James H. HOPKIRK and Harriet Emma TOOTHAKER

James(7) was the eighth child of William(6) HOPKIRK and Jane REDPATH.

Given that multiple records list James' middle initial as H, it is probably safe to assume that his middle name was "Home." His  father's mother was Isabella HOME, and  his uncles John, Robert & Alexander all give the same middle name to one or more of their children.

James HOPKIRK was born in Lockridge, Iowa in 1848 and Harriet Emma Toothaker was born 19 May 1851 in Middletown, Iowa.

Family history says James wanted to join the north in the Civil War in late 1864 or early 1865 at the age of 16, but his parents were against it, since they had already lost two sons in the war.

In the 1870 Census, completed on 1 August 1870, James is 21 years old, A House Carpenter, living with his 59 year old father William, Farmer, his 19 year old sister Jane, and his 16 year old brother Alexander, a farm laborer, his 28 year old sister Mary Brown, a domestic servant, and Mary's 1 year old daughter Mary. William was born in Scotland, Mary Hopkirk Brown born in Virginia, and all others born in Iowa. Memo: Mary Brown was born in Virginia, in an area that later became the State of West Virginia.

James and Emma were married on 7 August 1871 in Lockridge, Iowa.

Harriet Emma TOOTHAKER is the daughter of Nancy Jane Loughary and Frederick S. Toothaker, and is a direct descendant of Roger and Margaret TOOTHAKER who arrived at the Massachusetts Bay colony on 16 Sep 1635 on the ship "Hopewell." Their son Roger TOOTHAKER was one of the 50+ people accused of witchcraft in Salem. Those who didn't confess and repent were executed. Twenty were executed. Roger TOOTHAKER was one of 4 accused that died in custody, before execution. An infant child also died in custody, shortly before her mother Sarah Good was executed. The 3 children that started the witchcraft scare stated in their later years that they made up the stories.  There is a memorial to the 25 that died, located in Danvers, Massechusetts, across the steeet from the site of the original Salem Village Meeting House where must of the trials took place.

Harriet Emma Toothaker was said to be a big woman and she came to Ruskin, Nebraska a few times to visit her son and his family. In 1918, Harriet Emma Toothaker Smith was going down a railroad embankment to deliver a message about a phone call for one of the workers and she fell and broke her hip. She then contracted pneumonia and died 9 August 1918, in Jefferson County and is buried in the Union Cemetery.

James and Harriet had the following children:

Frank(8) HOPKIRK, b.08 Nov 1873 in Lockridge. He married Iva Jones on 20 May 1902, in Ruskin, Nebraska

Harry(8) (Nutie) HOPKIRK, b. 16 Jun 1875 in Lockridge.  He died  4 Mar 1887 and is buried in the Toothaker portion of the Lockridge Cemetery.

Ernest(8) HOPKIRK, b.1877 in Lockridge.  He married Maude BATES, and on 12 June 1905 in Davenport, Iowa their son Frederick Neal(Neal) HOPKIRK was born. Neal died in infancy. Ernest lived in Texas. His neice Harriet(9) HOPKIRK says that in the 1920's some woman called from Texas and said she was Ernests' new wife.  Harriet never met her.  Around 1928 Ernest died and someone from Texas called and asked what should they do with the body.  Frank(8) HOPKIRK told them to ship it to Ruskin, Nebraska. Ernest is buried in the Spring Creek Cemetery at Ruskin, Nebraska.

At this link is a photo from about 1875 believed to that of James and his younger brother Alexander. Alexander liked farming, his brother James did not. The one on the left is believed to be Alexander and the one on the right is believed to James. Our thanks goes to John D. Hopkirk for supplying this photo.

Shortly after their third child was born, James left the family. We don't know whether James deserted the family, or if James and Emma just agreed to part ways, but by the 1880 census we find Emma and the 3 children living without James. In June 1880 in Lockridge, Iowa, Emma is age 29, Keeping House. Frank, age 7, Harry, age 5, and Ernest, age 3.

