Civil War Blog

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Jonathan J. Hoke – Shoemaker of Elizabethville

Posted By on October 22, 2014

The shoemaker, Jonathan J. Hoke (1825-1903) is buried at Matter’s Church Cemetery, Elizabethville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  At his grave, there is a G.A.R. star-flag holder.  The photograph (above) is linked to the Findagrave Memorial for Jonathan J. Hoke.  In a recent visit to the Matter’s Church Cemetery, a photograph was taken for the Civil War Research Project, and the same G.A.R. star-flag holder was seen, but with no flag:


In the 1890 Census, a Jonathan J. Hoke reported that he had served in the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, as a Private from 22 October 1862 through discharge on 31 July 1863.


Click on document to enlarge.

At the time of the 1890 Census, that Jonathan J. Hoke, was living in Joliett, Schuylkill County.

A biographical sketch appeared on page 1120 of the Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, published in 1896:

Jonathan Hoke, shoemaker, Washington Township, was born in Washington Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, 25 December 1825, son of Isaac Hoke and Catherine [Botts] Hoke.  The grandfather, Rudolph Hoke, was a native of Pennsylvania, and died in Washington Township, then Miflin Township.

The father [Isaac Hoke] was born in Washington Township, then Mifflin Township in 1804.  He learned the trade of shoemaker and followed that occupation.  He owned a farm in Jackson Township on which he lived for some years.  After the death of his wife he went West and settled on a farm in Indiana.  Afterwards he lived some time with his daughter, Emeline [Hoke] Shoop, and moved with her to Kansas.  He returned to his old home and died at Elizabethville in 1893, aged eight-nine years.  His wife died many years ago and both are buried at Elizabethville.  Their children were:  Mary Ann Hoke; Jonathan Hoke; Catherine Hoke; William Hoke, deceased; Elizabeth Hoke; Sarah Hoke; and Emeline Hoke (Mrs. Shoop).

Jonathan attended the subscription schools of his native township and when young he learned the trade of shoemaker, and has followed that occupation most of his life.  he was for some time employed in building the Summit Branch railroad, received wages for his services at the rate of $1 per day.  He was married in Washington Township in 1857 to Miss Carrie E. Walter, and their children are:  Aaron D. Hoke; and Catherine Hoke, died in infancy.  After marriage he went to housekeeping in Elizabethville, where he has since resided, and where he owns several lots.  He is a Republican in politics, and has served as tax collector and in other offices.  He was reared in the Reformed Church.

Conflicting or unresolved information from the biographical sketch includes the fact that there is no mention of Civil War service and the statement, “Elizabethville, where he has since resided.”  The Census of 1890, was clearly before the 1896 publication of the Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia.  Was this a different Jonathan J. Hoke who served in the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry who lived in Joliett in 1890?

A search for a Jonathan Hoke in the 172 Pennsylvania Infantry produced zero results in the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Card File at the Pennsylvania Archives.  Similarly, no results were found in the Fold3 military records.  And, no such name was found in the Registers of Pennsylvania Volunteers for Company D.  The closest name located in that regiment was a Jonas Hoke, who served in Company A, and, according to his Pension Index Card from Fold3, died on 18 December 1890.

However, there is a Jonathan Hoke who served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company B, as a Private, who died at Jeffersonville Indiana, on 2 June 1862.


Coincidentally, this Jonathan Hoke [who died in 1862] was also a shoemaker by occupation, resided in Dauphin County, and enrolled at Berrysburg, Dauphin County – in close proximity to both Washington Township and Elizabethville!  However, the age of this Jonathan Hoke differs greatly from the one buried at Elizabethville as does the date of death.  Could the one buried at Elizabethville be the father of the one who died at Jeffersonville, Indiana?  In the Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia sketch, there is no mention of a son of Jonathan Hoke named Jonathan; the only children named are Aaron D. Hoke and Catherine Hoke (see text above).


The mystery deepens with a further examination of the record of the Jonathan Hoke who served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry who died at Jeffersonville, Indiana.  On the above Pension Index Card from Ancestry.com, the mother of the one who died in the war applied for a pension on 14 June 1882.  Her name at the time of application was Susannah Burtnet (different surname a result of re-marriage) – clearly a different Jonathan Hoke.

All this leaves more unanswered questions:

1) Why is there a G.A.R. star-flagholder at the grave of Jonathan Hoke (1825-1903) who is buried at Matter’s Cemetery in Elizabethville?  Was he a veteran of the Civil War, and if so, what was his regiment and company?

2) Who is the Jonathan J. Hoke who in 1890 claimed service in the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company D, for which no record has been located of that service?  If this is a different one than the one buried at Matter’s Cemetery in Elizabethville, then where is he buried and was he a Civil War veteran?

3) Who was the Jonathan Hoke who was a shoemaker from the Berrysburg area who died at Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1862?  Where is buried?  The answer to these questions will probably be found in the mother’s pension application file at the National Archives, which was not consulted for this blog post.

Help is requested to separate these three men and their possible/probable military service records.  The challenge is issued to readers of this blog to provide answers.  Add comments to his post or send by e-mail.






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