Hoke Family
Papers, 1870-1956, bulk 1890-1920

SC18697

Quantity: 5 boxes (2 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchased January 9, 1986, from Donna Reston, Reston’s Books & Antiques, Amsterdam, N.Y.
Administrative Note: A number of documents in this collection were recovered in 2008 by the Office of New York State Attorney General. Recovered documents have been returned to the collection, and these items are noted by an asterisk (*) in the container list below. It is unclear if all missing documents were recovered.
Processed By: Processed originally by Christine Kooi, Intern, College of Saint Rose, October 1986. Processing updated by Christine Alexander, Student Assistant, University at Albany, June 2009.

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Biographical Note:

The Hokes are an African-American family who lived in Canajoharie, N.Y. during the period of the collection, from 1870-1956. Chester Bromley Hoke, 1847-1913, was a Civil War soldier and longtime member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), an organization of Civil War veterans. Chester, who was known chiefly by his middle name of Bromley or Brom, served in the Civil War from April 1863 to June 1865 as a private in Company G of the much decorated 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, an African-American regiment. After the war, he became a porter at the Hotel Mohawk in Canajoharie. His wife, Elizabeth Ann Phillips Hoke, born in 1860, who was known as Lizzie, married Chester in 1893 in Canajoharie. At the time, she was 33 years old and he was 46. Elizabeth worked as a servant in the Canajoharie household of William J. Arkell, a newspaper publisher and the brother of the founder of the Beach-Nut Packing Company. The papers reflect Chester Bromley Hoke’s activities as a Civil War veteran and member of the G.A.R., his engagement and marriage to Elizabeth Ann Phillips, and their subsequent family life in Canajoharie. The couple had three sons, Chester, Philip, and Robert, and Chester may have had another daughter, Isabelle Hoke Dukins. (Her letter to the Commander of the G.A.R. post calls Chester "my father" [quotation marks in original]) It is clear from the papers, especially correspondence relating to bills due and letters concerning the estate of Elizabeth’s aunt, that the family often was concerned about inadequate finances.

The collection also includes a few papers relating to other family members, including the father of Elizabeth, Philip Phillips, who died in 1881; Eunice Phillips [relationship to Elizabeth unknown]; Robert J. Hoke, the son of Elizabeth and Chester; Isabelle Hoke Dukins, daughter of Chester; and Eveline Harris, 1815-1898, an aunt of Elizabeth Hoke from Saratoga Springs, N.Y. who lived in her later years with Elizabeth and Chester.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists primarily of the personal papers of Chester Bromley Hoke (Bromley Hoke) and his wife, Elizabeth Phillips Hoke (Lizzie Hoke), as well as a limited number of papers from other family members. The papers include family correspondence, financial records and receipts, photographs (including tin types, cartes-de-viste and cabinet cards), portraits, newspaper clippings, bound volumes, and a few physical artifacts, all spanning the years 1870-1956, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1890 to 1920. Physical artifacts include Chester Hoke’s G.A.R. medals, Elizabeth Hoke’s thimble, a miniature sword chain fob, a long-stemmed pipe and a leather change purse. The correspondence includes a series of love letters from Chester Bromley Hoke to his fiancée and later wife, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Phillips, letters to Lizzie Hoke from her children, a number of letters to Lizzie Hoke from various banks and insurance companies concerning the estate of her deceased aunt, Eveline Harris, as well as letters from various relatives and family friends. Among the financial papers are bills and receipts for the household, including coal, groceries, meat, boots and funeral services. The papers also include documents concerning Chester Bromley Hoke’s Civil War service, including a testimonial from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and his subsequent involvement in the G.A.R. post in Canajoharie. Among the bound volumes is a family Bible. The significant collection of photographs includes tin types, cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards, portraits and snapshots. The bulk of the photographs are unidentified. Two portraits similarly are unidentified, although they appear to be of Chester Bromley Hoke and Elizabeth Hoke.

Arrangement:

The papers are arranged into series by family member (Chester Bromley Hoke, Elizabeth Phillips Hoke, and Other Family) and by format (Artifacts, Photographs and Portraits, Publications, and Oversize: Broadside, Certificates, Clippings Collages, and Portraits). Within each series, materials are arranged into files by activity and subject and within folders chronologically by date.

