First, I want to express appreciation for the thoughtful comments offered above.
Second, the issue of the estates is an interesting one for a lawyer like me who, while in law school, fancied a career in the law of real property and estates.
Michael Hopkinson had a will, which sadly is no longer extant. "The General Court moderated fines of Nicholas Jackson and John Trumble for not proving the wills of their wives’ former husbands, Hugh Chaplin and Mighill Hobkinson." RFQC Essex 2:52, September Court, 1657. (Perhaps there is an earlier reference to a fine being imposed on the widow Ann in this respect, instead of on John Trumble, but if so, I seem unable to find it. And I can't even find a source for the initial fine by the Quarterly Court to either of them.)
This entry was made less than two months after John Trumble's death in July 1657. He had been married to the widow Ann Hopkinson for almost seven years. They had married in August 1650, some five months after Michael Hopkinson's death. He was taking on, at that time, the burden of a wife with four young boys, while he would have been expecting her to care for his five young children of whom the eldest was just turning eleven years old. The two Hopkinson daughters still at home would have been more of an asset (in helping to maintain the family and rear the young children) than a burden.
Under the circumstances, it seems very forgivable that the probate of the first husband's estate was neglected, especially in light of the extensive services that John Trumble provided to the town. (We have him to thank for the vital records of Rowley through those years.)
Let's contemplate the likely terms of Michael Hopkinson's will. It's unfortunate that the actual will has not come down to us, such that we have to extrapolate from the minimal facts supplied in RFQC Essex, vol. 2, p. 54, but that's our lot.
As he lay dying, his daughter Susan (Susanna) was already married to John Todd, a capable member of the Rowley community, and they had welcomed their first child seven months earlier. Daughter Ann was also older that the boys, and perhaps able to shift for herself, as she had turned 22 that spring if she was the one chr. at Kildwick in 1627/8 (or 13, if the Ann chr. at Leeds (see below). She would marry my 8th great grandfather Thomas Wood in June, 1654.
Daughter Mary was a bit younger than Susan, but at age 17 she would have been already of age, and marriageable (if not already married!). The date of her marriage to John Grant is not recorded, but others have pegged it at around 1652.
In contrast, the boys were much younger. Jonathan, the oldest surviving son, was only seven years old, and his youngest brother not yet two.
Under these circumstances, in Michael Hopkinson's shoes, I would make modest, fixed bequests to the three daughters, to be paid to Susan within (say) sixty days of my decease, and to the other two at the time of their marriages. For that matter, Michael might have already paid Susan & John Todd her "marriage portion" on their wedding day, such that her claim to a share in the estate was already satisfied before Michael died.
(As Brad noted, the only sizable liability of the Hopkinson/Trumble estate per the 1657 inventory was a debt to John Todd of three pounds and change, so clearly John Todd was solvent, and able to advance funds or property to his father in law, and Susan would not have been needy.)
Continuing to imagine me as Michael, I would leave the remainder of my estate to my wife for the upbringing of the four boys. Whatever might be left when they came of age could be distributed to them then, or on their wedding days, subject to Ann retaining a life estate in the real property. Perhaps Michael directed that Jonathan, as the oldest son, receive a double portion per the then-current custom.
If my guess is more or less correct, by the time the disposition of the Michael Hopkinson estate came before the Court, in 1657, Michael's will had already been fulfilled as it related to the three Hopkinson daughters, all adults.
Aside from the presumed bequests to the daughters, what had been Michael's property had been effectively merged with the property of John Trumble by 1657. Let's not forget that (as Prof. Whitman liked to say), "at common law the husband and wife were one, and the husband was the one."
The Court was therefore presented with the need to divide the properties of the merged estates among the widow and the eleven children still in the home.
There may have been testimony about which pieces of real estate had been owned by Michael Hopkinson as opposed to John Trumble, but in the end the Court split the estate down the middle. The Court awarded the Hopkinson sons a total of 79 pounds. The Trumble children by Elinor Chandler were to receive a total of just 39 pounds, while Abigail and Mary (the two youngest children) - John and Ann's children together - were to receive 20 pounds each, such that the total flowing to the Trumble heirs was also 79 pounds.
Since all eleven children were minors as of 1657, the sums awarded by the Court (or the tangible assets that they represented, pending liquidation) would have been held by Ann as widow and administratrix pending the children coming of age.
In sum, I am in total agreement with Joe's suggestion that "the daughters were not part of the distribution of their father's estate [in 1657] because they .... had been provided for by their father's will."
