Where I Come From: Stephen Hopkins (Part 2)

The Mayflower

So Hopkins, his pregnant wife Elizabeth, children Constance and Giles from his first marriage, and child Damarius departed England on the Mayflower. While on the Voyage a child is born and named Oceanus. 

"On November 11, after 66 days at sea, the Mayflower came to anchor in what is now Provincetown harbor, and Stephen once again found himself on a ship which had reached an unintended destination."

Here, despite his experience in Bermuda, Hopkins petitions to have the company stay there. This time the captain makes the safe decision and they anchor there. He becomes one of the 41 signers of the Mayflower Compact. It is late in the year and the colonist must find a place to settle soon. As one of only three passengers who have been to the new world before, he is a leader on this expedition The women are left on board while the men begin to scout the coast. On December 6th Stephen is one of only ten men willing to brave the weather to continue scouting the coast, when they are attacked by Indians. No one is harmed however, and they row on into a storm that breaks the rudder hinges, and mast. On December 11th they finally find "Thievish Harbor" where there is fresh water and no sign of natives. Here, the landing at Plymouth Rock takes place.

They spend the winter aboard the Mayflower as shelter is being built on shore. This time around however, Stephen does not escape the starving time. The woman were hit hardest with only 4 of the 18 surviving, by some miracle all the Hopkins family and servants were spared. One settler recorded that at times there were no more than 7 people of sound mind "who to their great commendations spared no pains night or day, but with abundance of toil and hazard to their own health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them."

When the Mayflower departed for England in early April not one of the pilgrims chose to return to England. 
Hopkins was a great asset to the community. He was adept at fishing and hunting, and because of his previous experience as a colonist, he acted as a liaison to the local Indians, often welcoming them into his own home. One native, Squanto, lived with the Hopkins family. Squanto's stay was essential in helping the colonists form allies with native tribes.

He was not exactly a model citizen though. He was fined 5 pounds for the beating of John Tisdale, he was fined for serving alcohol on Sunday, allowing his friends to become drunk, and allowing servants to drink and play shuffle board. He was also convicted of price gouging and even landed in jail. His jail term came because "his indentured servant, Dorothy Temple, was pregnant by a man who had been hung for murder. She was whipped for having a bastard child, but then she had nowhere to live. The court ordered Hopkins, as her owner, to be responsible for her support for the duration of her contract. Hopkins wanted to resolve the matter on his own terms without a court order, and he was found to be in contempt. He spent four days in jail until John Holmes agreed to take Temple and her son to live with him for the payment of £3, relieving Hopkins of his obligation."

Hopkins died sometime in 1644 at the age of 63 as a wealthy man. He willed to his children "his house, many animals and 'movable goods' such as books, rugs, flannel sheet, a frying pan, fire shovel, butter churn, two wheels, a cheese rack, scale and weights and four skins."

(Part I: The Sea Venture)


No comments:

Post a Comment