HOPKINS, SAMUEL, HBC employee; fl. 1715–31.
In 1715 Hopkins was taken from Christ’s Hospital, London, as an apprentice for seven years, and sent to Albany Factory to keep accounts; James Knight was instructed to “be very kind to him, and give him all the encouragemt.” possible. Despite the London committee’s complaints about his ornate handwriting, his wages were increased to £20 per annum in 1722. On 3 Oct. 1722 he deserted his post and went up the river with two Home Indians (Indians employed by the company), who had come down to Albany for winter credit. He spent the winter inland, but it is impossible to determine how far he penetrated. He returned to Albany on 1 May 1723 and was placed under house arrest by Governor Joseph Myatt. He broke arrest by scaling the wall on 17 May and tried to persuade some Indians to let him accompany them up the river. The Indians refused, and two men sent by Governor Myatt easily recaptured him. Hopkins was sent to England and appeared before the London committee whose members were no more impressed with his reasons for “eloping his employment” than Myatt had been. His wages were docked for the time he was absent.
The company re-employed him “out of charity” in 1724 and sent him to York Fort where he worked under Thomas McCliesh* who described him as “naturally honest” and “very obliging.” Hopkins served first as steward and then, at a much increased salary, as book-keeper from 1727 to 1731, when he returned to England. He must have married while in England in 1723–24, for payments to his wife are recorded in December 1726. That neither Myatt nor the London committee seemed interested in Hopkins’ experiences may demonstrate the company’s lack of interest in inland exploration from Albany, or it may be evidence that Hopkins wintered not far from the port.