One of the first ancestors my grandmother ever told me about was my 10th-great-grandfather, Stephen Hopkins, who came here from England on the Mayflower. But my grandmother didn’t tell me that it wasn’t his first trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Or about the troubles he got into. Recently I started reading (listening to) a book about him, Here Shall I Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins: Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor & Mayflower Pilgrim by Caleb Johnson. What an adventurous life he led!
My 10th-great-grandfather, Stephen Hopkins, son of John and Elizabeth (Williams) Hopkins, was baptized 30 April 1581 at Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England, and died at Plymouth Colony, before 17 July 1644, when his will was proved. He married (as his first wife) about 1603, Mary (—), who died before 9 May 1613, when she was buried in Hursley, Hampshire, England.
Stephen married (as his second wife) 19 February 1618 in Whitechapel, London, England, Elizabeth Fisher. Stephen and his pregnant wife Elizabeth came here together on the Mayflower in 1620, with their daughter and two children from his first marriage. Elizabeth gave birth to their son, Oceanus, on board the ship during the voyage. My grandmother delighted me with that tidbit of information!
There is a great biographical sketch of Stephen’s life on Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History website: Stephen Hopkins
Mary & Stephen were the parents of three children, all baptized in Hursley:
1. Elizabeth Hopkins, born before 13 March 1604, died young.
2. Constance Hopkins (my 10th-great-grandmother), born before 11 May 1606, died in October 1677 in Eastham (Barnstable) Massachusetts. Constance was 14 when she came over on the Mayflower. She married about 1627 in Plymouth, Nicholas Snow, who was born about 1600, and died 15 November 1676 in Eastham. Constance & Nicholas were the parents of twelve children. They lie buried in Cove Burying Ground in Eastham.
3. Giles Hopkins (my 9th-great-grandfather), born before 30 January 1608, died before 16 April 1690, when his will was proved. Giles was 12 when he came over on the Mayflower. He married 9 October 1639 in Plymouth, Catherine Whelden, who was baptized 6 March 1617 in Basford, Nottinghamshire, England, arrived in Plymouth with her parents in 1638, and probably died shortly after her husband, daughter of Gabriel and Jane (—) Whelden. Giles & Catherine were the parents of ten children.
Elizabeth & Stephen were the parents of seven children:
1. Damaris Hopkins, born about 1619 in England, probably died young. Damaris was probably a baby when she came over on the Mayflower.
2. Oceanus Hopkins, born at sea before 11 November 1620, probably died before 1623.
3. Caleb Hopkins, born about 1622 in Plymouth, died before 3 April 1651 in Barbados. He was a seaman.
4. Deborah Hopkins, born about 1624 in Plymouth, died there before 1674. She married (as his first wife) about 1645, Andrew Ring, who was born about 1618 in Leiden (South Holland) Netherlands, and died 4 March 1694 in Plymouth, son of William and Mary (Durrant) Ring. Deborah & Andrew were the parents of six children.
5. Damaris Hopkins, born about 1628 in Plymouth, died there before 18 November 1669. She married there (as his first wife) after 10 June 1646, Jacob Cook, who was born 20 May 1618 in Leiden, and died 11 December 1675 in Plymouth, son of Francis and Hester (Mahieu) Cook. Damaris & Jacob were the parents of seven children.
