Governor Edward Hopkins, Hartford Founder‹ Back to The Founders
Compiled by Timothy Lester Jacobs, SDFH Genealogist
EDWARD1 HOPKINS, GOV., HARTFORD FOUNDER (EDWARD/EDMUNDA) was born abt. 1600 in Shrewsbury, Salop, England, and died abt. 07 Mar 1657/58 in St. Olave, Hart Street, London, England d. s. p.. He married ANN YALE abt. 1638 in New Haven, CT, daughter of THOMAS YALE and ANN LLOYD. She was born abt. 1615 in England, and died 14 Dec 1698 in England d.s.p..
Edward Hopkins emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony aboard the ship “Abigail” in 1635 with John Winthrop, Jr., settling first in Boston. Many sources state that he joined the New Haven colony in 1637, but the colony was not established until the arrival of Rev. John Davenport’s main party April 1638. He may have been among the exploratory party of 1637. Soon after his arrival in New Haven he removed to Hartford, where he became an original proprietor.
In the Hartford land inventory of February 1639/40 he held: six acres on which his dwelling house stood with other outhouses, yards, or gardens, or orchards, one of the largest home lots in Hartford, located on the north side of the road to the South Meadow; four acres in the Little Meadow; six acres in the South Meadow; another five acres and one rood in the South Meadow; thirty-six acres lying in the Forty Acres; twenty acres in Hockanum; fifty-eight acres in the Oxpasture; and two acres for a house lot near the meeting-house. He acquired later four additional parcels of land.
He was Assistant to the General Court in 1639, eventually becoming Chief Magistrate; was Secretary of the Colony of Connecticut in 1639 and 1640; Deputy Governor of the Colony of Connecticut in 1643, 1645, 1647, 1649, 1651, and 1653; Governor of the Colony of Connecticut 1640, 1644, 1646, 1648, 1652, and 1654.
Edward Hopkins went back to England several times after Oliver Cromwell’s victory in 1649, where Cromwell appointed him a Commissioner of the Navy in 1652. In 1655 his brother Henry died leaving positions of Warden of the Fleet, and Keeper of the Palace of Westminster, which passed to Edward. He oversaw the printing of the first set of laws of the New Haven Colony and in 1656 - 1657 served in Cromwell’s Parliament.
When he died childless on March 1657/8, he left 1000 pounds to support grammar schools in Hartford, New Haven, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, also leaving 500 pounds to Harvard College. Money from his estate further purchased the land for Hopkinton, Massachusetts, which was named for him. He stated in his will (7 Mar 1657/8 [NEHGR 38:315]) that his “dear distressesed wife” be maintained by her brother David Yale, “she not being in a condtion fit to manage it for herself”.
Genealogy: not applicable, as he had no descendants