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The Hocker/Hawker Family

The following information was developed from numerous primary and secondary sources. While some of the secondary sources provide contradictory information, what follows is how we see the Hocker/Hawker generations unfolding from John Hocker and Elizabeth Wright to the marriages of their descendents - Elizabeth Hawker to Samuel Pruitt I in 1720 and, seventy years later, another Elizabeth Hawker to William Seal, Jr. in 1790.

John Hawkers HeadrightJohn Hocker, whose family was likely of German ancestry, was born around 1635 in Wales. The Hockers may have been part of the German migration to Wales to work in the mines. Around 1650 John Hocker immigrated to the Tidewater region of Virginia, as evidenced by this Northumberland Co., Va. patent filed by Thomas Orley. Northumberland Co., Va. is just across the Potomac River from St. Mary's Co., Md. where we find John Hocker a few years later. While there is no conclusive evidence, it is said that John Hocker was kidnapped in Wales and sold to a ship's captain who was about to leave for Virginia. Based on the 1659 last will of Thomas Diniard, we know that John Hocker was married before 1659. Some sources indicate that he married Mary Greene who was born around 1637 and was a presumed daughter of Maryland's Governor Thomas Greene. John Hocker lived in St. Mary's County, in the vicinity of the governor, and may have been a witness to his will, but otherwise, there is no evidence to support the name of his first wife. Thomas Diniard's will has been interpreted to say that John Hocker's first wife was named "Furfer Hocker," but that may be an error by the transcriber. It is not known what happened to his first wife, but in 1671 John Hocker married Elizabeth Wright in Annapolis, Anne Arundel Co., Md. Elizabeth was said to be 15 years younger than John Hocker. She was the daughter of John Wright and Barbara Wright who probably emigrated from Scotland. It is said that John Hocker paid for their transportation with the intent of marrying their daughter. John and Elizabeth (Wright) Hocker had the following children:

The Pruiett side of our family can trace its ancestry back to John Hocker through Robert Hocker/Hawker. The Parker side can trace its ancestry back to John Hocker through Nicholas Hocker/Hawker.

Amy Selby, who was born in 1679 in Prince George's Co., Md., was the daughter of William Selby, born in Maryland in 1656. Robert Hocker and Amy Selby were married in 1698 and had the following children:

Much of what we know about Robert Hocker and Amy Selby comes from Robert Hocker's will. From the will, we know the names and birth dates of their four children, the name of Amy's father, and the fact that Robert Hocker received a good deal of land from William Selby when he married Amy. From the will we also learn that Amy died before Robert, sometime between the birth of daughter Amy in July 1708 and the death of Robert around the end of April or early May of 1711. The will provides that the executor, Thomas Brook(e), Jr. is "to take into his care my dear babes and their estates beseeching him ... to deliver each their part when they arrive at the age within mentioned...." Thomas Brooke was a man of some prominence in Maryland, so it is unlikely, but not out of the question, that he raised the four children. None of Robert's three siblings were mentioned in the will, even as witnesses, so it is not obvious that any of them stepped up to raise the kids. Perhaps probate records will reveal how the children spent the next ten or so years of their lives until they "came of age."

Elizabeth Hawker, the daughter of Robert Hocker and Amy Selby, married Samuel Pruitt I in Prince George's Co., Md. around 1720. For more on the Pruiett genealogy, go to Pruiett, Part 1.

Nicholas Hocker, the son of John Hocker and Elizabeth Wright, married Sophia Sim around 1710 in Anne Arundel Co., Md. One source indicates she was born in Maryland in 1690. Another says she was christened in Scotland on July 6, 1684. Nicholas Hocker and Sophia Sim had the following children:

The Hawker families lived in an area of Prince George's Co., Md. that first became part of Frederick County in 1748 and then Montgomery County in 1776. The 1733 List of Taxables taken by Charles Perry, constable for Rock Creek Hundred in Prince George's Co., Md. showed:

Samuel Pruitt 1
Nicholas Hawkes [Hawker] 2
   Philip Hawkes [Hawker]

Sophia Sim died before 1735 and Nicholas Hawker then married a daughter of Ambrose Cook in 1735; her first name is not known at this time. Nicholas Hawker and his new wife had the following child:

In 1759 Ambrose Cook Hawker married Lydia Butt, the daughter of Samuel Butt and Elizabeth Swearingen of Frederick Co., Md. In the late 1780s, the couple and their children moved to Pittsylvania Co., Va. They had the following children:

William Seal, Jr. was born in Pittsylvania Co., Va. in 1769, the son of William Seale. William Seal, Jr. and Elizabeth (Betsy) Hawker were married on Oct. 23, 1790 in Pittsylvania Co., Va. For more on the Seals genealogy, go to Seals, Part 1.

It's interesting to note that several family names appear again and again in the everyday lives of the Hawkers in both Maryland and Pittsylvania Co., Va. Many members of these families moved to Pittsylvania County during the same time period, between the early 1760s and the late 1780s. This group included the Hawkers, Pruitts, Butts, Swearingens, Riddles and, to a lesser extent, DuValls. It's clear that they all lived relatively close to each other in Maryland and worshipped at the same churches. These family names appear frequently in the surviving records from Queen Anne Parish (established in 1704, with St. Barnabas as the parish church), or Prince George's Parish (established in 1726, with Rock Creek as the parish church). While the Pruitts do not appear as often as others, it's likely that many of them met future husbands and wives in church-related activities. Colonial life often revolved around the Anglican Church and these families were no different than others at the time.

Ambrose Hawker, father of Elizabeth (Hawker) Seals, died in Pittsylvania Co., Va. in 1819. His will, dated 1812 was probated in 1819.

To son Ambrose my riding beast to fully enjoy. To my granddaughter Polly Butt one cow to fully enjoy. To my sons William and Phillip Hawker my tract of land where I now live - 140 acres to be equally divided between them. Also my stock of all kinds which has not been heretofore mentioned and all of my household and all the balance of my estate - what shall be left after etc., etc. and they must maintain their mother during her life. To the heirs of Duesella Butt, Pricilla Clark, Basil Hawker and unto Darcos Rice, Sarah Riddle, Mary Tompson, Elizabeth Seal, Anna Butt, Lydia Rice and Deborah Earp to each of them one shilling sterling.
Ambrose Hawker

Samuel Butt, father of Lydia (Butt) Hawker, died on Sept. 6, 1786 in Montgomery Co., Md.

The sons of Ambrose and Lydia Hawker, Ambrose, William and Philip, continued to live in Pittsylvania Co., Va. The census records for 1820 and 1830 suggest that the three brothers lived quite close to each other.

1820 Census - Pittsylvania County [Census Record]
NameM(-10)M(16-26)M(26-45)M(45+)F(-10)F(10-16)F(16-26)F(26-45)F(45+)#Agr.
Philip Hawker1111
William Hawker112111
Ambrose Hawker1122212
1830 Census - Pittsylvania County [Census Record]
NameM(5-10)M(10-15)M(15-20)M(40-50)M(50-60)M(60-70)F(15-20)F(20-30)F(40-50)
Philip Hawker211
Ambrose Hawker122
William Hawker1111111

While the 1850 and 1860 censuses still show William and Philip Hawker living in Pittsylvania County, there is no record of Ambrose Hawker after 1840, suggesting that he had either moved or died sometime in the 1840s.

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