Gone Missing



            The phrase “gone missing” implies that someone intentionally disappeared or fled.  At times the preservation of one’s life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness may seem sufficiently important to outweigh the consequences of having “gone missing”.  In fact, the history of the Happes family contains numerous examples of individuals who have “gone missing”.  One of the earliest occurred shortly after the terrible outbreak of the Black Plague devastated the town of Toess, Switzerland in 1565.  As reported on page 85 of my book, SwissRoots: A History of the Happes Family to 1800:

. . . . the sudden breakdown of community life caused by the plague resulted in disorder and crime.  One of Herman Haps’ sons was implicated but fled before he could be brought to trial.  In this case the record keeper merely indicated that: He is no longer allowed to remain in the land.   He escaped from the Lords of Kyburg, who would have sentenced him had he been caught.  His name is Heini Haps.

Another period of strife and unrest occurred during the US Civil War when large numbers of soldiers on both sides went absent without leave (AWOL) and risked being shot as a deserter, if caught.  Members of the Hoppes family certainly were no exception.  The following table was constructed from the summaries of the military service records of family members published on the Hoppes Generations web site:


            NAME                 BIRTH         UNIT                           EXPERIENCE
13111 Franklin Hoppers  Jan 1833       61 NC INF                  Sick in hospital, then AWOL
1331 Daniel Hoppers        Jul 1824      5 NC Senior Reserves  Went AWOL twice
1332 Stephen Hoppers     Dec 1832    22 NC INF                  Changed name; went AWOL
2341 Jonathan Hoppes     C1840         54 NC INF                  Wounded July 1863; then AWOL
2522 James H. Hoppess   C1831         6 MO INF, 10 CAV    Captured; then AWOL; then back


1145 Henry Hoppes          1844           16 KS CAV                 Served 4 months, then deserted


Several other Hoppes family members known or suspected of having “gone missing” are reported below.

235 George Hoppes (* CA 1804, +>1850)

             One of the earliest, and most mysterious, cases of a Hoppes who apparently went missing is the fifth son of old Adam Hoppes born in 1760.  On August 11, 1835, according to County records, George Hoppes married Margaret Ann Bain in Washington County, TN. Their only known son Michael Hoppers, born March 10, 1837 in Washington County, TN, served in Company B, 1st AR Infantry (Union) during the Civil War. As related in Michael Hoppers’ military service and pension history published on the Hoppes Generations web site:

“In 1905, his date of birth became the primary concern. On May 29, 1905, S. W. Bain, a resident of Elixir, Dallas County, MO, testified that:

I am well and personally acquainted with the above named Michael Hoppers, and have been all his life.  He was born on the 10th, day of March 1837.  He was born in my fathers house and partially reared by him as he was left an orphan at an early age.  I make the above statement from an investigation of old family records now in my possession.  Also from personal knowledge of the above facts.

In addition to the affidavit of S. W. Bain, on December 15, 1905, a transcript of an old Cox family bible was made by a Notary Public of Dallas County, MO; the bible  contained the following information:

            FAMILY RECORD

“Names of persons and their ages”:

Margerett Bains was born the seventh day of Feb. 18___.

Micheal Hoppers was born the 10th, day of March 1837.

Sinclair Cox was born on the 6th, day of Feby. 1845. . . . . .”

             Why S. W. Bain testified that Michael Hoppers “was left an orphan at an early age” is far from clear.  The 1850 Census of Polk County, TN available on our web site shows that George Hoppes apparently was alive and well, but living with another woman:

 235       TN             Polk                  2nd Civil District                   230             234

Geo Hoppers                            46             M             Farmer                                     NC

Lucinda Hoppers                        30             F                                                          NC

Louisa I. Hoppers                          8             F                                                          NC

Mary A. Hoppers                          7             F                                                          NC

Louanda Hoppers                          4             F                                                          NC


            Similarly, George’s first wife Margaret Ann Bain appears to have lived a long and interesting life.  According to LDS records, after she married George Hoppers on August 11, 1835, she married William Nasalrod on January 1, 1871, and then married Lewis Hires on May 5, 1881.  It even is reported that she was buried with her last husband.

Comment:  HELP!

23111 James Alison Hoppes (*Jan1846, +>1900)

             The grandson of George Hoppes’ oldest brother Adam, namely James Alison Hoppes, was the father of the famous banjo player, Walter (Doc) Hoppes. From our recent Hoppes Generations publication, Remember the Little Children, we know that Doc Hoppes born March 23, 1883 was the youngest of seven boys of Alison and Nancy (Creson) Hoppes.  In the book, Cabins in the Laurel, by Muriel E. Shepard (See Hoppes Generations publication Diaries and Books), Doc Hoppes mentions almost casually: 

After my Daddy forsook Ma and us children, she didn't have nothing and we got nothing to eat only as we went after it and made it. The neighbors tried to get her to give us away but she stayed with us right on. . . . 

            Even though the 1900 Census lists Nancy Hoppas as a widow, we know that her husband Alison still was alive.  In fact, in the 1900 Census he is enumerated in Geneva Township of Jennings County, IN as follows: 


State     County              Township             Vol/ED/S/L      Reel             House             Family Census Date


IN         Jennings             Geneva              33/105/4/58          379      75             75


Hoppus, Alison             head             WM             Jan1848             52                     M4       NC             NC      NC   farmer Hoppus, Lida C.             wife      WF             Jul1872             27                     M4 2/2 IN             KY      KY

Hoppus, Earl. L.             son             WM     Oct 1892      8                    S          IN             IN        IN

Hoppus, William I.             son             WM             Jul1897        2                       S             IN        IN             IN       


Apparently, Alison Hoppes fathered an illegitimate child with Lida Campbell in 1892 in Indiana, deserted his family to start a new life with her, and married Lida in 1896, four years after their first child was born.  23111 James Alison Hoppes appears to have been a bigamist.

