Benjamin Franklin Hoke, born in 1838 in Missouri, was the youngest child of Thomas Hoke and Elizabeth Roadman. In 1850, at age twelve, he lived on the Hoke farm in District 82 of St. Louis with his parents and older brothers: John, age twenty-five; Samuel, age twenty-three; and George, age eighteen. His oldest brother, William R. Hoke, age twenty-eight, had left home and now lived in Palmyra, Missouri, with wife, Frances, and their three sons.

Benjamin was just one month away from his sixteenth birthday on 2 November when his father, Thomas Hoke, passed away on 8 October 1854 in St. Louis County. Thomas Hoke’s probate record listed “Benjamin F. Hoke aged about eighteen years and residing in the said county of St. Louis” and awarded him $22.50.

In 1855–1856, B. Franklin Hoke attended school at St. Louis County Protestant Orphans Home, which later became a boys’ boarding school.

Upon his father’s death, the family sold the Hoke farm to trek west across the plains to California where older brother, William R. Hoke and his family had already moved. By 1852, they were in Calaveras, County. It is there in Cosumnes, Lee Township, Sacramento County, in 1860, that Benjamin, age twenty-two, lived with his mother, Elizabeth, on a farm with boarders. Benjamin’s brother, John, and his wife, along with four young children, were also farming and living next door.

Benjamin’s brother, William R. Hoke, passed away a couple of years later, the day after Christmas in 1862 in Sacramento. Williams’s family chose to remain in California, but the John Hoke family along with Benjamin and his mother decided to return to Missouri. This was just prior to the Civil War, and Benj. F. Hoke is next listed in the Civil War draft registrations for St. Louis County in 1863 living at St. Charles Rock Road, age twenty-five, unmarried, a farmer. His brother, Samuel, age forty, unmarried, a farmer, is listed next to him on St. Charles Rock Road. The following year another Civil War draft registration for 1863–1865 was taken, listing Hoke, Benj. F., living “Near Bridgeton,” age twenty-six, single, with the occupation of farmer.

In 1865, B. F. Hoke was taxed by the IRS for an income in excess of $600 while living in St. Ferdinand Township, Bridgeton. His brother, George, was also taxed and living in St. Ferdinand. On 16 December 1865, B. F. Hoke registered to vote in Central Township with an address in Creve Coeur.

Benjamin Franklin Hoke
Benjamin Franklin Hoke
Photo in the collection of Lena Seng
Used with permission

In January 1868, Benjamin married Eleanor “Puss” Moore in St. Louis and they were the parents of two sons, Walter Lee Hoke and Thomas Edgar Hoke.

Benjamin’s mother, Elizabeth, and his brother, Samuel, both passed away in 1870 in Lincoln County, Missouri, where brother, George Hoke, was also living. Upon George’s death in 1873 and brother John’s death in 1875, Benjamin was the last surviving member of his family. Benjamin Hoke died on 21 March 1904 in Wellington, Lafayette County, Missouri.

Written by Lena Seng
August 2022
© 2022, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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