Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stephen Hopkins, Mayflower Passenger

Stephen Hopkins, a Mayflower Passenger, was the 5th great grandfather of Arvah Hopkins.  The line backwards from Arvah:  Edmund (father of Arvah), Thatcher (father of Edmund), Jonathan (father of Thatcher), Joseph (father of Jonathan), Stephen (father of Joseph), Gyles (father of Stephen), Stephen (father of Gyles).  Arvah's 4th great grandfather, Gyles Hopkins, was also a Mayflower Passenger (more on him later).

Stephen Hopkins was aboard the Sea Venture, en route to Jamestown, when it was shipwrecked in a hurricane off Bermuda in 1609.  The survivors were stranded for ten months on Bermuda, surviving on turtles, birds and wild pigs.  Six months into this ordeal, Hopkins, who was a minister's clerk, fomented a mutiny on the grounds that the authority of the governor ceased when the ship was wrecked.  He was sentenced to death but later pardoned, having expressed penitence and fear for his wife and children who had remained in England.  The castaways built a small ship and sailed to Jamestown where Hopkins spent an unknown amount of time before returning to England. 

Stephen Hopkins and his first wife Mary Kent, had three children: Elizabeth (may have died young), Constance and Giles.  Mary died in 1613.  In 1617, Stephen married his second wife, Elizabeth Fisher.  Stephen and Elizabeth had seven children: Damaris (died young), Oceanus, Caleb, Deborah, Damaris, Ruth, and Elizabeth.  The Hopkins Mayflower party included Stephen, wife Elizabeth, Giles, Constance (or Constanta), and Damaris.  Their son, Oceanus, was born while the Mayflower was at sea.

Stephen was an active member in the Pilgrim group and was part of all the early exploring missions.  He was used as an expert on Native Americans.  Squanto, who we remember for helping the colonists survive the first winter, lived with the Hopkins for a period of time. 

While Stephen Hopkins was given positions of responsibility, such as assistant to the Governor, in the Colony, he was not always a law-abiding citizen.  Most of his troubles involved alcohol.  Twice he was fined for price gouging.  Two offences were of a serious nature.  In 1636 he seriously wounded a man in a fight.  In 1637 he impregnated a maidservant, Dorothy Temple, and refused to provide for her.  Another colonist agreed to support her and the child.  Stephen Hopkins died in 1644 at the age of 63. 

For much more on Stephen Hopkins, go to the Macarter Family site.


  1. Hello. Just wanted to let you know that the picture you're using above is not of the Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins, but a later Hopkins who was a politician and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    Also, Stephen Hopkins, from the Mayflower, did not impregnate Dorothy Temple. The father of Temple's child was Arthur Peach.

  2. Hello! Could you possibly tell me where you obtained this image of Stephen Hopkins?

  3. The clothing the figure is wearing in the erroneous drawing you have selected as the Mayflower Stephen Hopkins isn't even Correct for the years around 1620. I thought you considered yourself a museum. Stephen Hopkins of the Declaration of Independence fame has no connection to The Mayflower. Thank you Gerald S. Hayes.

  4. You also failed to mention in your narrative that the events with Stephen Hopkins and the Sea Venture became the basis of William Shakespears play The Tempest.