Comment:  THE CAD! 

21634 Ed Hoppes (*C1872, +1953)

            Another suspected bigamist is Edgar/Edward Hoppes/Hoppus, the fourth son of 2163 Daniel Boone Hoppes who married Frances Mary Hannah on August 3, 1856.   Between 1872 and 1880, Daniel Hoppes and his family moved to Bluffton, Otter Tail County, MN.  Later their son Victor, born in 1860, moved to Haynes, Alberta, Canada.

            On June 30, 1991, I received a letter from Karen Anderson of Lynnwood, WA, which stated in part:

My grandfather was Edward Hoppus.  He and my grandmother were divorced when my mother was only two.  My mother never saw or heard from him again.  Over the years somewhat of a mystery grew up around him and the reason for their divorce.  My mother claims her mother found out Ed was already married.  No one has ever been able to prove this, however. But the mystery remained.  My grandmother had passed on by the time I became interested in the family history. .

While visiting his brother, Victor, Edward Hoppus met and married Minnie Amelia Thew (b. 1901, Macloud, Alberta) in Feb, 1921.

Their oldest child, Victor Willis Hoppus, was born in Alix, Alberta in 1922.

In Jan of 1924, Ed was deported from Canada, so he moved his family to Kalispell, MT, where my mother, Martha Frances Hoppus, was born in 1924. . . .

Ed Hoppus’ brother Victor was enumerated in the 1901 Census of Canada in District 202 of Alberta where he had a wife Ida born in 1863 in the US and the following children, all born in the US: Lena M. Hoppus born in 1871, Roy Hoppus born in 1885, Lloyd Hoppus born in 1887, Lula Hoppus born in 1891, and Ethyl Hoppus born in 1894.  Ed Hoppus’ son 216341 Victor Hoppus born May 13, 1922, grew up in Montana, and died on March 15, 1995 in The Dallas, OR.  Victor Hoppus’ wife Mattie was born on December 10, 1910 and died in The Dallas, OR on September 19, 1988.  Karen Anderson reports that 21634 Ed Hoppes died about 1953 in the remote town of Wenatchee, WA. 


2521 John P. Hoppess (C1829->1850)

             John P. Hoppes was the oldest son on the Wythe County, VA lawman 252 Henry Hoppess married to Polly Ward.  In 1848, he and his cousin Michael Cline were apprehended for fighting, an illegal activity.  The Hoppes Generations publication Court Records contains the following entries: 





                The case against Hoppess and Cline was dropped because both had fled by May 1850 to avoid prosecution.  In fact, John Hoppess apparently was enumerated in the 1850 Census of the 14th District of Cape Girardeau County, MO taken on August 20, 1850 as a 21-year-old male who had been born in VA.  (See the Hoppes Generations publication 1850 Census Data in Harry’s Corner).   After 1850, however, John P. Hoppes disappears completely.  To avoid a relatively minor offense, did he flee to frontier areas that were far from safe? 


2411A Catherine Hoppes (*27Mar1836, +26Jun1900)

             In the preface to his pamphlet, Whence the Hoppes Family of Berks County, Pennsylvania: So your Children Can Tell Their Children, 1974, Robert R. Hoppes of Hellertown, PA states:

Kitty listed as a sister to Amos, Obediah and Daniel R. Hoppes, Page 8, according to information passed on to me by my father, shows that she and her fiancÚ, shortly before the Civil War, suddenly disappeared from their home area and were never heard of again.  Well in those days many people from the states bordering the Appalachian Mountains, which extend along the eastern part of the United States into Virginia and West Virginia, took refuge in those mountains because they did not take sides with the North nor the South and thus were kind of lost to civilization thence forth.  Fascinating, isn’t it.  In a speech made by Judge Henniger of the Lehigh County Courts, who used to spend his vacation in those mountains, told of his stroll through the cemeteries where he found the names of many buried there identical with the names of people from Lehigh and other nearby counties.  Maybe some of this family’s relatives still live in those mountains even to this date.  Think about it.

            Based on Robert R. Hoppes’ information, Denise Kern correctly made Catherine Hoppes, who was enumerated as a 14-year old in the 1850 Census of Oley Township, Berks County, PA, her top-priority missing person.  Denise’s “Brick Wall” section began by stating: #1. KITTY HAPPES - Kitty, daughter of Solomon & Margaretha Rau/Rowe Hoppes, disappeared when the Civil War broke out. 

In January 2001, however, Thomas Strobie published his genealogical database as part of the RootsWeb's World Connect Project.   It contained the fascinating information that Nathan Lenhard Haas (born May 5, 1832 in Rockland Township, Berks County, PA; died October 10, 1904 in Oley Township, Berks County, PA) had married Catherine Hoppes (born March 27, 1836, died June 26, 1900).  Their children were listed as: James G. Haas, born February 5, 1854; Morris H. Haas, born November 30, 1856 in Berks County, PA; and Catherine Ellen “Kate” Haas, born March 13, 1874 in Earl Township, Berks County, PA. (See:http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=stobie&id=I54671.) Kitty apparently had children who were born in Berks County, PA before and after the Civil War. Thomas Strobie listed the source of these data as: “Abbrev: Bryan Haas' Rootsweb GEDCOM. Title: Rootsweb GEDCOM. Author: Haas, Bryan. Publication: [email protected].”


By: Harry Hoppes                                                 October 2002