Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

-Signers of the Declaration
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Stephen Hopkins


   In 1778, Mr. Hopkins was a delegate to congress for the last time. But in several subsequent years, he was a member of the general assembly of Rhode Island. The last year in which he thus served, was that of 1779, at which time he was seventy-two years of age.
   Mr. Hopkins lived to the 13th of July, 1785, when he closed his long, and honorable and useful life, at the advanced age of 78. His last illness was long, but to the period of his dissolution, he retained the full possession of his faculties. A vast assemblage of persons, consisting of judges of the courts, the president, professors and students of the college, together with the citizens of the town, and inhabitants of the state, followed the remains of this eminent man to his resting: place in the grave.
   Although the early education of Mr. Hopkins was limited, as has already been observed, the vigor of his understanding enabled him to surmount his early deficiencies, and an assiduous application to the pursuit of knowledge, at length, placed him among the distinguished literary characters of the day. He delighted in literature and science. He was attentive to books, and a close observer of mankind; thus he went on improving, until the period of his death. As a public speaker, he was always clear, precise, pertinent, and powerful.
   As a mathematician, Mr. Hopkins greatly excelled. Till in advanced age, he was extensively employed in surveying lands. He was distinguished for great exactness in his calculations, and an unusual knowledge of his business.
   As a statesman and a patriot, he was not less distinguished. He was well instructed in the science of politics; had an extensive knowledge of the rights of his country, and proved himself, through a longer life than falls to the lot of most men, an unshaken friend of his country, and an enemy to civil and religious intolerance. He went to his grave honored as a skillful legislator, a righteous judge, an able representative, a ignited and upright governor. Charity was an inmate of his habitation. To the cry of suffering his ear was ever open, and in the relief of affliction he ever delighted.

Source: Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 149-153. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

See also:

  • The biography of Sarah Scott Hopkins, Stephen Hopkins' first wife

  • The biography of Anne Smith Hopkins, Stephen Hopkins' second wife


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    Last modified January 2, 2004