Josiah Rogers Hoag



(constable and deputy sheriff in Silver Reef)


Josiah Rogers Hoag was born in Concord, Merrimack County, New Hampshire on January 13, 1833. He moved with his family to Illinois in 1840 and remained there until 1860 when his parents died. Then he went to California and sometime between 1870 and 1972 to Pioche, Nevada. He went by the name of Joseph all of his adult life.

By 1878, Joseph was living in Silver Reef where he was a member of a club with the purpose of giving dancing parties. He served as constable and deputy sheriff in Silver Reef.

In 1880, Joseph got into an altercation with M.r Penroad at Bonanza Flat. Joseph was struck with a knife in his shoulder, inflicting a wound an inch deep and about four inches long.

He was the first lawman to react when Tom Forrest knifed and killed Michael Carbis, the mine foreman who fired Forrest from his mining job. Constable Hoag was nearby and attempted to arrest Forrest, but Forrest drew a pistol and the officer wisely abandoned the idea and ran for help. Constable Hoag organized a large posse of approximately one hundred individuals to locate Forrest, including a couple of Indians with tracking skills. They found Forrest hiding in an idle shaft of the Tecumseh Mine and placed him under arrest, incarcerating him in the Silver Reef jail. The newspaper reported, "Deputy Sheriff Hoag is deserving of considerable credit for the courage displayed in pursuing him. Forrest held a pistol and knife and threatened to kill the first man who should come into the tunnel. Hoag jocularly remarked that his 'bread basket' would hold more lead than was in his pistol and still be hungry."

Almost immediately, there was talk of breaking Forrest out of jail and hanging him for the murder. Hoag kept a constant watch for anyone who might choose to carry out this threat. Sure enough, Michael Carbis' oldest son, Michael J. Carbis, came to the small jail with a loaded pistol and threatened to kill Forrest. Hoag was able to diffuse the situation and convinced Carbis to leave. But then Hoag determined that it wasn't safe to keep Forrest in Silver Reef. Transportation was arranged and Forrest was transferred to the Washington County jail in St. George for his safety.

A year later, Silver Reef was again in upheaval. Business was suspended and the stores and mills were closed. The mine owners had announced a cut in pay for the miners, and in reaction, a miner's union was organized and the miners began to strike. They ran Colonel Allen out of town, and he asked the court in Beaver to intervene.

Deputy Marshall Pratt and sheriffs Hardy and Hoag, at the head of twenty-five mounted and well-armed men, made arrests at the Harrison House, the Barbee mine, and the Stormont mill. Twenty men were arrested (including all the union leaders) and lodged in the Silver Reef jail; others were still to be found. No resistance was made as the miners scarcely believe they had committed any crime and expected to get clear. The prisoners were taken to Beaver by wagon; all were arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Thirteen were found guilty of riot, taken from Beaver to Milford to board the train to Salt Lake City to be put in the penitentiary.

Joseph was involved in horse racing and betting on the results across the Territory. In 1882, he was a sub-register for Washington Precinct in Washington County. That same year, sheriff Spillsbury of Kane County was robbed. Sheriffs Hoag and Grant with A. J. McDonald, immediately went in pursuit from Silver Reef. They traced the brigands to a cabin near the point between Silver Reef and Leeds.

The Silver Reef Miner newspaper explained: "A thorough search was made, but to no purpose, while as has since been ascertained, the robbers were under the floor, lying on their backs, and ready to perforate the first man that showed himself. The sheriff had received a telegram from Sheriff Clark at Richfield stating he could arrest John Brantly formerly of Washington and well known to be one of the two men wanted. He was requested to do so and Spillsbury set out at once for his game which he got safe and sound at Richfield and brought to Toquer. Brantly made a full confession of his crime and gave the name of his accomplice as John Todd. It appears that the pair had started in for extensive operations but were nipped in the bud at the outset."

In 1887, Joseph was summoned as a juror for the trial of the famous man killer Thompson in the Beaver court. Thompson had killed a Mr. Dalton when he went to arrest him for unlawful cohabitation. Joseph was excused as juror because he was "a former officer of Pioche during the town's palmiest days". In 1888, he left Silver Reef to travel to Salt Lake City to meet his brother Thomas, who he had not seen for more than twenty years.

Joseph returned to Pioche and spent the rest of his life there and in other towns in Nevada.

He died on August 16, 1900 in De Lamar, Nevada.


Parents and Siblings:
    Charles Hoag
    Eliza Purington Rogers Hoag
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Josiah Rogers "Joseph" Hoag
A research report by Elaine Young, PhD