The Hopkins Family
Stephen Hopkins was one of the most adventurous of the passengers aboard the Mayflower. He traveled with his second wife, Elizabeth (Fisher) Hopkins, and children Constanta, Giles and Damaris. Elizabeth was pregnant during the voyage and gave birth to a son Oceanus while at sea. Two indentured servants accompanied the family, Edward Doty and Edward Leister.
Stephen was baptized at All Saints Church, at Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England, on the last of April, 1581, the son of John and Elizabeth (Williams) Hopkins. He died at Plymouth, between 6 June and 17 July 1644. Stephen married 1) before 13 May 1604, Mary Kent; he married 2) at St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, Middlesex, 19 February 1617/18, Elizabeth Fisher.
This was not Stephen’s first voyage to the New World. In 1609 he signed on as a minister’s clerk, aboard the Sea Venture at Plymouth, England, the flagship of a fleet of seven headed to Jamestown, along with Jamestown’s Governor Sir Thomas Gates and the Rev. Richard Buck. Stephen left his wife Mary and three children behind and would be gone seven years. After a hurricane which sent their damaged ship to Bermuda, they spent many months repairing it so they could continue to Jamestown. During this time, Stephen argued that the Governor had no authority over them while they were on land. He was found guilty of “Mutinie and Rebellion” and sentenced to death. He was so penitent, asking the court to consider the plight of his wife and children, that he was pardoned. The group eventually made their way to Jamestown and spent the next few years rebuilding the colony. When Stephen returned to England by 1616, he learned that his first wife had died.
Stephen Hopkins was a signer of the Mayflower Compact, signed at Provincetown, 11 November 1620. In the 1623 land division, he received six acres. The cattle division of 1627 lists he and his wife Elizabeth, with children Gyles, Caleb, Deborah, and daughter Constance and her husband Nicholas Snow.
Stephen’s experiences in Jamestown made him valuable to the Plymouth settlement. He helped determine a suitable place to settle, and his dealings with the Native Americans were especially helpful. When Samoset and Squanto began their visits to Plymouth in 1621, they were housed in Stephen Hopkins’ home. It was also Hopkins who was chosen by Governor Carver to go with Edward Winslow and first approach Massasoit.
Stephen went on to serve as an Assistant of the Governor for many years, however he sometimes found himself on the other side of the law. In 1636, in his office as Assistant, he was fined £5.40s for breaking the King’s peace in dangerously wounding John Tisdale. At least three times he was fined for allowing men to drink excessively at his house, and several times fined for charging excessive prices for liquor and goods.
Children of Stephen and Mary (Kent) Hopkins:
- Elizabeth Hopkins, baptized at Hursley, 13 May 1604; died after 1613.
- Constance Hopkins, baptized at Hursley, May 11, 1606; died at Eastham, mid-October, 1677; married at Plymouth, circa 1626, Nicholas Snow and they had 12 children: Mark, Mary, Sarah, Joseph, Stephen, John, Elizabeth, Jabez and Ruth Snow, as well as three children whose names are not known. The possibility that one of the three unknowns may be the wife of Daniel Doane has not yet been proven.
- Giles Hopkins, baptized at Hursley, 30 January. 1607/08; died at Eastham, between 5 March 1688/89 and 16 April 1690; married at Plymouth, 9 October 1639, Katherine Whelden and had ten children: Mary, Stephen, John, Abigail, Deborah, Caleb, Ruth, Joshua, William and Elizabeth Hopkins.
Children of Stephen and Elizabeth (Fisher) Hopkins:
4. Damaris Hopkins, born in England, circa 1618; died young, after 22 May 1627.
5. Oceanus Hopkins, born at sea on the Mayflower, between 16 September and 11 November 1620; died before 22 May 1627.
6. Caleb Hopkins, born at Plymouth, circa 1623; died at Barbados between 6 June 1644 and 3 April 1651; no known issue.
7. Deborah Hopkins, born at Plymouth, circa 1624-26; died prob. at Plymouth, before 1674; married at Plymouth, 23 April 1646, Andrew Ring; they had six children: Elizabeth, William, Eleazer, Mary, Deborah and Susanna Ring.
8. Damaris Hopkins, born in Plymouth, circa 1628; died prob. at Plymouth, between 20 October 1666 and 18 November 1669; married prob. at Plymouth, soon after 10 June 1646, Jacob2 Cooke, (Francis1) and had seven children: Elizabeth, Caleb, Jacob, Mary, Martha, Francis and Ruth Cooke
9. Ruth Hopkins, born in Plymouth, circa 1630; died between 30 November 1644 and 3 April 1651; no further record.
10. Elizabeth Hopkins, born circa 1632 in Plymouth; died unmarried after October 1657 and possibly before 29 September 1659.
Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Stephen Hopkins, by John D. Austin, vol. 6. Plymouth, 2001.
Mayflower Passenger References, (from contemporary records and scholarly journals), by Susan E. Roser. 2011. pp. 249-63.
“Research into the English Origins of Mary and Elizabeth, the Wives of Stephen Hopkins,” by Simon Neal, Mayflower Quarterly 79 [March 2013]: 52-78.
“Investigation Into the Origins of Mary and Elizabeth, the Wives of Stephen Hopkins,” by Simon Neal, Mayflower Quarterly 78 [June 2012]: 122-139.
“Investigation Into the Origins of Mary, Wife of Stephen Hopkins of Hursley,” by Simon Neal, Mayflower Descendant 61 [Spring 2012]: 38-59; Mayflower Descendant 61 [Autumn 2012]: 134-154. [Detailed investigation into the Kent and Back families of Hursley, identifying Stephen’s wife Mary as Mary Kent alias Back, daughter of Robert Kent alias Back and Joan Machell.]
Descendants of the Hopkins Family are invited to join the Pilgrim Hopkins Heritage Society.
Made in England, 1615-1640
Ownership attributed to Constance Hopkins
Steeple-crowned hats, usually with a decorative band, were popular in Western Europe for both men and women in the early 17th century. Beaver fur, imported from the colonies, was processed into felt to make hats.