1828: Ephraim Stiles Hopping to Daniel Hopping

How Ephraim S. Hopping might have looked

How Ephraim Stiles Hopping might have looked

This letter was written by Ephraim Stiles Hopping (1799-1853), the son of Daniel Hopping (1769-1857) and Martha Stiles (1770-1826). Mentioned in the letter is Ephraim’s sister, Martha Ann Hopping (1809-1894).

After graduating from Princeton in 1824, Hopping went south and became a language professor at Franklin College (the University of Georgia) in Athens. He married Pamela [or Permelia] Ann (Wray) Stewart, the daughter of Judge Philip Wray on 18 December 1827 in Oglethorpe, Georgia. Judge Philip Wray owned Wrayswood Plantation.

In 1833, he began to purchase lands in Clarke, Walton, and Morgan Counties from his earnings and his wife’s inheritance. In 1836, he moved his family to the town of High Shoals, previously known as Big Shoals, and became postmaster there in 1839.

Hopping organized the High Shoals Manufacturing Company in 1846 with Powell, Kluttz, et al. Ephraim also built a large, handsome home for his family on the granite hill beside the Apalachee River on the opposite side from the mill but he did not live long to enjoy it; he fell victim to the typhoid epidemic of 1853 and died along with a daughter. He was buried in the upper part of his formal gardens in an unmarked grave. His wife, Permelia, would later auction off 17 acres of his property in Athens for the establishment of the Oconee Hill Cemetery. A section of Highway 186 which runs through High Shoals was named “Hopping Road” in his memory. [Sources: Gray-White, Kathryn “The Story of High Shoals” North Georgia Journal. Autumn 1995. Sommer, Margaret F. The History of Oconee County, Georgia, 1993.]

At the time Hopping wrote this letter in 1828, he had just purchased a 700-acre plantation and he was conducting the male school of the Wilkes County — or Washington Academy — in Washington, Georgia. Mrs. Alexander Webster, widow of the first pastor of the Washington Presbyterian Church, was supervising the girls’ school at the same academy with the assistance of Miss Margaret McKenzie, the piano instructor.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Daniel Hopping, Esqr., Hanover Neck, Morris County, New Jersey

Washington, Georgia
February 9th 1828

Dear Father,

From the place whence I write you perceive that I have changed my residence. The sequel will explain. From the date of this letter you also perceive that I have been criminally deficient in exhibiting that affection which should mark the conduct of a son who has shared so largely the paternal favor. The sequel will contain my apology.

Perhaps you recollect the boisterous saturday in which I crossed the paternal threshold the last time — a day of various  storm — thunder, lightening, rain, hail, wind. Had I been superstitious, I should have inferred that I was embarking upon a tempestuous life. Having glided calmly down the current of my youth, the stream unruffled and at rest, save in its continually onward course, but that it was now opening into the vast ocean and that that ocean was tame to be rough & disastrous. But that day has unblematical of my life since only as it regards the variety of its character. The current of my life since that day has been unbroken though subject to various changes. I think I may compare it with a good deal of propriety in the figure to a full stream, bright & tranquil, pursuing its winding way through meadows green & flowery, through forests cool & shady, through fields bright & sunny, its current obstructed by no calamitous rock flung athwart its bed of peddle, until it has just now opened into calm, clear, expanded lake.

But to lay aside a figure of which I begin to become tired, the plain story is this. I had a pleasant voyage to Savannah –as I have told you before. From Savannah I went to Athens [Georgia], from Athens to Hermon. After a residence of three months at Hermon, I returned to Athens where I remained three years & a half very pleasantly indeed & on the 18th December 1827, I was married to a lady by the name of Stewart.

The laws of the college forbid its officers to make any engagements that shall interfere with the duties required of them & it being required of tutors to lodge in the college building, I of course resigned my post there. I then made an engagement with the people of this place to instruct in the Academy for the term of six months. I shall not continue longer inasmuch as the town is dreadfully sickly in the fall months.

The other day I purchased a plantation of about seven hundred acres of excellent land — a large two story house & good out houses. I gave three thousand, two hundred & fifty dollars for it. The person who lived on the plantation last gave nine thousand dollars for it some years ago. Since then, however, property has fallen & the land has become somewhat worn in parts. It is thought, however, by good judges to be worth five thousand dollars at this time. I expect to remove to it at the beginning of the next year. Between the 1st of July and that time, we’d like to visit you and spend some time with you.

Tell Martha Ann that I have just received her letter for which I feel very thankful & will answer it as soon as I can. Tell her that I am very much obliged to her for informing me of cousin Lidia’s good feelings toward me, but her information came too late. You may suppose that I am very busy now. A school to attend to during five days of the week & my plantation & arrangements for another year on Saturdays. I have just rented a part for the coming season. I get a fourth of the crop which, if the year be favorable, will amount to about five hundred bushels of corn.

Write soon. Love to all. Your son, E. S. Hopping


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

%d bloggers like this: