Tribal Tuesday – Stephen Hopkins
By Kenneth Green
My Ancestor from the Mayflower
Today I wanted to talk about another ancestor of mine. Stephen Hopkins was a passenger on the Mayflower. I am very interested that a relative of mine was on the boat that brought the first settlers over. This all comes from my Butt’s family line, which means that the way I am connected to him is somewhat ugly, through slave masters having their ways with slaves. I always knew that I was the descendants of some white folks somewhere in my past, and I could have been angry when I discovered it, but what would that do?
Religious Freedom Sent the Mayflower to the New World
England was embroiled in religion back in these days. The church of England was king, and the Catholic church was a close second. Neither of those churches cared much for Martin Luther until another distant cousin of mine Henry the Eighth broke from the Catholic church using Martin Luther’s reformation as an excuse to divorce and behead his first and second wives. I am so intrigued by nobility and royalty. I think that’s why I play nobility types in all of the Role Playing Game’s I’m involved with.
So Let’s Talk About my Tenth Great Grandfather from the Mayflower
Stephen Hopkin’s was born in 1581 and immigrated to the new world on the Mayflower June or July 1644 which means he was already in his sixties at the time he came to the new world. I can’t imagine making a trek across the huge pond at that age. I wish I could get into his mind and know his reasonings for coming to the new world. Did he want to make a name for himself in the new world? Was he fleeing religious persecution?
The Mayflower was not his first voyage to the New World.
One thing that I can see from early on is that he probably was selected for the Mayflower because he had experience sailing to the new world. I think this is especially cool. Knowing this fact shows me more and more why he was on the voyage. He probably was paid because of his expertise in sailing to the new world. I think it’s cool that he originally came to the new world when he was shipwrecked in Bermuda in 1609. He served under Capt. John Smith and the Jamestown Colony.
Stephen Hopkins and Governance
More digging around the web and Wikipedia shows Stephen was recruited by the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London to provide governance to the new colonies in America. So maybe he was motivated by financial gain? Not sure but I wish I could think the thoughts he thank when he arrived in America. He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact and assisted the Governor of the Plymouth Colony.
The Family Tavern
In Plymouth Colony, he operated a popular tavern which I think is cool. I cant wait to save up the finances to make my first Genealogy vacation to Georgia and Virginia so I can connect with these roots. Seeing his story intrigues me so much and it makes me so grateful for the stock I come from. I’m interested in his life even more than my uncle Robert the Bruce who I wrote about in a previous article.
Being a member of the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London meant that he had a significant amount of wealth. He had enough money to support two families of children as he had two wives. The first having died while he was in Jamestown and he returned to care for his children in England. It noted that he is married again on the voyage of the Mayflower. From what I’m reading about him I see that he was not poor in the least. He had two indentured servants who came with him and his family on their journey to the New World.
A Concluding Note
In the African-American community, we like to hide our European heritage within us. They drum up feelings of an ugly period in American history. I am not God, and i can’t answer why he allowed slavery to persist except that man was given agency to make their calls. His children, the Israelites were slaves for generations in Egypt. I could have a chip on my shoulder, as many in the African-American community does.
This statement I am making does not pardon those persons who slept with our ancestors passing on to us their European blood and genealogy. And when I cross the veil I plan on questioning my ancestors to understand their feelings on the matter. But even though I could have a chip on my shoulder I approach this with gratitude. I am grateful for this heritage. The Green Family is connected to history. I plan on trailblazing my history as well.