Stephen Hopkins, "Mayflower" Passenger

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Stephen Hopkins

Also Known As: "Stephen Hopkins", "Qualifying ancestor for the Colonial Dames of America", "the Society of Colonial Wars", "the Society of Mayflower Descendants and the Jamestowne Society"
Birthplace: Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: between June 06, 1644 and July 17, 1644 (59-67)
Plymouth, Plymouth Colony, Colonial America (Died between will and estate inventory)
Place of Burial: Plymouth, Plymouth County, Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Son of John Hopkins and Elizabeth Hopkins
Husband of Mary Hopkins and Elizabeth Hopkins (Fisher), "Mayflower" Passenger
Father of Elizabeth Hopkins, (died young); Constance (Hopkins) Snow, "Mayflower" Passenger; Giles Hopkins, "Mayflower" Passenger; Damaris Hopkins, (died young); Oceanus Hopkins, "Mayflower" Passenger and 5 others
Brother of Susanna Hopkins
Half brother of William Hopkins of Hampshire and Alice Hopkins

Occupation: Glass seller; tanner, Signer of the Mayflower Compact, Mayflower, Mayflower Compact Signer, Asst Governor 1633-35, Merchant, minister's clerk, pilgrim, tavern owner, Mayflower Passenger
Fame: “Mayflower” Passenger
Immigrated on Mayflower: 11/1620
Immigration Year: 1620 - Passenger on the Mayflower
Jamestowne Society: Qualifying Ancestor # A9441
Label: He was a merchant shopkeeper, "Stephen had an ordinary which was a bed and breakfast like inn.“
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Stephen Hopkins, "Mayflower" Passenger

Stephen Hopkins (1581 – June or July 1644), born April 1581, was a passenger on the Mayflower in 1620, one of 41 signatories of the Mayflower Compact, and an assistant to the governor of Plymouth Colony through 1636. He worked as a tanner and merchant and was recruited by the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London to provide the governance for the colony and to assist with the colony's ventures. He was the only Mayflower passenger with prior New World experience, having been shipwrecked in Bermuda in 1609 and arriving at Jamestown, Virginia in May 1610. Hopkins left Jamestown in 1614 and returned to England. A report of the wreck of the Sea Venture and later events reached England. Most scholars believe that William Shakespeare based his play The Tempest on the report.

Although he had been through all manner of hardships and trials in the New World, including shipwreck, being sentenced to death with a last-minute pardon, and traveling to the Jamestown colony where he labored for several years, when he learned of the planned Mayflower voyage to northern Virginia to establish a colony, he signed on to go to America along with his family. The first formal meeting with the natives was held at Hopkins' house, and he was called upon to participate in early Pilgrim visits with the natives' leader Massasoit. Over the years Hopkins' assistance to Pilgrim leaders such as Myles Standish and Edward Winslow regarding his knowledge of the local languages was found to be quite useful.

Stephen Hopkins died sometime between 6 June 1644, and 17 July of that year. He made his will on 6 June 1644, and requested that he be buried next to his deceased wife, Elizabeth. The inventory was taken on 17 July 1644, and mentions his deceased wife; his sons Giles and Caleb; his daughters Constance, Deborah, Damaris, Ruth and Elizabeth. The burial place of Stephen Hopkins is unknown.


Caleb Johnson’s website has overviews of each of the Mayflower passengers. Johnson is responsible for the 1998 research that found records from 1613 regarding Hopkins' first wife Mary's burial and probate. At the same time the baptism records for his first children were found. Two were on the Mayflower voyage. Johnson continues to guide research projects.

  • BAPTISM: 30 April 1581 at Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England, son of John and Elizabeth (Williams) Hopkins.
  • FIRST MARRIAGE: Mary, possibly the daughter of Robert and Joan (Machell) Kent of Hursley, co. Hampshire, prior to 1604.
  • SECOND MARRIAGE: Elizabeth Fisher on 19 February 1617/8 at St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, co. Middlesex, England.

