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Diana, Goddess of the Hunt — for Ancestors!
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Every-Name Index
Mark HOPKINS — of "The Big Four" of California
Mary Frances SHERWOOD
As with any famous person, you will find bogus pedigrees in print and online asserting a connection to Mark HOPKINS, one of the richest men in the United States in the late 19th Century.  The problem of bogus pedigrees is especially acute with regard to Mark HOPKINS because he died without issue and intestate.  The litigation over his estate lasted for years, during which time there were those who had an extraordinary incentive to create a connection to our subject (i.e., to become his heir).  Some of these pedigrees are being accepted by novice genealogists to this very day, in part because some of them are still contained in the LDS Ancestral File, but also due to the publication of Estelle LATTA's book on his supposed genealogy (see below).  So… do your homework on this one, and don't even think about asserting a link to Mark HOPKINS until you have consulted Timothy HOPKINS's book on HOPKINS genealogy (see below).  And please note, the HOPKINS estate was legally settled in 1883, and that settlement was upheld against repeated challenges in subsequent years, so even if you can prove a connection, there is no hope of getting any money from the estate, now.  Absolutely none. 

Despite all the documentation I've placed online showing that Mark HOPKINS, railroad baron, was the one born in New York (s/o Mark HOPKINS & Anastasia Lukens KELLOGG), people still email me arguing that he was born in North Carolina (s/o Edward HOPKINS & Hannah CROW), so I've created this page discussing the evidence.  Please study this page.  If you have evidence to the contrary, I'm always open to new data and to correcting any mistakes I may have made, but please don't write me about your unproven, undocumented family legend.  It's your job to prove your legend, not my job to disprove it.

Husband:  Mark HOPKINS
Birth:  1 Sep 1813, Henderson, Jefferson Co., NY
Death:  29 Mar 1878, Yuma, Arizona Territory
Disposition:  buried Sacramento City Cemetery, Sacramento Co., CA
Occupation-1:  merchant in New York
Passage:  departed NYC 22 Jan 1849 on the ship S.S. Pacific, arrived San Francisco via Cape Horn on 5 Aug 1849
Occupation-2:  1849, New England Trading & Mining Company
Occupation-3:  1850, wholesale grocery w/partner, Edward H. MILLER, in Sacramento, CA
Occupation-4:  1855, entered hardware and iron business in partnership with Collis P. HUNTINGTON
Occupation-5:  1861-1878, founder and Treasurer, Central Pacific Railroad
Historical:  namesake of San Francisco's Mark Hopkins Hotel (built on the site of his former mansion on Nob Hill)
Religion:  Congregationalist
Politics:  a Whig, then a Free Soiler, then an organizer of the Republican Party in California; ardent abolitionist
Father:  Mark HOPKINS (Sr.)
Mother:  Anastasia Lukens KELLOGG
Marriage:  22 Sep 1854, Presbyterian Church, New York City, New York Co., NY
Wife:  Mary Frances SHERWOOD
Birth:  8 Mar 1818, New York City, NY
Death:  25 Jul 1891, Methuen, Essex Co., MA
Other Spouse:  m2. 7 Nov 1887, Edward Francis SEARLES (1841-1920)
Father:  William SHERWOOD
Mother:  Lydia Ann KELLOGG

Not only were Mark HOPKINS and Mary SHERWOOD first cousins, Mark's parents were first cousins, the genetic consequences of which may explain our subject's lack of issue.

Adopted by Widow Mary Frances (SHERWOOD) HOPKINS:
After Mark's death, Mary legally adopted the adult son of her widowed housekeeper — an act she apparently came to regret because, in the end, she disinherited him.  After her death, Timothy successfully sued for a portion of her estate, but the bulk of it went to Mary's (much younger) second husband. 

