Uzal Hopkins was the son of the Rev. Caleb and Ruth (Hull) Hopkins, born September 21, 1781, Warren County, New Jersey. His father was a Captain in the New Jersey Militia during the Revolution, an Episcopal minister and missionary in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York; and (although debated by some family historians) a direct descendant of Stephen Hopkins of Mayflower fame. Caleb was a minister to the St. James Episcopal congregation, (now) Montour County, and the founder of St. Paul’s in Bloomsburg, where his family settled after residing in Derry Township, Northumberland County from 1793 to 1810. Caleb accepted a call for a permanent parish in Angelica, Allegany County, New York in 1823, passing away there in 1824. He was followed in death by his wife in 1841. Uzal married Rebecca Stewart in 1800 and settled at “Williamsburg,” Briar Creek, Bloom Township by 1820. Pursuing the lumber business, he also served as an Episcopal lay deputy in 1824, and later an Episcopal minister. Uzal assumed his father’s old charge in Bloomsburg from 1830 to 1836. In 1832, he was elected to the state Senate, serving one, four-year term. He was an anti-Jackson Democrat and a member of the colorful “Inglorious Eight,” opposing the party-line during Jackson’s veto of the Second U.S. Bank charter.
Already a contractor for the Lehigh Canal, in December 1836, Hopkins formed a partnership with engineer-inventor Isaac McCord of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and four others, entering a railroad-canal construction contract to grade, lay rail, and construct a bridge for the West Feliciana Railroad Company in Bayou Sara, Louisiana. Moving to the job site, the group invested $500,000 in material and labor by early fall 1837. Uzal Hopkins contracted malaria and passed away at Bayou Sara about October 1, 1837. Uzal’s daughter, Melissa, married George Martz of Pottsville: their son Uzal Martz became a prominent newspaper publisher in Pottsville.