- HOPKINS, Johns, merchant and philanthropist, was born in Anne Arundel county, Md., May 19, 1795; son of Samuel and Hannah (Janney) Hopkins; grandson of Johns and Elizabeth (Thomas) Hopkins, and of Joseph and Hannah (Jones) Janney, and a descendant of the Maryland family of Johns. His first maternal ancestor in America was Titanias Janney, born in 1638 in Cheshire, England. The name of his first paternal ancestor in America is not definitely known, but it is believed that he was Gerard Hopkins, who purchased land in Anne Arundel county in 1685, and who died in 1692. Until 1819 he attended a private school near his home, taught by a superior English teacher, and his father examined him in his studies, especially in history. This may have developed his noteworthy powers of conversation. He was fond of books to the end of his life, and kept up with the day in literary and scientific studies. He was a constant student of the Bible, and was much interested in the history of the Jews. His city and country homes were ever open to his friends,where many evenings were spent in delightful intercourse with a number of able men and women whom lie brought together. His career in Baltimore began in 1812, when he became a clerk in the wholesale grocery store of his uncle, Gerard T. Hopkins. In 1813 he was given charge of the store, and by 1818 he had saved $800, with which he opened a store on his own account, aided by his uncle's endorsement. In 1819 the firm of Hopkins & Moore was formed, and in 1822 that of Hopkins & Brothers, which continued the business 1822-47. Mr. Hopkins retired in 1847, leaving the business to his brothers and their clerks. He became president of the Merchants' Bank of Baltimore, as successor to James Swan, and remained at the head of the institution till his death. He was financially connected with various other banks and industrial enterprises. He was a director of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, 1847-73, and chairman of the finance committee, 1855 to 1873. He staked his fortune in carrying the road over several financial crises. On Aug. 24, 1867, he obtained, under the general statute, the charter for a corporation under the direction of a board of trustees "for the promotion of education in the state of Maryland." This was the nucleus of the Johns Hopkins university. He also instituted another foundation to be allied with the university, viz., the Johns Hopkins hospital. On the death of Mr. Hopkins it became known that he had divided his property, after paying certain personal legacies, between the university and the hospital, the amount being estimated as $7,000,000. The university was opened in 1876, and the hospital in 1889. Both establishments acquired a world-wide reputation, and are enduring monuments to the liberality, far-sightedness, and broadmindedness of their founder. In the selection of names for a place in the Hall of Fame, New York university, in October, 1900, Johns Hopkins was one of the nine names in "Class F, Philanthropists," and received eleven votes, only George Peabody and Peter Cooper receiving places. The best sketch of his life is in Baltimore, Past and Present, with Biographical Sketeches of its Representative Men (1871). He died in Baltimore, Md., Dec. 24, 1873.
NOTE: The biography above states that his earliest maternal ancestor is Titanias Janney. I can find no record of such a person.