Container List:

Chester Bromley Hoke Papers, 1870-1921

Box Folder Contents
    Correspondence 1892-1921
1 1 Letters to Chester Bromley Hoke
  1. Ella P. Failing,  return receipt for registered mail, 1895
  2. Russell J. Butler (Army friend) to Chester Bromley Hoke, 1921
1 2 Letters from Chester Bromley Hoke to Elizabeth Hoke (14 items)
  1. June 1892-September 1893 to Lizzie Phillips (13 items)
  2. March 1899 to Lizzie Hoke (1 item)
    Certificates
- - Testimonial to Chester Hoke from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1870 – See Box 5 (oversize)
- - Wedding certificate of C.B. Hoke and L. Phillips, 1893 – See Box 5 (oversize)
    Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) membership papers, ca 1891-1901
1 3 Papers concerning Chester Hoke’s G.A.R. membership, 1891-1895 (13 items)
  1. Appointment, undated, to G.A.R. Decoration Day committee
  2. Calling card with G.A.R. logo
  3. Coupon, undated, for purchase of outfit
  4. Newspaper clipping, 1901, concerning pension report prepared for G.A.R. national encampment
  5. Receipts for G.A.R. dues, 1891-1896 (3 items)
  6. Rules of Order of the National Encampment, 1896, Grand Army of the Republic
  7. Solicitation from Keystone Publishing, 1895, to become a sales agent for the book, Sparks from the Campfire or Tales of the Old Veterans (4 items)
  8. Advertising sheet (poster size), ca. 1895, for the Keystone Publishing book, Sparks from the Campfire – See Box 5 (oversize)
    Financial Papers, 1893-1906
1 4
  1. Bills and receipts of Chester Bromley Hoke, 1893-1906, for coal, groceries, meat, rent  (17 items)
  2. Bills for the funeral of Eveline Harris (aunt of Elizabeth Hoke), 1898 (2 items)
  3. Promissory note, 1893, to Daniel B. Johnson

Elizabeth Phillips Hoke Papers, 1882-1923

Box Folder Description
    Correspondence, 1894-1923
1 5 Mrs. Fred R. Frank (cousin) to Elizabeth Hoke, 1904 (1 item)
1 6 Helen Hoke (daughter) to Elizabeth Hoke, 1918-1923 (5 items)
1 7 Mary Rock (sister), to Elizabeth Hoke, 1903-1904 (3 items)
1 8 Eliza Thomason (cousin) to Elizabeth Hoke, 1894, 1903 (2 items)
1 9 P. Van Horn (cousin) to Elizabeth Hoke, 1898 (1 item)
1 10 Wright B. Walker to Elizabeth Hoke, 1904 (1 item)
    Financial Records, 1882-1918
1 11 Bills and receipts of Elizabeth Hoke, née Phillips, 1882-1898 (19 items)
1 1 Business correspondence to Elizabeth Hoke concerning search for any assets in the estate of Eveline Harris (her aunt), including letters from banks, attorneys, a surrogate and an insurance company, 1898-1899 (10 items)
1 13 Demand letters for payment
  1. Letter from Freeman Brothers Collecting Agency to Elizabeth Hoke, 1905, concerning claim of Gately Furniture Company
  2. Letter from Michael Girondi to Elizabeth Hoke, 1918, concerning payment of rent, taxes and water charges
1 14 Marketing circulars
  1. Circular for letter boxes from Safety Letter Box Supply House
  2. Coupon for free doll from Consumers Jewelry of New Haven, Conn.
    Newspaper Clippings
1 15 Newspaper Clippings, 1893-1895, ca. 1908-1915, and undated, containing poems, obituaries for Philip Phillips (father) and Eveline Harris (aunt), and picture of Jack Johnson, Heavyweight Champion (found tipped in the Black Phalanx book)
- - Newspaper clippings mounted on backing, undated (2 items) – See Box 5 (oversize) concerning wedding of Chester and Elizabeth, birth of son, death of prominent African-Americans, and social events in the African-American community

Other Family Papers, 1869-1956

Box Folder Description
1 16 Isabelle Hoke Dukins (daughter of Chester Hoke)
Letter from Isabelle Hoke Dukins to the commander of the Canajoharie G.A.R., 1913, inquiring as to whether father has died
1 17 Eveline Harris (aunt of Elizabeth Hoke)
  1. Memorial card, black card with gold and silver imprinting, 1898
  2. Notepaper listing her dates of birth and death
  3. Correspondence to Elizabeth Hoke concerning estate of Eveline Harris – See Box 1, Folder 12
  4. Bill for funeral expenses to Chester Hoke – See Box 1, Folder 4
1 18 Robert Hoke (son of Chester and Elizabeth Hoke)
  1. Bank notice about returned check, 1956
  2. Bill from Robert J. Hoke Taxi Service, ca. 1930s
  3. Empty envelope to Bob Hoke
1 19 Eunice Phillips (relationship to Elizabeth Hoke unknown)
  1. Letter from Jane C. Voorhees to Eunice Phillips, 1872, advising her to fully ensure good title to land acquired by gift before building on it
1 20 Philip Phillips (father of Elizabeth Hoke)
  1. Bill to Philip Phillips for various items, including codfish and load of stone, dated 1869, marked paid 1882
  2. Family Bible – See Box 4
1 21 Miscellaneous
  1. Note card with date of Mrs. Mary Ann Ostrander’s death in 1880 and date of Philip Phillips death in 1881
  2. Scrap of lined paper [blotting paper?] with words and doodles