In the 1885 Iowa census, in Township 72(Lockridge), Range 8, Section 31 in the southeast and southwest portions, we find Fred Toothaker, age 59, Farmer, born in Maine, Nancy J. Toothaker, age 57, Keeping House, born in Illinois, Emma Hopkirk, age 35, married, Keeping House, born in Des Moines County, Iowa; Frank Hopkirk, age 11, born in Jefferson County, Iowa; Harry Hopkirk, age 9, born in Jefferson County, Iowa; Ernest Hopkirk, age 7, born in Jefferson County, Iowa.

This photo is probably Ernest(seated), Frank(standing) and Nutie Hopkirk around 1881.
(The back side of the above photo has a very old piece of newspaper from Fairfield, Iowa glued to it.)

From the 11 November 1897 issue of the Seattle Times article linked below, we learn that James Hopkirk was the Superintendent of Construction for three County Courthouses in the State of Washington, and one of those buildings he built became the Capitol Building for the State of Washington.

From 1888 to 1890, in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington, James was the Superintendent of construction of the Whatcom County Courthouse, which opened in 1890. Whatcom's previous Courthouse was the original brick building in Bellingham.  At this link to the Whitcom County Historical Society you can read about the first courthouse in Whatcom County. It was bult in 1858 and served as the first County Courthouse from 1863 until 1888, when the building was determined to be unsafe for county business. From 1888 to 1890 Whatcom County used Purdy's Opera House for their courthouse while the construction of the new Courthouse was being completed at the corner of G and Ellswoth Streets, in Bellingham, under the Supervision of James Hopkirk. Go here to view a picture of the Whatcom Courthouse circa 1920.  From the www.courthouses.co website page for Whatcom County we learn that this Courthouse was torn down in 1950 and a children's playground known as Fouts Park is located there now.  

As of 1890 James HOPKIRK was in Seattle, Washington and was a builder there. (This information comes from the 1890 biography of James' father William HOPKIRK. William's biography mentions nothing about James' first marriages or James' children.)

On 5 October 1890 James HOPKIRK married Florence R. BRYANT at Port Townsend, in Jefferson County, Washington. Port Townsend is in the Northeast corner of Jefferson County, along the western portion of Puget Sound. James is listed as being from the County of Whatcom(where he just finished building the Whatcom County Courthouse), which borders Canada on the northwestern side of the State of Washington. Florence is listed as being from San Francisco, California. Here is the marriage certificate.  The witnesses were James E. BANKS and John E. BANKS. The service was preformed by David T. Carnahan, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Port Townsend, Washington.

During some of 1890 through to 1892 James Hopkirk was in Olympia, Washington, as the Superintendent of construction of the Thurston County Courthouse, which was located at 600 Washington Street, SE, Oylmpia. Go here to the Thurston County page with information about the Courthouse along with a photo of the building in the 1890's. After ten years as the Thurston County Courthouse, the property was sold to the state of Washington in 1901 and the building became the Capitol Building for the State of Washington. In 1928
the center clock tower was destroyed by a fire which gutted the building. IN 1949 the building severly damaged by an earthquake. The building is now known as the "Old Capitol Building" and is the location of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. At this link is more information about the old building,  At the first link above is a more recent photo of the building as it appeared in 2012. Architect: Willis Richie. See below: from the 1892 Territorial Census James is living in Thurston County and his Occupation is listed as "Superintendent of Public Buildings."

Between1890 and 1892 James Hopkirk was also involved as a Superintendent for the building of the Jefferson County Courthouse built in Port Townsend, Washington.  While it is believed that most of his time was devoted to the construction of the building in Olympia, he was probably called in at times for the project in Port Townsend, since he was married there on 5 October 1890. The two buildings, Thurston and Jefferson County Courthouses, are less than 100 miles apart.

Architect:  Willis A. Ritchie

Contractor:  John Rigby and C P Wakeman

From the 1892 Washington Territorial Census we find James HOPKIRK, age 43, born in Iowa, a Supt. Public Buildings, and married to Florence Hopkirk, age 36, born in Pennsylvania. Also present in the family is Ida HOWELL, age 12, born in Michigan. They are located in Thurston County, Washington.

