Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Bad Apple

So, the last time I wrote about Samuel G. Hopkins, my 3x great-grandfather, I was pretty much just waiting and hoping for a chance to go to the Nat'l Archives #2 in College Park to search the Secret Service's files. He was a five-time convicted counterfeiter in Baltimore and Philadelphia. As such, the Secret Service, at that time part of the Treasury Department, would hold the records of counterfeit investigations. The listings at the National Archives show not only investigative files but photos as well. I was hoping against hope to at least find some information on his family as this was a major brick wall. (See previous posts HERE and HERE.)

As I wrote before, the Hopkins name was so common in Baltimore in the 1800s that you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting one! I had found a brother Benjamin listed as brother-in-law in a death notice for Samuel's wife Rebecca, but could never locate his death certificate. I traced his family forward to the present but no one alive could help.

I noticed an Ann E. Hopkins living with Samuel in Baltimore in 1850 who was the right age to be his sister. In later census records she is living with a Charlotte and a Sophia Hopkins and listed as their niece. When looking into their deaths and probate records, the name Richard H Hopkins showed up as administrator. When I searched for him in the census, it showed him as a  bailiff in a Baltimore City Court. I also found his death notice from 1917 at age 90, but I had no idea if he was related.

Ann Hopkin's  death certificate showed her as being buried at the Friends Cemetery on Harford Road in Baltimore. There is a book published that lists most of the burials there and it showed hers along with the notation of "daughter of Richard Hopkins and Mary Ann Gover." But again I had no proof that she was related and had had no luck in finding out anything about this couple except a marriage in 1817 in Baltimore.

Fast-forward to this month. Through the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness  Facebook page I found a volunteer to go to the National Archives and look up Samuel's Secret Service records. Much to my delight, he found the following two ledger entries containing information on my little criminal. It also contained a reference to a photograph in their files as well. This RAOGK volunteer went back a second time to locate the photograph but had no luck as the index and the actual photo files did not jive. On the second trip though he hit a gold mine in another ledger entry about Samuel!

This entry listed family information as follows:

One brother a crier in Judge Dobbin's Court, another employed at a DC post office, a third in business in Baltimore! Woo hoo! (You can see the ledgers HERE.)

The second ledger also included a reference to another photograph different from the first one. (The next day I called the Archives to speak to the woman that helped the volunteer with locating photos. She was able to locate the photo listed on this new ledger page!)

I started looking at the Census, having been reminded of the bailiff listed above, and searched GenealogyBank newspapers for Judge Dobbins. Who pops up but Richard Hall Hopkins,  second cousin to Johns Hopkins died 1917 and worked for Judge Dobbins! Because he died in 1917 I stood a very good chance of finding his death certificate containing his parents' information! (His obit said he was born in Carroll County, but now I know differently.)

I also searched the census in Washington DC for a Hopkins with a similar job to that mentioned at the post office. The only one I found that came close was a Philip G. Hopkins who worked at, of all things, the Treasury Department! How in the heck does the brother of a counterfeiter get a job as a clerk at the Treasury Department!? He previously lived in Baltimore, working as a clerk in a counting house.

Through another RAOGK volunteer, I just received Richard Hopkins death certificate, listing his parents as Richard Hopkins and Mary Gover, both born in Harford County Maryland! Family Search had a record of Philip Hopkins' and his wife's deaths in DC that also listed his place of birth as Harford County and his middle name as Gover!

So now I just need a one generation bridge from Richard and Mary Ann back to their parents to complete the connection to the  famous Hopkins family that started out in Anne Arundel County. (Gerrard Hopkins and the Gover family both left Anne Arundel County for Harford County in the 1700s)

UPDATE 9/1/12 - Found the link I needed! In the book Colonial Families of Maryland, it lists Richard, married to Mary Ann Gover was the son of Joseph (b. 1761), son of Richard (1715 - 1785), son of Gerrard (1683 - 1734), son of Gerrard b. ca. 1650 in Canterbury, England and came to America with his brothers & perhaps parents. (The older Richard was the brother of Johns, grandfather of the well-known philanthropist Johns Hopkins.)

Then for the last surprise of this whole mission, when looking through newspapers I found an article in 1848 Baltimore Sun, showing that a Philip Hopkins and Richard Hopkins Jr. had been arrested for -- you guessed it -- counterfeiting! They were found not guilty as the victim could not i.d. them.

These bad apples didn't fall far from the tree, but it looks like the other 2 learned their lessons!