Stephen Hopkins was from Hampshire, England. He married his first wife, Mary, and in the parish of Hursley, Hampshire; he and wife Mary had their children Elizabeth, Constance, and Giles all baptized there. It has long been claimed that the Hopkins family was from Wortley, Gloucester, but this was disproven in 1998.
Stephen Hopkins went with the ship Sea Venture on a voyage to Jamestown, Virginia in 1609 as a minister's clerk, but the ship wrecked in the "Isle of Devils" in the Bermudas. Stranded on an island for ten months, the passengers and crew survived on turtles, birds, and wild pigs. Six months into the castaway, Stephen Hopkins and several others organized a mutiny against the current governor. The mutiny was discovered and Stephen was sentenced to death. However, he pleaded with sorrow and tears. "So penitent he was, and made so much moan, alleging the ruin of his wife and children in this his trespass, as it wrought in the hearts of all the better sorts of the company". He managed to get his sentence commuted.
Eventually the castaways built a small ship and sailed themselves to Jamestown. How long Stephen remained in Jamestown is not known. However, while he was gone, his wife Mary died. She was buried in Hursley on 9 May 1613, and left behind a probate estate which mentions her children Elizabeth, Constance and Giles.
Stephen was back in England by 1617, when he married Elizabeth Fisher, but apparently had every intention of bringing his family back to Virginia. Their first child, Damaris, was born about 1618. In 1620, Stephen Hopkins brought his wife, and children Constance, Giles, and Damaris on the Mayflower (child Elizabeth apparently had died). Stephen was a fairly active member of the Pilgrims shortly after arrival, perhaps a result of his being one of the few individuals who had been to Virginia previously. He was a part of all the early exploring missions, and was used almost as an "expert" on Native Americans for the first few contacts. While out exploring, Stephen recognized and identified an Indian deer trap. And when Samoset walked into Plymouth and welcomed the English, he was housed in Stephen Hopkins' house for the night. Stephen was also sent on several of the ambassadorial missions to meet with the various Indian groups in the region.
Stephen was an assistant to the governor through 1636, and volunteered for the Pequot War of 1637 but was never called to serve. By the late 1630s, however, Stephen began to occasionally run afoul of the Plymouth authorities, as he apparently opened up a shop and served alcohol. In 1636 he got into a fight with John Tisdale and seriously wounded him. In 1637, he was fined for allowing drinking and shuffleboard playing on Sunday. Early the next year he was fined for allowing people to drink excessively in his house: guest William Reynolds was fined, but the others were acquitted. In 1638 he was twice fined for selling beer at twice the actual value, and in 1639 he was fined for selling a looking glass for twice what it would cost if bought in the Bay Colony. Also in 1638, Stephen Hopkins' maidservant got pregnant from Arthur Peach, who was subsequently executed for murdering an Indian. The Plymouth Court ruled he was financially responsible for her and her child for the next two years (the amount remaining on her term of service). Stephen, in contempt of court, threw Dorothy out of his household and refused to provide for her, so the court committed him to custody. John Holmes stepped in and purchased Dorothy's remaining two years of service from him: agreeing to support her and child.
Stephen died in 1644, and made out a will, asking to be buried near his wife, and naming his surviving children.
Will of Stephen Hopkins:
The last Will and Testament of Mr. Stephen Hopkins exhibited upon the Oathes of mr Willm Bradford and Captaine Miles Standish at the generall Court holden at Plymouth the xxth of August Anno dm 1644 as it followeth in these wordes vizt.
