Francis Hopkins

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Francis Hopkins, son of Joseph Hopkins, was born at Rhode Island, in 1722.1 He died at Washington Co., Virginia, 1779.1

Francis married Mary Joslin, daughter of Henry Joslin and Elizabeth Matteson, at East Greenwich, Kent Co., Rhode Island, 1 September 1743.2,3

Austin gives Joseph Hopkins and Martha Whaley as parents of Francis. However, this seems to overlook that Francis is not named in Joseph's will of 1735 when Francis at least 12. Francis' marriage record in 1743 indicates he was the son of Joseph, but there is no indication of which one. Both Joseph Sr. and Jr. were deceased by that date. Given the lack of mention in the will of Joseph Sr., I believe Francis is the son of Joseph Jr., mother unknown.4,2

Francis and Mary sold land at Exeter, Rhode Island in December 1758. They are next found on the 1767 tax list for Newburgh Township, Orange Co., New York.

At a meeting at Newburgh, at Nehemiah Denton's, on the first Tuesday in April, 1770, Francis Hopkins, was named path master from the head of ten stone meadow, eastward to Jonathan Hick's house.5

Between February 1773 and September 1775, Francis purchased several lots and two dwelling houses in Pittstown Fort in what is now Luzerne Co. Pennsylvania. At the time the land was claimed by Connecticut as part of its Wyoming Valley possessions, and was thus regarded as being in Westmoreland, Litchfield Co., Connecticut (Deed Book I, 240-243). He apparently had been in the area for a while, for on 3 Oct 1772, he and five other Hopkins men signed a memorial to the General Assembly of Connecticut, the others being William, James, Robert, Timothy Jr., and Timothy. There was no indication in the list as to where in the Wyoming Valley the signers resided.

Francis had left Westmoreland by August 1776 when his name is absent from the tax list for the Pittston District and appears nowhere else in the Wyoming Valley.

Washington Co., Virginia court records show Francis Hopkins was brought to trial 4 May 1778 on suspicion of counterfeiting treasury notes; he said he was not guilty, but the court felt otherwise. He was bonded to insure his appearance at the next Grand Jury; securities were Samuel Vanhook, Patrick Dowel, Andrew Linam, & Archelous Wood.

The Grand Jury met on 19 May 1778 and found Francis guilty of passing two bad $10 bills and buying bad money at an underrate. The following day they issued a subpoena for John Wolsey, Frathias Wall, and George Wolsey in behalf of Francis Hopkins. The next day following, they required security for his appearance at the August court.

19 Aug 1778, he was fined £50 and sentenced to six months in jail for passing counterfeit money and the next day bonds were made for his remaining in jail for a term of six months, his securities being Zephaniah Wolsey, Frathias Wall, William Hopkins, and George Wolsey. It is said his friends removed the door from the jail and helped him escape.

Apparently, the law quickly caught up with Francis. Without a trial, on a Sunday in the fall of 1778 or early spring of 1779, Francis was hanged by William Campbell on the middle fork of the Holston River, Washington Co.

22 April 1779, the sheriff was paid for summoning the court on examination of Francis Hopkins, 200 w. at 1 1/2 per pound.6,7,8


Mary Joslin b. 2 Feb 1721/22, d. abt. 1778
  • Henry Hopkins1 b. 3 Dec 1743
  • Sarah Hopkins9,1 b. 26 Dec 1744
  • Rachel Hopkins9,1 b. 21 May 1747
  • William Hopkins9,1 b. 15 Nov 1748, d. 1832
  • Gardner Hopkins9,1 b. 16 Jul 1750, d. 6 Apr 1832
  • Mary Hopkins+9,1 b. 9 Apr 1753, d. bt 1822 - 1829
  • Francis Hopkins1 b. 1754, d. 25 Jul 1823
  • Eldridge Hopkins1 b. 1759, d. 1799
  • Robert Hopkins1 b. 4 Jul 1760, d. 26 Mar 1824
  • Hannah Hopkins1 b. 13 Mar 1766, d. 26 Aug 1852
This person was last edited on24 Dec 2020


  1. [S854] Laura Flebbe. Hopkins Genealogy, online, viewed 6/3/2007.
  2. [S602] James N. Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island. 1636-1850: First Series: Births, Marriages and Deaths. A Family Register for the People, 21 vols. (Providence, Rhode Island: Narragansett Historical Publishing, 1891-1912), 1:2:38, 43, town record 3:147, further cited as Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island.
  3. [S811] James W. Woolsey, The Wolsey-Woolsey Family of America, two parts, (Kansas City, Missouri: Heart of America Genealogical Society, 1981), microform copy: FHL Film/Fiche #1276468, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, 768-80, further cited as Woolsey, Wolsey-Woolsey Family.
  4. [S913] John Osborne Austin, The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island: Comprising Three Generations of Settlers Who Came Before 1690 (With Many Families Carried to the Fourth Generation). Albany, New York: Joel Munsell's Sons, 1887, 105. CD-ROM reprint, Compendium of New England Pioneers: A Collection of 14 Classic Genealogical Dictionaries of Early New England Settlers (Columbia, Maryland: Archive CD Books USA, 2006), further cited as Rhode Island Dictionary.
  5. [S842] C. M. Woolsey, History of the Town of Marlborough, Ulster County, New York From its Earliest Discovery (Albany, New York: J. B. Lyon, Printers, 1908), 156, further cited as Woolsey, History of Marlborough.
  6. [S1704] Mrs. Dayton Royse, "Henry Hopkins," The American Genealogist 42 (July 1966): 170-172, further cited as Royse, "Henry Hopkins."
  7. [S36] Johni Cerny and Arlene Eakle, Ancestry's Guide to Research: Case Studies in American Genealogy (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1985), 223, further cited as Cerny and Eakle, Ancestry's Guide to Research.
  8. [S811] Woolsey, Wolsey-Woolsey Family, 780-782.
  9. [S602] Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1:2:124.