William T. Hopkins


One of the best regulated farms in Jo Daviess County is pleasantly located on the northeast portion of section 36, and has been under the management of the subject of this sketch for a period of twenty-two years. It is embellished with a commodious frame residence, a good barn, and all other out-buildings and machinery required for the successful prosecution of agriculture. Within, the home is presided over by a most estimable lady, who has proven herself the suitable partner of one of the most worthy men of this community. Before proceeding further, it may perhaps be well to take a glance at the family history of our subject. His father, Harmon Hopkins, was a native of Kentucky, whence he emigrated to Ohio, and forming the acquaintance of Miss Margaret Wick, made her his wife about 1833. This lady was a native of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and the young people settled in the vicinity of the city of Cleveland, whence they removed, probably about 1835, to Whiteside County, Ill. They lived in the western part of that county for a number of years, and about 1847 changed their residence to Marseville, this county, where they sojourned one year. Their next removal was to Stockton Township, settling on Rush Creek, where they lived until the fall
of 1856.

From this point the parents of our subject removed upon the prairie in Stockton Township, where they lived until the spring of 1878, then crossed the Mississippi, and settled in Bedford, Taylor Co., Iowa. There the father died in February, 1886. T here the mother lives, making her home with her son, in Taylor County, Iowa. Their family included ten children, five sons and five daughters, eight of whom are living, and nearly all making their homes in Iowa.

William T. Hopkins was the third child of his parents, and was born at Genesee Grove, Whiteside Co., Ill., July 16, 1841. His boyhood and youth were spent after the manner of farmers' sons, he becoming familiar with the various employments of rural life, and pursuing his studies in the district school. He remained under the home roof until the spring of 1860, then started out in life for himself.

The summer following was spent by our subject in Stockton Township. In November of that year, the Civil War being in progress, he enlisted as a soldier in Company E, 46th Illinois Infantry, in which he served about fourteen months. He participated in the engagement at Ft. Donelson, later at Shiloh, and in the latter received a flesh-wound which unfitted him for further service at that time, and he was obliged to accept his honorable discharge, Dec. 25, 1862. Not quite two years later after having fully recovered, he re-entered the ranks, enlisting in August, 1864, in Company I, 5th Wisconsin Infantry, and served until the close of the war.

In due time after returning home, Mr. Hopkins was married, Oct. 1, 1865, in Stockton Township, this county, to Miss Mary Helen, daughter of John and Maria (Loomis) Phelps, who were among tile pioneer settlers of that township. The Phelps family removed from Crawford County, Ohio, to Northern Illinois about 1854, where they made their home until the death of the father, which took place in Clark County, Mo., during a visit to that place, in November, 1877. The mother is still living, and makes her home with her son in Stockton Township.

Nine children comprised the family of Mr. and Mrs. Phelps, of whom Mrs. Hopkins was the third in order of birth. Her native place was Chenango County, N. Y., and she first opened her eyes to the light Dec. 13, 1842. After her marriage to Mr. Hopkins, they settled in Gratiot, LaFayette Co., Wis., where Mr. Hopkins operated a rented farm about one year. In the spring of 1867 they came to this county, locating in Rush Township, of which they have since been residents. Nearly all the improvements which the passing traveler beholds with admiring eye at this farm, were effected by the present proprietor. It embraces 120 acres of good land, and yields in abundance the rich products of this section.

The three children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins were all daughters: Alice H., now the wife of Peter Rindesbacher, of Stockton Township; Emma F. and Ada M., at home with their parents. Mr. Hopkins cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, and is a stanch supporter of Republican principles. He has never had any ambition for the responsibilities of office, although officiating as School Director in his district for many years. His career has been eminently upright and honorable - of which his children need never be ashamed.

Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)