125th Anniversary of The Johns Hopkins University
 
 
125th Anniversary of The Johns Hopkins University
Obituary for Johns Hopkins
Published in The Sun, Baltimore, MD
Thursday morning, December 25, 1873

Death of Johns Hopkins
His Last illness Life and Character His Career as a Merchant and Banker His Benevolent Enterprises Monuments of Learning and Charity, &c.

Mr. Johns Hopkins, the merchant, banker and millionaire, whose benefience this community is so largely to realize in the future, died at 3:45 o'clock yesterday morning, at his residence No. 81 Saratoga street, in the seventy-ninth year of his age. Mr. Hopkins was first taken sick on Monday, the first day of December. On Friday, the fifth, he was sufficiently recovered to venture out, and impelled by his natural mental activity and devotion to business, was engaged that day until late in the afternoon in his office, though rather contrary to the wishes of his medical advisers. The following morning he had a severe attack of asthma, awaking the alarm of his physicians, and from that time until his death his state, with frequent variations, sometimes of improvement and again of the contrary phase, demanded the constant vigilance, care and study of his eminently skilled professional attendants, Dr. W.C. Bibber holding daily consultations with Professors N. R. Smith and Alan P. Smith.

The Fatal Illness

Throughout the course of the disease the venerable patient displayed so constant a courage and so hopeful a spirit as to bouy up the confidence of the attached friends and relatives about him, and it was not until last Saturday, when the disease first affected his head, producing delirium and half consciousness, that the worst fears were aroused.

Up to that time his mind had retained its faculties in all their wonted clearness. He had not, it is true, conversed to any extent on matters of business, or shown any disposition to call up his great plans of charity which he set in a train of consummation, and for which he had so amply provided the means, but his thoughts seemed to take a more domestic channel, and he loved to speak more of smaller and less important matters, apparently dismissing from his attention, while on his sick bed, things of more business concern, and dwelling on little topics of household and social interest.

After last Saturday he was but semi-conscious with a tendency to sleep all the time. Sometimes members of his family at his bedside would be able to command his aroused attention and he would appear to recognize them momentarily, but would soon sink back into his state of lethargy. Happily he had little on his mind of business to create anxiety. Like the model business man that he was he made his will over two years ago, and he had so arranged and disposed all in pecuniary affairs and property interests as to require in his last moments only a single conversation with his lawyer and friend, C. J. M. Gwinn, to entirely and finally settle them.

Religious Views and Sentiments

He was a member of the Society of Friends, regular attendence on their worship, having a seat in which he generally occupied at all the set times of service in the meeting house, corner of Eutaw and Monument streets. He had frequently said to his family physician, Dr. Van Bibber, to whom he was warmly attached, as a friend and physician, that he despised all sectarianism and bigotry, and that he was animated by a strong desire to unite and harmonize all clashing views and discordant elements in religious bodies. If he had a mission, Mr. Hopkins would say when on this topic, it was to destroy sectarianism and cement into one the various Christian sects. Mr. Hopkins never married. He leaves some fifteen or sixteen nephews and nieces, several of them residing in Rhode Island.

Closing Incidents

From the time his disease assumed a serious type, after his relapse of the 6th of this month, Dr. Van Bibber spent every night at Mr. Hopkins s house. Mr. Hopkins was also devotedly attended throughout his illness by several members of his family, Messrs. Richard Janney, James M. Mercer, Lewis Hopkins, Mr. and Mrs. Miles White, Mrs. Elliott, Mrs. E. Mercer, and Mrs. Crenshaw having been always at hand.

Tuesday night there was present at the bedside Dr. van Bibber, Mr. Richard Janney and Mr. James M. Mercer, with a servant. The doctor soon after withdrew to his room for a little repose, but returned to the bedside at 1 A.M. and at 2 o clock. At the last visit evidences of approaching dissolution became apparent, and at 3:45 he was no more.

Mr. Hopkins was a man of extraordinary activity of intellect and nervous quickness of motion. These characteristics were displayed in an extreme degree during the latter part of his sickness in incessant words and motions.

The remains of the deceased repose in an elegant rosewood casket in the room over the library of his late residence. His features wear an expression of calmness and serenity, and the whole appearance of the countenance would be perfectly natural but for a greater palidness than it wore in life. The evidence of affection, placed there by loving hands, surround the bier. There is no emblem of death at the door of the residence, which is explained by the fact that it is not the custom of the Society of Friends to put crape on the door when death enters the household.

