Emmett Hoctor, Friend of the James-Younger Gang, Found Dead

Home » Emmett Hoctor, Friend of the James-Younger Gang, Found Dead

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Emmett Hoctor was found dead in his home in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. The date of death has been ascertained as November 29, 2010. The discovery was made when a service organization who administered to Hoctor attempted to make a delivery, after several days of being prohibited by a severe winter snow storm. In this past year Hoctor had been in frail health and suffered cardiac complications, the probable cause of his death. Hoctor, found lying on the floor of his home, had been dead apparently for at least a couple days.

Emmett Hoctor was a friend of The James-Younger Gang, and over the years had contributed articles to the organization’s Journal. He also had been a member and contributor to NOLA and WOLA. He also was a contributor to Wild West magazine. He held a Master’s degree in History.

Hoctor claimed to have written to James Starrs to convince Starrs to exhume the body of Jesse James and to perform DNA testing. With the approval of the Jesse James family, the exhumation of Jesse James was executed in 1995. Afterward, analysis of Starrs’ procedures, techniques, and results have fallen into critical question. In 1999, Hoctor expressed his own regret that the objective of the exhumation had become botched, calling the exhumation’s report into question himself, although he maintained that the exhumed body was indeed that of Jesse James.

Among the historical works produced by Hoctor is his accounting of the Hoctor family’s history, It’s a Long Way from Tipperary. His great grandfather Patrick Hoctor immigrated from Ireland in the midst of the potato famine. In America Patrick married Julia Kennedy, another immigrant from Tipperary. The couple struggled through the Civil War and an Indian uprising. In 1872 Patrick and Julia migrated to a small community south of Omaha, Nebraska. Emmett’s grandfather, Thomas Hoctor, had been born in a log cabin at Lake Pitts, Minnesota, before the couple moved to Nebraska.

In Nebraska, Emmett’s grandfather Thomas attended a one-room country school and later a business school in Omaha, as he worked with his father on the family farm. Being Irish, Thomas gravitated towards politics and was elected city clerk of South Omaha before he was 21 years old. Later he was elected city treasurer, county commissioner, and in 1906 Mayor of South Omaha. He was again elected Mayor in 1912. Thomas was identified in the Omaha press as “the man with a heart as big as a sugar barrel.” Thomas retired from public service to his real estate office. In 1890, Thomas Hoctor married Pauline Paulsen, an immigrant from Germany, who converted to Catholicism in order to learn English. Of the couple’s three children, James, Emmett Francis, and Charles Hoctor, Emmett Charles Hoctor was born to Charles and Florence Seymour Hoctor.

Educated as a doctor and psychiatrist, Emmett’s famous uncle Dr. Emmett F. Hoctor spent all his life in service to the Farmington (Missouri) State Hospital. He has been Jesuit-educated at Creighton University Medical School in Omaha, where he received the Alpha Sigma Nu Award, given to the top student in a class. As a medical professional, Dr. Hoctor advocated revolutionary theories that emphasized humane treatment of patients, and lobbied passage of a patient’s bill of rights. He also pioneered the desegregation of state hospitals. In 1979, A bill to rename the facility the Emmett F. Hoctor Medical Complex was pending in the Missouri Legislature. Dr. Hoctor already was the recipient of Presidential Citations from Presidents Nixon and Ford. In 1966, he had been honored by the Pope with the Knights of St. Gregory Award, the highest award that can be bestowed upon a Catholic layman. The life of Dr. Emmett F. Hoctor is accounted in the book Let Me Not Be Mad, Sweet Heaven.

Emmett Charles Hoctor was born in 1950 in Omaha. Named after his famous uncle and father, Emmett lived quietly, often struggling with health demons that seemed beyond his control. Except for his time in the limelight of Jesse James, Emmett acquired no great notoriety. He remained in the shadows of his father and grandfather. Emmett was friendly and amiable, even among those whose opinions he opposed. Those who knew him will recall him as a warm and friendly gentleman.


Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Wednesday September 15th, 2021
Stray Leaves

Have you considered it? See MoreSee Less

Have you considered it?
Tuesday September 7th, 2021
Stray Leaves

COVID HAS STRUCK THE JAMES FAMILY AGAIN . . . "My foundation and the love of my life. R.I.P 9/5/2021" – Judy Rae Davis-Gibson, spouse of Robert Melvin Gibson Sr. and 3rd great-granddaughter of John J. James & Mary Jane "Polly" Carrell. See MoreSee Less

COVID HAS STRUCK THE JAMES FAMILY AGAIN . . . My foundation and the love of my life. R.I.P 9/5/2021 - Judy Rae Davis-Gibson, spouse of Robert Melvin Gibson Sr. and 3rd great-granddaughter of John J. James & Mary Jane Polly Carrell.
Wednesday September 1st, 2021
Stray Leaves

Greg James posted the following to his immediate family a few hours ago:
"I’m currently dealing with a heavy heart and confusion. My wife Judy suddenly passed away today and I’m asking for prayers and good thoughts. Thank you!"
Judy is the second wife of John Gregory "Greg" James. Greg’s first wife, Beverly Ann Brown, is the mother of Greg’s James descendants. Regardless, we send Greg our sympathies and condolences.
See MoreSee Less

Greg James posted the following to his immediate family a few hours ago: 
Im currently dealing with a heavy heart and confusion. My wife Judy suddenly passed away today and Im asking for prayers and good thoughts. Thank you!
Judy is the second wife of John Gregory Greg James. Gregs first wife, Beverly Ann Brown, is the mother of Gregs James descendants. Regardless, we send Greg our sympathies and condolences.

