Putnam County


Hon. A. W. Hopkins, agriculturist and banker, is a representative of extensive and important business interests. He belonged to a family that from pioneer times has figured prominently in connection with the history of this portion of the state. A son of Joel Willis and Eleanor Jane (Harrison) Hopkins, he was born upon the farm where he now resides, on January 4, 1845, and this place has continuously been his home. He was only four years of age when his mother died, leaving him and his four sisters to the care of his aunt, Martha Hopkins. When he was a youth of seventeen his father married again.

In the days of his early boyhood Wilson, as he was called, was a student in the district school and afterward studied for a short time at Oberlin College, in Oberlin, Ohio, subsequently entering the college at Hillsdale, Michigan, from which he was graduated with the class of 1870. He then returned home to become actively associated in business with his father, and this association was maintained until his father's death, in 1902. He owns extensive tracts of land in Putnam county, in Iowa, Wisconsin and Dakota. He is, moreover, a director in the National Bank of Peru, Illinois, of which his father was president, and since the latter's death the son has been president of the Putnam County Bank at Hennepin and of the Granville Bank. A man of resourceful business ability, he displays keen discrimination and marked sagacity in the management of all his undertakings and he belongs to that class of representative American citizens who, while promoting individual interests, also advance the general prosperity. Beside his extensive farming and stockraising interests he has been closely associated with the development of the village of Granville, platting and opening up new additions, erecting dwelling houses and business blocks and carrying forward the work of growth and progress until no man has done more toward the advancement of the town. From young 'manhood he has been active in promoting the literary opportunities of Granville, and has also been a faithful member of the Congregational church, serving in various official capacities.

In politics Mr. Hopkins has always been a stalwart and unswerving republican, and is widely recognized as one of the leaders of his party in Putnam county. He was honored with election to the state legislature, serving in the thirty-seventh, thirty-eighth and forty-first general assemblies with credit to himself. In 1878 he made a trip to Europe and in 1897 visited old Mexico, while with various sections of his own country he is familiar, having visited nearly every state in the Union and attended all of the important expositions.

Happy in his home life Mr. Hopkins was married April 14, 1898, to Miss Cara L. McVay, of Forrest, Illinois, and they have two children Eleanor Jane and Joel Willis, who have done much in changing a stately mansion into a children's paradise. Mr. Hopkins is the owner of the finest country home in Putnam county. It stands on the ground which his grandfather, in 1835, purchased from the government. Near the residence twenty-five acres has been fenced off into parks, where he has buffalo, deer and other animals. Mr. Hopkins is one in whom nature and culture have vied in making an interesting and honorable gentleman.

Alert and enterprising, with ready recognition of opportunities, he has so directed his labors and utilized the forces at hand that success has crowned his business ventures. His life proves that success is not a matter of genius, as urged by many, but rather the outcome of clear judgment and experience.

Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 216.

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