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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


William Hockaday


Oneida Township



      WILLIAM HOCKADAY.  Prominent among the successful and enterprising farmers of Oneida township may be found the subject of this sketch. He is the owner of a large tract of fine land pleasantly located on section 3, Oneida township, where he has been operating successfully for more than twenty years. He has brought his land to a high state of cultivation, largely by the labors of his own hands, and is in possession of a comfortable set of farm buildings, to which each year he adds something to enhance the beauty and value of his property.


      The subject of this biographical notice is a native of England, and was born in Devonshire February 14,1845. His father, John Hockaday, was a native of the same country, where he spent the early portion of his life as a laborer on a farm. In 1845 he concluded to seek his fortunes in the new world, and accordingly set sail for the New York harbor in company with a small colony of friends. The party proceeded as far as Cleveland, Ohio, when a halt was made until a suitable location could be decided upon. Two others were dispatched West on a prospecting tour, while the balance obtained employment and prepared to remain until those of the party sent in advance should report favorably on a location. It was while here that John Hockaday was stricken down with cholera, an occurrence which deeply affected every member of the little colony. The mother, accompanied by her only son, William, the subject of this memoir, who was then only a few months old, proceeded to Du Page county, Ill., where she located permanently. She remarried, becoming the wife of James Boker, by whom she had one child:  John C. F., who died when about eight years of age. The mother died in Elgin, Ill., in 1887. She was a zealous member of the Methodist church for many years and a devout Christian woman.


     William Hockaday is therefore the only living  representative of the family by that name in America.  He was reared on a farm, and received as good a common school education as the times afforded.  During the dark days that overshadowed our beloved country, from 1860 to 1865, when civil strife demanded such wholesale sacrifices from the people  of Illinois, as well as other states, the patriotism of every man was appealed  to. Under stress of the demands so urgently made for men, in 1864, Mr. Hockaday, when only nineteen years of age, enlisted May 10th in the One Hundred and Forty-first Illinois regiment.  His regiment was ordered to Columbus, Ky., and thence to Smithtown, a point on the Ohio river where the famous rebel raider, General Forrest, was, and, after a march into the country, he was met and routed. A month or more was spent in skirmishes with Forrest and his band of raiders.  Mr. Hockaday enlisted for one hundred days, and at the expiration of that time he volunteered to continue, at the request of his commander.  He was in the service about five months, during which he was fortunate enough to escape being either captured or wounded. He was honorably discharged in November, 1864.


     Returning from the war, Mr. Hockaday purchased a team, and, perceiving the advantages of a new country, where he could expand his efforts and court fortune to a better benefit, he came to Delaware county, Iowa. He purchased eighty acres of unimproved land in Bremer township, and entered upon farming at once. The improvements were scarcely noticeable in the county at that time, although a settlement had been made some years before.


     Mr. Hockaday was married, September 30, 1867, to Miss Elizabeth Rogers, who was born in Illinois in 1849. She is a daughter of Thomas Rogers, who immigrated from England to this country in 1848 and settled in Du Page county, Ill. He removed to Delaware county, Iowa, in 1857, and was one of the early settlers of this section. He was a farmer, and died here in 1884. He was a man of a strong religious turn of mind and an active member of the Methodist church. The mother of Mrs. Hockaday bore the maiden name of Jane Box. She was the mother of eight children and a zealous Christian woman. Mr. Hockaday's household is composed of the following children: Electa A., born July 13, 1868; John C. F., born March 18, 1870; Emma J., born December 7, 1871; William W., born December 15, 1873; Oscar N., born November 14, 1875; Curt, born October 20, 1877; Reuben, born January 11, 1880; Bert, born November 6, 1881; Nettie, born September 2, 1883.


     Mr. Hockaday is a firm republican, and has voted with that party ever since he attained his majority. While he has never sought place, he has nevertheless been called upon to fill some local positions, He owns an estate of five hundred and fifty acres, all of which is susceptible of cultivation and very productive. He has always been energetic and enterprising, and has long ago been placed in the ranks of the solid men of Delaware county.  During the fifteen years of his residence in the county, he was variously engaged, having on hand a number of laudable enterprises from which he secured handsome returns. He was among the first in the county to engage in the dairy business, and he is perfectly familiar with every detail of the manufacture and sale of dairy products.  All of his transactions have been characterized by that rare good sense and judgment which are essential to success in any undertaking.

~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 235; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson