New Discovery about Mayflower Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins

Did you know Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins vacationed in Bermuda before he came over on the Mayflower? I didn’t know that!

Original Mayflower Voyager (Stephen Hopkins) Previously Shipwrecked at St. George's, Bermuda, Boston Herald newspaper article 16 June 1957
Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts), 16 June 1957, page 61

Well, it wasn’t exactly a vacation—but Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins lived on the island of Bermuda for over a year, from 1609 to 1610. Below are some interesting facts about Stephen Hopkins and his connection to the Mayflower.

Eleven years before he left England headed for America in 1620 on board the Mayflower, Hopkins left 2 June 1609 on the ship Sea Venture headed for Jamestown with supplies and a new governor for the colony. The Sea Venture hit a storm on 24 July 1609 and was shipwrecked off of Bermuda. Hopkins and others on board survived and remained for over a year on Bermuda while building a new seaworthy boat that they could use to complete their trip to Jamestown. Soon after he arrived in Jamestown, the colony was evacuated back to England.

Key Skills Learned, Critical for the Mayflower Voyage

Stephen Hopkins, a Mayflower passenger, picked up critical skills and experience on that ill-fated 1609 voyage. He was one of the few Mayflower Pilgrims with experience at sea. He had survived a shipwreck, and knew what it took to be resourceful in extreme conditions in order to build a seaworthy ship to continue the voyage to America.

Perhaps the most critical skill he learned in 1609-1610 was to speak multiple Native American languages. He gained invaluable experience in getting to know and work with Native Americans. This experience would be pivotal 10 years later when the Pilgrims worked with Squanto and the local Native Americans in Plymouth Colony.

Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins liked his experience in Bermuda and Jamestown so much that he really wanted to go back to America.

So in 1620 he left along with 130 +/- other passengers and crew on the Mayflower to make the 66-day trip to America. It is estimated that today there are as many as 30 million Americans who are Mayflower descendants, although most are unaware of their ancestral tie to the founding of the country. Could you be one of Stephen Hopkins Mayflower descendents? Hopkins genealogy other passengers from the voyage have been researched through historical records and archives.

No Historical Coincidence?

They say there are no accidents or coincidences in life—that somehow seeming coincidences actually were critical to the way history turned out. One of those fortuitous coincidences was that Squanto and other members of his tribe were brought to England where they were trained in English to become interpreters. His language skills and life experience in England were critical to the success of the Pilgrim Colony, and helped frame the 50 years that followed of relative peace between the colonists and the Native Americans. Not many people have such a critical impact on the life and history of other people during their own lifetimes, let alone an impact that we revere to this day.

Newspapers Contain Our Long-Lost Family Stories

You can learn so much about your family in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Historical newspapers contain the stories and details of the lives of every one of our ancestors, many of them lost for generations.

Dig in and find your family’s stories—don’t let them remain lost to the family.

Related Mayflower Articles & Resources:

7 thoughts on “New Discovery about Mayflower Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins

  1. Hi’ I’m Larry Joe Dean. My tie to Jamestown and the Ship Mayflower is through my X GG Grandfather Captain John Thomas Chappell of the Ship Speedwell a companion ship with the Mayflower and transported of Quakers to our country. My mother Ella Mae Chappell father and Grandfather migrated from South Carolina following the Civil war. Our family tree in America starts with Thomas Chappell in 1635.

  2. My research has connected me with a number of families that eventually have shown that through his daughter, Constance Hopkins ‘Snow’, Stephen Hopkins is my 10th Great Grandfather. I purchased a book called “Here Shall I Die Ashore” by researcher Caleb Johnson. The book explored the years before Stephen Hopkins as well as his relationships with others that also found themselves in Plymouth. As a Canadian I didn’t take it serious at first, but as I read and learned I became far more involved and influenced in the history of the New World. One item that I noticed was the Mayflower Compact. It demonstrated that only all things equal and together would be how they would survive in their new country. It was a document ahead of its time. The fact that it was signed on the day and the month of my birth was a surprise.

  3. Through dna testing i have found out Stephen Hopkins is my 11th great grandfather. This is all extremely interesting to me.

  4. Through research, I just found out that Stephen Hopkins is my relative! I haven’t counted up how many greats yet. My mom’s maiden name is Hopkins and we are diving deep today to learn as much as we can! So very exciting to know your family member was a part of the founding of America.

  5. After reading everything out there about Governor Stephen Hopkins, I found that he is my 7th time’s great grandfather

  6. I am related to Bethia Hopkins who was Stephen’s daughter and wife of William Kelsey. (The some records say that William Kelsey may have been married to Hester Hopkins, the records are a little confusing ). Stephen came to America on Sea Venture in 1609- 1610 going to Virginia , after a shipwreck in the Bahama’s ,the passengers rebuilt the ship. Stephen went back to England to see a friend get married supposedly a Englishmen marrying Pocahontas and for Pocahontas to learn
    English so she could be an interpreter. Stephen came back on the Mayflower in 1620 .There is a school in New Haven Connecticut on Forest Road founded by a Hopkins . I lived about 1/2 mile from the one time .I think it was founded in the 1600’s and I think his name was Samuel Hopkins

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