Past & Present of Bureau Co. 1906
5 Jun 2005
Source: Past & Present of Bureau County, IL
Originally published 1906
Pioneer Publishing, Chicago, IL
Reproduced on CD purchased from OLD GLORY ACCENTS
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
J. K. Hopkins, one of the foremost residents of Princeton, whose position in public regard is indicated by his election to the office of mayor in april, 1905, this fact standing also in incontrovertible evidence of a progressive, practical, business-like administration, receiving the endorsement of the majority of his fellow townsmen - was born in Tyrone, Pennsylvania, August 9, 1846. His father, James J. Hopkins, was a native of Marietta, Pennsylvania, born February 24, 1815, and was married on the 2d of April, 1840 to Miss Jane Cook, who was born November 11, 1818, near Harper's Ferry, Virginia. Her parents were John and Jane (Armstrong) Cook, natives of Ireland but of Scotch descent. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. James J. Hopkins were seven children: Joseph C.; Lorenzo D.; James K. of this review; Mrs. Irene Morgan, living in Dixon, Illinois; Mrs. Alice A. Davis, of Spokane, Washington; Mrs. Jennie T. Shirk of Kansas City, Missouri; and Willian D. Hopkins. About 1847 the father removed with his family from Pennsylvania to Ohio, whre he lived for six years, and in June, 1853, came to Bureau county, Illinois, settling upon a farm where he resided until a few years prior to his death, when he retired from business life. He then established his home in La Moille, where he spent his remaining days, both he and his wife having now passed away.
James K. Hopkins largely acquired his education in the schools of Bureau county, having accompanied his parent on their removal to this state when a youth of seven years. He was reared to the occupation of farming and assisted in the labors of the fields until after the call was issued for more troops to defend the stars and stripes. Although but seventeen years of age he offered his services to the government and became a member of the Fifty-second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, joing Company B. He served for two years and five months and participated in many engagements. He also went with Shermqn on the famous march to the sea and when the war was over received an honorable discharge and returned to his home. Later he crossed the plains to Nevada, where he became a railroad man, devoting sixteen years of his life to that occupation in the capacity of a conductor. He rendered valuable service and was very fortunate while on the road in escaping all accidents or injuries. In August, 1883, he returned to Bureau coounty and after about a year spent in La Moille located in Princeton, where he has since made h is home. Here he has lived retired from business cares. He has landed interests in Illinois and also extensive realty holdings in Indiana, Iowa and Texas in additional to a beautifu home on South Church street in Princeton, and the income from his property provides him with a very comfortable living. In April, 1895, he was elected mayor of Princeton on the license ticket and has since been continual in the office through successive re-elections, a fact which indicates his personal popularity and the unqualified confidence and trust reposed in him by his fellowmen - a trust that has never been betrayed, for hestands in his administration for reform and improvement, for the material upbuilding of the city and for all those interests which are a matter of civic virtue and of civic pride. Many tangible evidences of his progressiveness can be cited that have worked for the direct benefit of Princeton and he may well be termed "Princeton's most popular mayor." He has also been a member of the state board of agriculture since 1900. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, Permen's Hill Post of La Moille, Knight Templar degree. He is likewise a member of the Order of Railroad Conductors of the United States.
On the 19th of February, 1879, Mr. Hopkins was married in Chicago to Miss Frances Martin, who was born in Bureau county, June 11, 1852, a daughter of William and Jane (moore) Martin, both now deceased. Mrs. Hopkins was called from this life August 19, 1896, and on the 20th of July, 1898, Mr. Hopkins married Miss Mary Virginia Boggs, who was born September 1, 1865, near Wheeling, West Virginia, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Boggs. Mrs. Hopkins came to Princeton in 1868 with her parents and wa educated in the city schools, being a graduate of the Princeton high school. She was secretary of the public library of the city for several years and was a lady of rare intelligence and culture. She died July 16, 1906, leaving a daughter, Virginia J., who was born December 1, 1899. Mrs. Hopkins' father died in 1896 and her mother is still living, her home being in Princeton.
Mr. Hopkins, while a stalwart champion of the democracy, has never been bitterly aggressive. On the contrary he is a broad-minded man, who has kept in touch ith the trend of modern thought and progress and whose position on any question of local, state or national importance is a matter of conviction rather than of bias. He actively interests himself in public affairs and participates earnestly in any effort to propgate a spirit of patriotism and of loyalty to American institutions and wherever there is a public-spirited attemptto drive corruption or unworthiness out of public office he is to be found working with the leaders of the movement. Hi own official service leaves no room for question as to his ability or his devotion to the general good.