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Bethia (Hopkins) Steele (abt. 1631 - bef. 1698)

Bethia Steele formerly Hopkins aka Stocking
Born about in Englandmap [uncertain]
Sister of
Wife of — married 27 May 1652 in Hartford, Hartford Co, Connecticutmap
Wife of — married after Dec 1683 in Hartford, Hartford Co, Connecticutmap
Descendants descendants
Died before in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticutmap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Oct 2010
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Biography

Bethia Hopkins was born about 1631[1], probably in England.

Marriage 1: Bethia Hopkins married Samuel Stocking, son of George Stocking on 27 May 1652 at Hartford, Hartford Co., Connecticut. [1][2]

" Probate 11 November 1679 Bethia Hopkins is mentioned in the probate of the estate of John Hopkins (Immigrant) on 11 November 1679 as follows: A quit claim or Receipt to Stephen Hopkins from Samuel Stocking and Bethiah Stocking: We have received full satisfaction of Our beloved brother Stephen Hopkins for whatsoever is due unto us by the last will of our Hond Father John Hopkins, etc; when a receipt was made: "A quit claim or Receipt to Stephen Hopkins from Samuel Stocking and Bethiah Stocking: We have received full satisfaction of Our beloved brother Stephen Hopkins for whatsoever is due unto us by the last will of our Hond Father John Hopkins, etc. "[3]

Marriage 2. Bethia Hopkins married James Steele by 1685. [1][4]

Disputed Age

There is no record for Bethia's birth, and so her age has to be inferred by other documents.

'Bethia was under the legal age of 18 when her father wrote his will 1 Jan 1648/9.[4][5]

" I, John Hopkins of Hartford do make this my last Will and Testament:
...
Bethiah until 18 years of age and Stephen until 22 years of age Shall remain with and under the Government of my Said wife until they have attayned their Several ages aforesaid, As also that they shall noe way Contract or Engadg themselves in way of marriage without the knowledge and Consent of my wife aforesaid.

This would roughly put her year of birth sometime between 1631 and 1649.

Governor Winthrop attended her child in 1669, and the entry in his Journal reads: 'Bethia Stockin about 28 years, wife of Stockin of Middletown, child of about one month old' (p.926).[6] In March 1697/8, 'Bethia Steele, 57 years of age or thereabouts' made a deposition in the Hartford Court concerning the will of her first husband[5]. Twenty-nine years intervened between these statements but both are in agreement that she was born in 1641. This would imply that she married Samuel Stocking at age eleven.

Robert Charles Anderson argues[5] that the supposed date Bethia Steele made her deposition, age '57', was actually the date of acknowledgement, and that it was written no later than 5 February 1691/2.

In the same paper, he shows that when Bethia Steele was 57, Capt. Nathaniel White was said to be '60 years or therabouts', and died 1711 "aged about 82", which agrees with the birth of his eldest children in 1652. With this in mind, Nathaniel White would have been 60 years old in about 1689, putting Bethia's birth year about 1632, and that she married Samuel Stocking when she was around 21. Winthrop may have written '28' instead of '38' in his medical record, which would put her birth year about 1631.

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volumes 1-6. (Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 1996-2011), 3:413.
  2. "Hartford Records" in NEHGR vol 13 1859 p 141 Archive.org
  3. "A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records" volume 1, Charles Manwaring , R S Peck & Co: Hartford CT, 1904 http://archive.org/details/digestofearlycon00manw, page130.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "John Hopkins of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1634 : and some of his descendants" by Timothy Hopkins , 1932 SLC 929.273 H774ht download 948 pages from https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE223274, pg 7. Great for researching other Hopkins. There are copies of documents included in the book.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Robert Charles Anderson, "Bethia Hopkins Did Not Marry at Age Eleven" The American Genealogist, Jan 2002 Volume 77 #1, 25-27.
  6. John Winthrop, Jr. medical records, 8 June 1669, Vol. 20a-b, page 926, In possession of Massachusetts Historical Society Winthrop Family Papers microfilm collection P-350, reel 38.

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