Page 610-611, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


John A. Hopkins, a former sheriff of Butler county and a prominent farmer and stockman of Plum Grove township, is one of the survivors of the old time cattle men of the plains who were engaged in that business here during the days of open range. Mr. Hopkins was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, October 28, 1850. His father, Robert Hopkins, was a native of Maryland, born in 1832, and was a descendent of Colonial ancestors. When six years old, he came with his parents from the Maryland home to Cincinnati, Ohio, and here the family lived for many years. He was station agent for a number of years for the Miami Valley railroad, and also operated considerable farm lands on the Miami bottoms while he was in the employ of the railroad company. In 1865 Robert Hopkins migrated to Illinois with his family and settled in Moultrie county, where he followed farming until 1871, when he came to Butler county with his family and settled in Clifford township, where he spent the remainder of his life.

John A. Hopkins received his education in the public schools of Cincinnati, and was about fifteen years of age when the family removed to Illinois. He was engaged in farming there until 1873, when he came to Kansas, but the following spring, returned to Illinois, where he was engaged in the grain business until 1875, when he came to Butler county where he has since made his home. When he came here, he had about a thousand dollars in cash, his capital having been considerably reduced on account of helping his father through the bad years of the early seventies in this county. Upon returning to Butler county, he bought a homestead right on the northwest quarter of section 12, and built a two room house 14x24 feet, and proceeded to make other improvements preparatory to engaging in the cattle business. In 1877 he began to invest in the cattle industry quite extensively. There was any amount of free open range at that time, and he soon had a herd of


between four and five hundred head of cattle which he grazed over a radius of ten miles. He was the only cattle man in this immediate vicinity, and his brand, "J. H.," was known over a broad scope of country. His corral occupied about a half a section of land, and in those days, the building of a corral was a serious problem to the cattle man, as building material was scarce and barb-wire which had just been introduced, cost about twelve cents per pound.

Mr. Hopkins has continued in the cattle business up to the present time, and as free range disappeared, he conformed to the new conditions, and kept right on. In 1898, he handled 2,000 head of steers, and while he was successful with this large herd, he found many obstacles in the way of profitably handling so many cattle. The problem of water supply alone was a serious one, and in recent years, he seldom has more than 600 head of cattle on hand. He feeds a great many cattle which he buys on the Wichita market, and usually markets his cattle in Kansas City or St. Louis. For years he was an extensive buyer and shipper of cattle, hogs and sheep in addition to his feeding and farming operations. He bought Texas cattle, "On the Trail" at Wichita, buying his first bunch there as early as 1873. He next bought a bunch of cattle at Ft. Scott, Kans., and drove them across the country to his Butler county range. He now owns 800 acres of land in Plum Grove and Clifford townships, and also land in Oklahoma. He still owns his father's old homestead in Clifford township. His is one of the best farms in Butler county. He has 700 acres under cultivation, and uses both horses and gasoline tractor motor power in his farming operations. For years, he supplied the Kansas City stock yards with 3,000 tons of hay annually. His place is well equipped with all modern farm conveniences, including two silos with a capacity of 250 tons each, constructed of concrete, and they are probably the best silos in the State.

Mr. Hopkins was married in Decatur, Ill., in 1875, to Miss Emma Alice Roberts, a native of Muskingum county, Ohio, and a daughter of Charles and Catherine Roberts, natives of Ohio. To Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins have seen born the following children: Gertrude, married William Cundell, a Butler county farmer, and John A., on the home farm.

Mr. Hopkins has been a life-long Republican and has taken an active part in the local councils of his party. He was elected sheriff of Butler county in 1894, serving a term of two years, and on two other occasions, he received the nomination of his party for the office of sheriff, but there happened to be unusual conditions prevailing, such as a wave of populism, etc., and Mr. Hopkins, although popular and favorably known, was a creature of circumstances, and defeated by small margins. He is one of the best known men in Butler county, and has many friends. He has seen Butler county developed from an unpeopled plain to become one of the great counties of the State, and has contributed his part to placing this county in the front rank of the agricultural and live stock producing counties of the country.

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