Born 1707, died 1785.
Rhode Island representative to the Continental Congress from 1774-1779 and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was the only signer to sign with a trembling hand, though it is not clear if this is from nervousness or drink. He was one of the most zealous supporters of Independency. His support can be dated back to at least 1764 when he wrote pamphlets such as "Rights of the Colonies Examined" which looked at whether the Parliament should be able to tax the colonies. Additionally, while serving in the Congress he helped draft the Articles of Confederation, and was chair of the Marine committee.
In addition to his work in Congress, Hopkins was heavily involved in Rhode Island politics. He first become involved with public affairs in Scituate, where he was born. He served in several positions there -- town clerk, representative in the general assembly, chief justice of the court of common plea, and president of the town council. He served as governor for nine one-year terms, the first term being in 1755. In 1764 he became the first chancellor of Brown University. Additionally, he was the founder of both the Providence Gazette and Country Journal, both patriot newspapers.
He was born in Scituate and lived there until 1742 when he moved to Providence. Despite the fact that his early education was limited he was known for his intelligence and wit. He was also known for his hot temper. He married Sarah Scott in 1726, who bore him 7 children. After she died, he married Anne Smith. He worked for several years as a farmer and later joined his brother working as a shipbuilder. He also worked in business.
Information from Lili, dramaturgy person for Wellesley College's production of 1776.