Friday, May 10, 2013


I've always had a soft spot for my Mayflower ancestor Stephen Hopkins. He was
the only man known to have been both at the Jamestown Colony in Virginia
and at Plymouth Colony. He was one of the "Strangers", a Mayflower passenger
who was not part of the Pilgrim congregation but a representative of the men
in London who had invested in the new colony.  His experience at Jamestown
with the Indians was supposedly the reason that the Pilgrim leaders had Samoset
sleep in the Hopkins house when the Indian leader visited, but I suspect that
as a Stranger he was viewed as expendable.

Despite his status as an outsider, Stephen did quite well in the settlement and
was given a position of authority as an Assistant to the Governor.  He was also
given a license to serve liquor, and that, along with perhaps a bit of temper,
led to some difficulties and appearances in the General Court. They were
recorded  in the Plymouth Court Records Volume 1 1633-1640:   

7th Jun 1636
"At the same Court an accon of battery was tried between John Tisdale,
yeoman, plaintiffe, & Stephen Hopkins, Assistant to the governmt, deft,
wherein the deft, Stephen Hopkins, was cast in five pownds starling to our
sov. lord the King, whose peace he had broken, wch he ought after a speciall
manner to have kept, and also forty shillings to the plaintiffe. both wch he
was adjudged to pay." p42

2Oct 1637
"Presentments by the Grand Inquest
Mr Stephen Hopkins, first presentment, (for suffering men to drink in his
house upon the Lords day, before the meeting be ended, and upon the
Lords day,  both before & after the meetings, servants & others to drink more
then for ordinary refreshing) is respited untill the next Court, that the testimony
of John Barnes be had therein."

"Mr Stephen Hopkins, psented for suffering servants  and others to sit
drinkeing in his house, (contrary to the orders of this Court,) and to play at
shovell board, & such like misdemeanors, is therefore fined fourty shillings.

 5Jun 1638
"Mr   Stepheen Hopkins is presented for selling beer for 2 pence the quart, not
worth one pence a quart. Witness Kenelme Winslow." p87

4Sep 1638
"Mr Steephen Hopkins, upon two psentmnts against him the last Court, and three
psentmnts this Court, for selling wine, beere, strong waters, and nutmeggs at
excessive rates, is fynd 5li.". p97

Hopkins seems to have settled down after that last fine, because I didn't find
any incident involving alcohol after 1638. But there is one other incident
involving a servant, which I'll discuss in the next post.


Susan Petersen said...

Stephen Hopkins was my 9th great grandfather.

Frances Elizabeth Schwab said...

I'm hoping I can make a Mayflower connection to Stephen Hopkins.

I "just" need to find the proof that the David Snow born in Rochester, MA is the same one who was later in Cayuga County, NY.