Thomas Hopkins (settler)

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Thomas Hopkins
Born baptized 7 April 1616
Yeovilton, Somerset, England
Died 1684
Oyster Bay, New York
Education signed name with a mark
Occupation Commissioner, Deputy
Children William, Thomas, unknown son who married and had two children
Parent(s) William Hopkins and Joane Arnold
Relatives Nephew of William Arnold
First cousin of Governor Benedict Arnold
Great grandfather of Governor Stephen Hopkins

Thomas Hopkins (1616–1684) was an early settler of Providence, Rhode Island and the great grandfather of Stephen Hopkins who was many times colonial governor of Rhode Island and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Hopkins was baptized in Yeovilton, county Somerset on 7 April 1616, the son of William Hopkins and Joane Arnold.[1] His mother was the sister of early Providence settler William Arnold, and the daughter of Nicholas and Alice (Gully) Arnold of Northover and Ilchester in Somerset.[1][2] Hopkins' mother died when he was five years old, after which he and his sister Frances were probably taken into the family of their Uncle William Arnold, and most writers on his early history agree that he sailed to New England at age 19 with his uncle's family in 1635.[3] Also on the same ship was his first cousin Benedict Arnold, also aged 19, the future governor of the Rhode Island colony.

The Arnolds first settled in Hingham in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but they joined Roger Williams in less than a year, in April 1636, and were among the first settlers of Providence. Soon thereafter they were the first English settlers on the Pawtuxet River, the southern edge of Williams's Providence purchase.[4] Hopkins was not yet of age when they settled here, but soon reached his majority, and he was one of 39 signers of an agreement in 1640 to form a government in Providence, signing his name with a mark.[5]

From 1652 to 1672, Hopkins served in a number of civic positions in Providence, including Commissioner, Deputy, and member of the Town Council.[5] In 1676, King Philip's War raged in Rhode Island, and all of the Pawtuxet settlement and most of Providence were destroyed. Hopkin's oldest sons William and Thomas either remained in Providence or returned there shortly after the war. Hopkins and his youngest son (whose name has not been discovered) moved to Oyster Bay on Long Island in the Province of New York and remained there.[5] His son predeceased him, and his daughter-in-law Elizabeth then married Richard Kirby. Hopkins was living in the home of Kirby when he died in 1684.[5]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Moriarty 1944, p. 224.
  2. ^ Anderson, Sanborn & Sanborn 1999, pp. 84,89.
  3. ^ Arnold 1935, p. 25.
  4. ^ Bicknell 1920, pp. 143,158.
  5. ^ a b c d Austin 1887, p. 324.


External links[edit]

  • Rhode Island History from the State of Rhode Island General Assembly website. See Chapter 2, Colonial Era.