I came across a newspaper article entitled “Hocker Family Meets in Reunion” from the Harrisburg Patriot about the first annual Hocker family reunion that was held 7 September 1911 in Reservoir Park, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Nearly 200 local family members attended, most from around Penbrook.
The article read:
Hocker Family Meets In Reunion
Penbrook Furnishes Big Delegation to Reservoir Park Outing
Officers Are Elected
The first annual reunion of the Hocker family was held yesterday at Reservoir Park. It was attended by two hundred persons, for the most part from the vicinity of Penbrook. The meeting for the reports of the committees and election of officers started at noon and lasted until four o’clock. Members of the family began to assemble in the park at about ten o’clock in the morning and continual arrivals kept up all day.
The idea of having a family reunion originated over a month ago with several of the members of the family and they held a meeting on the evening of August 9 at the home of T.H. Hinely in Penbrook. At this meeting temporary officers were elected and at the reunion yesterday these officers were re-elected to serve one year.
The meeting yesterday was held in the pavilion on the hill above the reservoir and was opened by the Rev. C.F. Rupp, who also gave the address of welcome. Following this George E. Shaffer gave a brief historical account of the family. The minutes were read by the secretary, H. E. Hocker, after which the committee for deciding the date for the reunion next year was appointed.
The following officers were elected: President, George B. Hocker, of Lower Paxton township; vice president, George L. Hocker of Penbrook; secretary, H. E. Hocker, of Penbrook; assistant secretary, G. Lester Hocker, Lower Paxton township; treasurer, Harry Holtzman, Susquehanna township; historian, George E. Shaffer, Harrisburg. These officers constitute a committee to decide the date of meeting next year. The place is Reservoir Park.
The following made up the committee that made the first annual reunion a success: George E. Shaffer, chairman; David Smith, F.J. Hinley and Joseph Hocker, all of Penbrook. Several of the oldes members of the family were present yesterday, and were able to be about with the younger ones. Among them were Joseph Hocker, aged seventy-three years, and Martin Hocker, aged seventy-one years, whose wives are still living, and Mrs. Lettie Smith, aged seventy-four years, all of Penbrook.
This article mentions a number of Hocker family members—most of whom I immediately recognized. But there were several names that I didn’t know, including some of those elected as officers of the reunion committee.
Here is a list of the elected officers:
- George B. Hocker, Lower Paxton twp
- George L. Hocker, Penbrook Borough
- H. E. Hocker, Penbrook Borough
- G. Lester Hocker, Lower Paxton twp
- Harry Holtzman, Susquehanna twp
- George E. Shaffer, Harrisburg
Other names mentioned in the article included:
- T.H. Hinley, Penbrook
- David Smith
- F.J. Hinley
- Joseph Hocker
My interest piqued, I decided to do a little research to see if I could connect the names I didn’t recognize to the family. Here’s what I found.
The three eldest members of the family that attended the reunion—Joseph Hocker (aged 73), Martin Hocker (aged 71), and Lettie Smith (aged 74)—were all children of George and Mary (Brubaker) Hocker, and grandchildren of George and Elizabeth (Hassler) Hocker.
George and Mary (Brubaker) Hocker had the following children:
- Anna Maria Hocker (1835-1880), married Isaac Holtzman (1832-1892)
- Lydia Hocker (1837-1923), married David Smith (1827-1899)
- Joseph Hocker (1839-1928), married Lydia Keller (1844-1940)
- Martin Hocker (1841-1915), married Rosa A. Smeltzer (1847-1921)
- Emanuel Hocker (1842-1862)
- Wilhelmina Jane Hocker (1845-1888), married Clinton Ezra Shaffer (1841-1911)
- Mary Elizabeth Hocker (1847-1923), married Frank W. Miller (1849/50-1928)
- Susanna Emma Hocker (1849-bef 1896)
- George Benjamin Hocker (1851-1929), married Catharine Kelchner (1852-1894), married Elizabeth M. Balsbaugh (1859-1930)
- Henry Harrison Hocker (1854-1930), married Anna Heisey (1853-1934)
- Samuel Augustus Hocker (1856-1931), married Amanda Elizabeth Crum (1862-1947)
- Elizabeth Ellen Hocker (1859-1922), married William Henry Jones (1864-1921)
So, I identified the officers as:
- George B. Hocker -> son of George and Mary (Brubaker) Hocker
- George L. Hocker -> son of Martin and Rosa A. (Smeltzer) Hocker
- H. E. Hocker -> son of George B. and Catharine (Kelchner) Hocker
- G. Lester Hocker -> son of George Albert and Jennie Elizabeth (Miller) Hocker, grandson of Joseph and Lydia (Keller) Hocker
- Harry Holtzman -> son of Isaac and Anna Maria (Hocker) Holtzman
- George E. Shaffer -> son of Clinton and Wilhelmina Jane (Hocker) Shaffer
These men had all been identified through previous research. So, too had Joseph Hocker, son of Joseph and Lydia (Keller) Hocker. I wondered about David Smith, because Lydia Hocker’s husband was deceased. A little census research turned up David and Lydia (Hocker) Smith’s son, David R. Smith. F.J. Hinely was Frank J. Heinly, the husband of Jennie Hocker (1873-1949), daughter of George B. and Catharine (Kelchner) Hocker. I’m not sure who T.H. Hinely was , possibly a relation of Frank’s?
This family is descended from the immigrant Adam Hacker through his eldest son Frederick, older brother to my ancestor Johan Adam Hocker Jr. After Frederick’s death, his son George sold his property in Lancaster County in 1813 and moved to the Harrisburg area with his wife Elizabeth (Hassler) Hocker, possibly to be near his uncles, four of whom—Johannes, Christopher, Adam, and Martin—had moved to Harrisburg in the late 1780s.