PART ONE: Dr. James Hoge Pioneered as Preacher, Civic Leader
Church history for Columbus and Franklin County began in 1805 when James Hoge, a young man of 21 years, rode horseback from Virginia into Franklinton, a small settlement centering at what is now West Broad St. and Sandusky St. This young man accompanied two Federal Judges who were sent to open the first Federal Court at Franklinton. This brief introduction will serve as a book mark to the story of Dr. James Hoge, man of God, who was destined to such an important part in the early history of not only Columbus and Franklin County, but also the state of Ohio.
James Hoge descended from a long line of Presbyterian preachers in Scotland. But the family goes back to the Hogues who were Huguenots, those great Protestants in Normandy, France. Under the religious persecution in reign of Louis XIV, thousands of protestants sought refuge in foreign countries. The Hogues came to Scotland, stronghold of Presbyterianism. Under the Stuart kings James I, Charles I, and Charles II religious freedom and human rights were greatly threatened and many fled the country.
At the close of the 17 century a young man, William Hoge, left Scotland and came to America. William Hoge, great-grandfather of James Hoge settled in Virginia. One of his sons, Alexander Hoge, was a member of the First Congress of the United States. Another of Williams sons, James Hoge was a famous theologian. This James Hoge was the father of Moses Hoge who became the father of the subject of this sketch, Rev. James Hoge. Moses Hoge was an eminent theologian and preacher. About 1783 he was called to the church at Mooresfield, Virginia, ( now West Virginia ). From 1807 until his death in 1820 he held the post of president of Hampton-Sidney College. He died while attending a meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. John Randolf once said, “ Only two men could bring quiet to a turbulent crowd on Court Day, Patrick Henry by his eloquence and Dr. Moses Hoge by simply passing through.” Two other sons of Dr. Moses Hoge became famous preachers. For more about the Hoge men in ministry go to www.history.pcusa.org.
That brings us to the subject of this sketch, James Hoge, son of Moses and Elizabeth Poague Hoge. Born at Mooresfield, Virginia, ( now West Virginia ) on July 4, 1784. He was taught at home by his father. One year was spent in an academy in Charleston, Virginia, ( now West Virginia ) and later in Baltimore under the tutorship of the learned Dr. Priestly who later became president of Cumberland College, Nashville, Tennessee. Soon after his mother died in 1802, he made his first journey to Ohio to do a piece of surveying in the Ohio country. It is known that the Hoge family had acquired rather large landholdings in Pickaway and Franklin counties. Exact documentary data are not in the writers hands but it appears from many references that the Hoge family held large tracks of land on the north side of Columbus, Old Neil Ball Park and Columbus Barracks ( Fort Hayes ) which we have reason to believe were included in the Hoge lands. There is also reason to believe that a part of the extensive Neil family land holdings came through the Hoge family when in 1831, Robert Neil married Mary Mitchell Hoge, daughter of Rev. James Hoge.