Alphonso Alvah Hopkins

Prof. Alphonso Alvah Hopkins was born at Burlington Flats, Otsego County, New York, March 27, 1843.  He received his education in the common schools in Otsego County, and at Hamilton Academy, at Hamilton, Madison County, New York.  He prepared for Madison University (now Colgate) at that town, but did not enter.  From the age of seventeen to twenty-one, he was a teacher.  He also held a position in the military department at Albany for two years, 1865-66, and was newspaper correspondent from the State capital for three legislative terms, including that period.
     In 1887, he married Miss Adelia R. Allyn, in Rochester, and became literary editor of Moore’s Rural New Yorker.  He founded The American Rural Home, Rochester, in 1870, and was its editor and manager for fourteen years.  He conducted also The American Reformer, New York, during the last two of those years.
     From 1885 to 1887, he was manager of the National Prohibition Lecture Bureau, and lectured and organized the Prohibition Party in the South during the winters of 1885-86-87-88.  He arranged for, and accompanied, Governor St. John upon the governor’s first Southern trip in 1885.  During that year, he lectured in 27 states and was on the platform steadily from 1884 to 189l   Chosen by General Fisk, he was designated by the Prohibition National Committee to accompany him in his campaign tour in 1888.  With General Fisk and others, Prof. Hopkins organized the East Tennessee Land Company and founded the City of Harriman, on a Prohibition policy, in 1890.  He has been engaged in that enterprise ever since.  Prof. Hopkins assisted in organizing the American Temperance University at Harriman in 1893, and now occupies the vice-chancellorship, with the chair of Political Economy and Prohibition.
     A Republican till 1872, Prof. Hopkins has been a Prohibitionist since then.  He has been the nominee of his Party for Congress several times, for secretary of state, controller, and governor (1882), in New York.  He has written several books, including the “Life of General Fisk,” two temperance novels entitled “His Prison Bars,” and “Sinner and Saint,” and “Wealth and Waste,” a treatise which applies the principle of political economy to the problems of labor, law, and the liquor traffic.

— Data from An Album of Representative Prohibitionists (1895)

Alphonso Hopkins was born on March 27th , 1843, in Burlington Flats, New York. He was the son of Alvah and Mercy Hale Hopkins. His father worked as a wagon maker. He was educated at an academy in Hamilton, New York. 
     Alphonso began a career as a writer. In 1867, he became editor of the Rural New Yorker and later became editor of American Rural Home.   In December 1882, Hopkins became editor of the American Reformer. He remained its editor until 1885.
   He married Adelia R. Allyn in 1867 and they moved to live in her parent’s household in Rochester. They would have one daughter, Lillarene. 
     From 1868 to 1871, Hopkins also worked as a lecturer, delivering speeches on literature, temperance, and economics. Hopkins wrote and published works on a variety of topics. This included poetry, novels, a biography on 1888 Prohibition Party presidential candidate Clinton Fisk, numerous prohibitionist pamphlets, and various scholarly articles and books on political economy (the study of economic activities and their relation to social custom and government policies). His notable works included Asleep in the Sanctum and Other Poems (1876), His Prison Bars (1878), Our Sabbath Evening (1878), Waifs and Their Authors (1879), Geraldine (1882), Sinner and Saint (1883), Life of General Clinton B. Fisk (1888), Wealth and Waste (1895), Ballads of Brotherhood (1900), The Economic Aspects of Prohibition (1908), Profit and Loss in Man (1909), and The Bugle of Right (1913). 
     Hopkins became involved with the Prohibition Party at some point between its founding in 1869 and the year 1874. In 1874, Hopkins ran as the Prohibition Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 30th Congressional District (representing Monroe and Orleans Counties). He received 675 votes and 2.60% of the vote. In 1875, he was the Prohibition Party candidate for State Comptroller. He received 9,669 votes and 1.24% of the vote. He ran for congress in the 30th district two more times, in 1876 and 1878. He received 169 votes (0.48%) in 1876 and 2,476 votes (8.97%) in 1878. In 1879, he was the Prohibition Party candidate for New York Secretary of State. He received 4,266 votes and 0.47% of the vote. In 1882, Hopkins was the Prohibition Party candidate for Governor of New York. 
Hopkins received 25,783 votes for governor,  2.82% of the total votes. This was nearly six times the number of votes that the party’s 1879 gubernatorial candidate received.
     In 1884, the Prohibition Party nominated former Kansas Governor John St. John for president. St. John ran a strong campaign, heavily focused on New York State. Alphonso Hopkins was one of the prominent figures in the state which helped with St. John’s campaign. St. John received over 147,000 votes nationwide (over 15 times the number of votes that the party’s 1880 candidate received. In New York, St. John received 25,006 votes, and his strong performance in the State likely shifted the results of the 1884 election.
      Hopkins was one of the New York slate of electors for 1888 Prohibition Party presidential candidate Clinton Fisk.  
      During 1893-1895, Hopkins served as Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Political Economy at the American Temperance University. American Temperance University was a pro-temperance college created in the town of Harriman, Tennessee (which itself was a town created by temperance supporters to have an alcohol-free community). 
      Hopkins married his second wife, Emma M. Santee, on February 17, 1897.  By 1900, He had moved to Hornellsville (now Hornell), New York.
      In 1900, he ran as the Prohibition Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 29th Congressional District (which represented Steuben, Chemung, Yates, and Seneca counties). He received 1,637 votes, 3.39% of the vote.
      By 1910, Hopkins had moved again, to New York City. In 1912, he ran for Congress in New York’s 15th Congressional District (which represented part of New York City). He received 43 votes and 0.16% of the vote. In 1914, he ran for New York State Senate in New York’s 17th State Senate District. He received 51 votes and 0.26% of the vote. In the same year, Hopkins was one the Party’s candidates for at-large delegates to New York’s 1915 State Constitutional Convention. 
     Hopkins moved to Bergen, New Jersey in 1915, where he spent his last years.  He died on September 25th, 1918 and was buried in Hope Cemetery, in Hornell, New York.


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“Alfonzo A. Hopkins United States Census, 1905.” FamilySearch. Accessed August 18, 2019.
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        -- Contributed by Jonathan Makeley