John Charles Rohkar Sr


Born: Hannover, Germany – 28 Feb 1826

Died: Ridott, IL – 13 Jun 1912 

Father: Unknown

Mother: Charlotte Meier Rohkar

Spouse: Dorathea Barth Rohkar

Great Great Grandfather John Charles Rohkar Sr.


Charles Rohkar was born in Hannover, Stadt Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany in 1826. His parent’s name were Heinrich Rohkar age 31 and Charlotte Meier Rohkar age unknown. He is known to have 2 brothers who also came to America, Edward and Henry.

Charles married Dorathea Barth on September 18, 1847 at the ‘old home’ in Germany according the Dorathea’s obituary.  They arrived in America on July 13, 1851 and remained in New York for four years. They had two children born in Saugerties, Ulster County, New York. Henry was born in 1852 and Georgeana was born in 1854. 

The family moved to Freeport, Illinois late in 1855 and founded the Rohkar’s Hanover Bakery in 1856 at the corner of Mechanic (now State Avenue) and Stephenson Streets and then moved two doors east on Stephenson. The bakery was in the family until 1930.

Charles and Dorathea had three more children that were born in Freeport, Illinois: Charles Jr in 1860, Caroline in 1861, and Margaretha born in 1863.

In 1872 the Rohkar family moved to Ridott, Illinois and opened a restaurant and saloon. According to his obituary, Mr. Rohkar later became village constable. They remained in Ridott the remainder of their lives with Dorathea dying in 1900. Charles retired five years before he died in 1912 at the age of 86 years, 3 months, and 13 days.

John Charles Rohkar obituary published in the Freeport, IL paper:

"John Charles Rohkar, one of the best known residents of Ridott, and well known in this city, died Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock at his home in Ridott. His death was due to heart failure and general weakness attending old age.

Mr. Rohkar was born in Germany, February 28, 1826, and resided there until 1851. He was married in Germany to Miss Dorothy Barth in 1847 and with his wife came to the United States four years later. Upon arriving in America, Mr. and Mrs. Rohkar settled in New York but in 1854 moved to Freeport where he resided until 1872. During that year they went to Ridott where Mr. Rohkar opened a restaurant and saloon. Later he became village constable, but for five years past has lived a retired life.

Deceased is survived by four children, Mrs. Rohkar having passed away in 1900. His surviving children are Henry, of Laramie, Wyo., Mrs. Caroline Murray, Huron, S.D., Mrs. Margaret Knodle, Freeport, and Charles Rohkar, of Ridott. He also leaves six granchildren and four great grandchildren."

© Alan 2017