Caleb W. Hopkins is the descendant of an old New England family, the earliest records at present in existence showing that his greatgrandfather, Elisha Hopkins, a native of Rhode Island, was a direct descendant of Stephen Hopkins, who came over in the Mayflower. His grandparents on the paternal side were Jeremiah and Susanna (Rice) Hopkins, who were also natives of “Little Rhody.” His maternal grandparents were William and Sarah (Walker) Bates, the former of whom was born in Rhode Island and the latter in Connecticut. His father, Samuel R., was born in Rhode Island, in 1776. He married Miss Hettie Bates, also a native of that State born in 1777.
The son, of the couple named, our subject, was born in Rhode Island, April 3, 1826, and acquired his early education in the public schools and a seminary. At the age of ten years he was employed in a cotton factory, where he remained for about ten years, when the discovery of gold attracted him to the Pacific Coast. He made the journey to the Golden State in a sailing vessel by way of Cape Horn, the trip occupying one hundred and sixty days. For about a year he worked in the mines, the cooking for himself and partner being mostly accomplished in a long-handled frying-pan. Having accumulated about $3,000, he returned to his Rhode Island home, where for five years he held a position as manager of a general store.
In April, 1856, Mr. Hopkins removed to Illinois and purchased land in Dillon Township, Tazewell County. His property consisted of unbroken prairie land, but he fenced and cultivated it, erected buildings, and lived on the place for thirty-five years. In October, 1891, he retired from active life and moved into Delavan, where he now resides with his daughter and son in-law, O. B. Orendorff, enjoying the release from his many years of hard labor. He is a Protestant in his religious belief and has always upheld the principles of the Republican party. From 1893 to 1897 he held the office of Town Supervisor.
Mr. Hopkins was married in Rhode Island, July 23, 1849, to Miss Catherine R. Stone, who was born March 10, 1831. Of this union were born four children: Annie, who married Joseph
Harris: Hettie E., now the wife of O. B. Orendoriff; M. Lizzie (deceased) and Charles L., who is a resident of Pike County, Ill. Mrs. Hopkins died on March 9, 1897.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 1025
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