CHILDREN (by Mary):

  • Elizabeth (believed to have died young)
  • Constance (married Nicholas Snow), and
  • Giles (married Catherine Wheldon).

CHILDREN (by Elizabeth):

  • Damaris (died young),
  • Oceanus (died young),
  • Caleb (unmarried),
  • Deborah (married Andrew Ring),
  • Damaris (married Jacob Cooke),
  • Ruth(believed to be unmarried), and
  • Elizabeth (believed to be unmarried).

Source: “Here Shall I Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins: Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor, and Mayflower Pilgrim.” Caleb Johnson. Xlibris Corporation, Nov 20, 2007. Page 243. GoogleBooks

Family entry in Bradford’s Journal:


Stephen Hopkins was from Hampshire, England. He married his first wife, Mary, and resided in the parish of Hursley, Hampshire. Their children Elizabeth, Constance, and Giles were baptized there. It has long been claimed that the Hopkins family was from Wortley, Gloucester, but this was disproven in 1998 with the discovery of his true origins in Hursley.

Stephen Hopkins went with the ship Sea Venture on a voyage to Jamestown, Virginia in 1609 as a minister's clerk, but the ship wrecked in the "Isle of Devils" (Bermuda). Stranded on an island for ten months, the passengers and crew survived on turtles, birds, and wild pigs. Six months into the castaway, Stephen Hopkins and several others organized a mutiny against the current governor. The mutiny was discovered and Stephen was sentenced to death. However, he pleaded with sorrow and tears. "So penitent he was, and made so much moan, alleging the ruin of his wife and children in this his trespass, as it wrought in the hearts of all the better sorts of the company". He managed to get his sentence commuted.

Eventually the castaways built a small ship and sailed themselves to Jamestown. How long Stephen remained in Jamestown is not known. However, while he was gone, his wife Mary died. She was buried in Hursley on 9 May 1613, and left behind a probate estate which mentions her children Elizabeth, Constance and Giles.
Stephen was back in England by 1617, when he married Elizabeth Fisher, but apparently had every intention of bringing his family back to Virginia. Their first child, Damaris, was born about 1618. In 1620, Stephen Hopkins brought his wife, and children Constance, Giles, and Damaris on the Mayflower (child Elizabeth apparently had died). Stephen was a fairly active member of the Pilgrim group shortly after arrival, perhaps a result of his being one of the few individuals who had been to Virginia previously. He was a part of all the early exploring missions, and was used as an "expert" on Native Americans for the first few contacts. While out exploring, Stephen recognized and identified an Indian deer trap. And when Samoset walked into Plymouth and welcomed the English, he was housed in Stephen Hopkins' house for the night. Stephen was also sent on several of the ambassadorial missions to meet with the various Indian groups in the region.

Stephen was an assistant to the governor through 1636, and volunteered for the Pequot War of 1637 but was never called to serve. By the late 1630s, however, Stephen began to occasionally run afoul of the Plymouth authorities, as he apparently opened up a shop and served alcohol. In 1636 he got into a fight with John Tisdale and seriously wounded him. In 1637, he was fined for allowing drinking and shuffleboard playing on Sunday. Early the next year he was fined for allowing people to drink excessively in his house: guest William Reynolds was fined, but the others were acquitted. In 1638 he was twice fined for selling beer at twice the actual value, and in 1639 he was fined for selling a looking glass for twice what it would cost if bought in the Bay Colony. Also in 1638, Stephen Hopkins' maidservant got pregnant from Arthur Peach, who was subsequently executed for murdering an Indian. The Plymouth Court ruled he was financially responsible for her and her child for the next two years (the amount remaining on her term of service). Stephen, in contempt of court, threw Dorothy out of his household and refused to provide for her, so the court committed him to custody. John Holmes stepped in and purchased Dorothy's remaining two years of service from him: agreeing to support her and child.

Stephen died in 1644, and made out a will, asking to be buried near his wife, and naming his surviving children.


