This Month In County History

1795: Johns Hopkins is born on plantation

May 13, 2005

Johns Hopkins, the merchant, banker and philanthropist, was born May 19, 1795, in Anne Arundel County. His mother and father were Quakers and owned a tobacco planation.

Acting on their Quaker beliefs on abolition, his parents freed the family slaves in 1807, which caused the young Johns to leave school and help with the grueling fieldwork. As a young man, he ventured to Baltimore to help an uncle in his wholesale grocery business.

Before long, Hopkins established his own wholesale grocery and other businesses. After becoming an early investor in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, he became one of the wealthiest humanitarians of his time.

Hopkins foresaw a need for a great university and hospital in Baltimore. When he died in 1873, he left a bequest of $7 million to establish each institution, both named after him.

Source: Dictionary of American Biography

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