By Kathryn Reisdorfer

(This is the second part of a two-part article regarding Ann Hopkins.)

Ann Hopkins, the feisty wife of Clarence Hopkins, the Chief Engineer for United Verde Copper Company, was busy making her own way in Jerome when World War I erupted.  In order to meet the demands of war, United Verde's smelter was running full bore and, according to Hopkins, "The sulfur smoke from the smelter had killed all the verdure for miles around.  There was not a living green thing within sight of Jerome. . . ."

Toward the end of the war, her husband went to Washington to do "war work," and when he came home, something had changed.  Mrs. Hopkins' life turned upside down.  This was early in 1919.  Her five year old son noticed that "the Old Man" had silk shirts.  "Dad's" fingernails were manicured.  And he was wearing perfume.  "He had never allowed me to use perfume," she wrote in her autobiography.  "He claimed it made him sick. . . . if it hadn't been for the perfume, I would have thought no more about it."  But she did think about it, and it nearly drove her wild.  She asked for advice from a local driver/chauffeur named Geoff:

"When a man gets to acting peculiar and never before in his life had had a manicure or wore silk shirts, and had hated perfume, and then, all of a sudden begins to like these things, what does it mean?"  He said, "Lady Hop, it means that there is a woman somewhere, and I am sorry for you."

Her husband finally admitted that he had socialized with a Jerome teacher, who was also doing "war work" in Washington.  Ann rode her horse to the school, walked in with her riding quirt, and whipped the teacher.  The event caused a momentary scandal, but charges were never brought against Mrs. Hopkins.  However, she did discover something: she whipped the wrong teacher!  And the alleged infidelity continued to rankle her spirits.

In 1921, the Hopkins family was relocating to California, and considering a divorce.  Mrs. Hopkins' life and mental health were deteriorating.  "I put the boys in Boarding School, and I went to Prescott to go to a sanitarium or hospital where I could get well and where I would be safe. . . ."   The opposite happened.  She became more distraught and was obsessed with messages she was getting from her husband's lawyer.  It looked as though Clarence was attempting to get control of the children, and, if he did, she believed she would never see them again.

Abandoning her sick bed in Prescott, Ann bought a bottle of carbolic acid, hired a car, went to Jerome and checked into the Connor Hotel.  The next morning, she poured most of the acid into a glass, went to the hotel dining room where a young teacher was having breakfast, and threw it on her.  Hopkins recalled the events in her autobiography:

"When I reached the table [the teacher] threw her arm out, and hit the glass, throwing the contents into my face.  Then she pulled my hair.  I turned and went slowly upstairs to my room, where I collapsed on the bed."

The newspapers exploited the event: "Woman Throws Carbolic Acid Into Face of Young Jerome Teacher and Tries to Rub Burning Fluid into Eyes of Victim," was sprawled across one third of the Prescott Evening Courier on March 31, 1921.  "JEALOUSY BELIEVED CAUSE OF OUTRAGE."

The story, which filled several columns, oozed with concern for the victim and immediately condemned the aggressor.  The reporter described how the jealous Mrs. Hopkins attacked the teacher and was pulled off by bystanders.  He briefly discussed the earlier horsewhipping of the teacher in the school and then continued:

"[Mrs. Hopkins] is alleged to have said something about having horsewhipped the 'wrong girl last time,' but that she was going to punish the right one this trip."

Six weeks later, local papers covered the trial thoroughly.  The court inquired into details of Mr. Hopkins' relationship with Miss Gallagher.  It was innocent; Mr. Hopkins himself told the court this.  During the trial, he sat next to his wife, as though he were her ally.  However, he not only testified about his innocent relationship to Miss Gallagher, but he also speculated that his wife was quite mad.  She demanded to control the family's finances, he told the court, and she grieved too much when her mother died.

In her autobiography, Mrs. Hopkins makes it clear that the trial was a nightmare; she was relieved to hear that her brother would attend.  But even he testified against her.  "On the stand Mr. Doherty related the actions of his sister at the death of their mother, about a year ago, repeating Mr. Hopkins' assertions that Mrs. Hopkins was greatly disturbed . . ." (Prescott Evening Courier)

She was found guilty, at least in part, because she was financially independent, jealous, and got very upset when her mother died.  She served several years at the penitentiary in Florence in a special section for woman.  An inmate who joined her had been sentenced to one to three years for murder.  Everyone agreed that Mrs. Hopkins would have gotten off more lightly if she had killed her husband instead of attacking his "friend."

Ann Hopkins had lost most of her property by the time she was released from the penitentiary.  She became a nurse and spent the rest of her life consumed in trying to care for her children and clear her name.  In 1934, she wrote her autobiography in California "alone in my little cabin home in the hills, away from the noise of the city."  She lamented, "When a human being falls into the clutches of the Law, innocent or guilty, he is a criminal.  If the newspapers see a big coup they make a story."  She completes the introduction to her life with this reminder:  "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." 

Kathryn Reisdorfer is currently researching the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Hopkins "crime" and her life, both before and after the incident.  A much more detailed account of this story can be found in the Jerome Chronicle, which is available from the Jerome Historical Society