Hopkins Shield


he early life of Dr. Arthur HOPKINS, the progenitor of the HOPKINS of Virginia family, has very few trails to follow. Some evidence points to his birth in New Kent County, VA in 1690. The first found records of him show he was living in Hanover County, VA in 1731. Records in Hanover, New Kent, and James City Counties were burned by Federal troops in the Civil War of 1861-1865 making absolute documentation of his early life impossible. He well could have been born in New Kent or in James City County or for that matter, England. There is speculation that he received his medical training at the "School of Medicine and Surgery" in London, England. He and Dr. William Cabell were great friends and speculation continues that they came to Goochland County, VA about 1720-1723 and remained closely associated until their respective deaths. Dr. Arthur HOPKINS married Elizabeth PETTUS (PETTIT) about 1723-1725. Their daughter, Mary HOPKINS, married Joseph CABELL, son of Dr. William and Elizabeth BURKS CABELL. The coat of arms/shield that Dr. Arthur HOPKINS passed to his descendants is described as:

Arms: Sable (black), on a chevron between three pistols or rose gules;  Crest: A tower sable in flames proper;  Motto: Vi et animo.

Dr. Arthur HOPKINS became a major Virginia landowner, holding over 30,000 acres; became one of Goochland County's Gentlemen Justices; held a Commission as a "Colonel of Horse"; gave bond as High Sheriff of Goochland County; was a member of the House of Burgess 1739-41; was commissioned a captain; and a Vestryman of St. James Northam Parish. President Thomas Jefferson's father, Peter Jefferson and Dr. Arthur HOPKINS became close personal friends during their tenure in the House of Burgess. Dr. Arthur HOPKINS' will was recorded March 12, 1767 in Albemarle County, VA, having been written May 31, 1765. He was buried in Albemarle County, VA near present-day Scottsville. The HOPKINS homestead and graveyard were situated on a beautiful rolling hill overlooking the James River which allowed a splendid view of the surrounding country for miles. Walter Lee HOPKINS reported in 1928 the graveyard was a cultivated field with no evidence of Dr. HOPKINS' gravestone.

General Hopkins The progeny of Dr. Arthur HOPKINS and Elizabeth PETTUS, their thirteen children, produced many descendants of high esteem and leadership including doctors, lawyers, legislators, military commanders and ministers. Their son, Colonel John HOPKINS (1748-1807) served in the Revolutionary War with the Goochland County, VA Militia in 1779. One of the most notable among them is grandson General Samuel HOPKINS (1753-1819), shown at right. His father was Dr. Samuel HOPKINS, the first born child of Dr. Arthur and Elizabeth. During the Revolutionary War, then Colonel Samuel HOPKINS served on George Washington's staff. He withstood the rigors of the historic Valley Forge campaign as well as the Battles of Brandywine, Princetown, Trenton and Germantown and was one of the men selected to cross the Delaware River when Washington attacked Trenton. After the war he used his skills as a lawyer and surveyor to establish the town of Henderson and Henderson County, KY and eventually settled there. He served in both the Kentucky and Federal legislatures. In the War of 1812 he was commissioned as a Major General by President Madison and thereafter was referred to as "General". He was in charge of 2,000 men who engaged the Kickapoo Indians on the Illinois river. The Indians finally surrendered and General HOPKINS returned to Henderson. He and his wife Elizabeth (Betty) Branch BUGG had eight children. He is buried in the family cemetery at his "Spring Garden" plantation, east of Henderson. Hopkins County and Hopkinsville, KY are named in his honor. General Samuel HOPKINS, through his mother Isabella TAYLOR, was a descendant of many prominent and distinguished leaders of the early United States, namely Patrick Henry, President Zachary Taylor and James Madison.


 1. HOPKINS, Walter Lee, Hopkins of Virginia and Related Families, 1931, C. J. Carrier Company, Harrisonburg, VA, 1980.
 2. Hopkins Shield courtesy Michael D. Mathis.
 3. Henderson County, KY GenWeb.

Arrow Up Prepared by Paul E. Pennebaker