Emma Curtis Hopkins: Travels to Europe

    By D. Annemarie Rogers Halfpap
    DCLL Research, Production & Senior Editor

    In researching Emma Curtis Hopkins we have been very meticulous in verifying what we found. There are people who have stated things as fact, that we now know were assumptions. Something as simple as the year of Emma’s birth being wrong. Unfortunately when the errors become public the message tends to lose validity. There are some interesting things we have come across that we have chosen not to publish until we can verify it. One area that is taking a bit to verify is Emma’s travels to Europe. I am happy to say that I have made progress in this, but still have more to confirm. Here is what I have confirmed so far.

    Now I knew Emma had been to England because she mentions being there in Talk #2 in the book Center Activities. So with that information in hand my search began. I was fortunate enough to find a passport application for Emma dated January 5, 1893. I found this application interesting for a number of reasons.

  • Verifies birth date as September 2, 1849
  • Lived in Chicago in 1893
  • She called herself a “Minister of the Gospel”
  • Physical description:
    • Age: 43
    • Stature: 5’ 5 ½”
    • Forehead: high & wide
    • Eyes: blue
    • Nose: aquiline
    • Mouth: small
    • Chin: round
    • Hair: Gray-brown
    • Complexion: light
    • Face: oval
  • The application was witnessed by William A. Merigold
  • and the passport was to be mailed to his address
  • This information led me to the August 23, 1893 New York Passenger list of the ship “Teutonic”. On the list was a Mrs. E. C. Hopkins, 43 year old female “Lady”, citizen of the USA, transient, with 2 bags, embarking in Liverpool. The question now, is this our Emma? How do we verify that it is? I read up the list, and who do we find directly above her, Mrs. W. Merigold accompanied by her 8-year-old son Arthur.  I recognized the name Merigold, but was it the same Merigold?

    So begins my search for William A. Merigold. I found William Andrew Merigold married Emma Louise Smith and that on July 15, 1892 William A. Merigold and wife (Emma L.) apply for a passport jointly. The 1900 Census finds him in Hyde Park, Cook County, Illinois with his wife Emma L. and son Arthur, age 14. Then what ties this all together is the 1891 list of Emma’s students published in the Christian Science Magazine. On that list were W. Merigold and E. Merigold.

    When I do research I give myself the rule of 3 connections. In this case we have 4 solid ones:

  1. Emma’s passport application names William A. Merigold of Chicago IL
  2. The 1893 passenger list has a Mrs. E. C. Hopkins who matches our data, and is traveling with a Mrs. W. Merigold and her son Arthur
  3. William A. Merigold is found on the 1900 census in Illinois with his wife Emma and son Arthur
  4. The student list of 1891 lists W. (William) and E. (Emma) Merigold

With these facts in hand, and the other information gleaned, I am very confident in stating that Emma Curtis Hopkins did indeed travel to England in the summer of 1893 with her former student, Mrs. Emma Merigold.

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