About this Famous Person
Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Source : Tim DOWLING
Born in Providence in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Hopkins was the second of nine children of William and Ruth (Wilkinson) Hopkins. His grandfather, also named William Hopkins, was very prominent in colonial affairs, having served for more than 40 years as a Deputy from Providence, Assistant, Speaker of the House of Deputies, and Major. His grandmother Hopkins was a daughter of Providence settler John Whipple, sister of the wealthy Providence merchant, Joseph Whipple, and aunt to Deputy Governor Joseph Whipple, Jr. Stephen Hopkins' great grandfather was Thomas Hopkins, who was baptized in Yeovilton, Somerset, England in 1616, the son of William and Joanne (Arnold) Hopkins. Orphaned at an early age, Thomas Hopkins was raised by his uncle William Arnold, and sailed to New England in 1635 with his Arnold relatives, including his first cousin, Benedict Arnold, who became the first governor of the colony under the Royal Charter of 1663.
The early part of Stephen Hopkins' life was spent in the wooded northern part of Providence known as Chopmist Hill, an area that became Scituate, Rhode Island. There were no schools in this area at the time, but the books belonging to the family, supplemented by a small circulating collection, provided Hopkins with reading material, which he consumed voraciously. Richman called Hopkins "a close and severe student, filling up all the spare hours of his life with reading," while Sanderson wrote, "He attached himself in early youth to the study of books and men." Besides reading, Hopkins also gained skills in surveying from his grandfather, Samuel Wilkinson. He used his surveying skills to revise the streets and create a map of Scituate, and later did the same for Providence. Because of his responsibility as a youth, at the age of 19 Hopkins was given 70 acres (28 ha) of land by his father, after which his grandfather Hopkins bestowed an additional 90 acres (36 ha) upon him.
- Category American politician