An article in "The New Era" a Kirksville, Missouri newspaper gives an account of his tragic death:
TRAGIC DEATH IN MISSOURI
"Shouting 'give me liberty or give me death' in a heated discussion of United States war tread on the courthouse lawn here Friday afternoon, George W. Hopkins, aged Livonia preacher and coal miner, suddenly swayed and fell. A moment later he was dead. Physicians said he had suffered a heart attack, the culmination of myocarditis. Apparently a stranger in Kirksville, Mr. Hopkins was unidentified until yesterday morning, after which relatives at Unionville were notified and came here after the body. Blind in the right eye, wearing a green shirt, grey pants and a khaki colored workman's cap, he had been seen at a meeting of old-age assistance recipients at the courthouse shortly before his death. Afterwards he was mingling with loungers on the lawn and exchanged some observations with E.C. Wickless, 402 West Michigan Street, which led to an argument about American participation in the war. Mr. Wickless said he did not know the man nor remembered exactly what was said, except that Hopkins took a divergent viewpoint to the Kirksville man's expressed disfavor toward sending U.S. soldiers abroad. This developed to an intensity which had the men shouting and using vigorous gestures." "A SECOND PATRICK HENRY: They were standing in front of benches alongside the walk leading to the east entrance of the courthouse when Hopkins stretched himself proudly and cried in a voice that carried through the hub-bub of traffic to persons on the street a block away: 'I'm a 100 percent American citizen.....Give me liberty or give me death.' Corda Siegmund, city policeman, was standing a short distance from the men, ready to caution them against continuance of the discussion if it grew any more violent, when he saw Hopkins topple against Mr. Wickless. Surprised, Wickless stepped aside apparently to study Hopkins' actions. Then Hopkins' knees buckled and he fell backward on the sidewalk. The policeman ran to him and seeing that he was unconscious, had a physician summoned. When Hopkins was revealed dead, Coroner W. C. Summers took the body to the Summer & Flinchpaugh funeral home, where efforts at identification throughtout Friday night proved futile. The only clue about the body was a case for glasses which contained the name of a Newton, Ia., optometrist. The optometrist was called but could supply no information. Saturday morning about 10 o'clock, Chief of Police Leonard Crow received a telephone call which led to solution of the mystery. It was from the Friendly Inn and the chief was told an elderly man who had left a suitcase there Friday, saying it was too heavy to carry with him and he would return for it in a few hours, had not returned to claim his baggage. Coroner Summers opened the suitcase and therein found a coat and vest matching the grey pants worn by the victim of the dramatic 'liberty or death' coincidence. There were also letters, a Bible and other papers idicating his name and address. Mr. Summers did not deem an inquest necessary." "69 YEARS OLD: Mr. Hopkins, whose full name was George Washington Hopkins, was 69 years old, having been born Sept. 26, 1872 in Kentucky. He had lived in Putnam county a number of years, however, moving to Livonia about three months ago from Omaha. He was enroute to Liberty, Ill., to visit a daughter when he stopped here. Surviving him are eight sons and daughters, as follows: Mrs. Nettie Sears, Unionville; Mrs. Evelyn Call, Chesterfield, Ida.; Mrs. Willard Vanessen, Liberty, Ill.; James Owen Hopkins, Livonia; George Hopkins, Jr., Newton, Ia; Mrs. Mabel Carman, Livonia, and Alex Hopkins, Newton, La. His wife died four years ago and was buried at the Hartford cemetery. Mr. Hopkins' body was to be taken to Unionville for funeral services, after which burial would be made beside his wife."
Later, the foregoing newspaper carried another account claiming that George Washington Hopkins was enroute from Livonia, MO to Liberty, MO to visit Mr. Willard Vanessen.
More About George Washington Hopkins, Sr.: Burial: Unknown, Hartford Cemetery, Unionville, Putnam County, Missouri. Census: April 12, 1930, Mound Prairie, Jasper County, Iowa; Age 56 b. KY. M. 31 Yrs old when married.. Occupation: Preacher.
More About George Washington Hopkins, Sr. and Perna Loucinda Russell: Marriage: Abt. 1903
Children of George Washington Hopkins, Sr. and Perna Loucinda Russell are: