John Henry Hoke was born on 23 March 1824, likely in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Hoke and Elizabeth Roadman. About 1836, as a young boy, he moved with his family to Marion, Marion County, Missouri. He moved to St. Louis County, District 82, by 1850 where he lived on the Hoke farm. It was there that he married Octavia Stytz on 13 August 1850. John’s older brother, William, had moved to the Sacramento, California, area and likely convinced John and Octavia to make the trek west where their first child, Alice, was born in 1853. By 15 May 1854, they had returned to St. Louis County where their second child, Eugene, was born in Bridgeton. John’s father passed away 8 October 1854 in St. Louis and then the Hoke farm was sold.

John appears to have been an adventurer traveling back and forth between Missouri and California because in September 1857 he made an overland wagon trip to California passing through the “Utah Mountain Meadow Massacre” site seven days after the incident.

The St. Louis Globe-Democrat in 1886 ran a story of a runaway boy, W. B. Miller, who in 1859 left with the Hoke family to migrate to California. Miller told his mother that he would accompany the Hokes as far as St. Charles and return to her, but he continued to California with the Hoke family.

Migration to California was included in the 20 June 1859 San Francisco Bulletin informing people of a train of migrants from St. Louis County coming their way “headed by John H. Hoke and J. W. Fisku.” The group “embraced three families, besides the necessary hands attending seven teams. They were taking out with them three hundred and thirty-two head of loose cattle and thirty-one head of horses. Their freight-teams were drawn by sixty yoke of oxen. The families were traveling in spring carriages. All were in fine health and spirits, exhibiting a buoyant contrast by the side of a train of ‘Pike’s Peakers.’”

By 11 July 1860, John and his wife and four children had moved to Cosumnes, Lee Township, Sacramento County, California, to farm and live next to his widowed mother, Elizabeth, and his single brother, Benjamin Franklin Hoke. John’s one year old son, Charles Edgar Hoke, may have been born on the trail in 1859. John and his family likely returned to St. Louis by summer of 1861 as Charles Edgar Hoke was born in 1859 and died 4 August 1861, with burial at Bellefontaine Cemetery. The remainder of their nine children were born in or near St. Louis in the years up to 1872.

John is listed on tax assessment lists for the years 1864–1865, Natural Bridge; 1865, Florissant; 1864–1866, Bridgeton; and 1866, St Ferdinand. John owned property adjoining his brother Benjamin Franklin Hoke in Township 49 Range 2E.

In July 1870, John was living in Monroe, Lincoln County, Missouri, with his family, where he died on 24 May 1875 in Cap Au Gris.

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

Hoke farm ad
Advertisement for the sale of the Hoke family farm
Photo from the Daily Missouri Republican, 1858
In the public domain

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Last Modified: 12-Nov-2022 16:34