Stephen Hopkins was a native of Providence. Born on March 7, 1707, his uncle was Benedict Arnold, the first governor of Rhode Island. Educated in public schools, he excelled in math and surveying.
He was a farmer until the town elected him as town clerk. Later he served as a representative in the General Assembly, a Justice of the Peace, and judge of Court of Common Pleas. In 1733, he became chief justice of the superior court.
In 1742, he moved to Providence, where he built a house. He worked in the mercantile business, building and fitting out shipping vessels.
Rhode Island appointed Stephen Hopkins to secure the support of five Native American nations before the French-Indian War.
The success of his country was dear to him. He supported measures opposing British injustices in the colonies. He wrote a pamphlet entitled, “The rights of colonies examined.” In the pamphlet, he exposed the stamp act’s injustice and other injustices committed by the British government.
Stephen Hopkins continued to serve in the General Assembly of Rhode Island, until 1779 at age 72. He died on July 13, 1785 at the age of 78. Many judges, professors, students, the President, and town citizens followed the funeral procession to his final resting place.
FInally, Stephen Hopkins distinguished himself as a statesman, patriot, and politician. He defended his country and opposed civil and religious intolerance. He served Rhode Island as a skillful legislator, judge, and governor.