I had heard since I was a boy that we were related somehow to Johns Hopkins, the wealthy merchant of Baltimore. When I began working on our family's history, I regarded that as a myth, as wishful thinking. But after ignoring the family story for a long time, I decided to ask my father what he knew about it. Here is what he told me:
My grandfather started looking into the possibility of a connection, but had to give it up because of his financial and other handicaps. If I remember rightly, he got off to a late start, and the litigation, etc. was too far along to try to pursue it further. (January 26, 1998)
Following that exchange, I looked up Johns Hopkins in a biographical dictionary. It gave a brief account of his life and ancestry. I didn't see anything in it to give me hope of finding a connection, so I dropped the matter.
Recently, on a trip to Haddonfield, New Jersey, I bought a copy of Harriet Gotchel Monshaw's book Elizabeth French Gill 1794-1854, First Mistress of Greenfield Hall. In it she gives the details of a connection between the Hopkinses of Haddonfield and the Hopkinses of Maryland.
This connection is through the marriage of Mary Rebecca Gill, daughter of William Hopkins Gill and Sarah Mickle (Hopkins) Gill to Johns Hopkins, son of Gerard T. Hopkins and Elizabeth (Coates) Hopkins on December 30, 1885. This Johns Hopkins was the first cousin, twice removed, of the famous Johns Hopkins of Baltimore. Sarah Hopkins was the daughter of William Estaugh and Ann (Morgan) Hopkins, and the great-great-great-grandaughter of William Hopkins of Southwark.
A second connection is one I found in MacKenzie's Colonial Families of the United States of America, Vol. II, p 358. He lists a marriage in October 1866 between Joseph Schofield Hopkins, son of Joseph Janney Hopkins and Elizabeth (Schofield) Hopkins, and Annette Hicks Hopkins, daughter of John Estaigh Hopkins and Antoinette (Hicks) Hopkins of Haddonfield, New Jersey. Joseph Janney Hopkins was the older brother of Johns Hopkins, the Baltimore merchant and financier.
Strangely enough, considering the prominence of the family, there are varying opinions about the background of the Maryland Hopkinses. Johns' obituary in the Sun (see below) said that they are descended from "six brothers who emigrated from England to America, two of whom made their homes in New England and four in Maryland." No reference was made in the obituary to the source of that information. The sketch of Johns Hopkins in the Dictionary of American Biograph, Vol. V, pp. 213-14, says that his first known Hopkins ancestor in America was William, who was living in Anne Arundel County, Maryland in 1657. Burke's American Families with British Ancestry, p 2479, says that the Maryland Hopkinses began with Gerard Hopkins, who was born in Coventry, Warwichshire, England, settled in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, married Thomsin, and died in 1692.
Since my Hopkins ancestor was said to have come from Northamptonshire, which is adjacent to Warwickshire, I think what Burke says is very interesting. Besides the information above, he also says that Hopkinses were prominent in Coventry, representing that city in Parliament since the time of Richard II. It may well be that my Hopkins family was related to the Hopkinses of Warwickshire. Further research is needed.
Gust Skordas' Early Settlers of Maryland says that there were Hopkinses in Maryland as early as 1650:
There were several Hopkinses on the Eastern Shore, some of them in the Third Haven Monthly Meeting:
As an aside, I found, while doing research on the Maryland Hopkinses in the Quaker records, that one of the Hopkins sons married one of the daughters of Isaiah and Hannah (Pancoast) Boone. Philip Hopkins of Anne Arundel County married Mary Boone on 3rd mo 21st day 1787 at the Sandy Spring meetinghouse (West River Meeting Records from Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, Vol 14, No 3, August 1973, p 8).
Another family that intermarried with both the Boones and the Hopkinses was the Janney family. They were largely in Virginia, belonging to the Fairfax and Alexandria Monthly Meetings. Two examples: George Janney married Susanna Boone, daughter of Isaiah and Hannah (Pancoast) on 31 Oct 1834, and Hannah Janney married Samuel Hopkins, father of Johns Hopkins the Baltimore merchant, in 1792.
Here are some references to further information about Johns Hopkins and the Maryland Hopkinses:
This file was last updated on 8/7/2020.