Hopkins & Bros., 1868–1964

A Guide to the Hopkins & Bros., Onancock, Va., Records, 1868-1964
Call Number Mss3H7777bFA1


Main Entry:Hopkins & Bros., Onancock, Va.
Title: Records, 1868-1964
Size:12,000 (ca.) items
Scope Note: Include correspondence, accounts, shipping manifests, statements, and other records concerning the general merchandise operations of Hopkins & Bro., Onancock, Va.; records of Stephen Hopkins & Son, Onancock, Va., and T. S. Hopkins & Co., Tasley, Va.; and papers of Addison Finney Hopkins, John Parker Lee Hopkins, Stephen Hopkins, and Thomas S. Hopkins, all of Onancock, Va.
Provenance:Gift of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Richmond, Va., in 1973.

Collection Description

On January 1, 1842, Captain Stephen Hopkins opened a store, wharf and warehouse in Onancock, Va. Operating first under the name Stephen Hopkins & Son and later Hopkins & Bro., the store was a center for commercial activity on the Eastern Shore for 125 years. This collection pertains almost entirely to the firm of Hopkins & Bro., although it also contains a few materials of related companies and the individuals involved with them.

The collection begins with a will of Stephen Hopkins and several accounts of Stephen Hopkins & Son. The papers of John Parker Lee Hopkins consist of several letters written to him as well as deeds and warrants concerning land in Onancock. His brother, William H. A. Hopkins, was also a participant in these land dealings. Thomas S. Hopkins, son of John P. L. Hopkins, established a branch store, T. S. Hopkins & Co., in Tasley, Va. His personal papers consist of deeds, agreements, judgements, bank delinquent accounts and include judgments, notes and bonds. Correspondence and accounts of Addison Finney Hopkins, son of Thomas S. Hopkins, mainly pertain to the construction of a house in Onancock. Real estate and poll tax receipts of several other family members conclude this section.

The records of Hopkins & Bro. begin with three account books and a check stub register. The company’s general correspondence was kept alphabetically by year and that arrangement has been retained. It is fairly complete for the period 1922 to 1931, but is only a partial record for the years 1920-1921 and 1941-1945. Most of this correspondence is with wholesalers and other businesses, as well as with lawyers concerning overdue accounts. Prominent correspondents include first district Congressman Schuyler Otis Bland (1922, 1923, 1941, 1942), Senator Harry Flood Byrd (1942), Colgate Whitehead Darden (1941), and Claude Augustus Swanson (1922). Correspondence with Bland concerns improvements to the Onancock River and difficulties in obtaining coal and other commodities.

Accounts consist almost entirely of paid bills, although lists of notes receivable for 1929 and 1936 can be found in their respective folders. Accounts receivable for 1956-1960 and 1962-1963 are located in box 22, as are bank statements from 1937-1939.

Box 12 begins with several folders of judgments, bonds, notes and other materials pertaining to outstanding debts. Correspondence with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers concerns possible improvements to the Onancock River. This is followed by a folder containing samples of individual customer orders from 1932 to 1964. Materials pertaining to Southern States Cooperative include stock certificates issued in 1942 to customers of Hopkins and Bro. in lieu of cash refunds. A folder of insurance policies precedes correspondence, mostly with the War Production Board, concerning supplies of manila cordage used in the manufacture of rope. Materials concerning soy beans and coal precede state and federal unemployment tax returns. U. S. Navy materials concern the lease of the wharf, an office and warehousing space in Onancock. Correspondence and receipts of Underwriters Trust Company, a New York firm that handled Hopkins & Bro.’s investments, follow. Reports, invoices and inventories concerning the company’s lime operations and miscellany conclude this section.

In 1878, Hopkins & Bro. leased the wharf at Onancock to the Eastern Shore Steamboat Company and served as agent of that firm and its successor, the Baltimore and Virginia Steamboat Company, until service was discontinued in 1935. Boxes 13-25 contain shipping manifests and livestock bills of lading, arranged chronologically, for both the steamship line and the Baltimore, Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway Company. Boxes 26-32 document the company’s fertilizer operations and include samples of order and delivery books, delivery tickets, invoices, correspondence and inventories. This materials is also arranged chronologically. Oversized fertilizer inventory worksheets are found in box 33.


I. Stephen Hopkins, Onancock, Va.

Box 1:     will, 1868; accounts of Stephen Hopkins & Son, 1869-1871

II. John Parker Lee Hopkins (1830?-1913), Onancock, Va.

Box 1:     correspondence, 1891; deeds and warrants, 1868-1872

III. Thomas S. Hopkins (1866?-1942), Onancock, Va.

Box 1:     deeds, agreements and judgments, 191-1938; bank statements and taxes, 1938-1942

IV. T. S. Hopkins & Co., Tasley, Va.

Box 1:     accounts, judgments, notes and bonds, 1904-1925

V. Addison Finney Hopkins ( -1970), Onancock, Va.

Box 1:     correspondence, 1945-1951; accounts, 1941-1952; miscellany

VI. Miscellaneous family members

Box 1:     real estate and poll tax receipts, 1905-1935, 1942

VII. Hopkins & Bro., Onancock, Va.

Box 1:check stub register, 1871-1882; account book, 1914-1928 (follow box 1) freight account book, 1917-1937 (follows box 1), account book, 1932-1933; correspondence 1920-1924 (F)
Box 2:correspondence, 1924 (G) - 1929
Box 3:correspondence, 1930-1931; 1941-1945
Boxes 4-11:accounts, 1922-1960
Box 11:bank statements, 1937-1939
Box 12:judgments, notes and bonds, 1879-1960; deeds and agreements, 1932-1955; Corps of Engineers, 1913-1921; individual customer orders, 1932-1964 (samples); Southern States Cooperative, 1939-1942; insurance policies, 1941-1942; War Production Board, 1942-1943; soy beans, 1943-1944; coal orders and invoices, 1946-1947, 1962-1963; unemployment tax returns, 1946-1959; warehouse inventories, 1946-1963; U. S. Navy, 1950-1959; Underwriters Trust Company, 1950-1960; lime, 1950-1963; miscellany
Boxes 13-25:livestock bills of lading, 1916-1921; shipping manifests, 1915-1930
Boxes 26-32:fertilizer operations, 1917, 1918, 1939-1964
Box 33 (oversize):warrant, 1872; fertilizer inventory worksheets, 1952-1958

Last updated: July 13, 2001