Thomas Hoke, 1789–1854
Thomas Hoke was born to unknown parents about 1789 in Maryland. He married Elizabeth Roadman of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Johann Ludolf Roadman and Eve Ann Byerly. Thomas and Elizabeth lived in and owned property in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, where his occupation was mason. They then moved to Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, leasing and buying property as well as purchasing five shares of the Pittsburgh Navigation and Fire Insurance Company. With lingering real estate ties to Pennsylvania, Thomas and Elizabeth trekked west with their young family to Missouri about 1838. Their sons, William R., John Henry, Samuel, and George Washington Hoke, were all born in Pennsylvania with their last son, Benjamin Franklin Hoke’s, birth taking place in November 1838 in St. Charles, Missouri.
In 1840, Thomas signed a petition in Marion County, Missouri, requesting a new road to connect Road No. 13 to Marion City. Thomas had invested in lots in the visionary William Muldrow’s ill-fated town of Marion City, six miles east of Palmyra, Marion County, Missouri. Marion City’s location on the bank of the Mississippi River proved to be its very demise in the spring of 1844 when the town was washed away. After Thomas tried to recoup his investment in the Marion City lots, he and Elizabeth took up residence in St Louis County in 1845. They purchased 171.80 acres that were part of the Andrew Robertson Survey 2775 which became their Hoke Farm. Here they built a 29’2” x 28’8” framed two-story, eight-room house, between six-miles and eight-miles from St Louis on St. Charles Rock Road in Township 46, Range 6 East. Later, Thomas and Elizabeth’s son, John Henry Hoke, had a dram license and ran a store from one of those locations. In 1850, the Hoke Farm had fifty improved acres and 122 unimproved acres running 150 head of sheep, forty swine, and nine milch cows with crops of corn, oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and hay, and production of honey and butter.
Thomas and Elizabeth were affiliated with the Eden Methodist Episcopal church which later became the Mt. Auburn Methodist Episcopal Church South which met at the Washington School House near the St. Charles Rock Road one mile west of Wellston. They either donated or sold some of their property to the church in 1852.
Thomas passed away 8 October 1854 in St Louis County. The Missouri Republican newspaper in 1858 ran an ad for “Magnificent Country Property––At Auction––Subdivision of the Celebrated ‘Hoke Farm’” with “Beautiful Building Sites.” (See the image to the right.) Newspapers in subsequent years carried real estate transfer notices of lot purchases in Hoke’s subdivision and to this very day homes on Saint Charles Rock Road located in the Thomas Hoke Estate Subdivision, Normandy area of St Louis are listed for sale.
(Sources include the directory of Mt. Auburn Methodist Episcopal Church South; Hodiamont and Wabada, St. Louis, Mo., page 3; the State Historical Society of Missouri, 1020 Lowry St, Columbia, MO 65201; File 297 from C3595 East Conference, United Methodist Church Papers, 1850–1977)
Written by Lena Seng
Hoke auction advertisement
From the Missouri Republican, 1858
Image in public domain
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Last Modified: 30-Mar-2022 12:13