The Funeral Preparations

The Funeral will take place to-morrow at 11 o clock A. M.., from the late residence of the deceased. The Funeral train will proceed from there to Greenmount cemetery, where they will be interred. The following gentlemen have been invited to be pall-bearers: Galloway Cheston; Francis T. King; James Carey; Wm. Hopkins; Chas. J. M. Gwinn, Hon. George Wm. Brown, Hon. George W. Dobbin; Robert Garrett, John King, jr., William Keyser; Enoch Pratt, A. H. Stump, Wm. H. Graham, Archibald Stirling, sr., W. H. Baldwin, and J. Saurin Norris. The funeral service will be conducted in accordance with the forms of the Society of Friends. It is known that there are no ministers in the society, but on an occasion like this any member who feels moved to speak does so, and it is probable some one of the society, who knew the deceased well, will perform this duty in the funeral service.

Mourning and Memorial

The new steamship Johns Hopkins, of the Baltimore and Boston Merchants and Miner s line, but the day before the scone of inauguration gayety, was yesterday draped in mourning on account of the death of Mr. Hopkins, after whom the ship was named, and the flag placed at half mast. The other ships of this line, and a number if other ships now in the harbor, also displayed their flags at half mast, and the flag on the Corn and Flour Exchange building was similarly displayed.

A meeting of the directors of the Merchants' bank was held at the bank yesterday morning, when it was resolved that the directors of the bank, in a body, would attend the funeral of Mr. Hopkins.

The member of the board of trade, the corn and flour exchange, and the board of brokers will hold meetings on Friday morning for an expression of sentiment respecting the death of Mr. Hopkins. It was not known at the sessions of the above organizations yesterday morning that Mr. Hopkins was dead, otherwise special meetings would have been held.

A special meeting of the directors of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company will be held at Camden station at ten o clock A. M. to-day, for the purpose of having an expression of sentiment on the death of Mr. Hopkins.

Mr. Hopkins's Estate

Mr. Hopkins s estate in the aggregate is estimated at $8,000,000. The executors are Francis T. King, Francis White and Chas. J. M. Gwinn. The principle items of the estate are the value of two and a quarter millions of dollars stock of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, one million of bank stock. Mr. Hopkins was a stockholder in every bank in the city, except perhaps some of the smaller ones, and he accomplished much good for the business community by his influence in nerving them up in times of stringency and panic. In addition to the above real the estate in the city, consisting mostly of large and valuable warehouses in the heart of the city, estimated at over two millions of dollars, and the commercial paper of the deceased at over one million of dollars.

The country seat "Clifton" is valued at over $200,000, which with the other property will make the total value of the estate over eight millions of dollars. Mr. Hopkins executed a codicil to his will on his death bed, which was in relation to small business matters. He made ample provision for his nephews and nieces some time since. His dwelling house on Saratoga Street is left to his sister during her life time, after which it goes to the hospital and university. Mr. Hopkins was aware of the dangerous character of his disease. He stated that the pneumonia would go to his brain, when he would become unconscious; which was the fact. Before it took place, however, he expressed a strong Christian faith.

The value of the property given to the establishment and support of the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital may be set down at five millions of dollars. Allowing one half of that sum for the university, and comparing the amount with that donated to other institutions of learning in this country, shows that it will possess the largest endowment of any college in the United States. The endowment of Harvard University is less than two and a half millions of dollars. Princeton College, New Jersey, has received donation amounting to $470,000. Cornell University, New York, $487,000. These are some of the institutions which have received the largest donations in this country.

Biographical Sketch

Mr. Johns Hopkins was born in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, May 19, 1795. He was the son of Samuel Hopkins, of that county, and of Hannah Janny Hopkins, of Loudoun county, Virginia, both parents being of Quaker families. He was named after his grandfather Johns Hopkins, of Anne Arundel, who was the descendant of the early English settlers of that county, being one of six brothers who emigrated form England to America, two of whom made their homes in New England, and four in Maryland. Johns Hopkins, the grandfather, inherited the considerable landed assets acquired by his ancestors in Anne Arundel and cultivated his property with the aid of some hundred negroes, whom he afterwards emancipated, the consequences of doubt arising in his mind as to the rightfulness of negro bondage. This estate was afterwards cultivated by his son, Samuel Hopkins, with the assistance of his sons, one of whom was the late Johns Hopkins, who, in his eighteenth year, showed a strong disposition to engage in mercantile life and was allowed to enter the counting room of his uncle, Gerald T. Hopkins, who was then conducting a wholesale grocery in this city.

