Monday, March 11, 2013

Mindwell Dewey Hopkins and Her Parents

Tanner Family Line

Sometimes on a Sunday evening, I'll go through hints on Ancestry, adding suggested pictures and stories to the family trees. Every now and then something interesting will turn up. Someone added an obituary for Mindwell Dewey Hopkins, the widow of Waite Hopkins. (See below.) Waite was killed in the Revolutionary War, as previously noted on this blog.

Here is a picture of Mindwell's gravestone. She is buried in the Old Bennington Cemetery in Vermont.

From FindAGrave, courtesy of Joe Newman.

The inscription reads:
To the MEMORY of Mrs. Mindwell Hopkins, Relict of Major WAIT HOPKINS. Who died June 21st 1785. In the 48th Year of her Age. Major Hopkins was killed during the War on an Island in Lake George. Through Mortal Life in Virtue's Paths They trod. Nor could Temptation wean her Soul from God: When the last Trumpet rends the ethereal Skies There shall her sleeping Dust with Joy arise. 


Source listed as "Gazette," June 27, 1785. Presumably it's the Vermont Gazette, published in Bennington from 1784-1796.


Mindwell's parents were from Westfield, Massachusetts, and her father, Jedidiah Dewey, was a pastor. After the family moved to Bennington, Vermont, Jedidiah volunteered his services as first teacher of the school. Mindwell Hayden Dewey died after giving birth to eight children. Jedidiah married a second time to Elizabeth Buck, and they had six children. Some stories are told about the Reverend Dewey:
Mr. Dewey was an earnest worker who wished to do good that his life might not be empty. He learned the carpenter's trade. When the first meetinghouse was built, there was insufficient help and great difficulty in raising one of the sides. Stepping forward, he said to the builder, "Do you take the pole and help the men, and I will give the word of command." The builder complied, and the building was completed without further delay. 
On the other hand, Parson Dewey had a deep sense of humor. A half-witted servant of his household nightly roamed from room to room with a lighted candle in his hand. Mr. Dewey rebuked him for wasting the candles and for endangering the house with fire by carrying one around. The next night the parson found him with two candles. He forgot his anger and smilingly left the room without a word. (Carrier, 51-52.)

Here is the Massachusetts Vital and Town Record from Westfield, Massachusetts, showing the Dewey family before they moved to Vermont.


At the top of the page is the marriage of Jedidiah Dewey and Mindwell Hayden (July 3, 1736) followed by their children:

  • Mindwell Dewey (November 29, 1737)
  • Luce Dewey (November 16, 1739-June 21, 1747)
  • Jedediah Dewey (June 17, 1742)
  • Elijah Dewey (November 28, 1744)
  • Eldad Dewey (August 12, 1747)
  • Luce Dewey (November 9, 1751)
  • Margaret Dewey (November 20, 1756)

Yes, there are two children named Luce. It was a common practice at the time to name a subsequent child after a previously deceased sibling.

Here is Jedidiah Dewey's gravestone.

Jedidiah Dewey's gravestone, Old Bennington Cemetery, picture courtesy of  Joe Newman. If you look at Find A Grave, his gravestone was replaced by a new one in October 2010.

The inscription reads:
In Memory of the Revd. Mr. JEDIDIAH DEWEY, First Pastor of the Church in Bennington, Who after A Laborious Life in the Gospel Ministry, Resign'd his Office in God's Temple For the Sublime Employment of Immortality.  
Decmbr 21st 1778. 
In the 65th Year of his Age.  
Of Comfort no Man Speak! 
Let's talk of Graves, and worms, And Epitaphs, Make dust our Paper, and with Rainy Eyes, Write Sorrow in the bosom of the Earth.
The last part starting with "Of Comfort..." is from Shakespeare's play, The Life and Death of Richard the Second, Act 3, Scene 2.

There is extensive historical information available on the Dewey and Hopkins families, and this post just gives a bit of a flavor of the family history.


Selected Sources
Carrier, Verna E. "The First Teacher." In Bennington, Vermont, 1777-1927: a record of the celebration held at Bennington, August 13-16, 1927, in honor of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Bennington and the one hundred and fiftieth year of the separate existence of the state of Vermont. Bennington, Vermont: Vermont Sesquicentennial Commission, 1927, 49-52.

Dewey, Adelbert M., Louis Marinus Dewey Dewey, William T. Dewey, and Orville C. Dewey. Life of George Dewey, Rear Admiral, U.S.N. and Dewey Family History Being an Authentic Historical and Genealogical Record of More Than Fifteen Thousand Persons in the United States by the Name of Dewey, and Their Descendants: Life of Rear Admiral George Dewey. Westfield, Mass: Dewey Pub. Co, 1898.

Hopkins, Timothy. John Hopkins of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1634, and some of his descendants. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1932.

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