1.  Timothy N. NOLAN-HOPKINS, b. 2 Mar 1859, Hallowell, Kennebec Co., ME; biological parents:  Patrick NOLAN & Catherine FALLON

Keywords for search engines:  genealogy; USA, US, United States, AZ, California, Massachusetts, New York

Year Location Event
1813 NY: Jefferson Co.: Henderson birth of Mark HOPKINS
1818 NY: New York Co.: New York City birth of Mary Frances SHERWOOD
1820 Census NY: Jefferson Co.: Henderson Mark HOPKINS, living with his parents
1828 MI: St. Clair Co.: St. Clair Twp. death of Mark's father
1830 Census MI: St. Clair Co.: St. Clair Twp. Mark HOPKINS, living with his widowed mother
  NY: Niagara Co.: Lockport Mark head of "Hopkins & Hughes" county store;
firm succeeded by "Williams & Hopkins"
1840 Census NY: Niagara Co.: Lockport Mark HOPKINS living with his brother, Henry
William SHERWOOD, Mark's future father-in-law, was also living in Lockport
1849 NYC to San Francisco Mark HOPKINS, travels round the horn
1850 Census CA: Sacramento Co.: Sacramento Mark HOPKINS, unmarried head-of-household
1850-54 San Francisco to NYC must have returned east
1854 NY: New York Co.: New York City marriage of Mark HOPKINS & Mary SHERWOOD
1854-55 NYC to San Francisco must have returned west
1855 CA Mark HOPKINS, enters business w/C.P. HUNTINGTON
1860 Census CA: Sacramento Co.: Sacramento Mark HOPKINS, head-of-household
1861 CA Mark HOPKINS, founder of Central Pacific Railroad
1870 Census CA: Sacramento Co.: Sacramento Mark HOPKINS, head-of-household
1878 Arizona Territory: Yuma death of Mark HOPKINS
1880 Census CA: City & Co. of San Francisco  M. F. HOPKINS, head-of-household 
1887   marriage of Mary F. (SHERWOOD) HOPKINS & Edward F. SEARLES
1890 Census   census destroyed
1891 MA: Essex Co.: Methuen death of Mary Frances (SHERWOOD) HOPKINS SEARLES


1.  1820 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com):  Mark HOPKINS appears to be living with his parents in the Town of Henderson, Jefferson Co., NY (q.v.).

2.  1830 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com):  Mark HOPKINS appears to be living with his widowed mother, Mrs. Tacy L. HOPKINS, in St. Clair Twp., St. Clair Co., MI (q.v.).

3.  1840 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com; Image #53-54 of 68; extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):¤•
1840 NY Niagara Co. Lockport Village Roll 92 pp. 92A-92B Ln. 2 Henry K. Hopkins 000 021 - 001 010 0000001
These data indicate:
No. & Sex Age Class Therefore Born Individuals Inferred
2 males 20-29 1810-1820 = Moses (b. 1817)
= Mark (b. 1813)
1 male 30-39 1800-1810 = Henry K. (b. 1807)
1 female 10-14 1825-1830 = ?
1 female 20-29 1810-1820 = Juliette (b. 1815)
1 persons employed in learned professions and engineers
Henry Kellogg HOPKINS is Mark's older brother, and Juliette is Henry's wife.  Henry was an attorney, and Mark studied law under him, so Mark is undoubtedly one of the younger males in the household.  The other male is probable their younger brother, Moses, who was also not known to be married at this time.  I cannot place the younger female (Mark had no sisters).  She could be kin of Juliette or hired help.  Or was she an unknown wife of Moses?  Also in Lockport Village: William SHERWOOD, Mark's future father-in-law.  Mark's mother was living in Lockport at the time of her death in 1837.  [My GGG-grandfather, Samuel Lucas HOPKINS, was also in Lockport, from at least ca. 1833 until 1837 when he moved to MI.] 

