George Thomas Hoke was born on 15 April 1865 in St. Louis, Missouri, the third child and first son of George and Elizabeth (Martin) Hoke. As an adult, he had brown hair and grey eyes and was five feet five inches tall. He was said to be of Scottish, Irish, and Dutch descent descending from the early Martin, Withington, and Carrico families of St. Louis vicinity.

Just prior to his fourth birthday, in 1869, his mother died of consumption in St. Louis leaving him and his nine and seven-year-old sisters motherless. Soon after, his father married Louise James, daughter of Edward and Nancy (Withington) James. He gained a younger half-sister and brother whose family lived in Troy, Bedford Township, Lincoln County, Missouri, in 1870. They had not been married long when his father contracted cerebrospinal meningitis and died on 1 June 1873 in St. Louis.

Eight-year-old George had been fortunate enough to travel sometimes with his father on business trips as a horse trader. Now young George was left in the guardianship of his uncle, Benjamin Franklin Hoke, appointed by the Lincoln County court. By 1875, when he was age ten, his stepmother moved to Tehama County, California, where she married John Troughton on 25 December 1875. In the Lincoln County 1879 October term, the court discharged Benjamin Hoke as fourteen-year-old George’s guardian. Hired hands helped George escape the cruel treatment of his uncle.

It is unlikely that George was truly age eighteen when he was listed on the June 1880 census. He was a boarder and laborer living with the William and Caroline Blackwell family who were farming in St. Ferdinand in St. Louis County. In his associations over the next few years in and around St. Louis, his path crossed that of a young schoolgirl named Eliza Brown. He later said, “The first time I seen her, I loved her, though she wasn’t much more than a babe. So cute and curly-headed.” Their love blossomed, and they were married on 25 September 1887, in Montgomery County, Missouri, where they started their family.

To support his family, he would take his horse and be gone for a month or so on business trips. He would trade horses, returning with new horses and sometimes $1000 or more from his business dealings. The income helped support their growing family of children. Buford, Leecel, Jesse, Earl, Ethel, Laura, Alonzo, and Bessie were born from 1888 to 1903 in Montgomery County, Missouri. Buford passed away from hydrocephalus in 1902 in St. Louis and Earl passed away from tuberculosis that same year.

In 1903, George and Eliza uprooted their family and traveled west by covered wagon from Missouri to the steel works area of Pueblo, Colorado. After spending three or four years there they traveled to Montana to a homestead at Luther, Carbon County, where their youngest son Arnold was born in 1910. George passed away 26 August 1938 in Red Lodge, Carbon County, Montana.

Written by Lena Seng
August 2022

© 2023, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Eliza and George Hoke
George and Eliza (Brown) Hoke
Photo in the collection of Lena Seng
Used with permission

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Last Modified: 18-Mar-2023 13:56