Biography of William A. Hopkins
William A. Hopkins, now living retired at Solomon, had turned the seventy-fifth milepost on life’s journey. His years have accounted for something not only to himself but to his country and his community. He was a gallant and loyal soldier of the Union during more than three years of the Civil war. After his part in that struggle he came to Kansas and had been a resident of Dickinson County for practically half a century. The Solomon community esteems him not only as one of its oldest but one of its most highly respected citizens.
An Indiana man by birth, he was born in a log house situated on a farm in Daviess County September 12, 1842. His parents were Zelek and Maria (Logan) Hopkins. Zelek Hopkins was born in Kentucky in 1807, a son of Washington E. Hopkins. This is the same branch of the Hopkins fainily which includes among its noted members Commodore Hopkins of the English navy. Zelek Hopkins went with his parents from Kentucky to Indiana when ten years of age and grew up on a pioneer farm in Daviess County. His active career was spent as a farmer and during the Civil war he served as provost marshal of Daviess County. His death occurred at Washington, Indiana, March 20, 1867. In 1829 he married Miss Maria Logan, who was born in 1807, a danghter of David Logan, a native of Ireland and a weaver by trade. Mra. Maria Hopkins died in 1901 at Solomon, Kansas, at the advanced age of ninety-four. She was the mother of eleven children, five sons and six daughters. Their names in order of birth are Jane L., Sarah H., Washington E., David L., Mary, Elizabeth, Ellen and Malissa, twins, William A., James A., and Samuel M. The only two now living are William A. and Samuel M, the latter a resident of Seymour, Indiana.
Mr. William A. Hopkins grew up on his father’s farm in Daviess County, Indiana. His book learning was such as could be secured by attending the winter terms of the district schools. A few months after his eighteenth birthday the Civil war broke out. He was not long in answering the call to military duty and enlisted in Company E of the Sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered into service on his nineteenth birthday. The Union armies were then making their first attempt to break down the barrier which the Confederates had erected throughout the west, guarding the Southern States and the approaches of the Mississippi. His regiment was first assigned to duty in Kentucky and was later attached to the Army of the Cumberland, Fourth Brigade, Second Division. Shiloh was the first great battle in which Mr. Hopkins participated. This was followed by the engagement of Stone River or Murfreesboro, Chickamanga, Missionary Ridge, and in that noted battle he was wounded in the right thigh. On account of this wound he was granted a thirty days’ furlough. He rejoined his command in time to participate in many of the battles of the Atlanta campaign, including Resaca and Peach Tree Creek. That brilliant campaign of Sherman’s army had practically closed when Mr. Hopkins was mustered out at Indianapolis September 23, 1864, after a service of three years and twelve days. He came out of the army with the rank of sergeant.
For a few months he made up for early deficiencies in the way of education by a special course in school, and then took up the trade of plasterer and for a time worked in a flour mill at Vincennes, Indiana.
On coming to Kansas in 1866 Mr. Hopkins located at Solomon, which was then a frontier community and in a district largely devoted to the range stock industry. He began working at his trade as a plasterer and he plastered many of the first houses in the town of Solomon and in the nearby country. He also proved up a claim four miles north of Solomon. Besides his work at his trade as a farmer Mr. Hopkins bought grain at Solomon for a number of years. Everything connected with his business career bears the stamp of integrity and the highest degree of honor.
In 1898 Mr. Hopkins was appointed postmaster of Solomon by President William McKinley. He held that office consecutively sixteen years, going out during President Wilson’s first term. For two years he was also mayor of Solomon and was a member of its school board sixteen years. Mr. Hopkins is now giving his time to the offices of police judge and justice of the peace. He had always been an active republican since casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, a few weeks after he had returned from the army.
Mr. Hopkins is past commander and present adjutant of Solomon Post No. 374 of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is an elder and active member in the Presbyterian Ohurch. On May 8, 1866, a few months before he came to Kansas, he was married at Vincennes, Indiana, to Miss Martha McChure. Mrs. Hopkins was born February 2, 1842, a daughter of Daniel and Martha (Bartness) McClure, also natives of Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins became the parents of seven children, three sons and four daughters. The family record in brief is as follows: Edward E., born March 11, 1867, died October 2, 1902; Warren L., born April 13, 1869; William M., born July 24, 1871; Alma, born June 25, 1874; Maria, born January 1, 1877: Sarah Jane, born June 22, 1878; and Grace M., born February 26, 1882.