In 1893 James Hopkirk was in Chicago Supervising the construction of the Washington State Pavillion for the 1893 Columbian Exposition World's Fair. Thirty-seven of the then forty-four states constructed buildings with exhibits and other things representing their state. Most of the buildings were designed to be temporary structures and the Washington structure was torn down at the end of 1893, after the Fair concluded. View a drawing of the State of Washington structure.   Linked here is a drawing of the location of the State of Washington Exhibit  Both of these items are in the public domain.
From page 596 of Appleton's General Guide to the United States, 1893, page 596, describes
the Washington Pavilion thusly, "A building entirely of wood from the Puget Sound region has been erected by this State. Warren P. Skillings, of Seattle, is the architect, and the cost was $100,000. State appropriation, $100,000."
For more information about the Washington Pavillion visit this page from the University of Washington Library

On August 25, 1894 James registered to vote. He was living at 561 5th Street, Oakland, California. He is age 45, 5 foot 11 inches tall, dark complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair, and the middle finger of his left hand is crippled. He ws born in Iowa, and his occupation is "Foreman."

On 13 November 1894 James Hopkirk, of San Francisco, received U.S. Patent #529268 for his "Reversible Driving Gear For Cars"  We do not know if anything became of this patent. Click on the following  items to view the 3 figure diagram of the gears,    page of the description of the "reversible gear" and page 2 of the description of the "reversible gear"

In 1895 James Hopkirk is living in Oakland, California. From the 14 May 1915 addition of the Oakland Tribune newspaper is a "20 years ago today" article stating that "James Hopkirk has been appointed Superintendant of the construction of the Harrison Street School." So that would have been in May of 1895 that James Hopkirk started construction on the Harrison Street School.

Also in the 1895 Oakland City Directory is listed Mrs. F. HOPKIRK, dressmaker, at 561 5th, and James Hopkirk, inventor,  also residing at 561 5th, Oakland.

Also in a later 1895 directory is James Hopkirk,  Carpenter, renting at 577 8th, Oakland, CA.

On May 6, 1896 James registered to vote. He is 47, 5 foot 11 inches tall, dark complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair, and a scar on the palm of his left hand. He was born in Iowa, occupation is "Foreman" and he is living at 577 8th, Oakland, California.

In an 1896 city directory we find James again at 577 8th, Oakland, a superintendent.

from the 1897 Oakland, California, City Directory we find James living at 577 8th , Oakland. He is a Superintendent.

In late 1897 James Hopkirk proposed building an Electric Railway from Skagway, Alaska, to the interior of Alaska, claiming it was the best way to get to the gold fields. Prospectors were using the Chilkoot Trail to backpack in all their supplies.   Here is the article from the 11 November 1897 issue of the Seattle Daily Times.  In May of 1898 construction of a narrow gauge railway was begun by another group of investors from Britain.

From the 1899 Seattle City Directory we find James H. Hopkirk, residing at 2015 3rd Ave., Seattle. He his a building contractor.

From the 1900 Census we find James HOPKIRK is in Seattle, Washington, Seattle Ward 4, District 96. Living at 800 5th Ave,  at the corner of Columbia Street. James is listed as age 50, born in Sept 1849, number of years married is 9, born in Iowa, parents both born in Scotland. He is a contractor/builder. His Wife is Florence R HOPKIRK, age 43, born in June 1856, married 9 years. Born in Pennsylvania and both her parents were born in Pennsylvania. 

Also in a 1900 Seattle Washington city directory we find James H. Hopkirk, Supt construction, his residence is "The Ranier" and Mrs. Florence Hopkirk, milliner, residence "The Ranier" This is probably the very exclusive "Ranier Club" which in 1900 was located at the current location of the Arctic Building, a nine-story building in Seattle, Washington located at the Northeast corner of Third Avenue and Cherry Street.

From the 1901 Seattle City Directory we find James H Hopkirk living at "The Rainer" and he is a "Superintendent Construction" There is no mention of Florence.

From the 1902 Directory James is still rooming at "The Rainer"

1904 Seattle City Directory, Florence R. Hopkirk(wid James) dressmaker, h 709B Marion. From the same directory is James Hopkirk, carp, renting 823 1st Ave. South. Query: Why has she listed James as deceased?)