Turning to the issue of the appearances of Michael Hopkinson in the parish register of Elland, Yorkshire, mentioned by L. Felix, that could probably use some further study. However, my sense is that Michael of Elland was older than the man who ended up in Rowley. Notably, he started having children no later than 1611, and was done having children (so far as I can tell from a cursory review) by about 1625, whereas we are looking for a Michael Hopkinson who would have been virile for another couple of decades.
So I sort of got the sense that Michael of Elland was a different generation from our Rowley man, and that his wife (or widow) Susanna, buried 14 July 1635, was well past child-bearing years.
The only problem with that is that Susanna's burial record calls her the "wife" of Michael Hopkinson, rather than the "widow." And then there's also the record of the burial of the (unnamed) widow of Michael Hopkinson on 18 Feb 1643/4. She might have been the "Editha Helliwell" who had married a Michael Hopkinson in Elland 4 Nov 1606. But none of this fits our emigrant to Mass. Bay and Rowley of 1638/9, who was having children in Kildwick and Halifax from about 1625 to 1634.
That brings up the issue of the span of Ann (Brigge) Hopkinson Trumbull Swan's child-bearing years. I share some of Brad's concern on the topic, but I am still comfortable with the theory that Ann (Brigge) was the mother of the whole lot. If I'm right about her origin in Kildwick, she must be the Ann daughter of Henry, chr. in late 1607. (It seems that Henry had a previous daughter Ann, chr. in 1604, but she and her mother died such that Henry remarried and had this second Ann by his new wife.)
That would make Ann (Brigge) Hopkinson 16 years old on her wedding day, which was not unusual in those times for a bride. If a woman has her first child at 17, she can go on having children for 30 years. I realize that births to 47 year old women are not very common, but I believe that they were more common in times before plastics, pesticides and pills etc. messed with human reproduction the way we see it happening now.
My own great grandmother was 47 when she had her last child, in 1887, and my mother was 43 when my sister was born. I noticed some other examples of Rowley women having children when past age 45, but failed to make a list of the specifics.
Finally, I am also sensitive to the seven year gap between the set of the known English births and the first of those in America. Here, I am open to the possibility that the family spent those years in either (a) Rowley, in which case we would have no record of the births or burials that would have occurred in that time because the parish register is lost, or (b) in the Leeds area, some 20 miles ESE of Kildwick (i.e., in the direction of Rowley).
No Michael Hopkinson is found in that neighborhood before 1635, but on 13 October of that year, a Michael Hopkinson had a son Michael Jr. christened at Swillington (six miles ESE of center Leeds). Sadly, the boy didn't live long (buried 16 December).
Then this family evidently moved into Leeds proper, as there we find christenings for:
(1) Ann Hopkinson, daughter of Michael, on 5 February 1636/7. This is exactly the right timing for a mother who had lost a child in late 1635, and thus would not have had the contraceptive effect of nursing operating to defer pregnancy for the standard 12 to 15 months, to give birth. (As the father of seven children, all of whom were breast fed, I know about these things.)
2) Margaret Hopkinson, chr. 5 August 1638. This would have been a little more than a month before the Rev. Rogers and his followers embarked on their journey to Massachusetts Bay. There is no burial record for Margaret in Leeds, so I assume that she must have died en route to America, or shortly after the group's arrival, if indeed this is our Hopkinson family.
Even without knowing what happened to Margaret, I am still extremely intrigued by the facts revealed in the Swillington & Leeds records. Tellingly (so far as the parish register discloses), no Michael Hopkinson was there prior to 1634 (i.e., whilst my PGM emigration candidate Michael Hopkinson was having children in Kildwick and Halifax), OR after the sailing of the "John of London" to Boston.
Inclusion of the Swillington & Leeds records solves a couple of problems with my theory of Michael Hopkinson's English past. First, it resolves the concerns that Brad and I shared about the seven year gap in children, or at least most of it.
Second, it hints that Michael & Ann's daughter Ann, chr. at Kildwick in 1627/8, died between then and early 1637. If so, that would lay to rest my worry that I didn't really have the right Ann to marry Thomas Wood in Rowley because of the four year age difference (Thomas having been born in 1632). Of course, it has sometimes happened that a man would marry an older woman, but it's unknown in my entire direct Wood line extending all the way from Thomas Wood' grandfather Lewis Wood to me (twelve generations).
If Ann Hopkinson of Leeds is Michael's daughter of that name who survived to come to America, then she would have been a proper 17 years old on her wedding date, and a good four years (plus a bit) younger than her husband. Really a much better fit overall.
I hope that everyone feels better about this whole proposition now. I know that I do.