4.  23 Aug 1849.  Alta California (a daily San Francisco, CA, newspaper), as quoted on maritimeheritage.org:
San Francisco, August 10, 1849

To Captain George T. Estabrooks:

Dear Sir--The undersigned passengers recently arrived on board the ship Pacific from New York, beg leave to use this method of expressing to you some small degree of the gratitude we owe you for the kindness shown us, on all occasions, during your command of that ship from Rio Janeiro to this port.  We assure you we shall ever carry with us a pleasing recollection of a voyage that, though often attended by trials and dangers, has been a source of so much pleasure to us through your humanity and unsurpassed seamanship.

J.D.B. Stillman, M.D., D.W.C. Brown, James A. Morgan, N.Y.; Addison S. Clark, Geo.; J.C. Angel, John Cheney, Edward W. Leffrts, N.Y.; Ezra A. Hopkins, Mich.; Hiram Bingham, Chas H. Williams, Elihu Matton, B.F. Reed, E.H. Miller, Jr., P.E. Walden, John S. Dunham, N.Y., Warren S. Smith, Augustine W. Hale, J. Lawrence Pool, N.J.; W.K. Sherwood, N.Y.; B.R.W. Strong, N.J.; W.J. Bigelow, Wm. T. Emmons, J.F. Stacy, Richard Westlake, Z. Snyder, Horatio Emmons, J. Van Wagener, Harvey Caswell, Charles Thomas, Levi M. Kellog, W.H. Barrett, N.Y.; H.A.H. Morris, N.J.; Hart Benton, Richard M. Gulick, Geo. Higgins, Jr., Jacob Drake, Geo. L Powers, Philip H. Stout, Jas. W. Bingham, Wm. Dill, Wm. B. Jones, Henry W. Jones, M.D.; A.S. Marvin, Jr., N.Y.; J. Ross Brown, Lieut. U.S.R.; Mark Hopkins, John Sowen, J.S. Layton, Samuel McKenney, John S. Fisk, N.Y.; John Ingalls, O.N. Humphrey, Con.; John Bettis, Jr., N.Y.; James B. Packard, Con.; Arthur M. Ebbets, Samuel H. Thompson, N.R. Mastein, Benj. Palmer, Frederick Griffing, Mrs. C.F.J. Griffing, Gilbert Reynolds, N.Y.; J.W. Allen, Ohio; James H. Gager, John Mattoon, A.W. Gay, J.L.G. Cannon, Henry D. Cook, F. Squire, J.A. Aeschimann, E. Slatzmann, J.D. Bell, W.H. Julius, J. Peeler, N.D. Morgan, N.Y.; G.W. Adams, Con.; F.A.P. Stedman, John J. Jones, James Guernsey, E.C. Matthewson, Jesse Griffin, N.Y., Abm. Sulger, Phil.; Wm. Lackerman, Dr. H.H. Beals, N.Y.

San Francisco, August 14, 1849

When the Pacific arrived in Rio de Janiero, there were serious complaints made by the passengers against the Captain, Hall J. Tibbetts, for his treatment of them.  Tibbetts was replaced by Capt. George T. Estabrooks, who commanded the ship for the remainder of the journey, hence the publication of the above expression of gratitude from the passengers after their arrival in San Francisco.

This Mark HOPKINS is clearly the one who was brother of Ezra Augustus HOPKINS of Michigan, both of whom were sons of Mark HOPKINS & Anastasia KELLOGG of MA, NY, and MI.  This Mark HOPKINS is also clearly the one who was in the hardware business with Edward H. MILLER, Jr., as evidenced in the 1850 census of Sacramento, CA, the same Edward H. MILLER, Jr., who later became Secretary of the Central Pacific Railroad, of which Mark HOPKINS was Treasurer.  W.K. SHERWOOD is almost certainly William Kellogg SHERWOOD, brother of the Mary Frances SHERWOOD who married Mark HOPKINS, who shows up as a merchant in the 1850 census of Yuba Co., CA.  I have yet to determine the relationship of Levi M. KELLOGG.