The sixt of June 1644 I Stephen Hopkins of Plymouth in New England being weake yet in good and prfect memory blessed be God yet considering the fraile estate of all men I do ordaine and make this to be my last will and testament in manner and forme following and first I do committ my body to the earth from whence it was taken, and my soule to the Lord who gave it, my body to be buryed as neare as convenyently may be to my wyfe Deceased And first my will is that out of my whole estate my funerall expences be discharged secondly that out of the remayneing part of my said estate that all my lawfull Debts be payd thirdly I do bequeath by this my will to my sonn Giles Hopkins my great Bull wch is now in the hands of Mris Warren. Also I do give to Stephen Hopkins my sonn Giles his sonne twenty shillings in Mris Warrens hands for the hire of the said Bull Also I give and bequeath to my daughter Constanc Snow the wyfe of Nicholas Snow my mare also I give unto my daughter Deborah Hopkins the brodhorned black cowe and her calf and half the Cowe called Motley Also I doe give and bequeath unto my daughter Damaris Hopkins the Cowe called Damaris heiffer and the white faced calf and half the cowe called Mottley Also I give to my daughter Ruth the Cowe called Red Cole and her calfe and a Bull at Yarmouth wch is in the keepeing of Giles Hopkins wch is an yeare and advantage old and half the curld Cowe Also I give and bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth the Cowe called Smykins and her calf and thother half of the Curld Cowe wth Ruth and an yearelinge heiffer wth out a tayle in the keeping of Gyles Hopkins at Yarmouth Also I do give and bequeath unto my foure daughters that is to say Deborah Hopkins Damaris Hopkins Ruth Hopkins and Elizabeth Hopkins all the mooveable goods the wch do belong to my house as linnen wollen beds bedcloathes pott kettles pewter or whatsoevr are moveable belonging to my said house of what kynd soever and not named by their prticular names all wch said mooveables to be equally devided amongst my said daughters foure silver spoones that is to say to eich of them one, And in case any of my said daughters should be taken away by death before they be marryed that then the part of their division to be equally devided amongst the Survivors. I do also by this my will make Caleb Hopkins my sonn and heire apparent giveing and bequeathing unto my said sonn aforesaid all my Right title and interrest to my house and lands at Plymouth wth all the Right title and interrest wch doth might or of Right doth or may hereafter belong unto mee, as also I give unto my saide heire all such land wch of Right is Rightly due unto me and not at prsent in my reall possession wch belongs unto me by right of my first comeing into this land or by any other due Right, as by such freedome or otherwise giveing unto my said heire my full & whole and entire Right in all divisions allottments appoyntments or distributions whatsoever to all or any pt of the said lande at any tyme or tymes so to be disposed Also I do give moreover unto my foresaid heire one paire or yooke of oxen and the hyer of them wch are in the hands of Richard Church as may appeare by bill under his hand Also I do give unto my said heire Caleb Hopkins all my debts wch are now oweing unto me, or at the day of my death may be oweing unto mee either by booke bill or bills or any other way rightfully due unto mee ffurthermore my will is that my daughters aforesaid shall have free recourse to my house in Plymouth upon any occation there to abide and remayne for such tyme as any of them shall thinke meete and convenyent & they single persons And for the faythfull prformance of this my will I do make and ordayne my aforesaid sonn and heire Caleb Hopkins my true and lawfull Executor ffurther I do by this my will appoynt and make my said sonn and Captaine Miles Standish joyntly supervisors of this my will according to the true meaneing of the same that is to say that my Executor & supervisor shall make the severall divisions parts or porcons legacies or whatsoever doth appertaine to the fullfilling of this my will It is also my will that my Executr & Supervisor shall advise devise and dispose by the best wayes & meanes they cann for the disposeing in marriage or other wise for the best advancnt of the estate of the forenamed Deborah Damaris Ruth and Elizabeth Hopkins Thus trusting in the Lord my will shalbe truly prformed according to the true meaneing of the same I committ the whole Disposeing hereof to the Lord that hee may direct you herein
June 6th 1644
Witnesses hereof By me Steven Hopkins
Myles Standish William Bradford
From: Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume Six, Stephen Hopkins, p. 1-6.
Stephen Hopkins sailed in the Mayflower in 1620, one of the "Londoners" or "strangers" recruited for the voyage. He was called "Master," and only two others of the 17 free men on the voyage were so styled.
Born probably in Hampshire, England, ca. 1582, Stephen was possibly a son of John Hopkins of Winchester. It is known that Stephen Hopkins had a brother in England, who provided nails to the Pilgrims; and note is taken of William Hopkins, probably son of John Hopkins of Winchester; that William married there 16 April 1591 Constance Marline; and that the given name Constance, extremely rare in Hampshire, was bestowed by Stephen upon his second daughter.
