Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Baltimore Jail, 1870's

As a follow up to Samuel Hopkins' family, while our ne'er-do-well counterfeiter was serving time in the big house, what was his family doing?

In 1860, they are in Baltimore, 3rd Ward. Melvin isn't listed, but he may have been working/living elsewhere.

Samuel 38 Agent
Rebecca 36
Marion 14
Bernard 12
Carline 10
Emma 8
Wm 6
Ida 2

(This is the last mention I found of Bernard.)

Samuel's first conviction was in 1863, serving as his attorney was SC Leakin, former mayor of Baltimore. That means his family was fairly well off to have such a prominent man represent him. 

The Census in 1870 has the family living in the 2nd Ward of Philadelphia. 

Samuel 48, Clerk in Auction Store
Rebecca, 46
Melvern 25, Sailmaker (Melvin, Mudz' father)
Marion 23
William, 21, Bricklayer
Caroline, 19
Emma, 17
Ida, 12

I'm guessing that they were pretty darned embarrassed at his shenanigans...poor Rebecca with a passel of kids at home, the last of which were a pair of twin girls born in August of 1870. Sadly, both babies,  Ida M. and Susie H.,  died at 2 weeks of age one day apart. Cause of death was listed as "Inanition" which means "lack of vigor or exhaustion due to malnutrition." Perhaps they were premature. With Rebecca being 45-ish at the time, anything is possible.

According to the news article, during that same time, 3 of his children suffered badly from scarlet fever. (Back in those days, withouut antibiotics,  this strep infection was deadly and epidemics were frequent.)

On Christmas Day in 1872, Melvin Hopkins married Pauline Phillips at the Eleventh Street M.E. Church. Here is their marriage certificate:

Around 1872, daughter Emma married William Ashton Mayland, also at Eleventh St. Church.

Rebecca & Samuel became grandparents upon the birth of Marion Rebecca Mayland in April of 1873, son of Emma. (Their twins would have been three!) Marion died before age 2.

November of 1874, Samuel was convicted and sentenced to 2.5 years. He was convicted again in June, 1877 with bail set at $1500. In Feb 1879, he was released and by May the Secret Service had tracked him down to his home in Philly when he escaped them.

That article on his capture told about how Samuel had lost money in a failed bank and that drove him to counterfeiting. I don't buy it. The bank in question, Franklin Savings Fund, failed in Feb 1874, more than 10 years after his first arrest. Read more here.

Around 1879, Samuel & Rebecca's son William married. He and his wife, Catherine, had 9 children.

By May of 1880, the police had Samuel in custody again and he was sentenced to 18 months and fined $500.

In the 1880 Census, we find Rebecca, 55,  living with her daughter Emma Mayland and family. She listed herself as a widow - can't say I blame her! I have yet to find Samuel listed anywhere, even in the prison census for this year.

I found a death notice for Rebecca, in May of 1883, posted with a lovely poem by her brother-in-law, Benjamin F. Hopkins (a great clue!)  in the Baltimore Sun. She was living with Emma outside Phila and is buried there in Fernwood Cemetery. She was only 58 years old.
Here it is:

Samuel's last conviction was back here in Balto in 1888, he was sentenced to 5 years. He died in June of 1890 in the MD Penetentiary, was shipped back to Phila and is buried in Fernwood where a lot of our family is.

I found a cousin of ours, Patricia Small, who is descended from Samuel & Rebecca's daughter Emma, who is her great-grandmother. She sent me a copy of the family Bible entry of Rebecca's death, and even cooler is a drawing from Samuel to  Rebecca which had a lock of blond hair with it. After I shared my info with her, Patricia concluded that "Samuel must have been a smooth talker!"

Here's the drawing...what a great treasure! Click it to is very detailed.

Still stuck on Samuel & Rebecca's parents....planning a trip to the Nat'l Archives to go through the records of the Secret Service, hoping to learn more about our notorious ancestor. 

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