6.  1850 Census Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com; Image #18 of 220):  Sacramento City, Sacramento Co., CA, p. 144B, 164/171, enumerated 7 Oct 1850, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1850 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
Mark Hopkins 34 M Mercht 1500 NY
Edwd H Miller 25 M " 1500 "
Mark and Edward were partners in a grocery business.  Edward MILLER later became Secretary for the Central Pacific Railroad.  There are almost no females or children on this and surrounding pages, just young adult males living singly or in small groups, hardly a surprise as the California Gold Rush was in full swing.  This record constitutes the only Mark HOPKINS indexed as being in California and the only one in the entire U.S. Census close to being this age.  There is no Mark/Marcus (or Moses) HOPKINS born in NC in the entire 1850 U.S. Census.

7.  Marriage Records published in the The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (Broderbund CD-239):
Mark Hopkins Mary Frances Sherwood 22 Sep 1854 Presbyterian Church (brick) New York City New York Co. NY

8.  1860 Census Images (online at Genealogy.com; Image #76 of 118):  Sacramento P.O., Fourth Dist. Sacramento City, Sacramento Co., CA, p. 571A, PN 285, 2391/2320, enumerated 11 Aug 1860, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1860 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
Mark Hopkins 38 M   Mcht 18000 20000 NY
Mary F  " 32 F         "
Albert Berger 20 M   Laborer     Mass
Hannse? Meyers 35 M   "     Ger
Mark should be age 46; Mary should be 42.  Sometimes women will lie about their husband's age to support their lie about their own age [my own grandmother used to lie about her children's ages, so her lie about her own age would seem more plausible].  At this time, Mark was in the hardware business with Collis P. HUNTINGTON.  This record constitutes the only Mark HOPKINS indexed as being in California.  There is no Mark/Marcus (or Moses) HOPKINS born in NC in the entire 1860 U.S. Census.

9.  1870 Census Images (online at Genealogy.com, Image #4 of 121; online at Ancestry.com, Image #300 of 417):  Sacramento (Ward 4), Sacramento Co., CA, p. 320B, PN 4, enumerated ca. 9 Jun 1870, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1870 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
1870:  for an explanation of the column headings, please see
What the Numbers in the Federal Census Mean (missing columns contained no data).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 15 19
27 36 Hopkins Mark 54 M W Treasr R R Co 9150 8,655,780 New York       /
    _______ Mary F 48 F W Keeps House      "   "         
    Nolan Timmy N  9 M W attends school     Maine     /  
    Ah Sing 25 M C domestic     China / /    
Mark should be 56, Mary should be 52, and Timmy should be 11, yet there can be no doubt these are our subjects.  It has long been contended (Latta 1953, et al.) that the dollar amounts in the "property" columns have been altered.  In viewing the digitized image of the film, it appears the dollar amounts may very well have been altered, though it's hard to imagine how anyone managed to gain access to the original schedules or, for that matter, why the amounts would have been altered.  It is absolutely clear, however, that no other part of the record has been visibly altered.  So, while the amount of his property in 1870 may have later been an issue with regards to the settlement of his estate, which may have led to the possible tampering of this record, that tampering is of no genealogical significance.  This Mark HOPKINS is clearly the Mark HOPKINS who was Treasurer of the Central Pacific Railroad, and he gives his birthplace as New York.  This record constitutes the only Mark HOPKINS indexed as being in California.  There is no Mark/Marcus (or Moses) HOPKINS born in NC in the entire 1870 U.S. Census.

