Executors and Administrators: shall and will warrant and foreuer defend the said Remised and Released Lands and premises; being the one-seauenth part of all the Lands and Reail Estate of the said deceased Samuel Wilkinson; unto him the said Joseph Wilkinson, his Heirs, Executors and Administrators against the Lawful Challing sic, Claimes, or demands of any person or persons whatsoever.
In witness and for consideration hereof, I, the said William Hopkins, haue hereunto sett my hand and Seale this twenty-third day of February in the fourth yeare of the Reign of our Souereign Lord, George the Second, King of Greate Brittan, &c., Anno Domini—1730-31.
Signed Sealed and delivered In the presence of us William Hopkins, Jun'r [L.S.] Richard Waterman, Jun'r,
Providence in Rhoad Island Colony the day and year aboue written Personally appeared the aboue named William Hopkins and acknowledged The aboue and within Written Instrument to be his own free and Vollintary act and Deede, before mee, Richard Waterman, Jun'r Assistant.
*1 Book of Births and Marriages, p. 31, North Providence, R. I.
Public Letters, 1731-41, p. 67, Sec. of State's Office, Providence, R. I.
*Public Letters 1742-45, p. 21, Sec. of State's Office, Providence, R. I.
Public Letters 1742-45, p. 34, Sec. of State's Office, Providence, R. I.
Biography No. VI — Stephen Hopkins
Stephen Hopkins was born March 7, 1707. His parentage and place of residence are well known. No obscurity rests upon either. And his mark as a private citizen and public servant remains indelibly impressed upon upon the hearts of his friends, and the record of his country. Rhode Island never produced a more accomplished statesman; and she has erected to his memory a monument with an inscription which attests that his virtues and talents were appreciated by his native state.
His birthplace was in the northwest part of the town of Scituate in what was called by the Indians Chapumiscook. The house was situated about thirteen miles from the city of Providence on the road to Killingly, Conn. The farm where he was born, and which was owned by his father, consisted of about two hundred acres. It is now  owned by William Colwell of Smithfield, a man of wealth and influence. It is known as Gov. West's farm, and when in the possession of the Hopkins' was exceedingly fertile, producing excellent crops of corn, rye, oats and potatoes; and was well adapted to grazing.
To describe the place of one's birth from the appearance of the spot one hundred sixty years after the event, especially in a new, and, what was then, an unsettled country,—covered with the primitive forests—is a task from which even the most vivid imagination would shrink, and the ordinary has but little hope of picturing the scene as it was. At best the present appearance only, can be given, and the filling up of the picture by sweeping away railroads, telegraph wires, steamboats—and eradicating cities, villages, and even rail, and stone fences, and common highways—at least a multitude of them—and replacing the primitive forests, log huts, bridle paths, blazed trees, Indian savages and wild beasts—must be left for the reader to accomplish in his own way; and though he has never seen the locality, yet will he come as near the truth as those who have always resided upon the premises. The house in which Stephen Hopkins was born has long since gone into oblivion and returned to dust. The well still remains, but the paths by active feet have disappeared.
"The walks with grass are overgrown,
And weeds fill up the garden bed;
The moss clings to the stepping stone,
And from the trees the birds have flown,
Now that the tree is dead."
