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Diadamia Hopkins Shepherd - The Clue in the Deed

Diadamia Shepherd

A diadem is a crown or sign of royalty. Diadamia (Hopkins) Shepherd is one of my g g grandmothers, and her origins were a bit of a mystery until I found a deed with a clue.

Deeds, especially in the early Americas, should not be overlooked for in them are found many clues. A deed not only gives you the physical location of an ancestor, the names of his neighbors and witnesses who were often family and when a property is sold, but it can also give you the name of his wife.

David Shepherd lived in Rutland County Vermont, and like most Americans he owned property. When a man sold his property his wife was interviewed and given the opportunity say that she had no objection to the sale of the land. This was important because, as his wife, she owned 1/3 interest, or dower rights, to any property her husband owned. Her giving her approval was necessary to clear the title to the land.

In the many land transactions of David, his wife Diadamia was interviewed and her name is recorded, so by looking at the land records I knew her first name, but nothing of her maiden name or her origins. My big clue came on one particular land sale. The deed mentions that -David and Diadamia Shepherd were selling land that she received 'as an heir of Wait Hopkins, late of Bennington Vermont.

At first I didn't know why she was an heir, she could have been a daughter, a niece or a granddaughter of Wait Hopkins, but now I had another name, Wait Hopkins, the fact that he was deceased, and a place to look, Bennington Vermont.

Wait Hopkins

Furthers research told me that Wait Hopkins, of Bennington Vermont, was one of the Green Mountain Boys, and was killed in the Revolutionary War. A check at the 1st Congregational Church in Bennington, which would have been the church in the area at this time gave more clues. Reverend Jedediah Dewey was the 1st minister of this 1st Church in Bennington. He was one of the 'Black Cloak Brigade' . These were ministers who supported the Revolution and who kept their congregations fired up with their pro-independence sermons.

The Church has, of course, a cemetery, records of members, and records of burials and baptisms.  One name on the lists of members was Wait Hopkins. In these church records found the baptism of Diadamia Hopkins  "baptized by her grandfather Reverend Jedediah Dewey at Bennington, Vermont on February 28, 1768", and the names of her parents Wait Hopkins and Mindwell Dewey.

There were many other records found in that little church among the baptisms, marriages and burials, and I found them as a result of a " clue in a deed".


Julie Hammons

Julie has been involved in Family History nearly all her life.  She lived in Arizona until about two years ago. While there she regularly researched at the Arizona State Archives, and the Mesa Regional Family History Center. She also wrote a genealogy column for the Verde Independent and taught genealogy research classes at conferences for the Northern Arizona Genealogy Society, the Sedona Genealogy Club and monthly classes at her local Family History Center.
She is member of The Association of  Professional Genealogists, serves on the Board of the Southern Utah Family History and Genealogy Group, where she is the newsletter editor. She also volunteers at the St. George Regional FHC where she is on the Training Team and teaches research classes. She has several genealogy related web pages and a blog The Lost Grandmother which focuses on finding those women in our lines who are often elusive.

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