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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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HOCKEN, RICHARD (1820-1896)

HOCKEN, RICHARD, customs official and businessman; b. Liskeard parish, Cornwall, England, c1820; m. 1846, Susan Samuel, d/o Michael Samuel and Mary Catherine Parker; d. Chatham, 10 Apr 1896.

Richard Hocken came to the Miramichi in 1841 as accountant in the customs house, which was then located at Bushville. He was transferred to Bathurst in 1846 and to Richibucto in 1848. In 1850 he left the service and established himself as a merchant in Chatham. During the next forty years he conducted a variety of stores, as well as a wholesale fish exporting business. In the 1860s he was president of the Chatham Gas Light Co. In 1884 he was one of the founding directors of the Miramichi Steam Navigation Co., which ran passenger and freight ferries on the river.

Hocken was "a man of strong and distinct individuality," who "thought and acted for himself regardless of environment or the views of others," and who "bent very slowly, if at all, to the social ideas of the day." Over the course of his lifetime he accumulated "a substantial fortune," $4,000 of which he willed to designated charities. There is a stained glass window in St Paul's Anglican Church at Chatham Head in memory of him and his wife, Susan Samuel.

There were five daughters and three sons in the family. The daughters included Mary C. F. Hocken, the wife of the Rev. Richmond Shreve, and Susan E. Hocken, the wife of Allan J. Ritchie. One of the sons, Michael S. Hocken, succeeded to his father's business interests and erected the Hocken Block in downtown Chatham in 1892.


[m] Weekly Chronicle 24 Jul 1846 [d] Advocate 15 Apr 1896 / Advocate 6 Apr 1892; Biog. Review NB; Fraser (C); Gleaner 11 Jul 1848, 21 Oct 1850, 10 Jan 1863, 9 Jan 1864, 21 Jan 1865, 23 Dec 1865, 22 Dec 1866; World 3 Dec 1884; Spray (DK)