The present house near the spot where stood the old one is so near the old well that water is drawn from it without going out of doors. The old graveyard on the opposite side of the road remains, so far as locality is concerned, as it was one hundred and fifty years. Large and decayed apple trees scattered here and there, serve to show where the orchard stood, but it is doubtful if they go back to the time of the birth of Stephen. The clearing of the land has materially altered the landscape, though the great natural features are retained to a certained sic extent. The contour of distant hills browned by the falling leaves of autumn, whitened by the snows of winter, or made verdant by the genial rays of spring and summer presents now, as it did then, a scene beautiful, and even magnificent to gaze upon, but the minutia have all changed with the revolving years."The ancestry of Stephen Hopkins on both sides" says Rev. C. C. Bemen, "was of the highest repectability." His father was William Hopkins, the only child of Major William Hopkins, and his mother Ruth Wilkinson, daughter of Capt. Samuel Wilkinson of Providence. Thomas Hopkins,* the first ancestor of Stephen in America, came from England to Providence in the very early settlement of the town, and had a house and lot assigned him in 1638. Some have claimed him as the son of Stephen Hopkins who came out in the "Mayflower," but the evidence is not very satisfactory. A careful examination into this has determined that he was not the same. He was elected Commissioner to the "Court of Commissioners," as the legislature of Rhode Island was then called, in 1650, and also, in several subsequent years down to 1668. He married Elizabeth Arnold, sister to Benedict Arnold (not the traitor) but one of the Presidents of the "Court of Commissioners," and also, the first Governor of Rhode Island under the last charter granted by King Charles II. July 8, 1663. Major William Hopkins,* son of Thomas, married Abigail Whipple, the daughter of John Whipple, one of the first settlers of Providence, and a relative of the distinguished Commodore Whipple. Major William Hopkins was quite an extensive landholder in Scituate as the records of that town will show, and identified himself with all enterprises of a public character for the promotion of the rising state. His name appears with that of Roger Williams and Thomas Field as a committee for the sale of Indian captives at the close of King Phillip's War, August 14, 1676, one hundred years before the Revolution. This practice of selling Indian captives was soon abandoned. The native sons of the forest could not be enslaved, and the investment proved an unprofitable one whenever made. He was an early patron of schools and institutions of learning, and greatly promoted the cause of education in the infant colony. The aspersion that Rhode Island gave no attention to the education of her children is sufficiently refuted by a reference to her records. We find his name with others, Jan., 1696, petitioning the town of Providence for a piece of land on Dexter's lane, or Stamper's hill on which to erect a school house. So early did the settlers make a move for the establishment of of these primary institutions of Republicanism; and from this germ Rhode Island to-day boasts of as good a public school system as any state in the Union. This lane was subsequently called Olney street, from one of the original proprietors of the town, and who was at one time successor of the Rev. William Wickenden, as pastor of the Baptist Church in Providence. William, the father of Stephen, early settled in Scituate, taking up lands and establishing his residence some two or three miles south of the residence of Joseph Wilkinson, his brother-in-law. Large tracts of land were laid out to them on the west side of the "Seven mile line," as may be seen in "The Proprietor's and Purchaser's Book of Providence," now in the safekeeping of the Secretary of "Rhode Island Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Industry,"—Judge William R. Staples. This "Seven mile line" constitutes the western boundary of the towns of Cranston, Johnston, and Smithfield—extending north to the Massachusetts State line.
Of the childhood of Stephen but little is known, as no record of history of his early life was written, and traditions have expired with former generations. His father was a pioneer farmer, and we can well imagine the labor of the boys as they grew up. To clear away the primeval forests, to plant, and sow, and reap, and to battle with the aborigines for the possession of their hunting grounds, were the labors and pastimes of the early settlers. Extreme perils and privations awaited them. Stephen and his older brother William were inured to labor and hardships, and these made them vigorous and fearless. A strong passion for reading which followed them through life, displayed itself from the earliest period, and they began soon to be regarded throughout the town as youths of much promise.
It is somewhat amusing to read the accounts of different biographers as to Stephen's educational advantages. They all agree as to his limited opportunities, but at the same time make them more than they were. The Rev. Charles A. Goodrich says:—"His early education was limited, being confined to the instruction imparted in the common schools of the country. Yet it is recorded of him that he excelled in a knowledge of penmanship, and in the practical branches of mathematics, particularly surveying." Another author says—"Stephen Hopkins received nothing more than a plain country education by which he acquired an excellent knowledge of penmanship, and became conversant with the practical branches of mathematics." Dwight says, "He was favored with but few advantages for procuring an education in early life. Those he did enjoy were not extended beyond what could be derived from a country school. He advantageously improved these, so that he acquired an excellent acquaintance with penmanship, and to some extent with mathematics. He was a good practical surveyor of lands." Bemen—"His education must have been very inconsiderable. Tradition gives him one day's schooling, but it is very doubtful whether he even had that in a public school. We are not to suppose, however, that he had no instruction. His mother probably, taught him reading and writing, and his uncle, Mr. Joseph Wilkinson, living not far off, and himself a surveyor, it is likely instructed him in that art, for we find him still a youth, engaged in surveying."
The fact is there were no schools in that part of Providence in that day. The only means of education was home instruction. They had books, however, historical, theological and incidents of travel. The practical branches of reading and writing, geography and arithmetic were understood and taught. Stephen's mother was the granddaughter of the Rev. William Wickenden, a Baptist minister, and his uncle William Wilkinson was a distinguished preacher among the Quakers. The writings of Spencer and Shakespeare, Milton, Jeremy, Taylor, John Bunyan, Dean Swift, Addison, Watts, Young, Blair, Thompson, Johnson—the best writers in the English language were extant, and professional men in the New World were not entirely destitute of books. A circulating library was established at a very early period, at, or near Stephen's grandfather's, Capt. Samuel Wilkinson's, who lived in that part of Providence called Smithfield.
