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HOPKIRK, Hon. William - 1890 Bio (1811-1891)


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 8/10/2007 at 18:44:26

Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, Printed 1890 by Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Pages 427-428

William HOPKIRK, a pioneer of Jefferson County now residing on section 34, Lockridge Township, has identified himself with the best interests of the community in various ways, especially in the support of and influence lent for the advancement of such enterprises as are calculated to benefit the community. As a farmer he has also aided in the development of the county, having succeeded in placing many acres of Iowa's fertile prairie land under cultivation.

He was born in Gattonside, Roxburyshire, Scotland, May 9, 1811, his parents being William and Isabel (HOLMES) HOPKIRK. His father and grandfather were shoemakers by trade and followed that business throughout their entire lives. His mother's family belonged to one of the old clans of Scotland. Both parents, in accordance with the teachings of their ancestors, became members of the Presbyterian Church. In their family were eight children, seven sons and one daughter, and five of the number became residents of this country. The only daughter, Elizabeth, was drowned in a storm at sea while returning to her childhood home; David, after some years residence in America returned to Scotland, where he spent his last days; John died in Jefferson County, and Walter is a resident of Colorado.

The fifth member of the family to cross the briny deep was William HOPKIRK, the honored pioneer of Jefferson County, whose circle of friends will be glad to receive the sketch of his life here recorded. He received but limited educational advantages in his youth but by personal application he has become a well informed man on all general topics and has acquainted himself with both ancient and modern history. When a lad of thirteen years he commenced work at his trade, that of manufacturer and colorer of cloth, serving an apprenticeship of five years, after which he worked some three years for wages. On March 3, 1834, he married Jane REDPATH, who was born August 10, 1813, in Roxburyshire, Scotland, near the childhood home of our subject. Sir Walter Scott was also a resident of the neighborhood and attended the same church. Soon after their marriage, Mr. HOPKIRK and his bride sailed for New York, reaching that city after thirty days. Thence he made his way to Rochester, but as he could not obtain work at his trade in that place, he engaged in quarrying until an opportunity offered for labors in his chosen line of business. Having worked in Rochester until 1837, he then removed to within six miles of Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, and later became a resident of Wellsburg, W. Va.

The spring of 1842 witnessed the arrival of Mr. HOPKIRK in Jefferson County, Iowa, where he entered one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 34, Lockridge Township. Almost half a century has passed but that farm continues to be his home. There he has met with some reverses and failures, but on the whole his life has been one of prosperity and almost uninterrupted success. By industry, perseverance and good management, he was enabled to extend his acreage until he was the possessor of five hundred and sixty acres, but the greater part of this he has since disposed of, owning now some one hundred and ninety acres. Work has been the motto of his life and to it he has faithfully adhered, yet in the intervals of business labor he has accomplished not a little for the advancement of public interests. The cause of education has ever found in him a true friend and during the thirteen years he served as Secretary of his school district he did not a little toward bettering the grade of schools and in procuring efficient teachers. He served as Trustee of his township for several years, for two terms was a member of the County Board of Supervisors and from 1870 until 1876, represented his district in the General Assembly of Iowa, being elected to the position for three consecutive terms. While a member of the House, he served on the railroad committee and gained the ill-will of all railroad incorporators by his introduction of the Hopkirk Bill, providing that railroad property should be taxed the same as other property. His re-election to the same position indicated that he served his constituency faithfully and well. He cast his first Presidential vote for John C. Fremont in 1856, and since has been a stalwart supporter of Republican principles.

The death of Mrs. HOPKIRK, who was a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church, occurred February 12, 1869. She was the mother of eleven children, five sons and six daughters -- Elizabeth, wife of Robert STEPHENSON, a resident of Fairfield; Isabel, wife of William BANKHEAD of California; William who died in the service of his country during the late war; Anna, wife of Robert STAMM, whose home is in Osceola County, Iowa; Mary U., widow of David L. BROWN; Robert who was wounded during Sturges' defeat and died from the wound in Memphis, Tenn.; Lillie, wife of Benjamin HANSON, a resident farmer of Lockridge Township; James, an extensive contractor and builder, of Seattle, Wash.; Jane, who died at the age of twenty-one years; Alexander, mentioned below, and Walter, who died at the age of one and a half years.

Alexander resides upon and has charge of the old homestead, managing almost the entire business connected with it. He was born under the sheltering roof of the old home October 25, 1853, and there was reared to manhood. Having acquired a good English education, he then engaged in teaching for some eight years, when he relieved his father who has now attained an advanced age, of the care and superintendency of the farming interests. On the 26th of April, 1883, he married Miss Addie L. RIPLEY, who was born in Waldo County, Me., and came to Iowa, in 1879. One child graces their union, a daughter, Nellie.

Like his wife, Mr. HOPKIRK is a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church and also belongs to the Old Settlers' Society. His public and private life are alike above reproach; his course has been an honorable one; his friends are many; he has made few enemies and in the conscientious discharge of every duty devolving upon him he has won well merited praise and honor.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.


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