My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Mayflower Connection

There were 102 passengers and 30 crew members on the Mayflower when it sailed from England in 1620. In my genealogy research the other day, I discovered that my 9x great-grandmother and her father, my 10x great-grandfather were two of them. My 10x great-uncle Oceanus was born during the voyage. Here is the lineage, as best as I can tell. As usual, my most prevalent resource is, however, in this case, I have my grandmother's DAR research that takes me back to Aaron Cleveland and I relied on from that point back. I am still sorting through a huge box of genealogical research that grandma did and I imagine I'll find some additional confirmation there. In the meantime, as I always say, this is either a really interesting historical account of my ancestor or just a really interesting historical account.

Here's what I believe to be the lineage:

Stephen Hopkins (1580 - 1644)
is your 10th great grandfather
Daughter of Stephen
Daughter of Constance
Son of Mary
Daughter of Elisha
Son of Abigail
Son of Aaron
Daughter of John
Son of Caroline Amelia
Son of William Cleveland
Daughter of Charles Pelham
Son of Leta Mae
Daughter of James Edward
The information below is taken from compiled by Caleb Johnson:

Stephen Hopkins  was from Hampshire, England.  He married his first wife, Mary, and in the parish of Hursley, Hampshire; he and wife Mary had their children Elizabeth, Constance, and Giles all baptized there.  It has long been claimed that the Hopkins family was from Wortley, Gloucester, but this was disproven in 1998. 

Stephen Hopkins went with the ship Sea Venture on a voyage to Jamestown, Virginia in 1609 as a minister's clerk, but the ship wrecked in the "Isle of Devils" in the Bermudas.  Stranded on an island for ten months, the passengers and crew survived on turtles, birds, and wild pigs.  Six months into the castaway, Stephen Hopkins and several others organized a mutiny against the current governor.  The mutiny was discovered and Stephen was sentenced to death.  However, he pleaded with sorrow and tears.  "So penitent he was, and made so much moan, alleging the ruin of his wife and children in this his trespass, as it wrought in the hearts of all the better sorts of the company".  He managed to get his sentence commuted.

Eventually the castaways built a small ship and sailed themselves to Jamestown.  How long Stephen remained in Jamestown is not known.  However, while he was gone, his wife Mary died.  She was buried in Hursley on 9 May 1613, and left behind a probate estate which mentions her children Elizabeth, Constance and Giles.

Stephen was back in England by 1617, when he married Elizabeth Fisher, but apparently had every intention of bringing his family back to Virginia.  Their first child, Damaris, was born about 1618.  In 1620, Stephen Hopkins brought his wife, and children Constance, Giles, and Damaris on the Mayflower (child Elizabeth apparently had died).  

(Another account explains that Stephen's son, Oceanus, was the only child born during the voyage. Apparently they were supposed to leave in mid-July when Elizabeth was six months pregnant and the voyage was delayed several times, putting her in the position of delivering on board. Oceanus died when he was still a toddler. They don't include that part in the "happily ever after" version of the Thanksgiving story.)

Stephen was a fairly active member of the Pilgrims shortly after arrival, perhaps a result of his being one of the few individuals who had been to Virginia previously.  He was a part of all the early exploring missions, and was used almost as an "expert" on Native Americans for the first few contacts.  While out exploring, Stephen recognized and identified an Indian deer trap.  And when Samoset walked into Plymouth and welcomed the English, he was housed in Stephen Hopkins' house for the night.  Stephen was also sent on several of the ambassadorial missions to meet with the various Indian groups in the region. Stephen was an assistant to the governor through 1636, and volunteered for the Pequot War of 1637 but was never called to serve.  

By the late 1630s, however, Stephen began to occasionally run afoul of the Plymouth authorities, as he apparently opened up a shop and served alcohol.  In 1636 he got into a fight with John Tisdale and seriously wounded him.  In 1637, he was fined for allowing drinking and shuffleboard playing on Sunday.  Early the next year he was fined for allowing people to drink excessively in his house: guest William Reynolds was fined, but the others were acquitted.  In 1638 he was twice fined for selling beer at twice the actual value, and in 1639 he was fined for selling a looking glass for twice what it would cost if bought in the Bay Colony.  Also in 1638, Stephen Hopkins' maidservant got pregnant from Arthur Peach, who was subsequently executed for murdering an Indian.  The Plymouth Court ruled he was financially responsible for her and her child for the next two years (the amount remaining on her term of service).  Stephen, in contempt of court, threw Dorothy out of his household and refused to provide for her, so the court committed him to custody.  John Holmes stepped in and purchased Dorothy's remaining two years of service from him: agreeing to support her and child.

Stephen died in 1644, and made out a will, asking to be buried near his wife, and naming his surviving children.


Alisha said...


I don't always get the opportunity to comment but I love your research on our ancestors. I have always had a love for the past and most especially my grandmother's black and white photos. They intrigue me. Thank you so much for sharing all of this. I need to get Gram to talk about life with her mom and dad so we have more stories to tell our kids and their kids and so on. I'm trying to find time for us to get togehter so we can get started on a book!! You're awesome!