Artifacts

Box Folder Description
    Military and G.A.R. badges and decorations
2 1 Badge: "Grand Army of the Republic. In Memoriam, U.S. Grant, Post No. 5, Philadelphia"
2 2 Badge: "New York, 41st National Encampment, Saratoga Springs, September 1907"
2 3 Badge: "Robert A. Bell, Post No. 134, 24th National Encampment, Aug. 12th, 1890, Boston, Mass."
2 4 Cloth fragment [from uniform?] embroidered with "Canajoharie, N.Y.
2 5 Cloth fragment [from uniform?] embroidered with "Farrell Post 51"
2 6 Miniature sword decorative watch fob
    Personal Items
2 7 Leather wallet with metal clasp
2 8 Long-stemmed clay pipe (stem broken)
Stamped: Holland. Inscribed: "Given to Philip Hoke, Jan. 24 73 by Hazel Bowman [?] of Gloversville at Dutch Lake"
2 9 Silver thimble decorated with scenes and engraved "Lizzie"

Photographs and Portraits

Box Folder Description
    Photographs: Cabinet Cards
3 1 Eliza Coshburn, inscription on back: "A Merry Christmas to Aunt Evelina, From Eliza Coshburn"
Photographer: C.H. Pease, Cottage Studio.
3 2 Evelina Coshburn, inscription on back: "A Merry Christmas to Aunt Evelina, From Evelina [sic] Coshburn"
Photographer: Cottage Studio.
3 3 Mary Phillips
Photographer: W.D. Wentworth & Son, Fort Plain and Sharon Springs, N.Y.
3 4 Unidentified baby
Photographer: Lloyd’s Photographic Art Studio, Canajoharie, N.Y.
3 5 Unidentified baby in silver-colored metal frame (Recovered document*)
3 6 Unidentified young man (Recovered document*)
Photographer: Donnelly, New Haven, Ct.
3 7 Unidentified man
Photographer: W.H. Abbott, Little Falls, N.Y.
3 8 Unidentified man (Recovered document*)
Photographer: Burgess, Schenectady, N.Y.
3 9 Unidentified man
Photographer: Gilman, Canajoharie and Fort Plain, N.Y.
3 10 Unidentified man
Photographer: Instantaneous Photo Company, Washington, D.C.
3 11 Unidentified man
Photographer: William H. Kibbe, Johnstown, N.Y.
3 12 Unidentified man
Photographer: Lloyd’s Photographic Art Studio, Canajoharie, N.Y.
3 13 Unidentified man
Photographer: H.F. Ziegler, New York
3 14 Unidentified young woman
Photographer: E. Osborn, St. Johnsville, N.Y.
3 15 Unidentified young woman (Recovered document*)
Photographer: W.D. Wentworth & Son, Fort Plain & Sharon Springs, N.Y.
3 16 Unidentified woman
Photographer: E.C. Betts, Bridgeport, Conn.
3 17 Unidentified woman [Elizabeth Hoke?]
Photographer: S. Dygert, Canajoharie, N.Y.
3 18 Unidentified woman (Recovered document*)
Photographer: Gilman, Canajoharie, N.Y.
3 19 Unidentified woman
Photographer: George Kibbe, Amsterdam, N.Y.
    Photographs: Cartes-de-visite
3 20 Mary Ann Ostrander [?] of Saratoga, N.Y. by A.E. Alden’s "New Style Carte de Visite, by Machinery," Troy, N.Y. and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
3 21 Daughter of Mary Ann Ostrander [?] of Saratoga, N.Y
3 22 Ostrander [?] (young girl), by A.E. Alden’s "New Style Carte de Visite, by Machinery," Troy (N.Y.) and Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) "during the season"
3 23 Unidentified man. Photographer: Gilman, Canajoharie, N.Y.
    Photographs: Copies
3 24 Copy (enlarged and matted) of cabinet card photograph (Box 3, Folder 14) of unidentified woman, Original photographer: E. Osborn, St. Johnsville, N.Y.
3 25 Copy (enlarged and matted) of cabinet card photograph (Box 3, Folder 18) of unidentified woman. Original photographer: Gilman, Canajoharie, N.Y. 
    Photographs: Snapshots
3 26 Boys’ basketball team [likely Canajoharie High School], 1942
3 27 Elizabeth Hoke, Canajoharie, N.Y.
3 28 R.J. Hoke, Canajoharie, N.Y.
3 29 R.J. Hoke, sitting in car (2 copies)
3 30 Unidentified child on tricycle (2 views)
3 31 Unidentified girl, standing on sidewalk
3 32 Unidentified girl, standing on sidewalk with dog
3 33 Unidentified man in cap and gown
3 34 Unidentified man standing in front of house
3 35 Unidentified man sitting in car (same car pictured in Box 3, Folder 29)
3 36 Unidentified man standing by car (same car pictured in Box 3, Folder 29)
3 37 Unidentified woman in long skirt with white apron, standing in front of house
3 38 Unidentified woman
    Photographs: Studio portraits
3 39 Unidentified man
3 40 Unidentified woman dressed in long white gown
    Photographs: Tin types
3 41 Orrie Ostrander, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.(3 items)
  1. As baby
  2. As young child
  3. As adult
3 42 Group of four seated people (Recovered document*)
3 43 Man identified with initials [E.G.?]
3 44 Unidentified man in suit and hat (Recovered document*)
3 45 Unidentified man
3 46 Unidentified children outside building, picture printed directly on oval metal photo frame (14.5 x 19.5 cm)
    Portraits (oversize)
- - Unidentified charcoal and chalk portrait of a woman (possibly Lizzie Hoke), undated – See Box 5 (oversize)
- - Portrait (charcoal and chalk of Chester Bromley Hoke, undated – See Box 5 (oversize)