6. Ruth Hopkins, born about 1630 in Plymouth, died there before 3 April 1651.
7. Elizabeth Hopkins, born about 1632 in Plymouth, disappeared and presumed dead by 5 October 1659.
This is the line of descent my grandmother gave me. Marriages noted are between Hopkins cousins…
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Giles Hopkins (1608-1690) Joshua Hopkins (1657-1738) Joshua Hopkins (1698-1780) Joshua Hopkins (1725-1775) Abigail Hopkins (1764-1829) m. John Freeman (1761-1817) ~ 3rd cousins, once removed Thomas Freeman (1787-1864) Warren Freeman (1814-1894) m. Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Over the years I have discovered three more lines from Stephen to my grandmother:
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Giles Hopkins (1608-1690) Stephen Hopkins (1642-1718) Stephen Hopkins (1670-1733) Thankful Hopkins (1700-1753) Thankful Linnell (1732-1810) John Freeman (1761-1817) m. Abigail Hopkins (1764-1829) ~ 3rd cousins, once removed Thomas Freeman (1787-1864) Warren Freeman (1814-1894) m. Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Giles Hopkins (1608-1690) Joshua Hopkins (1657-1738) Hannah Hopkins (1700-1793) m. Capt. Ebenezer Paine (1692-1734) ~ 2nd cousins, once removed Hannah Paine (1732-1808) Seth Allen (1755-1838) Elisabeth Allen (1784-1868) Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) m. Warren Freeman (1814-1894) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Constance Hopkins (1606-1677) Mary Snow (1630-1704) Lt. Samuel Paine (1652-1712) Capt. Ebenezer Paine (1692-1734) m. Hannah Hopkins (1700-1793) ~ 2nd cousins, once removed Hannah Paine (1732-1808) Seth Allen (1755-1838) Elisabeth Allen (1784-1868) Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) m. Warren Freeman (1814-1894) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Cousins marrying cousins, close or distant, was very common on Cape Cod and throughout New England, which makes figuring out relationships tricky but utterly fascinating. I’ve tried my best to figure out the tangled roots and shoots from my 3rd-great-grandparents!
Warren Freeman, a watchmaker, son of Thomas and Roxanna (Cash) Freeman, was born 25 July 1814 in Harwich (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died there 16 September 1894. He married (as his second wife) 12 June 1848 in Harwich, his double fourth cousin, Elisabeth Weekes, who was born 6 November 1822 in Harwich, and died there 18 September 1908, daughter of Isaac and Elisabeth (Allen) Weekes.
Warren married (as his first wife) in December 1836, his double fourth cousin, Priscilla E. Long, who was born 22 October 1817 and died 7 December 1846 in Harwich, daughter of Isaac and Esther (Ellis) Long. Warren & Priscilla shared two sets of 3rd-great-grandparents, Joshua and Mary (Cole) Hopkins and Edward and Mary (Woodman) Small.
A year and a half after Priscilla died, Warren married Elisabeth, Priscilla’s half third cousin. Elisabeth’s and Priscilla’s great-grandmothers, Hannah (Paine) Allen and Jane (Small) Long, were half sisters, both daughters of Hannah (Hopkins) (Paine) Smalley by two different fathers.
Warren & Elisabeth were also double fourth cousins, sharing the same two sets of 3rd-great-grandparents, Joshua and Mary (Cole) Hopkins and Edward and Mary (Woodman) Small.
On the 1870 Federal Census, Warren was recorded as living in Dennis Port, age 55, a “huckster”, with real estate valued at $5000 and a personal state of $3000. Warren is buried with both his wives and two of his children in the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Harwich.
Priscilla & Warren were the parents of two children:
1. Thomas Freeman, a blacksmith who was born 15 August 1837 in Harwich. He married Rosilla F. Allen.
2. Clemantina Freeman, born 26 March 1842 in Harwich, died 24 May 1858, age 16. Clemantina was buried next to her mother, Priscilla E. (Long) Freeman, in the First Congregational Church Cemetery.
Elisabeth & Warren were the parents of five children (all born in Harwich), but they only had one grandchild together, and only one great-grandchild:
1. Elisabeth Emma “Lizzie” Freeman (my 2nd-great-grandmother), born 4 September 1851, died 4 October 1876 in Harwich, age 25. She married 5 July 1874 in Harwich, Capt. Martin Edward Thompson, who was born 4 August 1850 in Dennis and died in 1928, son of Martin and Ann Isabella (Hughs) Thompson. When Elisabeth died her 18-month-old son was left without his mother. She lies buried in Swan Lake Cemetery in Dennis.
2. Warren Wallace Freeman, born 3 July 1853, died 27 August 1868, age 15. Warren lies buried with his parents in the First Congregational Church Cemetery.
