More on Courts Martial 1851-1901: J Hopkins

Of the 33 men listed as serving with Canadian units in the WO 90 Courts Martial database at four received sentences of 10 years penal servitude. Two, serving with the Canadian Mounted Rifles in South Africa, were convicted of assisting the enemy. The date of the sentence is 13 June 1900. It’s likely only part of the sentence was served, perhaps at Pretoria, perhaps in the UK.

Private J Hopkins was sentenced for “assisting enemy with arming by allowing Boer Burghers in arms to retain rifles.”  According to a brief mention in Painting the Map Red by Carman Miller, Hopkins and a colleague William Pearce caught a group of Boer’s, took their rifles and then sold them back to them!

There are identical short paragraphs in the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Journal on 8 August 1900 giving his background. An article in the Globe on the same date adds that he was “well known in Toronto. He belonged to a local volunteer corps and afterwards joined the Canadian Dragoons. He had been two years in that corps when he enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Rifles for service in South Africa.”

His claim for a service medal and clasps was rejected in 1905.

His service file shows he was John Alexander Hopkins, a steam fitter who enlisted in Toronto on 26 December 1899 giving his age as 24 and next of kin his brother, Thomas S Hopkins.

There’s a 13 January 1876 birth registration for John Alexander Hopkins, son of George Hopkins and Sarah Sophia Scripture in Whitby, Ontario.

His father died on 16 October 1878.

In the 1881 census, for Toronto, there’s a household with W.H. Scripture 24, Elizbth. Hopkins 56, Sarah Hopkins 30 (Widow), Thos. Hopkins 8, Harrie Hopkins 6, John Hopkins 5, George Hopkins 3.

His mother died on 22 January 1898.

An Ancestry contributed family tree links to a US WW1 Draft Card for John A Hopkins in Lincoln County, Nebraska, USA, birth date 13 Jan 1876.

The same tree shows a US Social Security claim for John Alexander Hopkins, birth date: 13 Jan 1876, birthplace: Ontario, Canada, father: George W Hopkins, mother: Sarah Sophia, SSN: 520073560 and a June 1937 note confirming his name. The SSN Area Number 520 indicates issued in Wyoming.

Checking Ancestry’s collection with a US focus shows a death registration index record for John Alexander Hopkins, accidental death at age 74 on 17 July 1950 in  Lusk, Niobrara, Wyoming, USA.  He is in the same place in the 1930 and 1940 census, single, entry into the US shown as 1910, living as a lodger/border with Mary M. McGinnis, occupation painter/odd jobs.


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