Monday, January 18, 2010

Madness Monday - Rachel Hopkins' Maiden Name

Here we go again with something that is widely accepted without any apparent proof. Many Hopkins researchers list Stephen Hopkins Jr.'s wife as Rachel McFarland. Her name was definitely Rachel - that's how she was listed in census records and by my grandmother (who married Rachel's great grandson).

Rachel married Stephen Hopkins abt. 1822 possibly in Claiborne County, Tennessee since that's where they were living in 1830 & 1840 according to census records. They were in Hancock County in 1850 & 1860 but since Hancock was created in 1844 from parts of Claiborne, Grainger and Hawkins Counties it appears they didn't actually move - their property was just in the part of Claiborne County that became Hancock. Census records from 1850-1870 indicate Rachel was born in Tennessee between 1806-1808.

Rachel and Stephen had at least 11 children and also raised several grandchildren, among them my great grandfather, James Arton Hopkins. The family moved to Harlan County, Kentucky between 1862-1865. Rachel apparently died there between 1870-1880 as she wasn't listed in the 1880 census and Stephen re-married in Nov. 1880. Family legend says she died of a hemorrhage while trying to pack her nose with salt to stop the bleeding.

The only documented clue to Rachel's maiden name that I've found is in the death certificate of her daughter, Eliza. Eliza's husband, Ephram Simpson, provided Rachel's maiden name as McFardan but it's certainly possible that he either mispronounced or misspelled McFarland.

There were no McFardans or McFarlands in Claiborne or nearby Tennessee counties in 1820 but there was a John McFarland in bordering Lee County, Virginia. Stephen's brother, George, may have married a Polly McFarland who some say was the daughter of John McFarland and Mary Reed and was also Rachel's sister. I don't know yet if he is the same John McFarland but the one from Lee County had four daughters potentially old enough to have married in 1822 (two between 10-16 and two between 16-26). None of this proves anything but it is a decent lead so the next step is to check out Lee County John McFarland.


  1. Hope you can nail down Rachel's maiden name -- looks as though you've put plenty of work into it.


  2. Interesting article! Do you have a GEDmatch #? DNA testing is showing matches to my mom with trees containing Stephen Hopkins and Rachel McFarland. My g-grandmother was Martha Jane Anderson 1832-1837 KY. We have been unable to prove her parents; however, DNA testing along with paper research is pointing to Ezekiel Anderson and Lucinda McFarland. We have several Anderson researchers with various ancestors working together to solve this. I would love to see if we match. My email: Thank you! - Judy