3. Rosilla Ida “Rosie” Freeman, born 6 March 1856, died 18 March 1923, age 67. She married 23 February 1882 in Dennis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, Capt. Martin Edward Thompson, who was born 4 August 1850 in Dennis and died in 1928, widower of her sister, Elisabeth, and son of Martin and Ann Isabella (Hughs) Thompson. Rosie raised her nephew but never had children of her own. She also lies buried in Swan Lake Cemetery.
4. Ambrose Eldridge Freeman, born 21 April 1858, died 1944 in Boston, age 83. Ambrose was a confirmed bachelor with a fondness for alcohol. His little child’s rocking chair was given to Jonathan Freeman Rodgers by his great-grandmother, Emma Freeman (Thompson) White, who was Ambrose’s grandniece. The gift was made following a little episode in Jonathan’s young toddler life. One day his mother, absent mindedly kept giving him sips of a “Cape Codder” cocktail she was enjoying with her grandparents. His great-grandmother was the first to notice that Jon was getting a little tipsy, and made the observation that he was the spit and image of Uncle Ambrose! Ambrose lies buried with his parents in the First Congregational Church Cemetery.
5. Susan Flora “Susie” Freeman, born 22 March 1864, died 7 May 1963 at Woods Hole, age 99. She married 19 February 1891, Edward Ellsworth “Eddie” Swift, who was born 25 August 1861 in Falmouth (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died in May 1964, age 102, son of Ezekiel Eldridge and Lucy G. (Thompson) Swift.
Susie & Eddie lived at 10 School St., Woods Hole, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They had no children so my grandparents (along with my great-grandparents) moved into their house and cared for them there in their old age. My grandmother was Susie’s (Flora’s) grandniece. I well remember playing as a very small child in the yard there while visiting my grandparents and great-grandparents and 2nd great-granduncle and aunt! The lawn stretched down a hill to a harbor (perhaps a marina?), and the barns were full of sea crafts. Uncle Ed lived to be 102, and died when I was 7 years old.
In the picture above, I am being held by my 2nd great-granduncle Ed! By the time I was 2, Uncle Ed was bedridden and my grandmother would put me on his bed for a visit. Uncle Ed would ask, “And how old are you, Barbara?” I would bravely hold up two fingers while staring at his long white beard.
The following is from the Cape Cod Standard Times:
Falmouth Pair Married 70 Years [PHOTO] Caption: Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Swift of Woods Hole show their marriage certificate dated Feb. 19, 1891. The Swifts are looking forward to their 70th anniversary celebration, to be shared with family and friends.
Swifts to Observe 70th Anniversary by Robert G. Elphick, Cape Cod Standard Times Staff Writer
WOODS HOLE, Feb. 3–A candy sailing ship shall cruise across a pastry map of Cape Cod, atop a cake to be baked in affectionate observance of a very rare occasion. The 70th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ellsworth Swift of School Street. Mrs. Carlyle R. Hayes of Middle Street, locally noted cake baker and old friend of the Swifts, will have the masterpiece ready for the anniversary observance on Feb. 19.
Mr. Swift will be 100 years old on Aug. 25. Mrs. Swift will be 97 next month. Though confined to their antique-and-memory filled home overlooking Eel Pond, they remain articulate, cheerful and endowed with quick humor and ready memory.
“I used to sail a lot,” Mr. Swift recalled, citing trophies in Class B, for skill and speed with the 13-foot spritsail boats. While on the subject of boats and ships, he said his great uncle Elijah Swift ran the British blockade during the War of 1812, and in more peaceful times planted the elms that today tower above Falmouth’s Village Green.
Were Shipbuilders “Both my grandfathers were ship builders,” Mr. Swift added. Ezekiel Swift, he said, built whaling ships in Woods Hole, and Marshall Grew built other wooden ships for iron men in New Bedford.