Stephen was not remarkable for his penmanship till after he was elected town clerk of Scituate, where the constant practice of recording deeds, land evidence, &c., made him a beautiful penman, as the first books in the clerk's office of that town plainly show. Surveying he undoubtedly acquired of his grandfather Samuel Wilkinson, who was a most expert surveyor. His name appears more frequently on the proprietor's and purchaser's book of Providence than any other man's in the early days of the Colony. There seems to have been a passion for this branch of mathematics which has been handed down from father to son, and is insisted upon even at the present time. The author is owner of an old protractor made of brass, by Israel Wilkinson a cousin of Stephen's. He well remembers also, of being advised by his father when he went to Oxford Academy, by all means to gain a knowledge of surveying, as no branch of study would be more useful. After surveying, navigation was recommended, as these two branches gave a person ascendancy on land and water. Utility was the prevailing idea, though mental discipline was not entirely overlooked.
One of the old surveys made by Stephen's grandfather, of lands in that part of Providence now called Smithfield, is in existence, bearing date as late as 1727, when Stephen was twenty years old, and another dated 1709. It was designed to have a fac simile of the same for this work, but it has been neglected. Stephen became an adept in this art. He was employed in surveying lands by his native town, and in 1737, he revised the highways, and projected a map of Scituate, and also, of Providence after he moved into that town. In 1740, he was chosen surveyor by the Proprietors in the County of Providence. His surveys were very accurate and the tests of the present day seldom find an error. On one occasion having passed through a thick shrubby plain he found that his watch which cost 25 guineas ($125) in London, was missing. Supposing the chain had become entangled in the bushes, and the watch pulled out thereby, he set the course back and found it hanging on a bush!
According to the records of Scituate, Stephen Hopkins and Sarah Scott were married by William Jenks, Justice of the Peace, Oct. 9, 1726, each of the parties being about nineteen years of age. She was born June 24, 1707. Her father was Major Sylvanus Scott, the second son of John Scott.* Her great grandfather was the distinguished Richard Scott, "gentleman," as he is designated in the old colonial records, and was one of the early settlers, and the first Quaker who came to Providence. His name appears with Elder Chad Browne's, Elder William Wickenden's Thomas Angell's, Thomas Harris', and others in the second company who united with Roger Williams, after the thirteen original proprietors. Guild in "Manning and Brown University," page 147, says he was one of the original thirteen.
His letters against Roger Williams and others are published in "Fox's New England Fire Brand Quenched," and a copy of said work is in the University Library at Providence. Williams is represented in quite an unfavorable light in one of them—the error of prejudice and of the age combined, which time has corrected.
Sarah's ancestry on her mother's side was highly respectable. Her mother's maiden name was Joanna Jenckes, the daughter of Joseph Jenckes, who was also an early settler in Rhode Island. Her brother Joseph Jenckes, jr. was elected Governor of Rhode Island in 1727, the year after her marriage, and served in that capacity five years. Gov. Jenckes married Martha Browne, daughter of John Browne, and grand-daughter of Elder Chad Browne, the first pastor of the first Baptist church in America, if we exclude Roger Williams.
We have no account of the celebration of the nuptials, but no doubt a happy company of young people joined in the festivities of the occasion at the house of the bride's father. They were married in the evening. In his "Sketches of Scituate," Bemen says "the marriage took place June 27, 1726,"—upon what authority we are not informed. The records in Scituate and Providence agree in making it as we have before stated. To create a home for the newly married couple, Samuel Wilkinson bestowed on his "loving grandson," an additional tract of ninety acres—making a snug farm of one hundred and sixty acres in the remote part of Providence, since called Scituate. Here Stephen brought his wife and whether their dwelling was at first a splendid mansion, a lowly cottage, or a log hut, those who have been pioneers in a new country need no historian to inform them.
The Scott's, the Hopkins', the Williams' and the Wilkinsons frequently intermarried both before and after the marriage of Stephen and Sarah, and as they owned large tracts of land in Providence, Scituate, Smithfield and Cumberland, which joined, it was only going to the nearest neighbor to find a wife, though a journey of twelve or fifteen miles was necessary. Stephen continued the business of farming for several years, when he sold his estate in Scituate at the solicitation of friends and moved to Providence where he afterwards made his home to the close of his life.
