The Reverend John Elias Peck Hopper
by John Beyea
My first eight years of schooling were in a one-room schoolhouse. It was a very safe, cozy and happy environment.
I could look out the window and see either my own home or that of my grandparents. I walked to school with my brothers, knowing we were being watched from afar by either Mum or Gram.
But growth brings change and one must move on. When I finished Grade 8, decisions now had to be made. Options were limited - quit school or somehow arrange to go to a community that had a high school.
Things were no different for John Hopper nearly 100 years before. He was born in Salisbury, New Brunswick, in 1841. When he reached school age he attended the small Madras "Grammar" school there. Upon completing his primary education, his parents realized that he had done well in school. They wanted him to have the opportunity to benefit from further education - this meant boarding school. Since they were Baptists, this meant sending young John to the New Brunswick Baptist Seminary in Fredericton.
He completed his secondary education at the seminary and then obtained a first class teacher's licence from the Normal School in Saint John. He went to Acadia University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in June of 1862. Mr. Hopper returned to his parents' home in Salisbury. With help from the community, he built and started the Salisbury Academy on his father's land and became its first teacher. He went on to be principal of the seminary in Fredericton as well as the seminary in St. Martins. This institution became co-educational and open to students without any required religious tests.
"The Love Heritage Of Rev. Dr. John Elias Peck Hopper and His Family," is laced with 154 reference notes, almost all of which are about Baptists of yesteryear. At the back of the book are 11 items which detail church events, often in the clergyman's own handwriting. All through the book are generous listings of people's names.
Readers will be interested in the amount of material reproduced from The Christian Visitor in the years 1878 to 1882 when Mr. Hopper was editor of this Saint John publication, and in the later items from the McAlpine Directories of Saint John. Readers from the Hampton and Springfield areas will enjoy the accounts of John Hopper's visits to these two parishes. Family researchers from St. Stephen may want to read about Rev. Hopper's memory of "Eaton's Folly."
Those with roots in St. Martins, will savour Rev. Hopper's description of the Union Baptist Seminary of 1891, its curriculum, fees, the picture of the building itself, its "Faculty of Instruction" and other quotations from The Seminary Bema, the seminary's student newspaper. Some Saint John residents may remember a business long located on Dock Street known as Hopper Electric. This was initially founded, owned and operated by Harry Manning Hopper, oldest son of Rev. Hopper. The story of his life and business may interest readers, including those who have known or know of his sister, Emma N. Hopper Tufts. She and her husband, Frederick L. Tufts, became owners of Harry Hopper's business after his death. They were members of the same Baptist church for over 50 years.
Although there is no index for the book, some other names mentioned are: Abel, Adams, Allwood, Ash, Baker, Bars, Berry, Bishop, Bradford, Brown, Burgar, Carter, Church, Coleman, Colwell, Connors, Corey, Crandall, Curry, DeBlois, Dekker, Dunfield, Dunn, Elliot, Estey, Fawcett, Fisk, Forrester, Freeman, Golding, Greene, Harris, Harrison, Henderson, Hughes, Hurd, Keith, Kempton, King, Knapp, Leavitt, Johnson, MacDonald, MacPherson, March, Marshall, McColgan, McDiarmid, McLeod, McVicar, Morrell, Mills, Mosher, Mott, Myles, Newcomb, Norwood, Nugent, Parker, Patton, Peck, Poole, Price, Robinson, Seely, Shaw, Sherwood, Simpson, Stephens, Stronach, Taylor, Titus, Todd, Trefry, Trites, Tufts, Tupper, Vaughan, Wade, Wallace, Warren, Withers, Wilkinson.
"The Love Heritage Of Rev. Dr. John Elias Peck Hopper and His Family" can be ordered from John Beyea, 876 Route 10 Hwy, Noonan, N.B., Canada, E3A 7E4. Or E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Queries have been grouped together to cover the year 1998 and can be viewed at Queries-1998
Ruby Cusack is a genealogy buff living in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Readers are invited to send their New Brunswick genealogical queries to Ruby at email@example.com. When E-Mailing please put Yesteryear Families in the Subject line. Please include in the query, your name and postal address as someone reading the newspaper, may have information to share with you but not have access to E-mail. Queries should be no more than 45 words in length.
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