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Financial Struggles and Family Disruptions

Orpha Boynton (1772-1851) and John Hopkins (1772-abt 1850)

Generation Five Family 1103

ORPHA BOYNTON (Rebecca Abbott Boynton4, Jeremiah3, Nathaniel2, George1), b. in New Hampshire, 10 May 1772 daughter of Richard and Rebecca (Abbott) Boynton; d. at Milford, 1851; (1) m. about 1794, JOHN HOPKINS born at Milford about 1772 son of Ebenezer and Martha (Burns) Hopkins; John d. at Milford about 1850.

Orpha Boynton was the seventh oldest of ten children of Richard and Rebecca (Abbott) Boynton. Around the time of her birth, the family relocated from Massachusetts and settled in Milford, New Hampshire. It was there that she met and married John Hopkins. The couple had nine children, five sons and four daughters, all born in Milford. This is a family that struggled financially and ended in poverty. There were also disruptions in the families of their children including one son leaving his wife and going to seek his fortunes in the California gold rush.

By the time of their deaths around 1850, Orpha and John were living apart. At the 1850 census, Orpha was a pauper living at the poor house in Milford. (2) John at age 76 was still working as a laborer and living next to his granddaughter Harriet and her family. (3)

The four daughters located in Waltham, Massachusetts where daughter Jerusha ran a boarding house. Three of the daughters (Jerusha, Olive, and Eliza) did not marry and lived with each other. (4) Daughter Fanny married and had four children with her husband Reuben Wright, but Reuben left the family taking the oldest son and going to Michigan where they were farmers. Fanny then lived with her younger children in Waltham. The oldest son, Almon, returned to Waltham by 1855 and stayed with his mother for a time, then returned to Michigan with his father before finally resettling in Massachusetts. Fanny’s husband died in Michigan.

Son Frye died as a young man without marrying. Oldest son Jotham settled with his wife and children in Springfield, Vermont. Son Luther and his wife and children started in Massachusetts and spent time in New York before settling in Michigan. Son Holland married and remained in Milford where he had seven children. The History of Milford states that Holland moved to Ohio in 1848 and died there, (5) but he was listed in Milford in the 1850 census. Four of his children died in Milford between 1852 and 1858, so if Holland went to Ohio he did so without his family. Holland’s wife did remain in Milford and she died in Wilton, New Hampshire in 1878.

Son John B. Hopkins married Cassendana (Cassandra) Hutchinson in 1837. The couple did not have children and by 1850 John left his wife and went to California where he died in 1857. It is believed that John joined the gold rush perhaps working in the area near Tuolumne in the Sierra Nevada. (6) His wife continued living in Milford before relocating to Massachusetts in her later years.

1. JOTHAM HOPKINS, b. 19 Jan 1795; d. at Springfield, VT, 21 Apr 1874; m. 1st, 3 Mar 1822, RUTHENA BURR, b. at Rockingham, VT, 4 Jan 1794 daughter of Samuel and Susannah (-) Burr; Ruthena d. about 1833. Jotham second married 25 Nov 1834 ESTHER PERRY, b. at Springfield, about 1803 daughter of Jonathan and Anna (Lawrence) Perry; Esther d. 10 Jun 1876.

2. JERUSHA B. HOPKINS, b. about 1797; d. at Waltham, MA, 21 May 1879. Jerusha ran a boarding house in Waltham.

3. FANNY HOPKINS, b. about 1799; d. at Waltham, MA, 27 Dec 1874; m. at Waltham, 17 May 1829, REUBEN WRIGHT, b. in NH 1802 likely the son of Reuben and Olive (Atwood) Wright; Reuben d. in Michigan after 1860. (7) Fanny and Reuben had four children. Reuben and the oldest son went to Michigan before 1850 and Fanny and the younger children stayed in Massachusetts.

4. HOLLAND HOPKINS, b. 4 Apr 1802; d. unknown but perhaps in Ohio after 1850; m. at Milford, 3 Feb 1823, ELIZA HUTCHINSON, b. at Milford, 4 Oct 1803 daughter of Bartholomew and Phebe (Hagget) Hutchinson; Eliza d. at Wilton, NH, 27 Jan 1878. Holland and Eliza had seven children. The Milford history book reports Holland went to Ohio, but his family apparently remained in Milford.

5. JOHN B. HOPKINS, b. Sep 1803; d. likely in California, 11 Apr 1857; m. 25 Dec 1837, his third cousin, CASSENDANA HUTCHINSON (Sarah Mooar Hutchinson5, Joshua Mooar4, Elizabeth Abbott Mooar3, Nathaniel2, George1), b. at Milford, May 1812 daughter of Luther and Sarah (Mooar) Hutchinson; Cassendana d. at Worcester, MA, 23 Feb 1871 (although a resident of Lynn at the time of death). (8) John and Cassendana did not have children. John left the area by 1850 and is perhaps the John Hopkins listed on the 1850 Census for Chinese Camp, Tuolumne, CA.

6. FRYE HOPKINS, b. about 1807; d. 17 Aug 1838. Some sources report he died in Rhode Island, but he is buried in Milford. Frye did not marry.

7. OLIVE HOPKINS, b. about 1809; d. at Waltham, MA, 10 Aug 1848. Olive did not marry.

8. ELIZA HOPKINS, b. about 1813; d. at Waltham, MA, 1 May 1881. Eliza did not marry.

9. LUTHER B. HOPKINS, b. about 1814; d. at Comstock, MI after 1860; m. at Cambridge, MA, 25 Jul 1837, LUCY ANN C. SEAVER, born in Maine about 1818 likely the daughter of Richard Crafts Seaver; Lucy d. at Otsego, MI after 1870. Luther and Lucy were in Massachusetts and New York before finally settling in Michigan.

Photo: California Gold Rush, in the public domain, created 9 July 1850


1) U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current, memorial ID 81442211.

2) 1850 United States Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: Milford, Hillsborough, New Hampshire; Roll: M432_434; Page: 176B; Image: 346.

3) 1850 United States Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: Milford, Hillsborough, New Hampshire; Roll: M432_434; Page: 188A; Image: 369.

4) 1860 United States Federal Census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: M653_511; Page: 642; Family History Library Film: 803511.

5) Ramsdell and Colburn, The History of Milford, Volume 1, p 933 ff

6) 1850 United States Federal Census, Year: 1850; Census Place: Chinese Camp, Tuolumne, California; Roll: M432_36; Page: 99A; Image: 207.

7) 1860 United States Federal Census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Lexington, Sanilac, Michigan; Roll: M653_558; Page: 917; Family History Library Film: 803558.

8) Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915, New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911.

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