In 1730, the town of Scituate was set off from Providence, and at the first town meeting Hopkins, then but twenty-three years of age, was chosen moderator. He honored the position with which he had been honored by his fellow townsmen, and thus commenced the public career of Rhode Island's favorite son. He was esteemed as a young man of most extraordinary abilities in his native town, and when he came to the metropolis of his native state, he soon inspired a similar opinion in all who made his acquaintance. From this time onward to the close of his life he rose step by step through the various grades of office to the highest distinction his state could confer upon him. It was not merely force of intellect, but excellence of moral character that won the hearts of the people. His native dignity combined with a warm genial heart produced that attractive social disposition which bound all who knew him in the firmest friendship. He belonged to the Society of Friends and was eminent for those benevolent principles and good will to all mankind which characterize that denomination of Christians. Such was the influence of his personal appearance that his presence hushed the boisterous hilarity of youth, and drew the involuntary recognition of the most reverend and grave of the company.
In 1731, he was elected town clerk of Scituate, which office he held for a number of years. Whoever will make a pilgrimage to Scituate may satisfy himself in regard to the business talent of Stephen Hopkins, and also, in regard to his penmanship. From my boyhood in looking at the Declaration of Independence I imagined the autograph of Stephen indicated a poor penman and as I gazed upon the trembling lines concluded he must have been shaken of palsy. But such is not the fact. The appearance of his writing among the heroes of the Revolution upon this immortal instrument has been used as a reproach, not only against Hopkins himself, but also, against the colony and state of Rhode Island. The town clerk of Scituate informed me that somewhere in print, he had read such a reproach as this—"Rhode Island, the land of darkness and of ignorancemdash;her lack of interest in educational enterprises is manifested in her not only having no public school system, but also, in the chirography of one of her most eminent men—her governor for nine years, member of the Continental Congress, and signer of the Declaration of Independence."
*Thomas Hopkins, Providence, 1641—had followed Roger Williams in 1636 from Plymouth, m. Elizabeth, dau. of Wm. Arnold first; had William, Thomas. Swore allegiance to Charles II June, 1668, as did Thomas, Jr. in May, 1671, was representative some years, and progenitor of Stephen, the Governor. See Mass. Hist. Coll. 1 4"—Savage's Gen. Dict., in loc.
*"William, Providence. Swore allegiance in May, 1668, (one month before his father Thomas) m. Abigail, dau. of John Whipple—had William (who by his wife Ruth, dau. of Samuel and Plain Wilkinson was father of the venerable Stephen, Gov. of the State, and immortal signer of the Decl'n of Ind'ce, as also of Esek, a distinguished naval officer in support of the same cause) they lived through that war, and were rewarded for their constancy. Twenty-nine of this name had been graduated in 1834, at the various N.E. colleges, but one at Harvard." —id.
*Scott, John, Salem, 1648. Servant of Lawrence Southwick; the Quaker; may have gone to Providence; and by wife Rebecca, there—had Sarah, b. 29 Sept., 1662; John, 14 Sept., 1664; Mary, 1 Feb., 1666; Catherine, 20 May, 1668; Deborah, 24 Dec., 1669; and Sylvanus, 10 Nov., 1672. He took oath of allegiance to Charles II. in 1668.—Savage's Gen. Dic. in loc.
Richard, Boston, Shoemaker. Joined our church 28 Aug., 1634; yet his wife Catherine, dau. of Rev. Edward Marbury, (as Bishop, in Judged N. E. tells us) did not unite, nor either of the children, Richard, John, Mary, or Patience—though Ann Hutchinson, their aunt, and her sister, had so great a sway in it. To this w. Governor Winthrop, I, 293, ascribes much power in giving light on believer's baptism to Roger Williams, 1638, at Providence, where he was removed 1637, before the time of disarming heretic favorers of Hutchinson. He is on the list of freeman 1655, and was among the Quaker converts 1658, and his wife 'an ancient woman' was imprisoned and whipt sic at Boston for benevolent services in diffusing her opinions; and her daus. Mary and Patience also, were imprisoned by equal impolicy. Mary, m. 12 Aug., 1660, Christopher Holden; Patience, m. Henry Beere, and Deliverence, probably a younger dau. m., 30 Aug., 1670, Wm. Richardson."—Savage's Gen. Dic. in loc.
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