In this position he developed superior business intelligence and energy, and seven years later, with the consent of his uncle, formed in partnership with Benjamin P. Moore, in the wholesale grocery business. In 1813, three years later, this partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Hopkins called to his aid two younger brothers, and gave them an interest in his business, which became rapidly developed by the great personal energy of the senior partner. The trade of the house with the valley of Virginia was very large, and it rapidly extended through other parts of that State and into adjoining States. After a prosperous career of twenty-five years, Mr. Hopkins relinquished the business to his brothers, and was afterwards elected president of the Merchant s Bank of Baltimore, which he filled with great credit and in such manner as to extend assistance to those who by their diligence, good sense and integrity attracted his attention and esteem.

Mr. Hopkins had been, from an early period in its history, a close observer of that great work, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and held a large amount of its stock. In 1847 he was induced to become a director, and thenceforth took an active part in its management. In December 1855, he was appointed chairman of the finance committee of the company, and has contributed greatly to the success of the company by his sagacity and devotion to its interests. In 1857, when the company, embarrassed by the monetary difficulties of the country and by internal dissensions, was unable to provide in due season for the heavy obligations imposed upon it by the extension of the road, Mr. Hopkins came voluntarily forward, and by endorsing the notes of the company to a very large amount pledged his private fortune to its support, and thus saved the company s credit, and insured the completion and success of the road. Mr. Hopkins added to his ownership of the stock until he became possessed of more than 15,000 shares, representing a par value of $1,500,000, and an actual market value of more than $2,300,000. His interest in the company is less only in amount than that owned by the State of Maryland and the city of Baltimore.

The city owes no small share of its prosperity to his enlightened and energetic efforts. Throughout his business life he had the strongest confidence in the future growth and commercial importance of Baltimore, and endeavored to employ his means in such a manner as would best accomplish that object. No one has labored more earnestly and successfully to open new channels of commercial intercourse between the city and other sections of the United States, while, to enable its merchants to accommodate and retain its growing trade, he has purchased squares and lots in localities convenient for business, but which had no suitable buildings upon them, and supplied them with substantial warehouses, and has also erected massive buildings for the use of those mercantile corporations and agencies which increase with the needs of a commercial city.

It was not, however, to the region of commerce and utility that Mr. Hopkins proposed to limit his enterprises for the public good. On the contrary he had long ago determined to devote the bulk of the great fortune which he had conceived in the interest of humanity and education. These enterprises embraced, first, a hospital on the largest and most improved scale for the sick on the site of the old Maryland Hospital, in East Baltimore; an asylum for colored orphaned children on separate ground, and a university on his estate of Clifton, within one mile of the city. Mr. Hopkins set aside property to the value of at least two millions of dollars to be dedicated to the support of the great hospital, in addition to the ground for it in the heart of the eastern part of the city, and amounting to some thirteen acres, bounded by Wolfe, Monument, Broadway and Jefferson streets, which were purchased by him at a cost of $225,000 for the purpose of his charity. Meantime, during his life, and until the hospital buildings should be completed, he placed $100,000 per annum at the disposal of the trustees in order to carry out his wishes; and from the resources of the property which they are hereafter to receive they are privileged to appropriate $20,000 per annum to the maintenance of the Colored Orphans Home, which is to accommodate three to four hundred of that class, while the hospital is designed also ultimately to provide for four hundred patients.

His desire was also urgently expressed that the hospital buildings, in their construction and arrangements, should compare favorably with any like institutions in this country or Europe. A building committee was appointed of prominent citizens, a part of whose duty it was to examine the hospitals of the principle cities in the world; so that doubtless this municicent charity will take permanent form which will add to the architectural beauties of Baltimore, and, in addition to adequate hospital accommodations for the sick, will provide ample grounds, ornamented with trees and flowers, healthful air and with pleasant prospects of the harbor, city and river. This hospital has for one of its features the establishment of a training school for nurses, the first provision of the kind which has been made in any institution in this country. In all arrangements Mr. Hopkins desired it to be constantly borne in mind that the hospital should form ultimately a part of the medical school of the university.

The university designed by Mr. Hopkins, bearing his own name, has been organized by the appointment of trustees, and Mr. Hopkins has provided for free scholarships by which poor and deserving students from Maryland and Virginia shall be maintained. In addition to the other accommodations the estate of "Clifton" will afford ample space for the establishment of a botanical and agricultural school upon an extended scale. It is believed that Mr. Hopkins has set apart by his will his whole interest in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, the actual market value of which is believed to amount to-day to two millions and a half, to this university, all of which is in addition to hi gifts of the Clifton estate of nearly four hundred acres.

During the late financial panic the timely and energetic assistance rendered by Mr. Hopkins to the mercantile community was of the most valuable character, and was recognized by our business men in terms of enthusiastic acknowledgment.

In the death of Johns Hopkins a career has been closed which affords a rare example of successful energy in individual accumulations, and of practical beneficence in devoting the gains thus acquired to the public.

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