Ohio Biographies

Josiah Hopkins

The best title one can establish to the high and generous esteem of an intelligent community is a protracted and honorable residence therein. The late Josiah Hopkins, one of the best known and most highly esteemed men of Fayette county, resided here practically all his life, and his career was a most commendable one in every respect, well deserving of being perpetuated in the annals of his county. Like his sterling father before him, he was a man of well defined purpose and never failed to carry to successful completion any work or enterprise to which he addressed himself and during his lifetime contributed in a definite way to the general growth of Fayette county.

Josiah Hopkins was a native of Fayette county, having been born near the present Fairview church, on the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad, on the 7th day of October, 1832, and died at his home in Washington C. H., April 14, 1914. His parents, Jeremiah and Nancy (Claypool) Hopkins, were natives of Pennsylvania and, with the desire to benefit their financial condition, they, in an early day, moved with the tide of emigration westward and became pioneer sellers of Fayette county, Ohio, wheer they spent the rest of their days. Jeremiah Hopkins followed the vocation of farming, in which he was successful, and was a strong and sturdy figure in the early days of the community. His death occurred at Washington C H. in 1875, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. He was survived a number of years by his widow, who died July 31, 1891, having been born May 17. 1807. They were faithful and earnest members of the Wesleyan Methodist church and, because of their consistent and upright lives, they enjoyed the esteem of the entire community. They were the parents of thirteen children, of which number eleven grew to maturity, namely: Mary Jane, deceased, was the wife of Cyrus Hegler; .Sarah, deceased, was the wife of Julius Bicknell; Washington, who lives near Colorado Springs, Missouri; Josiah, the immediate subject of this review; David. of Washington C. H.: Elijah, of Hot Springs, Arkansas; Nancy M., wife of Joseph Beatty. of Washington C. H.: Phoebe, wife of Albert Peterson, of Frankfort, Ross county, Ohio; Harriett Ann, wife of George Hamilton, of Florida: Orange Scott, who was a soldier in the Civil War and died from disease contracted therein; Frank, deceased, and two who died in infancy.

The subject's paternal grandparents. Moses and Marcey (Kirkendall) Hopkins, were natives of Pennsylvania and eventually became pioneer settlers of Ross County, Ohio, where they died when well advanced in age. They reared a number of children. Mr. Hopkins' maternal grandparents likewise came from Pennslvania to Ross county in an early day and there spent the remainder of their lives, rearing several children.

Josiah Hopkins was reared on his father's farm and his early education was received in the typical log-cabin subscription school of that period, slab seats and greased-paper windows indicating the style of the furnishings. Afterward Mr. Hopkins had the advantage of one term's attendance in the high school at Frankfort and a similar period in the high school at Greenfield. He remained in the paternal home until he had attained his majority, he and his brothers giving their father assistance on the farm, while during their leisure periods they were permitted to work for their neighbors and to retain such money as was earned in this way. Subsequently, Mr. Hopkins came to Washington C H. and for a short time was employed as a clerk in the general store of George Melvin and Thomas Wallace. Then for two or three years he worked on the home farm, at the end of which period, in 1857, he married and then engaged in farming on his own account. For two years he rented a part of his father's farm and, carefully managing his resources, he was then enabled to buy a farm of two hundred acres in Madison county, where he lived for five years, that being the only time when he ever resided outside of his native county. Returning then to Fayette county, Mr. Hopkins bought a little more than three hundred acres of land situated on the Washuigton and Circleville turnpike, about five miles east of Washington C. H.. to the improxement and cultivation of which he devoted himself and there he reared his family. Through his hard and consecutive efforts and good management, he was prosperous and from time to time bought additional land until eventually he owned eight hundred and fifty acres of splendid and well improved land. This land he divided among his children by deeds, and after the children were grown he quit the farm and moved to Washington, where he bought and remodeled an attractive and comfortable home and there he resided until his death. Mr. Hopkins was successful in the acquisition of a comfortable share of this world's goods and was numbered among the solid and substantial citizens of the county. He was a stockholder and vice-president of the Midland National Bank, of Washington C. H., one of the solid and influential financial institutions of Fayette county. In the larger life of the coninuinity Mr. Hopkins always took an intelligent interest and his support was always given to those things which have promised to be of the greatest benefit to the people generally.

Politically, Mr. Hopkins was always aligned with the Republican party, which ticket he usually voted, though he was not blindly partisan in the sense that he saw no good in other parties or in other candidates. Religiously, he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and gave his support to the various activities of that society.

On December 24, 1857, Josiah Hopkins was united in marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Rogers, who was born about six miles east of Washington C. H., the daughter of David and Mary (Jennings) Rogers. Her parents were natives of Pennsylvania, but came to Fayette county many years ago and here spent the rest of their lives, the father dying here when eighty-three years of age and the mother about sixty. They were the parents of six children, Sarah, John, Benjamin, Alexander, Ruth and Ellen.

To Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins were born five children, namely: Eva Josephine is the wife of Jerome Penn (deceased July 4, 1904), of Washingtou C. H., and they have two sons, Erret (deceased) and Ralph; Austin Franklin married Margaret Edwards and they have a son, Edwards; O. Scott married Elsie Willis; Stella Ruth married Walter Hamilton and they are the parents of a son, Frank. The mother of these children passed to the better life in May, 1905, in the sixty-ninth year of her age. She was a woman of rare personal qualities and greatly esteemed by all who knew her.

By a life consistent in motive and action, Mr. Hopkins earned the sincere regard of all who knew him and he was rightfully numbered among that energetic and enterprising class that has made this favored section one of the most noted and richest in the great Buckeye state.


From History of Fayette County Ohio - Her People, Industries and Institutions by Frank M. Allen (1914, R. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.)