In 1905 and 1906 James was using high pressure hydraulic water pipes to regrade many streets in Seattle. This created a huge quantity of slurry(a mixture of water, sand and rocks.) They needed a cheap way to get this residue from the hillsides to Elliott Bay. The first wooden pipes used for the job only lasted about two weeks before having to be replaced, because the rocks and debris going through the pipes ate away at the wood. This was very expensive. James Hopkirk invented a pipe with the lower portion of the pipe containing an extra piece of wood placed with the grain at 90 degrees from the flow of the slurry. Doing this resulted in the pipes lasting up to two years!!! (This information comes from a Seattle Sunday Times article dated 12 April 1908) See the highlighted portion in the bottom left portion of the page. These pipes were known as "Hopkirk Pipes". The lowering of the road bed made the streets less steep and travel easier, especially in the winter. Some people refused to move and ended up with their homes high above street level and no way to access their dwellings. Click on the following links to view James Hopkirk's US Patent Application. Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, and a drawing.

Here is a photo of new pipes from October 1905    This is a pipe from the Denny Hill regrade on February 9, 1906.    This is a used pipe from the Denny Hill regrade from February 1906. (Our thanks goes to the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections for use of these photos.)

From the 1906 Seattle directory we find James Hopkirk, Superintendent, Lewis Construction Company and Mrs. R. F. Hopkirk, furniture, 610 Cherry, Seattle. James and Florence must have divorced by this time.

On 26 July 1906 Florence Rachel HOPKIRK married Russell Robert Farrell in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Memo: Florence R. Farrell passed away on 10 August 1933 in Seattle, Washington, at the age of 77, making her birth in 1856. This agrees with dates above. Her husband is listed at Russell R. Farrell and her parents were Simon LIGHT and Madeline WOFYAR.)

From the Wenatchee Daily World of 24 March 1910 we find that James was part of a coroners jury in the investigation of the death of at least 87 people in a railway accident. Go here for more details.

From the 1910 census, dated 20 April 1910, sheet #5A, we find James HOPKIRK living at 729 12th Ave., South, near Dearborn Street, Seattle. He is listed as 62,  a widower, born in Iowa and his parents were born in Scotland. His occupation is listed as Superintendant/Hydralics. Also in the household is a 52 year boarder named George Smith, a 52 year old gold miner of German extraction.

Then surprisingly we find another entry from the 1910 census dated 22 April 1910, sheet #10B, we find James HOPKIRK living at 729 12th Avenue South, near Dearborn Street, Seattle.(A different census taker) This time James is listed as age 56, born in Iowa, parents born in Scotland and a widower. He is listed as on his "own income." But the surprising item is he has two sons living with him. John, age 23, born in Washington, both parents born in Iowa, a grocery salesman. Also listed is another brother named Verne, age 17, a student, born in Washington and his parents born in Iowa. 

So how could this happen? We know that James' first wife Harriet Emma Toothaker remained in Lockridge and raised their children. Their son Frank never mentioned having brothers named John and Verne. It would appear that James married another women from Iowa, and they then moved to the State of Washington, where around 1887 John was born. Around 1893 Verne was born, but James was living with his third wife Florence in 1892, and Florence was born in Pennsylvania, not Iowa. So is Verne the child of James and Florence, and is John the child of Florence from a previous marriage?

On 3 August 1914 James HOPKIRK married Emma SHOWER in Victoria, British Columbia, both are residents of Seattle, Washington. William is listed as age 63, a widorer, an Hydraulic Engineer, the son of William Hopkirk and Jane Redpath, and born in Fairfield, Iowa. Emma is 52, born in Campbellford, Cornwall, England, a widow, and her parents were Uhisphilies Pearce and Maria Kallow. Both James and Emma are listed as Christian Scientists. The wedding was performed by and at the residence of W. G. W. Fortune. The witnesses were Mary V. Fortune and Mrs. Elizabeth Fortune. A copy of the marriage certificate.

