Columns of Will Ball
A year of so ago, while leafing through
an old city directory, we came across the name Hackenbehmer. The owner of the name was a tailor living at
26 Market Street, We have known the
family which lives at that address for over sixty years but they did not spell
the name like that. It was spelled
Paul, the youngest son of Frederick
Hockenbeamer, Sr., who has just passed away, was at that time a neighbor of the
writer and a very good friend. The next
time we saw him we spoke of the change of the spelling of the name. He laughed and said “well, I don’t know what
my name is”.
He then told of a trip he had made to
his father’s old town in Germany. We
have forgotten the name of that town or its location but Mrs. Merle Hockenbeamer
tells us she believes it was not far from Dantzig, the Baltic seaport.
Paul was not able to find any trace of
the family in the old town and had to leave without being able to satisfy his
curiosity regarding his ancestry.
Searching through old directories
reveals eight distinct spellings of the name, beginning with the 1874 directory,
when the name first appears:
We understand that the present spelling
was adopted when Gus, the oldest son, started high school. He insisted that his father take court action
to have the present form legalized.
It is not known just when the elder
Hockenbeamer came to America except that it seems to have been about the time
of a revolution in the fatherland. Such
a revolution of major importance occurred in 1848, at which time many thousands
of Germans emigrated to America. Mr.
Hockenbeamer passed away about the year 1900, aged 80 or more, which would fix
the year of his birth in the second decade of the last century, about
1815-1820. He therefore would have been
about thirty years old at the time of the revolution and of mass migration to
the new land across the sea.
Neither does anyone know when he came to
Logansport. It is known, though, that he
bought the lot on the north side of Market between First and Eel River and
built the double house that was just razed this last summer to make way for
another filling station. The east side
of the old house was occupied by some of the family from the time of its
erection until its sale this year to the oil company.
The west side of the house was occupied
by one tenant for 26 years which is a pretty good indication of the kind of
citizen the Hockenbeamers were. When they
remodeled the house, the tenant, Herbert A. Brown, vacated while the
alterations were in progress, then moved back in, remaining until he removed
his family to New York early in the present century.
Five children were born to the
Hockenbeamers: a daughter, Lydia, who
died quite young; Gus, who began his business career in the local office of the
Pennsylvania Railroad and later, after his marriage to Ethel Pryor, going to
the Pacific coast, where he became president of the Pacific Gas and Electric
Co., the largest public utility on the west coast; Fred and Ernest, twins, the
former becoming a Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive engineer, living in the home
until his passing a few years ago; and Ernest, going to Arizona where he became
a clothing merchant up to the time of his death in 1913; and Paul, who has just
left us, a banker all his active life.
Logansport Press, November 19 and
December 17, 1950
Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April,
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