Stephen married before May of 1604 Mary, whose surname is unknown, and they had three children baptized at Hursley, Hampshire, the parish record, in Latin, naming them Elizabetha, Constancia and Egidius [Giles]. Mary was buried there 9 May 1613, called wife of Stephen. Inventory of her estate, this time referring to her as widow, was taken the next day. The property listing mentions a shop and counter, indicating she was a shopkeeper. Administration was granted 12 May 1613 to Roberto Lyte and Thome Syms during the minority of children Constance, Elizabeth and Giles. As will be seen. Stephen was not in England, probably in v 'rpm, at that time, requiring provision at home for the care of his children. The authorities in Hursley may well have believed that he had perished, explaining the reference to Mary as his widow.
Stephen was undoubtedly the man of that name who served as minister's clerk on the vessel Sea Venture, which sailed from London 2 June 1609, bound for Virginia. The ship was severely damaged in a hurricane, and the company was washed ashore on the Bermudan "Ile of Divels" on 28 July. The 150 survivors were marooned on the island for nine months, building two vessels which ultimately took them to Virginia. During the sojourn Stephen Hopkins encouraged an uprising by his fellows upon grounds that the Governor's authority pertained only to the voyage and the regime in Virginia, not to the forced existence in Bermuda. For his remarks he was placed under guard, brought before the company in manacles and sentenced to death by court-martial. "But so penitent hee was and made so much moane, alleadging the mine of his Wife and Children in this his trespass," according to William Strachey's record of the voyage, that friends among his cohorts procured a pardon from the Governor. The two newly built vessels, the Patience and the Deliverance, arrived at Jamestown on 24 May 1610, and Stephen may have remained in Virginia for a time. Strachey noted that while Hopkins was very religious, he was contentious and defiant of authority and possessed enough learning to undertake to wrest leadership from others.
The later home in England of Stephen Hopkins was just outside of London Wall on the high road entering the city at Aldgate in the vicinity of Heneage House. In this neighborhood lived John Carver and William Bradford of the Mayflower company; Robert Cushman, the London agent for the Pilgrims, and Edward Southworth, whose widow and sons later came to New England. Stephen was called a tanner or leathermaker at the time of the Mayflower voyage.
The surname of Stephen's first wife Mary remains unknown. No authority has been found for the oft published identification of her as Constance Dudley. He had a second wife, named Elizabeth, and it seems certain that the marriage of STEPHEN HOPKINS and ELIZABETH FISHER on 19 Feb. 1617/18 at St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, London, pertains to them.
Stephen, wife Elizabeth and children Giles and Constance by first wife and daughter Damaris by second wife, and two men servants, Edward Doty and Edward Leister, came on the Mayflower. Son Oceanus was born during the voyage. Upon the ship's arrival at Cape Cod 11 Nov. 1620, Stephen was among the men signing the Mayflower Compact in the cabin. He was one of three men designated to provide councel and advice to Captain Myles Standish on the first land expedition of the Pilgrims in the New world. During the third day out, the company chanced upon an Indian deer trap, and Stephen was able to explain its function and danger to his fellows. In February of 1620/21, when Indians appeared on a neighboring hilltop, Captain Standish took Stephen Hopkins with him to negotiate with the savages. Thereafter, Stephen was invariably deputized to meet the Indians and act as an interpreter. In July of 1621 he served as envoy to friendly Chief Massasoit, and he made a friend for the colonists of Sarnoset, another Indian whom Stephen entertained in his home.
Despite the mortality caused by tribulations of the first Pilgrim winter in New England, Stephen Hopkins' household of eight persons was one of only four households that escaped loss.
Stephen Hopkins was referred to as merchant and planter and in Plymouth records, also as "Gentleman" and "Master." He received a six-acre lot in the division of land in 1623, indicating five others in his household, and later had additional plots by grant or purchase. It is stated that he kept for his home throughout his life at Plymouth the lot on the easterly corner of Main and Leyden Streets that had been assigned to him upon arrival.
