Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994 Page: 8
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his bow, sometimes a hundred years away or more. Each coin he hit, he would get to keep.
John Goeke said that he never saw him miss.3
John Goeke's life came to a tragic end, when in 1960, he lost his life in a fire.4
My Great-great grandfather, Friedrich Wilhelm Goeke
Friedrich Wilhelm Goeke was born October 16, 1845, in Borgentreich, Germany, the
son of a farmer.5 Borgentreich was a walled city. Farmers would have their houses inside the
city wall, but the farm per se would be outside the city wall. As was the custom of the day, the
oldest son usually inherited the homestead when the parents died. Friedrich Goeke had an older
brother and, therefore, decided to learn another trade. He chose the trade of shoemaking.6
In June of 1866, the German state of Prussia (in which Friedrich Goeke lived) went to
war with Austria and other German states (Hesse, Saxony and Hanover). Consequently, young
Prussian men were conscripted into the military service. Friedrich Goeke, being of age, was
also conscripted. According to the story passed down through the generations, Friedrich Goeke
did not want to serve in the Prussian military. Consequently, with the encouragement of an
uncle, he boarded a ship headed to America. According to oral tradition, this was something of
a "spur of the moment" decision. The irony of the irony of the story is that the war (known as the AustoPrussian
War or Seven Weeks War) was one of the shortest wars in German history. Whether
or not the details of this story are true, the fact remains that Friedrich Goeke sailed to America
aboard the ship Locadia and arrived at the port of Baltimore, Maryland, on or about December
From Baltimore, he made his way to St. Charles, Missouri, for whatever reason. It
was here, in 1869, that he married Theresa Siedhoff, also a Prussian immigrant from the city
of Lippstadt, not far from where he had grown up in Borgentreich.8 In 1872, Friedrich Goeke
applied for U.S. citizenship. (Incidentally, it was in his application document that he first used
the spelling of the name Goeke. In Germany, he spelled his name Goke. This change was perfectly
normal, as the Americans likely would not know how to pronounce the "o", but in the
German language the "o" and the "oe" are interchangeable).
While in Missouri, Friedrich and his wife had four children. They then moved to
Texas where their fifth child was born. In Texas, Friedrich was an itinerant farmer. His wife
died either at the birth of their fifth child or shortly thereafter. He later remarried and had one
more child. In 1905, his second wife died.
In his last years, Friedrich was plagued with stomach cancer. This would ultimately
take his life. He died on March 30, 1923.9
Mv Great-great grandfather, Leopold Alwin Oskar Horn
Leopold Alwin Oskar Horn was born on December 28, 1853, in Mulkwitz, Germany.10
His father, Johann Karl Heinrich Reinhold Horn, was in the employ of the Prince of
Silesia as a gamekeeper in the Muskau Forest which is located in the eastern part of Germany
3 Oral narrative as passed down to the author's grandfather and father by John Joseph Goeke.
4 Austin American Statesman, newspaper obituary in Helen Goeke's possession, Austin, Texas.
5 Birth/Baptismal record, 1845, page 104, number 57, St. Johannes Bapt. Catholic Church,
6 Wilson, Lena. Letter to Albert Goeke, 1977, in possession of David Goeke, San Antonio, Texas.
7 Ship's Passenger Lists of Vessels Entering the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, 1866. Microfilm from
L.D.S. Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
8 Certificate of Marriage, St. Peter Catholic Church, St. Charles, Missouri.
9 Wilson, Lena. Letter to Albert Goeke, 1977. In possession of Helen Goeke, Austin, Texas.
10 Birth/Baptismal Record, 1853, number 88, Evangelical Lultheran Church, Schleife, Germany.
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Texas State Genealogical Society. Stirpes, Volume 34, Number 1, March 1994, periodical, March 1994; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39868/m1/10/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Genealogical Society.