10.  1880 Census Every-Name-Index/Images (online at Ancestry.com, Image #6-7 of 22):  California [St.], San Francisco, San Francisco Co., CA, Roll T9_74, pp. 701B-702C, PN 6-7, SD 1, ED 55, enumerated 2 Jun 1880, official enumeration date 1 Jun 1880 (extracted by Diana Gale Matthiesen):
1880:  for an explanation of the column headings, please see
What the Numbers in the Federal Census Mean (missing columns contained no data).
  1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 11 13 24 25 26
* 42 48 Hopkins M F W F 52     / Keeping house NY CT MA
    _______ Timothy W M 21 adopted son /   At home Calif Calif Calif
    Crittenden May W F 17 Niece /   At home MO NY NY
    Coolidge Julia W F 34 House Keeper /   House Keeper Maine Maine Maine
    Harwood John M W M 30 Servant /   Coachman England England England
[next page]
* 45 48 Reed John W M 50 Servant /   Night watchman England England England
    Clune? E J W M 35 Servant /   Groom PA PA PA
    Needham J B W M 20 Butler /   Butler NC NC NC
    Hellen Sophia W F 24 Maid /   Maid Germany Germany Germany
    Mariotte Annie W F 45 Laundress   / Laundress Italy Italy Italy
    Ah Lo W M 18 Servant /   Servant China China China
    Ah Can W M 19 Servant /   Servant China China China
Mary should be 62, not 52.  Timothy was born in Maine, not California, and his parents were born in Ireland, not California.  Timothy ultimately married Mary's niece, May CRITTENDEN.  (Widow Mary seems to have gone on a spending spree after the death of her frugal husband.)

11.  1890 Census:  the 1890 Census Population Schedules were destroyed.

12.  Photograph of Mark HOPKINS's tombstone (online at the "Hopkins Clearing House").  The stone reads:
MARCH 29TH 1878.

13.  Anon.  Tuesday, 21 May 1878.  "Estate of Mark Hopkins." Daily Nevada State Jounal (Reno, NV), Vol. 9, No. 43, p. 2 (online at Ancestry.com):
ESTATE OF MARK HOPKINS.—Mrs. Mary Francis (sic) Sherwood Hopkins has filed a petition in the San Francisco County Court for letters of administration of the estate of her late husband, Mark Hopkins, deceased.  The petition sets forth that due search has failed to discover any will made by the deceased, and it was therefore believed that he died intestate.  The value of the estate is estimated at $10,000,000, all of which sum was acquired after deceased's marriage with petitioner, aged fifty years, of San Francisco; Samuel Frederick Hopkins, aged seventy-five, of St Clair, Michigan, and Moses Hopkins, aged sixty, residing in Sutter county, California.

14.  Timothy Hopkins.  1932.  John Hopkins of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1634, and Some of His Descendants.  Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, CA (available as a facsimile reprint from Higginson Books; online at GenealogyLibrary.com).  Timothy was son of the HOPKINS's housekeeper, and he grew up in the HOPKINS household.  After the death of Mark HOPKINS, he was adopted (as an adult) by Mark's widow, Mary (SHERWOOD) HOPKINS, and he married Mark's niece, so presumably Timothy had a lifelong and intimate knowledge of the family.  In addition, while compiling the book, Timothy presumably had full access to Mark HOPKINS's papers and, as a trustee of Stanford University, the presumed cooperation of the editorial staff at Stanford Univerity Press and the research librarians at Stanford University Library.

15.  Oscar Lewis.  1963.  The Big Four: The Story of Huntington, Stanford, Hopkins, and Crocker, and of the Building of the Central Pacific.  Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
Has Mark born 1 Sep 1813 in Henderson, NY.

16.  Encyclopædia Britannica CD 98 — errors highlighted in red and discussed below:
Mark Hopkins

(b. Sept. 3, 1814, Richmond County, Va., U.S.--d. March 29, 1878, Yuma, Arizona Territory), California capitalist who helped build the Central Pacific (later the Southern Pacific) Railroad and for whom San Francisco's Mark Hopkins Hotel atop Nob Hill was named. 