In the Plymouth division of cattle on 22 May 1627, the seventh lot "fell to Stephen Hopkins & his companie Joyned to him": Wife Elizabeth Hopkins, Gyles Hopkins, Caleb Hopkins, Debora Hopkins, Nickolas Snow, Constance Snow, Wil[l]iam Pallmer, Frances Pallmer, Wil[l]iam Pallmer Jr., John Billington Sr., Hellen Billington, and Francis Billington. Damaris Hopkins was listed with the company that was granted the eighth lot.
Stephen Hopkins built and owned the first wharf in Plymouth Colony of which there is record, selling it for £60 in July of 1637. He built a house at Yarmouth on Cape Cod but returned to Plymouth and gave the Yarmouth dwelling to son Giles, who remained there.
Stephen Hopkins was made freeman by 1633 and served with sons Giles and Caleb and son-in-law Jacob Cooke as "Voluntary" in the Pequot War of 1637. He held the position of Assistant in the Colony from at least 1633 to 1636.
Probably because of his status in the Colony as a "stranger," Stephen Hopkins found himself on occasion in official difficulty. In June of 1636, while serving as Assistant, he was fined for battery of John Tisdale, whom he "dangerously wounded." On 2 Oct. 1637 he was fined for allowing drinking and the playing of "shovell board" on the Lord's Day. On 2 Jan. 1637/8 he was "presented for suffering excessive drinking in his house," and on 5 June 1638 he was "presented for selling beer for 2d . the quart, not worth ld. the quart." For such infractions he was fined five pounds on 4 Sept. 1638. He was thereafter found in contempt of court for refusing to deal fairly with Dorothy Temple, an apprentice girl, and in December of 1639 he was charged with selling a looking glass for 16d. when a similar glass could be bought in the bay for 9d.
In his list of the Mayflower passengers, Governor Bradford included: "Mr. Steven Hopkins, and Elizabeth, his wife, and 2 children, caled Giles, and Constanta, a doughter, both by a former wife; and 2 more by his wife caled Damaris and Oceanus; the last was borne at sea; and two servants, called Edward Doty and Edward Litster." Taking note of changes after 30 years, Bradford wrote of the Hopkins family in the spring of 1651: "Mr. Hopkins and his wife are now both dead, but they lived above 20 years in this place, and had one sone and 4 doughters borne here. Ther sone became a seaman, and dyed at Barbadoes; one daughter dyed here, and 2 are maried, one of them hath 2 children; and one is yet to mary. So their increase which still survive are 5. But his sone Giles is maned and hath 4 children. His doughter Constants is also maried, and bath 12 children, all of them living, and one of them maried. "
1 STEPHEN1 HOPKINS b. prob. Hampshire, England, ca. 1582, poss. the son of John Hopkins of Winchester; Stephen d. Plymouth bet. 6 June and 17 July 1644. He m. (1) MARY —, who was bur. Hursley, Hampshire, 9 May 1613. He m. (2) St. Mary Mallon, Whitechapel, London, England, 19 Feb. 1617/18 ELIZABETH FISHER, who d. Plymouth bef. 6 June 1644.
Children (HOPKINS) three oldest by first wife, all bp. Hursley, Hampshire, England; remainder by second wife:
i ELIZABETH2 bp. 13 May 1604; alive 1613; n.f.r.; note birth of dau. Elizabeth by second wife.
2 ii CONSTANCE bp. 11 May 1606.
3 iii GILES bp. 30 Jan. 1607/8.
iv DAMARIS2 b. in England ca. 1618.
v OCEANUS2 b. aboard the Mayflower.
vi CALEB2 b ca 1623 dead by spring 1651
4 vii DEBORAH b. Plymouth ca. 1626.
5 viii DAMARIS b. Plymouth ca. 1628.
ix RUTH2 b. Plymouth ca. 1630.
x ELIZABETH2 b. Plymouth ca. 1632.
NOTE: DAMARIS2 b. in England ca. 1618; came on the Mayflower with her parents and was alive in 1627 but prob. the dau. reported by Bradford to have "dyed here"; note younger sister of same name.
