William Thaddeus Hopkins and Sarah Orillia Tillotson

Sarah Orillia Tillotson and William Thaddeus Hopkins


Sarah Orillia Tillotson was born July 8, 1860 in Duplain, Clinton County, Michigan. (Sarah's middle name also appears as "Orilla". Sarah's daughter Lorene spelled it Orillia.) Sarah's nickname was "Sade" or "Sadie." Sarah was the daughter of Franklin James Tillotson and Jane Ann Sexton, and the sister of my great-grandfather James Francis Tillotson. Sarah married William Thaddeus Hopkins on November 30, 1881. He was usually called "Thad" by the family.

Thad was the son of Samuel W. Hopkins and Nancy Rolin Brough. Nancy's name sometimes appears as Nancy Broof, probably representing the way it was pronounced. Samuel's middle name appears as both Wilson and William. Samuel and Nancy were from Virginia. Samuel was probably born in Roanoke County, Virginia.

Samuel and Nancy moved to Warren County, Missouri in 1858. Thad was born May 1, 1859 in Warrenton, Warren County, Missouri. Samuel and Nancy moved their family to Kansas in 1877. Both Samuel and Nancy died in Enterprise, Dickinson County, Kansas and are buried there.

Samuel was a grain dealer. He served on the Union side during the Civil War. His brother Charles fought on the side of the Confederacy. Samuel also served as a police judge and marshall in Enterprise.

The Abilene Chronicle and Gazette for Friday, December 9, 1881 reports:

Enterprise. W. T. Hopkins went on a weeks vacation and returned with a wife.

The wife was Sarah. I believe this "vacation" was actually a trip back to Crete, Will County, Illinois to marry Sarah and meet her family.

The Chronicle for Friday, December 16, 1881 notes:

Enterprise. Thaddeus Hopkins, a salesman, has become a brother-in-law of Squire Darling.

"Squire Darling" refers to Abram Reuben Darling who had married Eveline Maria Tillotson, Sarah's sister, in 1869.

Sarah Orillia Tillotson

Sarah Orillia Tillotson.

Sarah Orillia Tillotson and William Thaddeus Hopkins had five children:

Thad and Sarah moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1890. In 1894 they moved to harrington, and then to Hutchinson. They returned to Kansas City, Kansas in 1902.

Thad Hopkins was a well educated and successful businessman, primarily a travelling salesman. He held several positions of trust in Enterprise, Kansas including that of postmaster and police judge. Sarah, like several of her sisters, trained as a teacher. She taught school in Crete, Will County, Illinois. Sarah met Thad Hopkins in Enterprise, Kansas while visiting her sister Eveline Tillotson Darling.

Sarah and William Hopkins

Sarah and William Hopkins with one of their children
or grandchildren.

Sarah Orillia Tillotson Hopkins died October 10, 1918 in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas. She is buried there in Mount Hope Cemetery. William Thaddeus Hopkins died January 13, 1942 in Kansas City. William's obituary read as follows.

W. T. Hopkins, 82, Is Dead.
William Thaddeus Hopkins, 82, died yesterday at Bethany hospital. Mr. Hopkins had been market manager of the City Market association since 1920. He came here forty years ago from Enterprise, Kan., where he was a former postmaster. At one time he was also assistant superintendent of the Boys' reformatory at Hutchinson.

He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Carl Sandstrom, with whom he made his home; a son, Roscoe C. Hopkins; two sisters, Mrs. Henry P. Haze, Omaha, Neb.; and Mrs. T. J. Whitfield, Muskogee, Oklahoma.

The following article written by Jim Porter appeared in a local Kansas newspaper in 1939.

Tho 80 years old W. T. Hopkins is as active as ever in business, drives his Model T Ford car wherever he goes and is probably more mentally alert than you or I. As a matter of fact, we strongly doubt if anyone in this city knows more about what is happening in Washington, D. C. than Hopkins. His hobby is reading every issue of the Congressional Record from cover to cover. And not only does he read the lengthy and sometimes involved speeches of senators and congressmen, he digests them, tho we expect this sometimes gives him indigestion.

William Thaddeus Hopkins

For the last seventeen years Mr. Hopkins has been managing the City Market property at Sixth street and Tauromee avenue, keeping regular office hours in the back of the block-long property from 8 o'clock in the morning until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Every evening after dinner he settles down in his chair and pores over the Congressional Record until 10 or 10:30 o'clock when he retires to rise the next morning at 6. He makes his home with his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Sandstrom. Mrs. Sandstrom will give a birthday dinner for her father Sunday night, tho his eightieth birthday is not until Monday.

Always interested in politics, Mr. Hopkins was active in electing two governors on the old Populist ticket, L. D. Lewelling and John W. Leedy; one congressman on the same ticket, W. D. Vincent, and one congressman from the Greenback party, John Davis. Interested in the good of the country rather than in his own personal welfare, tho, he accepted but one political post, assistant superintendent of the industrial school at Hutchinson. Hopkins became so interested in the Bryan presidential campaign he bought a newspaper, the Herington (Kansas) Tribune, just so he could espouse the cause of the "16 to 1" silver leader. He recalls that many of the railroad men were for Bryan while their bosses were opposed to him. Thus, to escape from being seen by their higher-ups the railroadmen had to come in and talk with Hopkins under the cover of darkness. He sold the paper after the election. Mr. Hopkins has worked in many occupations, liked them all, and can't see why anyone doesn't enjoy life. He certainly does.

During the Prohibition era, William helped padlock the saloons in Kansas City. An unconfirmed family tradition suggests William T. Hopkins was among the pallbearers for the funeral of prohitionist Carry A. Nation.


Photos of Roscoe and Frank Hopkins courtesy Susan Linn and Thomas Tompkins. My thanks to Candy Severson for the items from the Abilene Chronicle and Gazette. Susan and Tim Ficklin provided the information on Viva Angle's second marriage and the marriage notices and obituaries for Frank Hopkins. Gus Sandstrom provided the other biographical information and photos.


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Last modified by pib on July 29, 2006.