For detailed research on the origins of Stephen Hopkins, see:

Caleb Johnson, "The True Origins of Mayflower Passenger Stephen Hopkins," The American Genealogist, 73 (1998):161-171.

See page 143 for article in Here Shall I Die Ashore, by Caleb Johnson, Paperback: 270 pages; Publisher: Xlibris (November 20, 2007) [
Stephen Hopkins’ story starting with finding baptism records of three children and burial/inventory/probate information on Stephen’s wife, Mary, in Hursley, Hampshire, England from 1613. Explains other records found in Hampshire. Has history of the Bermuda/Jamestown years and of his life in Plymouth. A quick easy read based on documentation. Majority of the book available on GoogleBooks with a search box, but most will want to get their own copy for quick reference.

Building on Johnson’s team’s research Ernest Martin Christensen, in 2004, found what is currently believed to be Stephen Hopkins’ baptism record in Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England and the marriage record of his probable parents John Hopkins and Elizabeth Williams and John’s estate inventory reported 4 September 1593. Elizabeth, his widow, was appointed co-administrator of his estate on 4 October 1593. Ernest M. Christensen, "The Probable Parentage of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower," The American Genealogist, 79 (October 2004):241-249

Also see page 163 for this article from 2004 in Here Shall I Die Ashore, by Caleb Johnson, Paperback: 270 pages; Publisher: Xlibris (November 20, 2007)

RESEARCH OF THE ORIGINS OF STEPHEN HOPKINS’ TWO WIVES The MAYFLOWER QUARTERLY article from Simon Neal in 2012 trying to find origins of Stephen’s two known wives. The “Mobile” version works on computer also.

Part One:

Wait for it to load, click or tap on it and then scroll to page 122 which is Image 22/100.

Part Two:

26 pages of sources from Hampshire relating to Mary’s family; from London who might be related to Elizabeth Fisher, etc. No conclusion on Elizabeth’s origins. Image 52/100

Common errors and misconceptions

  • See details on where many of the common errors came from:
  • Everything written about Stephen Hopkins' connection to parents, any grandparents, first wife, birth date/place, siblings, and made-up children before 1998 and/or 2004 is wrong as are all the old trees that copied that material that most of the Green Leaf Hints appear to be compiled from.
  • His Millennium file has four errors explained here. Ancestry subscription required:
  • More misconceptions about Stephen Hopkins:
  • Nicolas Hopkins and Mary Poole/Poore/Poley are not his parents.
  • He wasn’t born in Oct 1580 or 1581 in London, Wortley, Wotton, or Gloucester.
  • He didn’t marry Constance Dudley.
  • Oceanus was not the only child born onboard the Mayflower

Has full narrative (and updates after the 2007 book above) and extensive research from 2012 by Simon Neal about the origins of Stephen’s probable first wife, Mary (probably Kent), and probable second wife, Elizabeth Fisher. Clip below about his known children.

Children of Stephen Hopkins and his wife Mary, baptized in the parish of Hursley, co. Hampshire, England:

  • Elizabeth Hopkins was baptized on 13 March 1603/04. She was alive at her mother's death in 1613, but nothing else is known of her. As she did not board the Mayflower with her family, it is assumed she may have been married or deceased. Author Caleb Johnson believes she had died prior to the Mayflower sailing. This theory is given credence by the fact that Hopkins and his second wife Elizabeth also had a daughter named Elizabeth, born about 1632.
  • Constance Hopkins was baptized on 11 May 1606 and died in Eastham, Plymouth Colony, in mid-October 1677. She was a Mayflower passenger in 1620. By 22 May 1627 she had married Nicholas Snow in Plymouth and had twelve children. Her husband was a passenger on the ship Anne in 1623 and died on 15 November 1676. Both Constance and Nicholas were probably buried in Cove Burying Ground, Eastham, where memorial plaques for each were placed in 1966 by descendants.
  • Giles Hopkins was baptized on 30 January 1607/08 and died in Eastham between 5 March 1688/9 and 16 April 1690. He was buried in Cove Burying Ground, Eastham. He was a Mayflower passenger in 1620. On 9 October 1639 he married Catherine Wheldon in Plymouth. Shortly thereafter they moved to Yarmouth, living there for about five years before moving to Eastham. They had ten children. Catherine was listed in his will (as "Catorne") but likely died sometime shortly after him.