NOTE: OCEANUS2 b. aboard the Mayflower on the Atlantic Ocean bet. 16 Sept. and 11 Nov. 1620; d. bef. 22 May 1627.
NOTE: CALEB2 he was a "voluntary" with his father and older brother when about fifteen; called "heire apparent" in fathers will, while brother Giles was living; Caleb and Myles Standish were executors of Stephen Hopkins' will of 1644; Caleb "become a seaman, & dyed at Barbadoes," according to Governor Bradford, writing bet. 6 March and 3 April 1651; d.s.p. in Barbados after 6 June 1644 and bef. 3 April 1651.
NOTE: RUTH2 d. unm. after 30 Nov. 1644, when distribution of her share of her father's estate was agreed upon, and prob. bef. 3 April 1651, when Governor Bradford indicated that she was dead; certainly bef the settlement of the estate of her sister Elizabeth 5 Oct. 1659.
NOTE: ELIZABETH2 b. Plymouth ca. 1632; her custody given on 30 Nov. 1644, after death of her father and when she was still a child, to Richard Sparrow, who was to keep her "as his own child until the tyme of her marriage or untill shee be nineteene yeares of age"; Captain Myles Standish brought an action against Sparrow on her behalf for breach of contract 5 Oct. 1656; she was a witness in a slander action in 1651/2; d. unm. after October of 1657 and perh. bef 29 Sept. 1659, the latter being the date of valuation of her cattle by John Freeman and Edward Bangs; however, an agreement of 5 Oct. 1659 by Andrew Ring, Jacob Cooke and Giles Hopkins as to Elizabeth's property was contingent upon "that incase Elizabeth hopkins Doe Come Noe more," indicating that she had then disappeared and that her relatives thought that she was prob. dead.
NOTE: No evidence has been found that John Hopkins, b. England in 1613 and d. Hartford CT in 1654, was a son of Stephen Hopkins by his first wife, as alleged in MAYFLOWER SIGNERS.
REFERENCES: MD 1:10-14 (Bradford's list), 79, 151-2 (div. of cattle), 161-3, 227-230 (div. of land); 2:12-17 (will), 117; 4:114-19 (dau's. portions), 5:47-53, 226; 43:14, 88; 44:21-3. GREAT MIGRATION BEGINS 2:986-9. BANKS ENGLISH ANCESTRY pp. 11, 14, 61-4. BRADFORD'S HIST (1959) pp. 64, 68, 87, 442, 445. PLYMOUTH COLONY RECS 1:41-2, 60- 61, 68, 75, 87, 97, 111-13, 137; 2:38, 45; 7:57, 80; 8:187- 8. MOURT pp. 7-8, 15, 33, 40. PN&Q 4:41-2. GEN JOURNAL 13:153-4, 171-2. TAG 39:95-7, 170-7i; 73:161-71. MQ 35:49-52, 40:7-10, 51:5-9, 168-72; 63:345-7. DAWESGATES 2:443-451. BRAINERD ANC pp. 162- 4. WATERMAN GEN 1:86. MUNSEYHOPKINS pp. 27-3u. TORREY'S MARRIAGES p. 387. GMF (NEHGR) 2:264-9, 27072. CAPE COD LIBR 1:612-27, 714; 2:1030-33. SAVAGE 2:462. VA ADVENTURERS pp. 374-5. TRURO BY RICH p. 536. YOUNG'S CHRONICLES pp. 126-7. MAYO (JOHN) REV p. 149. POPE'S PIONEERS pp. 239-40. WILLISON pp. 133, 140-43, 148, 153, 162, 170, 173, 178-9, 198-9, 241, 263, 311, 314, 316-17, 322, 329, 441, 456, 468. BRISTOL-GLOUCESTER TRANS 69:111-126. PLYMOUTH COL BY STRATTON pp. 183-4, 193, 307-10. MAYFLOWER SIGNERS pp. 36-47. MAY-FLOWER LOG pp. 145, 153, 168, 181-2, 249, 255, 261, 270. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW 8:294-301. AMERICAN HERITAGE 34:26-35. HOPKINS OF THE MAYFLOWER: PORTRAIT OF A DISSENTER (Margaret Hodges, New York, 1972).