From a 1915 Seattle, Washington, directory, we find listed James Hopkirk (and his 3rd wife Emily) an Engineer. His home is listed as 301-1214 8th Avenue. Query, is the longer number some kind of a phone number?

From the 6 May 1915 issue of the Seattle Star, we find James Hopkirk giving his opinion in an article headlined "HOPKIRK SAYS DAM WILL SEAL". J. Hopkirk, hydraulic expert, who has been investigating conditions at the Cedar river dam for several months past, was in Seattle today. "The Cedar river dam will seal itself wihtin a year if given the chance," he said. "I have proved, by experiments at the dam," said Hopkirk, "that all that is necessary to make it hold water is to raise and lower the water back of the dam a number of times. The land thru which water now seeps is glacial drift that will settle down to rock hardness as soon as it has been inundated several times. "There are three large suck holes, one about 100 feet east of the dam and the others about 1,200 feet east, that must be filled, but this can be done at a cost of less than $50,000."

From a 1917 Seattle City Directory we find James Hopkirk, hydraulic, engineer, & wife Emily living at 6321 17th Ave., NE, Seattle.

On 5 June 1917 Percy Harrold Shouler filled out his draft card in Seattle Washington and listed his residence as 6321 17th Avenue, Seattle, Washington. Then in the 1920 census we find him in below, living with his mother, Emily Hopkirk.

From a 1919 Seattle City Directory we find James Hopkirk, Engineer, and his wife Emily living at 400-1521 8th, Seattle.

From a 1920 Seattle Directory we find James Hopkirk, Emgineer, living at 1119 1st Ave., Seattle. Query: What haoppened to Emily? From the 1920 census he is listed as married, but Emily is not in the household.

There is a 62 year Emily Hopkirk now living in Los Angeles. She was born in England and has a son named Percy H. Shouler, age 25 and a sister-in-law named Elizabeth Shouler, age 72. The son was born in Illinois and his father was born in Wisconsin.

From the 1920 census we find James living as a lodger at 219 First Ave. South, Seattle, listed as married, a Superintendant at a Carpentry Shop. He is 71 years old.

From the 1921 Seattle Directory we find James Hopkirk living at 81 Pike, Serattle. He is an Engineer.

In a 1921 Los Angeles Directory we find Emily Hopkirk, a Dressmaker, living at 620 South Figueroa.

From 1925 directory James is a Carpenter, living at 2319 1st Ave., Seattle.

From 1926 directory James is a Carpenter, living at 2319 1st Ave., Seattle.

From 1927 directory James is a Carpenter, living at 2319 1/2 1st Ave., Seattle.

From the 1930 census James is living as a lodger at 2319 1/2 First Avenue, Seattle, listed as a widower, age 82, a House Carpenter, unemployed.

From the 1935 Seattle, Washington, Directory we find James Hopkirk residing at 6647 Corson Ave., Seattle, WA

James Hopkirk passed away on 18 November 1939 at the age of 91 in Sedro-Woolley, Skagit County, Washington, 32 days before his first great grandchild was born. Sedro-Woolley was the location of a State Mental Hospital. Was he placed here for convenience because of his advanced age? Amazingly, the death record has the names of his parents listed correctly, William Hopkirk and Jane Redpath. Who supplied this information? Based on James age of 21 on August 1, 1870 and being 91 at his death, his birth date is between August 2, 1848 and November 18, 1848.

Additional information:

It is believed that the Toothaker family assisted Harriet Toothaker Hopkirk in raising their children   When John(10) K. HOPKIRK visited Lockridge in 1991, Frank WESTON showed him all the local cemeteries. It turns out that Frank was a Toothaker descendant, so Frank says he had always wondered why there was a Hopkirk buried in the Toothaker cemetery. John explained the story of James(7) deserting the family, etc.

Sometime around 1914, James(7) visited Frank(8) in Ruskin, Nebraska and asked Frank to leave his family and go with him to look for gold in Colorado, using water to cut down the hillsides(i.e., placer mining). Frank told his father to go get lost. So James was planning to use the technique he used in Seattle to lower the streets, to find gold in Colorado.

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This page was last updated on 4 September 2019