EBEN WILLEY HOPKINS. - Eben Willey Hopkins was born on the 1st of October, 1857, in the old family home in the city of Springfield and remembers distinctly the house in which the days of his boyhood and youth were passed, it being used as the state arsenal as well as the family home, for his father was then in charge of the state arms and the upper floor of the house was used as a storage place for the bullets, while two or three cannon were seen in the yard. At the usual age he entered the public schools and therein pursued his literary education. The musical taste of the family was early manifested in him and when a mere lad he displayed marked ability in this direction. He afterward learned the plumber's trade and also that of a cigar maker, but followed neither, returning to his first love, music. Mr. Hopkins went upon the road with the Haverly Minstrels and with that company traveled throughout upper and lower Canada and visited nearly every state of the Union. He was a member of the Mastodon Minstrels Baseball Club as third baseman. His first trip upon the road covered a period of thirteen months and his second trip occupied nine months. He then returned to Springfield, where he entered the employ of the Illinois Watch Factory as assistant foreman, having thirty-five girls under his supervision. He occupied that position for seven years and soon after accepting it he joined the Illinois Watch Factory Band, of which he was a long a most prominent member. When he resigned his position he went to Boston to study music under Morrison Allsberry, who is now at the head of the Des Moines College of Music, and who had been a pupil of the noted musician, Kneisle, of Boston. Mr. Hopkins studied for some time there, and upon his return to Springfield he began teaching music, making a specialty of stringed instruments and of the clarinet and cornet. He was also the leader of an orchestra of twenty-five pieces in the Second Presbyterian church of Springfield for a number of years, and for nine years was the tenor singer in the First Presbyterian church. He is a member of the Musicians' Union, and his influence in musical circles in Springfield has been potent and far-reaching. He has been a member of the orchestra in the Chatterton Opera House at intervals from the age of fourteen years. He owns a very valuable violin, which dates back to 1692. It is a Nicholas Amati instrument, very sweet in tone, and for which he has been offered one thousand dollars.
Professor Hopkins was married at the old homestead, where he was born and where he now lives, to Miss Nettie Crippen, the wedding being celebrated in 1886. The lady was born in Clyde county, Ohio, was educated in that state and is a daughter of Henry Crippen. Three children have been born of the union, Walter, Luta and Rhea, all born on the old homestead. Mr. Hopkins owns his pleasant residence at No. 513 College street and also the one adjoining it.