Barclay Hopkins' sons all went into oil field work, at least for a while. Barclay didn't own a farm, but rented land in Wells County, Indiana. His sons worked for him on his farm, and for other farmers as hired hands when they were young. Farm hands didn't get much money, and most of what they got had to be turned over to their father to help support the family.
Wells and Jay counties had an oil field in those days, and the sons began working in the oil fields there. The wages were better and they were still living at home. They learned the skills they needed to work in other fields as they were developed.
The first oil field outside of Indiana that the family worked in was in Coodys Bluff, Oklahoma, in Nowata County. Will Hopkins was working there in 1911 when he was visited by his younger brother Charley. His sister Emma worked in a boarding house there, too. After trying other jobs, Charley returned to Coodys Bluff in 1913. They all worked there until they moved to the Eldorado, Kansas field in 1916.
In Eldorado, more family members joined them. Alice and her husband James Stephens, Arthur, Will, Ed, Luther, and Charley Hopkins all worked there, and Emma and their mother lived there, too. They stayed there until the end of WWI, when the slowdown in the economy brought about layoffs at the Eldorado field. Alice and James Stephens moved to Texas, Ed moved to Whiting, Indiana, Luther went to Lawrenceville, Illinois, and the rest of the family went to Lee County, Kentucky to work in the new oil field being developed there.
When the work slowed in Kentucky, Charley, Emma and their mother moved to Parkerton, Wyoming, where he worked in the Big Muddy oil field. Arthur joined them there, and Howard worked there during his summer vacations from school. They worked in that field until the Depression brought about more layoffs.
Charley went back to Eldorado, Kansas when things began to slow in Wyoming, and then to the oil field at Iraan, Texas. He lived and worked there until 1953, when he suffered a sun stroke and had to retire from oil field work.
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This file was last updated on 7/15/2004.