Children of Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins:

  • Damaris (1) was born about 1618 in England and died young in Plymouth. Mayflower passenger.
  • Oceanus was born at sea on the Mayflower voyage in the fall of 1620. He died by 22 May 1627.
  • Caleb was born in Plymouth about 1624. He became a seaman and died at Barbados between 1644 and 1651.
  • Deborah was born in Plymouth about 1626 and died probably before 1674. She married Andrew Ring at Plymouth on 23 April 1646 and had six children.
  • Damaris (2) was born in Plymouth about 1627-8 and died in Plymouth between January 1665/6 and 18 November 1669. She married Jacob Cooke after 10 June 1646 and had seven children. Jacob was a son of Pilgrim Francis Cooke.
  • Ruth was born about 1630 and died in Plymouth between 30 November 1644 and spring 1651. She was unmarried.
  • Elizabeth was born in Plymouth about 1632 and probably died before 6 October 1659. She was unmarried.

Further reading



FAG pages are not necessarily cemetery records. The “facts” presented on these pages are only as valid as the information the submitter used. Others can submit proposed changes or additions to the page and if the submitter hasn’t done their research they often post the erroneous suggestions. The two First Encounter Plaques. See photos and transcribed text from each.


Founded in 1897, The Mayflower Society, or General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our national headquarters is on the campus of the historic Mayflower Society House in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts. Membership requires proof of lineage from one of the passengers who traveled to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Our educational mission includes telling the story of the Pilgrims as well as maintaining the highest standards possible for genealogy research into the lineage of the Pilgrims. We operate a genealogy research library at our Plymouth headquarters and publish the GSMD Silver Books, a series of genealogy books that follow the descendants of the Mayflower passengers.

GSMD Mission Statement

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants, GSMD, is committed to research on the lineal descent of the Mayflower Pilgrims and education about the Pilgrims who travelled aboard the Mayflower in 1620. The Society provides education and understanding of why the Mayflower Pilgrims were important, how they shaped western civilization, and what their 1620 voyage and its impact on the world means today.


The gold standard for acceptance to the Society based on the first five generations. Available in the reference section at most large Public Libraries and available for purchase from the Society Stephen Hopkins is in Volume six. Descendants of Steven Hopkins of the Mayflower, "Mayflower Families Through Five Generations", volume six, "Hopkins", published by GSMD (various years-- Always research the newest edition because things change.) In 2017, Susan E. Roser was named the new researcher, to update and carry further to the 7th generation, the Stephen Hopkins Silver Book.

The 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower voyage is on the horizon!

2020 Commemoration Events and Mayflower Congress

The 400th Anniversary of the founding of Plymouth Colony will be a once-in-a-lifetime, unique experience for Mayflower descendants. With exciting, local commemoration events in the works and the General Society's 42nd Mayflower Congress in September, there will be many opportunities for descendants to participate.

General Society of Mayflower Descendants - The Hopkins Family. PASSENGER PROFILE. < link >



The Plymouth Colony Archive Project Plymouth Colony Division of Cattle, 1627



  • The nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum, Pilgrim Hall Museum houses an unmatched collection of Pilgrim possessions telling the story of ordinary yet determined men and women building lives and homes for themselves and their children in a new world. .
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Stephen Hopkins, "Mayflower" Passenger's Timeline

April 1581
Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England (United Kingdom)
Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England (United Kingdom)
March 13, 1604
Hursley, Hampshire, England (United Kingdom)
May 11, 1606
Hursley, Hampshire, England
January 30, 1607
Hursley, Hampshire, England (United Kingdom)