The Hopkins Brothers Store - by Gail Walczyk

In 1680 the Assembly passed "An Act of Cohabitation" which provided for 50 acres in each County to be set aside for a town and port and in 1681 Colonel Daniel Jenifer was allowed 6,579 pounds of tobacco to lay out what was known as Onancock Towne or Port Scarburgh. As originally laid out, the town had as its eastern line the present North Street, with a continuation of its course to the north fork of Onancock Creek, and below Market Street a similar course to the south fork. (Whitelaw, Ralph T. Virginia's Eastern Shore. A History of Northampton and Accomack Counties. Gloucester MA: Peter Smith. p 904. )

This plan or layout no longer exists today and in the deeds recorded numbers were not used. The 50 acres allotted for the town were laid out in half-acre lots, some of them irregular in shape, and sometimes more or less than the supposed half acre size. The lots could be purchased at a charge of 100 pounds of tobacco with the stipulation that within four months a twenty foot house would be built. If the conditions of the sale were not completed within the four months the lot could be sold to someone else.

When Whitelaw wrote his book that traced the ownership and the early houses in the two Counties that make up the Eastern Shore of Virginia, he reconstructed a plat map of the town in 1761. (Whitelaw, Ralph T. Virginia's Eastern Shore. A History of Northampton and Accomack Counties. Gloucester MA: Peter Smith. p 906.)

In The Accomack Processions this area was included in District 12. This District was located from Tinleys Mill between the forks of Onancock up to the middle road. Edmund Wise, Garret Topping & Tully Snead Processioners. In 1812 the Procession reads in part: "March 23rd - Lines between Smith R. Carmine & Wm Seymour. Lines between Wm E. Wise & Wm Seymour. Lines between Thos R. Joynes' store lot & Smith R. Carmine. Lines between Thos R. Joynes' store lot & Jas R. Ashmead. Lines between Jas R. Ashmead & Tully Snead's heirs. Lines between Smith R. Carmine & Tully Snead's heirs. Lines between Tully Snead's heirs & Wm Cornwell. Lines between Smith R. Carmine & Edwd H. Ker. Lines between sd Ker & Wm Cronwell. Lines between sd Ker & Geo. Bunting & E. R. C. Ker. Lines between Elizabeth R. C. Ker & Severn Tyler. Lines between Elizabeth R. C. Ker & the Public Market Square. Lines between Jas R. Ashmead & Nancy Topping. Lines between Nancy Topping & Chas Tunnell's heirs. Lines between Lines between sd heirs & Patience Laylor. Lines between sd Laylor & Clemt Bonwell's heirs. Lines between sd heirs & Edwd H. Ker. Lines between Edwd H. Ker & Geo. F. Outten. Lines between sd Outten & Levin S. Joynes. Lines between Levin S. Joynes & Thos R. Joynes. Lines between Thor R. Joynes Lines between Wm Chandler & Jno Guy. Lines between Jno Guy & Severn Tyler. Lines between Severn Tyler & Thos R. Joynes, Levin S. Joynes, Jas R. Ashmead, Smith R. Carmine present. Given under our hands this the 23rd day of March 1816. - Thos Sturgis, Wm Seymour." (Walczyk, Gail M. Accomack County Processioners Returns 1797-1816. Coram NY: Peter's Row, 2004).

In 1815, Severn Tyler bought Lot 26 (Whitelaw number) from the executors for David Bowman. And in 1820 Severn Tyler bought Lots 24 and 25 from Thomas R. Joynes and his wife Anne B., merging the three Lots together. Severn Tyler was originally from Smiths Island, the son of David Tyler. He had first married Margaret Hopkins, the daughter of Stephen Hopkins. The marriage record reads: "Severn Tyler to marry Sally Hopkins, Major Linton security, on 21 January 1809." Margaret Hopkins was the daughter of Stephen Hopkins, born on 22 January 1753, died before 28 August 1815 and Leah Crockett.

Stephen Hopkins' family was from Smiths Island and had been in that area in the late 1600s. He married Leah Crockett about 1770. She was the daughter of Joseph Crockett of Tangier Islands and Sally Tyler of Smith Island. Joseph Crockett was also born on Smiths Island in 1723. Stephen Hopkins moved his family to the Onancock area before the 1800 Census where he was listed with 1 male 0-10, 1 male 16-26, 1 male 45+, 1 female 0-10, 3 females 10-16, 1 female 16-26, 1 female $5+ and no Slaves. Stephen Hopkins and Leah Crockett had 6 children survive besides Margaret, the wife of Severn Tyler, one of which was Stephen A. Hopkins.

In the 1820 Census Stephen A. Hopkins is listed with 1 male 45+, 2 females 16-16, 1 female 45+, 1 engaged in commerce. Sometime before the death of Severn Tyler in 1823, Stephen A. Hopkins bought the three lots in Onancock owned by him.

In 1842 he established the firm of Stephen Hopkins & Sons, later Hopkins & Brothers and in 1954 was owned by Addison F. Hopkins the grandson of Stephen A. Hopkins. Located between the two forks of Onancock Creek, it still stands today.

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Article © Copyright 2004-2013 by Peter's Row Publishing. Photos by Wayne Stith. Web site © Copyright 2005-2013 by Gail M. Walczyk

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