Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644)

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Mr Hopkins and his family were passengers on the 1620 Mayflower and early settlers of Plymouth Colony.

Baptised: "the last of April" 1581--Upper Clatford, England,

Vital Statistics Edit

  • Son of John Hopkins and Elizabeth Williams
  • 1581 (Month and Day unknown) Born- Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England
  • 1581 "at the last of April" Baptism/Christening-Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England
  • 1609 Shipwreck of the Sea Venture
  • 1620 Voyage of the Mayflower
  • 1644-Jun-23 Death at Plymouth Colony


Stephen Hopkins (born about 1581 – 1644), was a tanner and merchant who was one of the passengers on the Mayflower in 1620, settling in Plymouth Colony. Hopkins was recruited by the Merchant Adventurers to provide governance for the colony as well as assist with the colony's ventures. He was a member of a group of passengers known to the Pilgrims as "The Strangers" since they were not part of the Pilgrim's religious congregation. Hopkins was one of forty-one signatories of the Mayflower Compact and was an assistant to the governor of the colony through 1636.

He came to Plymouth Colony with two servants, Edward Doty (bef1600-1655) and Edward Leister (b 1600 -?). Also were his second wife, Elizabeth, sons Giles and Oceanus (born during the Mayflower voyage), and daughters Constance and Damaris. Damaris died in the early years, and Stephen then had another Damaris by his second wife. He is probably one of the dissenters at Plymouth, that forced the necessity of drafting the Mayflower Compact of which he is a signer.

  • 1621 went on mission to visit Massasoit.

He was probably a leader of the non-seperatists at Plymouth.

Sea Venture shipwreck and MutinyEdit

Hopkins had made a previous attempt to reach the New World in 1609 aboard the new flagship of the Virginia Company, the Sea Venture, on which Sir George Somers took the helm. Hopkins had embarked as a Minister's Clerk on the "Sea Venture", the Admiral of the Fleet. The ship was on the way to the Jamestown Colony in Virginia with much needed supplies when it was deliberately driven onto the reefs of Bermuda to prevent its foundering as a result of the damage it had sustained during a severe storm. All aboard, 150 passengers and crew and a dog, survived. The ship's longboat was fitted with a mast and sent to Virginia for help, but it and its crew were never seen again. Hopkins attempted to start a mutiny while stranded on the island. He was sentenced to death when this was discovered but was eventually set free after complaining of the "ruin of his wife and children". Hopkins and the remaining survivors spent nine months on Bermuda building two smaller ships, the Deliverance and Patience, from Bermuda cedar and materials salvaged from the Sea Venture. He and the other castaways eventually made their way to Jamestown, where Hopkins appears to have stayed for (some say) two years before returning to England. The Hopkins family is considered one of the First Families of Virginia.


1. Mary (Maiden name not on the baptism records of her children, only their father's last name)

She may have died while Hopkins was on his first attempt to reach New World.

2. Elizabeth Fisher: married Stephen Hopkins at St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, London, on 19 February 1617/8, and was a Mayflower passenger who died in Plymouth, 1639.


Stephen and Mary had three children:

Stephen and Elizabeth had seven children:

  • Damaris b. England, 1618; Mayflower passenger.
  • Oceanus b. en route to Plymouth onboard the Mayflower.
  • Caleb b. Plymouth, 1623; dead by spring 1651.
  • Elizabeth b. Plymouth, 1623.
  • Deborah b. Plymouth, 1626, married Andrew Ring, son of William and Mary Ring
  • Damaris b. Plymouth, 1628, married Jacob Cooke, son of Pilgrim, Francis Cooke and Hester Mayhieu (Cooke)
  • Ruth b. Plymouth, 1630.

Bradfords Passenger ListEdit

From Gov Wm Bradfords 1651 record of Mayflower passengers:

Mr. Steven Hopkins, and Elizabeth, his wife, and 2 children, caled Giles, and Constanta, a doughter, both by a former wife, and 2 more by his wife, caled Damaris and Oceanus; that last was borne at sea; and 2 servants caled Edward Doty and Edward Lister.

Mr. Hopkins and his wife are now both dead, but they lived above 20 years in this place, and one sone and 4 doughters borne here. Ther sone became a seaman, and dyed at Barbadoes, one daughter dyed here, and two are maried; one of them hath 2 children; and one of them is yet to mary. So their increase which still survive is 5; But his sone Giles is maried and hath 4 children. His daughter Constanta is also maried and hath 12 children, all of them living, and one of them maried.

Edward Doty and Edward Lister, the servants of Mr Hopkins. Litster, after he was set at liberty, went to Virginia, and ther dyed. But Edward Doty, by a second wife hath 7 children, and both he and they are still living.


  • Caleb Johnson, Here Shall I Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins, Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor, and Mayflower Pilgrim (Xlibris, 2007) ISBN 978-1-4257-9638-9.
  • Caleb Johnson, The American Genealogist 73:161-171, “The True English Origins of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower”, July 1998. His first wife was not Constance Dudley, though this erroneous name is given by older references.
  • Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume Six, Third Edition, Stephen Hopkins ISBN 0-930270-03-7

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