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Charles A. Hopkins

Question: What towns in Utah did Charles A. Hopkins help settle after having served in the Mormon Battalion in 1846?

Answer: Charles A. Hopkins was born 20 February 1810 in Burlington, New Jersey to Daniel and Ann Simpson Hopkins, both from New Jersey. Charles was the seventh of ten children.

Charles married Ann Steele in 1833, and they had one child, Albert Hopkins. Ann died in January 1840. Charles married a widow, Lydia Okie (Van Dyke), in 1841, who had two children from her first husband: Alfred (1829) who died as a baby, and William (1830).

Charles moved his family to Nauvoo in 1842, and Charles and Lydia became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1844. They lived in Nauvoo for a few years, and Charles and Lydia were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple in January 1846. In February 1846, they were forced to leave with the rest of the Saints and traveled on to Council Bluffs, Iowa.

At Council Bluffs, Charles enlisted in the Mormon Battalion. He was a private in Company F. He made it to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then became ill and was assigned to the Sick Detachment, which was sent back to Pueblo, Colorado. They spent the winter of 1846/47 in Pueblo and then traveled on in the spring towards the Salt Lake Valley. They arrived in July just a few days after Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company which arrived on July 24, 1847. They were then dismissed from duty, and did not have to go on to California.

Charles helped at various duties in the Salt Lake Valley until the fall when he returned to Council Bluffs. He brought his son, Albert, and his wife Lydia in the Ezra Taft Benson Company to the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1849. Charles was the captain of fifty in that company. Lydia’s son, William Van Dyke, at age 18, came to Utah in the Samuel Gully/Orson Spencer Company that same summer.

In 1850 Charles was asked to help settle Lehi in Utah County, Utah. The families spent the winter in wagon boxes put on the ground for shelter. Early cabins consisted of one or two rooms. Lydia’s son, William, came to Lehi to live with them. Charles was made a counselor to Bishop David Evans. He was also elected Alderman in the first city council election of Lehi.

In 1852, Charles married a widow, Mary Ann Webber Edds (Skinner). Her husband and two of her three children had died at New Orleans in 1850. Charles and Mary had five children together. Their first son, Charles, was born in 1853 in Lehi.

Charles had been a part of the Southern Utah Exploring Expedition in 1850, led by Parley P. Pratt. In 1854 Charles moved his family to Cedar City, Utah. Here Charles and Mary had three more children: Brognard, Ida, and Jacob. Charles worked hard to help build up this community.

Then in 1859, Charles was sent to help settle Petersburg (Hatton) in Millard County, Utah. Here Charles and Mary had their last child, Mary, in June 1863. Charles would work hard in the day time cutting posts and hauling them back to his home. Then at night he would work to clear the sage brush off his land and put the posts in the ground. He would build a fire to see by at night. While working like this, he became ill and died on October 12, 1863. He was only 53 years of age. He was buried in the Fillmore City Cemetery. Mary lived until April 1903, raising her five children, who all lived to adulthood and married.

Source: “Charles Hopkins’ by Etelka Watts Johnson and Etta Slaughter, granddaughters,; Other sources listed under Charles Hopkins;

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