Jul 28, 2014
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Coventry Roots: Hopkins Hollow

The ninth village in our series about the villages of Coventry is Hopkins Hollow.

Coventry Roots: Hopkins Hollow Coventry Roots: Hopkins Hollow

The hamlet of Hopkins Hollow is located two miles south of the village of Greene. The area was called the Purchaser’s Land in the original 1642 Shawomet Purchase. Hopkins Hollow was originally called Rice’s Mills because the Rice Family lived in the area, but with the intermarriage of the Hopkins Family and the Rice Family in the early 19th century, the village name was changed.

Captain Richard Rice (1709-1789) was an early settler when this area opened up for settlement. Richard was a descendant of Randall Holden and John Rice both original settlers of Warwick. He purchased numerous acres of land around Roaring Brook and established the first saw mill on one side and a grist mill on the other side between the years 1741 and 1745.

The children of Richard Rice all resided in this area and his son, John, was deeded 163 acres by his father in 1782, which included the saw mill. The lumber cut at the saw mill was used to build houses such as the Joseph Rice House on Hopkins Hollow Road. Richard's son, Ebenezer was deeded the grist mill that was used to grind the locally grown corn. These mills were the life blood of the community.  

In 1768 Jeremiah Hopkins moved into the Rice’s Mill community. Jeremiah was the brother of Governor Stephen Hopkins and Admiral Esek Hopkins and was also a noted gunsmith.  Jeremiah was the father of Elisha Hopkins [who married Martha Rice (the daughter of John Rice) in 1790] and Jeremiah Hopkins, Jr. [who married Susan Rice (the daughter of Ebenezer Rice)]. 

In the year 1818 John Rice sold the saw mill to Reynolds and Patience Sweet.  Reynolds Sweet sold the saw mill to Jeremiah Hopkins, Jr in 1820. The original saw mill was taken down and a new saw mill was built on the same spot around 1840 which remained on this site until the 1920s. 

Jeremiah Hopkins, Jr. and a Samuel Hopkins established a second grist mill/blacksmith shop on the land that originally belonged to Ebenezer Rice, and in 1847 Peleg Andrews constructed a third grist mill on this same site which is still standing today.

In the 1920s Mr. Edwin Arnold acquired the grist mill/blacksmith shop and had them restored to working order. He purchased a saw mill from Hopkinton, MA, and rebuilt it on this site. Today these mills can still be seen on the banks of the Roaring Brook along with a dam and waterwheel.

In the land records and other documents used for this research they always used the Rice’s Mills and the road that has become known as Hopkins Hollow Road to give directions. These references give you the indication of the importance of both families in the history of this area.

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