Mrs. Swift is the former Flora Susan Freeman of Harwich. The Swift’s wedding certificate, larger and more elaborate than those issued today, states that the pair were married by the Rev. R. M. Wilkins, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church on Feb. 19, 1891, in South Harwich. The 70th anniversary observance will be at the Swift’s home, and will be limited to family and close friends.
Family includes the Swift’s grandniece, Mrs. John E. White, who came from West Harwich last September to care for the Swifts and her parents, Captain and Mrs. Martin Thompson. The Thompsons came to live with the Swifts five years ago.
Captain Thompson is a nephew of Mr. Swift. Until recently he has helped to run the hardware and ship’s chandler’s shop at the rear of the Swift’s home. The antique wooden sign over the shop entrance reads “Edward E. Swift, Dealer in Hardware, Cordage, Paints, Oil, Glass, and Galvanized Nails and Specialty.” The shop is rarely opened any more. Like the Swifts themselves, it is a survivor from another age.
Mrs. White said she is happy to be able to live with the Swifts and her parents and take care of them. “My parents observed their 61st wedding anniversary Wednesday,” Mrs. White commented. “My son is in the service and my daughter is at the University of Connecticut, so I have no one else to care for now, except my husband, of course. He’s a land surveyor and commutes daily to his office in West Harwich.”
Presented Symbol In 1956 Falmouth selectmen presented Mr. Swift with the cane marking him as the town’s oldest native resident. It was reported at the time that this was “a distinction that greatly pleased him.” The canes were made available to all Massachusetts towns many years ago by a Boston newspaper, to be handed down from one senior citizen to another.
“I enjoy books very much these days,” Mr. Swift commented. Each night Mr. and Mrs. White take turns reading aloud to the Swifts. “We are on Washington Irving now,” Mrs. White interjected. “Next we will do Dickens.”
Mr. Swift recalled that his middle name of Ellsworth was in honor of a relative who was serving at the time in the Civil War. He also remembered that he was born in Shiverick House when it was located in the parking lot that adjoins his present home–a short move to make in a century. He was graduated from Lawrence Academy, now the Falmouth USO and Legion Hall. In 1880, he then joined his father as E. Swift and Son, contractors, and in 1882 built the former Fay residence, now owned by the Oceanographic Institution. He also built the Congregational Church in Woods Hole during the 1880s, as well as many other structures long since passed into oblivion.
Open Shop The elder Swift died in 1909. The business was continued by his son until a shortage of labor and materials in World War I ended building operations. Mr. Swift remembers that we then opened his ship chandler’s shop at the rear of his home and has operated it until recent years, most recently with the assistance of Captain Thompson.
Mr. Swift was for many years clerk of the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole, and remains today as clerk emeritus. A frequent visitor is the rector, the Rev. Mason Wilson. Additional friends will certainly be on hand Feb. 19 to mark a very special occasion and incidentally share in the enjoyment of a very special cake.
The following is from the WHOI [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute] Historic Structures Survey, Swift House, 10 School St, constructed 1834, acquired by WHOI 1965:
Ezekiel Swift built the house and its two barns around 1834. The house was handed down through the years from his son, to his grandson, Eddie Swift, who was a well known character in Woods Hole. Eddie and his father formalized the family carpentry trade into a business known as E. E. Swift and Son in the late 1800s. The family building business survived until Eddie decided to open a hardware store in the barn behind the house. Eddie, who lived to be 103, and the hardware store survived into the 1960s. WHOI purchased the property on New Year’s Eve of 1964 and has used both the house and the barns since then. The house has served as offices for the Applied Oceanography group, now Ocean Engineering, and as home for other elements of departments.
The following is from a sign by a Woods Hole Spritsail Boat made by Edward Swift, donated to Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut, by Mr. & Mrs. John E. White:
Never launched or given her final coats of paint, this craft was built about 1910, and between that time and 1968 when it was given to this museum, the boat and the shop in which she was built were left essentially undisturbed, thus her pristine condition. Additional information is contained in the adjoining article excerpted from Skipper magazine. Length 13’4”, Beam 6′. Those Handy Little BCats by H.V.R. Palmer, Jr.