Publications

Box Folder Description
    Bibles
4 1 The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, Translated Out of the Original Tongues; and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised (New York: American Bible Society, 1850)
Inscribed: "Mr. Philip Philips, Canajoharie, May 4, 1873, N.Y."
4 2 The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Translated Out of the Original Greek; and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised (pocket size), (New York: American Bible Society, 1870)
Inscribed: "Presented by the R.C.S.S. to Lizzie Phillips for regular attendance, Canajoharie, N.Y., June 18th 1871"
    Set of novels
4 3 Savage, Richard Henry. The Masked Venus: A Story of Many Lands (New York:  The American News Company, 1893). Paperback.
Presentation copy given as wedding present. Inscription: "Bromley Hoke, Farrell Post, G.A.R., From his comrade, Richard Henry Savage, October 25, 1893"
4 4 Savage, Richard Henry. My Official Wife: A Novel (New York: The Home Publishing Company, 1893. Paperback.
Presentation copy given as wedding present. Inscription: "Bromley Hoke, Farrell Post 51. G.A.R., From his comrade, Richard Henry Savage, October 25, 1893, Formerly Lieut Corps Engineer U.S.A., Westpoint ’68, Staff Genrl G.H. Thomas 1868-1871"
4 5 Savage, Richard Henry. Prince Schamyl’s Wooing (New York: The American News Company, 1892). Paperback.
Presentation copy given as wedding present. Inscription: "Bromley Hoke, Farrell Post, G.A.R., From his comrade, Richard Henry Savage, October 25, 1893"
    Book removed from collection and cataloged with rare books collection
- - Wilson, Joseph T. The Black Phalanx: A History of the Negro Soldiers of the United States in the Wars of 1775-1812, 1861-’65 Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing, 1888).
Inscription: "$5, D.R. Eacker, A gift Fonda, N.Y., To B. Hoke, Canajoharie, N.Y., Member of Co. G 54th Regt of Infantry Mass. Vols., Enlisted April 9th 1863 Discharged June 20th 1865"

Broadside, Certificates, Clippings Collages, and Portraits: Oversize Box

Box Folder Description
    Broadside
5 1 Advertising sheet (poster size), ca. 1895, for the Keystone Publishing book, Sparks from the Campfire
    Certificates - Fragile
5 2 Testimonial to "Bromily Hoke" from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, April 19, 1870
5 3 Wedding certificate of Chester Hoke and Elizabeth Phillips, October 25, 1893 - FRAGILE
    Newspaper Clippings Collages – Fragile
5 4 Newspaper clippings mounted on backing, undated (2 items) concerning wedding of Chester and Elizabeth, birth of son, death of prominent African-Americans, and social events in the African-American community - FRAGILE
    Portraits
5 5 Unidentified portrait (possibly Elizabeth Hoke) (charcoal and chalk) - FRAGILE
5 6 Portrait of Chester Hoke (charcoal and chalk) - FRAGILE

* Items recovered in 2008 by the Office of the New York State Attorney General.


Last Updated: September 22, 2009