John Franklin Hoke


John Franklin Hoke was born on May 30, 1820, in Lincolnton, North Carolina, the son of Colonel John and Barbara (Quickie) Hoke. Colonel Hoke, a merchant and cotton factory owner, belonged to a prominent Lincoln County family of Pennsylvania German origin. One son, William, is treated later; another son, Michael, was nominated for governor; Michael's son Robert was a Confederate major general. John F. Hoke passed through local schools and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1841. After studying law with fotmer governor Swain and future justice Pearson, Hoke began a law practice in Lincolnton in 1843. A prominent lawyer, Hoke served from 1850 to History 1856 as a states' rights Democrat in the North Carolina Senate. In 1860, as a member of the state house, Hoke publicly advocated secession. His military career began with the Mexican War. In March, 1847, he was commissioned a first lieutenant and assigned to Company G of the 12th U.S. Infantry. Promoted to captain of the 12th in June, Hoke saw action in Mexico.

In 1860 Hoke was appointed adjutant general of North Carolina, with the rank of brigadier general. In the first months of the war, he organized fourteen regiments of North Carolina volunteers. On July 10, 1861, he was commissioned colonel of the 13th (later renumbered the 23rd) North Carolina Infantry. The regiment was sent to Virginia, but arrived at Manassas too late at night to take part in the First Battle of Bull Run. Hoke led the 23rd in the May 5, 1862, Battle of Williamsburg. Upon the May 10, 1862, reorganization of the regiment, Hoke (an "upright, honorable and cultivated gentleman") failed to be reelected as colonel. Suddenly without a command, he returned to Lincolnton and was promptly elected to the state senate. In the fall of 1864 Hoke was commissioned colonel of the 1st Regiment of the North Carolina Senior Reserves, a unit of overage men assigned to guard prisoners and hunt down deserters. He served in this capacity until the end of the war, mainly at Salisbury Prison in North Carolina, seeing only minor action.

After the war Hoke was again elected, as a "Conservative," to the state house. But his elective career was over after that. He concentrated on his flourishing law practice in Lincolnton, served as a trustee of his alma mater, and engaged in several business ventures and in railroad promotion. Hoke died suddenly on October 27, 1888, while viewing a political parade from the front porch of his home. He is buried in the churchyard of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Lincolnton.

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Reference:  More Generals in Gray.  Bruce S. Allardice.  A companion volume to Generals in Gray.  Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.