John Henry Hopkins Jr. – not his relatively famous Vermont bishop and author father of the same name – has been virtually forgotten. But like so many composers, the song he wrote lives on, sung by millions of people at the Christmas season.
"The family moved to Burlington from Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1831 when Hopkins Sr. was named rector of St. Paul’s Church and the next year bishop of Vermont. In Vermont, the younger Hopkins found a home. Only 11 years old when he arrived in the state, he would adopt Vermont as his own despite living most of his adult years elsewhere. When Bishop Hopkins founded the Vermont Episcopal Institute, he needed an assistant to help run it, so he picked his teenaged son to become the tutor and the occasional administrator of the floggings that were a part of 19th century school discipline. Hopkins also played flute and bugle in the school orchestra, taught Sunday school and sang in the church choir.
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