Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 224
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
O. E. HOPKINS
The law stands most prominent among our learned professions because it is the only one that involves the study and pursuit of a stable and exact science. Theology, it is true, was once considered an inimitable science, but in these modern times we see the props of every creed attacked and new denominations multiplied. So it is with medicine, for its practice and theories succeed each other in rapid revolution. But amidst them all the science of law remains unchanged, its principles as firm as the rock of Gibraltar. Is it any wonder then that men who follow the legal profession claim more than a passing interest from their fellow men? And this is especially true when they have, through their own efforts acquired more than ordinary prominence and are known to exercise more than ordinary care in sifting the contents of fact and brain, well knowing that it is only on the anvil of discussion that the spark of truth can be struck.
One of the most prominent legal practitioners at the bar of Rice county is O E Hopkins, who is now occupying the position of county attorney, to which office he was elected on the Republican ticket in November, 1898. He stands as an able representative of his profession in central Kansas, his ability being widely recognized. He was born in Warren county, Indiana, near Williamsport, on the 26th of November, 1868, and is a son of W H Hopkins, whose birth occurred in Illinois, where the grandfather of our subject located in pioneer days. W H Hopkins, the father, was reared in Indiana, and at the time of the Civil war he manifested his loyalty to his country by donning the uniform of the nation and joining the Thirty-third Indiana Infantry, with which he served until hostilities had ceased and the preservation of the Union was an assured fact. He married Susan Schoonover and in 1871 came westward with his family to Kansas, securing a homestead claim in Farmer township, Rice county. This was before the county was organized, and in the work of its establishment Mr Hopkins took an active part. He still owns the homestead, and is one of the leading and valued citizens of Rice county. In his political views he is a Republican, and was the choice of his party for sheriff in 1896, but was defeated by a fusion ticket. Socially he is connected with the Grand Army of the Republic and with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and in his religious belief he is a Methodist, taking an active interest in the work of the church. His life has been honorable and upright, and he is as faithful to all duties of a civil nature as he was to the military duties which devolved upon him when he followed the stars and stripes through the south. He had but two children O E, and Bertha, who is with her parents.
Mr Hopkins, whose name forms the caption of this review, was reared upon the homestead farm and there developed the physical strength which formed the foundation of his success in life. He was early taught lessons of industry and honesty and was trained in the common branches of English learning in the common schools, after which he pursued his studies in Salina, Kansas. For a time he engaged in teaching school, and, with the intention of making the practice of law his life work, he matriculated in the law department of the State University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where he was graduated with honor in the class of 1894. He is still a student and prepares his cases with great thoroughness and precision. From the beginning of his professional career he has met with a fair degree of success, and his clientage is now of a distinctively representative character.
In October, 1897, was celebrated the marriage of Mr Hopkins and Miss Lura C Collins, of Salina, a lady of superior intellectual culture and refinement and a daughter of S W Collins, who is now deceased. Socially Mr Hopkins is connected with the Masonic fraternity, with the Independent Order of odd Fellows and with the Knights of Pythias lodge, being a valued representative of those organizations. In politics he has ever been a stanch Republican and takes an active interest in the growth and success of his party. At his second election in November, 1900, to the position of county attorney he received a majority of five hundred and fifty-six votes, a fact which indicates his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in his ability and official integrity. He discharges the duties of the office in a prompt and reliable manner. He is a strong advocate before the jury and concise in his appeals before the court. He is so thoroughly well read in the minutiae of the law that he is able to base his arguments upon thorough knowledge of and familiarity with precedents and to present a case upon its merits, never failing to recognize the main points at issue and never neglecting to give a thorough preparation. His pleas have been characterized by a terse and decisive logic and lucid presentation rather than by flights of oratory, and his power is the greater before court or jury from the fact that it is recognized that his aim is ever to secure justice and not to enshroud the cause in a sentimental garb of illusion which thwarts the principles of right and equity involved.