After his birth, his family settled in North Carolina. In 1845 he and his brother Moses left home for Kentucky and, when news of the Gold Rush reached them, moved on to California (May 1851). By the spring of 1852 Hopkins had given up unprofitable gold mining and started a grocery business in Placerville and, the next year, in Sacramento.  In 1855 he joined with another Sacramento merchant, Collis P. Huntington, to form Huntington & Hopkins, which became one of the most prosperous mercantile houses in the state.  In 1861 the two men were approached by an enterprising engineer, Theodore Dehone Judah, who envisaged a new transcontinental railroad; and in June a company called the Central Pacific Railroad was organized, with Hopkins, Huntington, and fellow merchants Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker as the major directors (the "Big Four").  In 1869 the main line was completed, meeting the Union Pacific at Promontory, Utah; feeder lines were soon added throughout California. 

Hopkins' three partners eventually moved to San Francisco, and he began building a spectacular mansion there (at the site of the present-day Mark Hopkins Hotel).  He remained in Sacramento, however, and the house was not completed until after his death.  He died about a week after seeking a health cure in the Arizona desert. 

Mark Hopkins, the businessman, was apparently not related to Mark Hopkins, the educator, as sometimes reported. For many years, there was also much confusion of identity between him and another Mark Hopkins (1813-76/77), who was originally from New York state and lived and operated businesses in Sacramento during the same period.

The 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses (see above) clearly show that Mark HOPKINS, railroad baron, was born in NY.  Nor is there any indication in the censuses that there were two Mark HOPKINSes in Sacramento — or even two in California.  The only southern-born Mark HOPKINS in the entire 1850 census is a Mark D. HOPKINS (æ 2, b. AR) living in Independence Co., AR.  We also have the book by Timothy NOLAN-HOPKINS, who grew up in the HOPKINS household, firmly attesting that Mark HOPKINS was born in NY.  It's rather amazing for Encyclopædia Britannica to have made these errors, but all the more amazing for them to have made them while obviously fully aware of the existence of the true Mark HOPKINS.  And our subject was, indeed, related to "Mark Hopkins, the educator" (President of Williams College); they are second cousins.  The encyclopædia is further in error regarding when Mark HOPKINS came to California (see timeline).

17.  Mark Hopkins.  1871.  Evidences of Christianity.  T.R. Marvin & Sons, Boston.  Images courtesy of Ron Blitstein, who owns a copy of this book which is inscribed by the author:  "Mrs. Mark Hopkins, from the author, Williams College, March 31st, 1880."  The inside cover has the bookplate of "Edward Francis Searles," second husband of Mary (SHERWOOD) HOPKINS.  While not proof that the two Mark HOPKINS'es were blood kin, the book certainly proves that the families were aware of each other.

18.  Rockwell D. Hunt, ed.  1932. California and Californians.  Vol. 2.  Lewis Publ., Chicago (online at Ancestry.com).  On p. 331:
By this time there had been formed in California an anti-slavery party which, though not strong in numbers at first, contained on its roster many prominent names, such as Collis P. Huntington, Cornelius Cole, Mark Hopkins, Charles and Edwin B. Crocker, and Leland Stanford.  David C. Broderick, United States Senator 1857-59, also made his influence felt against the “slave oligarchy” that dominated the State politics of the time.

19.  Rockwell D. Hunt, ed.  1932.  California and Californians.  Vol. 4.  Lewis Publ., Chicago (online at Ancestry.com; boldface added):
Mark Hopkins was born at Henderson, New York, September 1, 1813, and came of New England stock.  His namesake, Mark Hopkins, was a noted educator.1  At sixteen his father died and he went to work in a store, later he studied law, and then became a salesman for a new type of plow which a friend had invented, and in this work traveled entensively and gained wide commercial experience. 

When it became a certainty that gold had been discovered in California, he came by way of Cape Horn and arrived in 1849. After some months in San Francisco, studying the commercial possibilities of the new country, with a few associates, he purchased a large boat, loaded it with supplies and started up the Sacramento River to the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, in Shasta County.  Because conditions there did not look promising, Mr. Hopkins returned to Sacramento. 

For some time he was engaged in hauling supplies from Sacramento to Placerville and later became a merchant in Sacramento.  He was very successful and invested in real estate.  Later he became the partner of Collis P. Huntington, and both men became prominent in public life.  After the fire of 1852, which destroyed Sacramento, they were active in relief work and rebuilding the city. 

