On the fourteenth day of March 1757, the northern portion of the town of Westerly was officially divided and established as the town of Hopkinton, in accordance with the provisions of an act of the General Assembly in Providence. One day the families lived in Westerly and the next day in Hopkinton.
Hopkinton was named after Stephen Hopkins, then Governor of Rhode Island, who was instrumental in assisting with the incorporation of our town. The first book in which meeting minutes were recorded was a gift to our town from Stephen Hopkins.
On a chilly spring day, April 4, 1757, men set aside their work for this long awaited event. They walked across fields still damp from the early morning frost. Others rode horses along cart paths, or walked in groups. All of them carried their muskets to protect themselves from wolves, bear or wildcats.
The first Town Council meeting was held at Joshua Clarke’s house at 10:00 a.m. because of the danger of traveling at night, and would continue to meet during daytime hours for the next 185 years.
The family that hosted a meeting would serve the Town Council a meal. The early meetings lasted all day, as they were only held one day per month, and there was much business to attend to. Financial issues were dealt with at an additional monthly meeting, held on the third Monday of the month.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Town of Hopkinton, visit the Hopkinton Historical Society for more information.
Contributed by Lauri Arruda