William E. Hopping has the honor of being a California Forty-niner. He comes of old English ancestry. Three brothers, John , James and Abram Hopping, came to America and settled on Long Island. When the Declaration of Independence was signed John and James espoused the cause of the colonies and Abram remained true to his King. After the close of the war Abram removed to Canada and, it is claimed, dropped the final g in his name. This is the history of the names Hoppin and Hopping in America. The brothers who joined their interests with the colonies remained on Long Island. For many years their posterity lived in New Jersey. In that State Mr. Hopping's father, Primrose Hopping, was born. He married Nancy Chasey, also a native of New Jersey. To them were born three daughter and two sons, of whom only two are now living, the subject of this sketch and his sister, Mrs. C. Stewart, of Oakland, California. She weighs 300 pounds and Mr. Hopping tips the beam at 370. He received his education in the East and there learned the butcher's business.

Mr. Hopping came around the Horn in the old ship Balance, landing at San Francisco, November 23, 1849. This was the last voyage the old ship made, and she now lies buried at the foot of Pacific street. The history of this ship as given to Mr. Hopping by her captain is as follows:

A New York merchant had lost several of his ships by the English. In order to get even and get revenge he fitted out an American privateer and captured, during the war of 1812, several prizes, and finally this ship, which he named the Balance in honor of the fact that she made his account even with the English. How old she was when captured is not known, but she sailed under American colors thirty-seven years, until 1849, when she was pronounced unseaworthy.

Mr. Hopping began work at his trade in the Fulton Market, corner of Washington and Jackson streets, San Francisco. The following spring his desire to dig for gold sent him to the mines. His first experience was at Murphy's mines in Calaveras County, where he was successful. Then he mined up as far as Mud Springs on Logtown Creek. He subsequently went to Big Canon and he and Charles Crocker mined there together. He spent a year at Big Canon and was very successful in his mining operations. During that time he made a trip to Sacramento to secure supplies, as they were scarce at the camp. In 1852 Mr. Hopping came to Shasta County and mined at French Gulch. There he began butchering and carried on that business in connection with his mining interests, continuing the same until March, 1864. He afterward received the nomination from the Republican party for Sheriff of the county. He was elected and served two years, and at the end of that time was re-elected. At the close of his second term he engaged in quartz mining in the Highland mine. It paid well for a time but they finally lost the vein. Mr. Hopping still owns a half interest in it. He was elected to and held the office of County Judge for eight years, until the adoption of the new constitution. He soon after became register of the land office and filled the position until 1882, when he was again elected Sheriff of the county. At the writing he has the nomination for the same office another term. He is ex-officio tax collector of the county. Mr. Hopping has had much to do with thieves and murders, both as Judge and Sheriff, and has conveyed many convicts to prison, as many as eight at one time and none ever escaped from him.

Mr. Hopping was married in New Jersey, in 1863, to Miss Harriet Hopping of Hanover, New Jersey, his half second cousin and a lady he had known before coming to California. Five children have been born to them, three of whom are deceased. Those living are Hattie and William, both born in Shasta County.

During the late war Mr. Hopping was a strong Union man, and did all in his power to uphold the Government. He is a Royal Arch and Council Mason and is Past Master of his lodge. He is member of the Society of California Pioneers.

Transcribed by: Melody Landon Gregory August 2004
Source: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California, Lewis Publishing Co. 1891 pages 765-766

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