A name, Frederick Hoeck, sneaks into our German Family Tree in just two official records, one a church record and the other a civil record. No other Hoecks can be found in any records. First, there is a marriage record which is found in the church books of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, Missouri. Here is that record.
Frederick married Bertha Militzer. This record states that Frederick was from Atchison, Kansas. Their Perry County marriage license also indicates this fact.
I spent a lot of time trying to find out who this Frederick Hoeck was and how he met a girl from Frohna. I made quite a bit of progress, but then Gerard Fiehler showed me that we had this binder on our shelves in the research library. It would have saved a lot of time if I had seen this earlier.
Let’s start with Bertha Militzer. She was the daughter of Johann Christian and Caroline (Wachter) Militzer. She was born on January 6, 1862 (Epiphany Day) and baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Our German Family Tree indicates eight children were born into this family.
Frederick was the son of Jens Hinrich and Eleanora (Kipp) Hoeck who lived in Randolph County, probably somewhere near Chester. The marriage record shown above mentions Chester, Illinois in it. We can find Frederick’s family in the 1870 census from Randolph County. The census record started on one page and continued on the following page.
Frederick’s father is shown as a cooper. In the 1880 census, we find Frederick as a student at the Lutheran teachers’ seminary in Addison, Illinois.
Frederick graduated from this college in 1881 and took his first call to Trinity Lutheran School in Atchison, Kansas. It was while he was serving at that congregation that he came to Frohna in the summer of 1885 to marry Bertha. A story is told in the Militzer/Hoeck binder that Bertha may have met Frederick when she was visiting the Grupe family in Oak Park, Illinois. Bertha’s older sister, Emma, was married to Heinrich Grupe. Oak Park is not far from Addison, so it is possible that Bertha may have met Frederick when he was a student at college.
Two daughters, Emma and Martha, were born while the Hoecks were in Atchison. Then in 1889, Frederick was called to be a teacher at Zion Lutheran School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An 1890 city directory says that he was the principal of that school. Frederick and Bertha lived the rest of their lives in Milwaukee and had three more children while they were there.
Frederick did not remain a teacher all his life. It is said that he had throat problems that kept him from teaching, so for a while, he worked for the U.S. Customs House in Milwaukee. It appears that he changed from teacher to customs agent sometime around 1893 or 1894. The 1900 census from Milwaukee shows him working with customs.
It is reported that Frederick worked for customs for 25 years. Then he went into the insurance business. Bertha died in 1945 at the age of 83; Frederick died in 1959 at the age of 98. They are buried in Milwaukee, but I was unable to find the cemetery in which they are buried.
In the course of researching this story, I ran across a few other interesting facts. First, when I was looking for a Militzer connection to Kansas, I ran across this listing of church workers who served St. John Lutheran Church in Topeka, which is not that far from Atchison.
First of all, there are plenty of Perry County names on this list. Secondly, I was amazed to find the names of Stemmerman and Militzer on the list. Not long ago, I wrote a story titled, Militzer in the Middle. That post told the story of a Militzer man marrying a Stemmerman girl. That marriage took place in another branch of the Militzer family. The Martin Militzer in the list above was Bertha’s brother. He spent most of his teaching career in Wisconsin. His story was told in the post, Mr. Martin Militzer. However, the years Martin was in Kansas were after Teacher Hoeck had already left Kansas, so it doesn’t explain how Bertha met Frederick.
Another interesting fact can be found in the 1910 census.
The Hoeck’s daughter, Emma, is shown to be a music teacher at the Conservatory of Music. I briefly looked into the history of this organization, which just so happens to still exist to this day. It is over 100 years old, having begun in 1899. It is presently housed in a mansion that was built in 1904 (shown below).
Two famous graduates of this organization were Liberace and Gene Wilder. I found the name Pabst mentioned in the history of the mansion shown above also, but I don’t have the time to go down that rabbit hole to find out more.
Just one final note. The music teacher, Emma Hoeck (later Emma Selle) died on Reformation Day in 1979 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was teaching in Fort Lauderdale at that time. And no, I don’t remember Emma Selle.
2 thoughts on “How the Hoeck, He Met the Militzer”
Since I am related to some members of the Selle family through my marriage, I have forwarded this article to several of the Selle family. They have roots going back to Milwaukee. Many of the men of the Selle family were/are LCMS pastors.