It was in the Hopkins & Huntington store that many important meetings were held.  The building of the Central Pacific Railway was first discussed there, and Hopkins is credited with testing each step in its organization with his logical and legal mind.  Huntington was the financial genius; Leland Stanford, the political spokesman and diplomat; Crocker the superintendent of construction; but Hopkins was the judicious counsellor without whom the work of the others would have been ill-directed. 

As a man Mark Hopkins hated injustice of all kinds.  He was an ardent abolitionist at a time when that cause won more enemies than friends.  During the last years of his life he suffered from continual illness.  Hoping for relief, he went to Yuma, Arizona, where he died March 29, 1878.

His widow carried on his extensive philanthropic work, and some years later married a Mr. Searles, of New Hampshire.  Upon the death of the former Mrs. Hopkins, Mr. Searles founded the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in the old Hopkins residence, in California Street.  The institute was richly endowed and made a part of the University of California. 

Mark HOPKINS (1813-1878), railroad baron, cannot have been named for his second cousin, Mark HOPKINS (1802-1887), President of Williams College.  The latter was still a child when the former was named, so no one had a clue at the time that he would become so illustrious.  Our subject was undoubtedly named for his father, Mark HOPKINS, Sr. (1779-1828).  Mark HOPKINS, railroad baron, did not become known as "Jr." because his father died when he was a boy.  The given name, Mark, runs heavily among the HOPKINS'es descended from John HOPKINS of Cambridge, 1634 (see index), an important detail to remember when claims are made for a southern origin of the railroad baron. 

20.  John Debo Galloway.  1959. The First Transcontinental Railroad: Central Pacific, Union Pacific.  Simmons-Boardman, NY (reprinted 1981 by Arno Press, NY; online at the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum).  Excerpt about Mark HOPKINS: 

The fourth of the Associates was a quiet, retiring man, older than the others by eight to eleven years, whose life was neither spectacular nor positive.  However, he was one of the adventurous throng who came to California in the Gold Rush and prospered there.  He was forty-nine years of age when the Central Pacific was organized.

Mark Hopkins was born September 1, 1813, at Henderson, New York, the son of Mark and Anastasia Lukins (Kellogg) Hopkins of Puritan stock.  His father was a merchant.  The family moved to St. Claire, Michigan, and, on the death of his father in 1828, the son left school to work as a clerk for several years.  He also studied law in 1837 with his brother, Henry.  His leaning, however, was toward a commercial life, with the result that he formed several business partnerships.  At Lockport, New York1, he became the leading partner in the firm of Hopkins and Hughes. Later he became bookkeeper for the firm of James Rowland and Company and, in time, manager of the firm.  When the Gold Rush started in 1849, Hopkins formed a company of twenty-six men, each of whom subscribed $500.  Called the New England Trading and Mining Company, the company shipped a consignment of goods to California by way of Cape Horn.  Hopkins accompanied the shipment and arrived in San Francisco on August 5, 1849.

Hopkins settled in Sacramento after trying a store at Placerville, and in 1850 he formed a partnership with a friend, E.H. Miller, Jr., who afterwards became secretary of the Central Pacific, the firm doing a wholesale grocery business.  The business proved profitable, but in 1855 Hopkins entered a partnership with Collis P. Huntington in the hardware and iron business, a partnership that was terminated only by Hopkins' death in March, 1878.  In the year 1882, this writer, as a telegraph boy, clad in a bright blue uniform with brass buttons, delivered messages to the firm of Huntington, Hopkins and Co.

When the Central Pacific Company was formed in 1861, Hopkins became treasurer, continuing in that position until his death.  In 1854 he married his cousin, Mary Frances Sherwood, but there were no children from the marriage.  A nephew, E.W. Hopkins, was of some assistance to his uncle, but Hopkins relied more upon a young man, Timothy Nolan, the son an an emigrant family whose father was dead.  Timothy became known as Timothy Hopkins, and after Hopkins' death was adopted as a son by the widow.  He also succeeded to the position of treasurer of the railroad company, and in later years was a member of the successor group that managed the railroad.

