Hopkins H. John

John Henry Hopkins, Jr MA USA 1820-1891. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, having 12 siblings, the son of pioneer parents (his father from Dublin, his mother from Hamburg) he became an ecclesiologist. His father had been an ironmaster, school teacher, lawyer, priest and second Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, (becoming presiding bishop in 1865). When his father founded the Vermont Episcopal Institute, he needed an assistant to help run it, so he picked his son to become a tutor and disciplinarian. The younger Hopkins played the flute and bugle in the school orchestra and also taught Sunday school. John Henry reflected the artistic talents of both parents in music, poetry, and art. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1839, he returned to help his father with the school, but a financial crisis hit that year and the school had to close. He worked as a reported in New York City while studying law. He developed a throat ailment and went south to be in a warmer climate. From 1842-1844 he tutored the children of Episcopal Bishop Elliott of Savannah, GA, returning to take his M.A. from Vermont in 1845. He graduated from General Theological Seminary in 1850 and was ordained a deacon, serving as first instructor in church music at the Seminary. He founded and edited the “Church Journal” from 1853 to 1868. Interested in New York’s Ecclesiological Society, his artistic talents were apparent in designing stained-glass windows, episcopal seals, and a variety of other church ornaments. At the same time, his musical talents led to the writing and composing of a number of fine hymns and tunes, as well as anthems and services. He was ordained a priest in 1872, and was Rector of Trinity Church, Plattsburg, NY, from 1872-1876, then of Christ Episcopal Church in Williamsport, PA, from 1876-1887. He helped get the building debt paid off by 1879 with(in 10 years of its construction). During his time there a Sunday school building was also erected, having steam heat and a tiled floor. He designed some of the church furniture and bishop periphernalia as well as wrought iron tombs in Wildwood Cemetery. He also helped design two other church buildings in the area. A man of many talents, he was much beloved as a scholar, writer, preacher, controvertialist, musician, poet, and artist, excelling in all that he did. Totally devoted to his parish people, he especially loved children and was kind to anyone in need. He was considered very down-to-earth. He delivered the eulogy at the funeral of President Usysses S Grant in 1885. He was considered a great developer of hymnody in the Episcopal Church in the mid-19th century. His “Carols, hymns, and songs,”, published in 1863, had a 4th edition in 1883. In 1887 he edited “Great hymns of the church”. He wrote a biography of his father (the life of John Henry Hopkins, S.T.D.) He never married. He died at Hudson, NY.

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