One side of Hopkins' character is shown by the trust that the other three associates reposed in him.  Older than the others, to whom he became "Uncle Mark," his judgment was respected, and at times he could be firm in carrying out his ideas.  Huntington trusted him in everything which is a trust that the vice president did not repose in many others.  "I never thought anything finished until Hopkins looked at it," was his statement to Bancroft, the historian who referred to Hopkins as the "balance-wheel of the Associates and one of the truest and best men that ever lived."

Hopkins, always frugal and disliking display, finally yielded to his wife's entreaties and built an ornate mansion on Nob Hill in San Francisco, where Crocker and Stanford were building.  However, his health was failing, and while on a trip to Arizona to recuperate, he died.  There was no will, and a long series of lawsuits followed his death.  His wife after many years married a young man, and with the exception of a partition with Timothy Hopkins, the estate, valued at $20,000,000, was no longer of great influence in railroad affairs.

1Transcriber's note to my family:

For my family, the significance of Mark Hopkins being in Lockport in the 1830's — where his mother died in 1837 — is that Samuel Lucas HOPKINS (Grandma Nina's great-grandfather) was also living in Lockport at the time.  It was in 1837 that Samuel left Lockport for Michigan.  This Lockport geographical association may be how our family knew were were kin to Mark HOPKINS and why the family dreamed of being able to prove its connection to him during the prolonged litigation over his estate.  Of course, we are so distantly related to him that, even had we been able to prove the connection at the time, we wouldn't have been in contention for any part of his estate.

21.  Mountain Democrat, Placerville, CA, 31 Dec 1892 (online at Ancestry.com):
E.H. MILLER, JR., secretary and controller of the Central Pacific railroad company, died at his residence in Alameda last Wednesday, from a complication of disorders.  In the early days Miller was associated with Mark Hopkins at Sacramento.

22.  Richard H. Dillon.  2005.  "HOPKINS, Mark."  Pp. 267-268 in Mark C. Carnes, ed.  American National Biography: Supplement 2.  Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford and New York (online at GoogleBooks):
p. 267 HOPKINS, Mark (1 Sept. 1813-29 Mar. 1878), railroad builder, was born in Henderson, Jefferson County, on Lake Ontario's eastern shore in upstate New York, son of Mark Hopkins, Sr., a store-keeper in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Anastasia Lukins Kellogg Hopkins...

23.  Wikipedia.

24.  Messages posted to the Hopkins Family Genealogy Forum (online at GenForum.com).  See especially, Message #4262.

Bogus Genealogies of Mark HOPKINS:

A.  LDS.  Family Search: Internet Genealogy Service:  AF - Ancestral File (online at FamilySearch.org).  Several lineages, including one making Mark the son of Edward HOPKINS and Hannah CROW (see next source). 

B.  Doyle Clinton Akers.  1992.  The Hopkins/Coger Connection: including efforts in the 1920s to redistribute the estate of railroad builder Mark Hopkins.  Self-published, Denison, TX. 87 pp (LDS Call No. 929.273 H774; LDS Film No. 1750757, Item 10).  Abstract and Analysis

C.  Estelle Latta.  1953.  Controversial Mark Hopkins.  Self-published, Greenberg Publ. Corp., NY.  An exceedingly verbose, poorly documented, non-scholarly work devoted to promulgating the existence of a widespread conspiracy to obscure the "true" identity of Mark HOPKINS, whom she contends was born in North Carolina.  While one would like to be charitable and suggest she was simply an incompetent researcher with an obsession, the facts suggest the book is a deliberate fraud (please see this message at GenForum).  Please also see the Pedigree of Estelle Latta debunking her claims of her own connections to Mark HOPKINS.

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