Comment on Facebook

So sorry to hear about your wife Judy`s passing! Our prayers are with you!🙏

Deepest condolences. 🙏

Tuesday August 31st, 2021
Stray Leaves

Very sad news. Frank Younger has died. Details of his memorial service appear in the Comments below. See MoreSee Less

Very sad news. Frank Younger has died. Details of his memorial service appear in the Comments below.

Comment on Facebook

FRANK YOUNGER'S MEMORIAL SERVICE . . . November 18, 1940 – August 28, 2021. Frank Younger sadly passed away suddenly at age 80 as a result of an accident in his home. Frank was predeceased by his parents, Paul and Margaret (and stepmother Irene). He is survived by his wife, Sharon, and their three children, Pauline (Mike), Matt (Zoe), and Tom (Tamara), and grandson, Paul. Frank loved his family and always enjoyed sharing his encouragement, wisdom, and inimitable sense of humor with them. His contributions to the lives of many include his commitment to his career as an Astronomer at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics), his ongoing participation in local classical orchestras (including the odd instrument repair), and mentoring of many friends in any way he could. Frank’s recent endeavors included attending and helping run the James Younger Gang club as well as writing and reading his poetry. Frank has often enjoyed and been seen as having contrasting traits including riding his Harley motorcycle to a string quartet practice or cleaning his antique gun collection prior to reading his latest poetry writings to gangster club members. His unique character and compassion for all of his friends and family will be missed. You are invited to Frank Younger’s online Memorial Service. Please feel free to share the meeting link below as you see fit. You can join from any web browser using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. This will be a short memorial (20 – 30 minutes). We will not be able to provide any technical support on the day of the memorial. If you have any questions about how to join us using Zoom, please contact Zoë Younger at 778-828-9971 before Friday. We will be recording the memorial, so if you have difficulty logging in, or if you miss it, you will be able to view it at a different time. There will not be an opportunity to speak to all attendees during the service, however, if you wish to share a story with the family via email, we will be assembling a collection before the weekend. Please click the link below to join us. Topic: Frank Younger’s Memorial Service Time: Sep 3, 2021 03:00 PM Vancouver Join Zoom Meeting us02web.zoom.us/j/89203244337?pwd=QkU5b01uNzdZMWZNWmIwTUVPYllVUT09 Meeting ID: 892 0324 4337 Passcode: Frank Thank you, Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting us02web.zoom.us

I was devastated when I received the email. I spoke to Frank and Sharon a month or so ago. We had a nice talk. I will miss him dearly.

I was fortunate enough to have met and talked with Frank. He impressed me as a nice and knowledgeable man.

Load MORE

One thought on “Emmett Hoctor, Friend of the James-Younger Gang, Found Dead”

  1. Author and historian Nancy Samuelson just wrote the following obituary of Emmett Hoctor for the James-Younger Gang Journal & the Wild West History Association:

    Emmett Charles Hoctor

    Emmett Charles Hoctor was born September 1, 1950 in Omaha, Nebraska and passed away on November 29, 2010 at Plattsmouth, Nebraska. He was the son of Charles and Florence (Seymour) Hoctor. Emmett is survived by sisters, Margaret Hoctor of Plattsmouthand Charlene Swartely of Connecticut, longtime companion Debra Estes, a great nephew and great niece, and eight great-great nieces and nephews. Emmett’s grandfather, Tom Hoctor was active in politics and served several years as Mayor of South Omaha. An uncle, Dr. Emmett F. Hoctor, was a well known psychiatrist who served as the Superintendent of State Hospital No. 4 at Farmington, Missouri for 38 years.

    Emmett had a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska and taught history as well as other subjects at the Junior High and High School level for a number of years.

    Emmett was an avid historian and was especially interested in the history of the James-Younger Gang. Emmett conducted a vast amount of research relating to the James Gang and wrote a number of articles about the gang members, and their crimes. He had articles published in Wild West Magazine, National Outlaw-Lawmen History Association Journal, Western Outlaw-Lawmen History Association Journal, James-Younger Gang Journal, and a number of other publications. He also wrote articles for a number of state and local history publications and was frequently consulted by newspaper reporters about historical subjects. Emmett won the Milt Perry Award for some of his work about the James Gang.

    It was Emmett’s idea to exhume the body of Jesse James and to test the skeleton for DNA. Emmett contacted Dr. Michael Finnegan, a forensic anthropologist , and Dr. James Starrs, a law professor, to suggest and coordinate this proposal. The exhumation and testing was done in 1995. Hoctor, however, later became convinced that the entire project had been botched and was most unhappy about that event, after the fact.

    Emmett had battled depression for a number of years. He also had a number of physical problems and it is believed that congestive heart failure was the cause of his death. His memorial service was conducted on December 1, 2010 at the First United Methodist Church, Plattsmouth with Pastor Larry Biederman officiating. Arrangements were by Roby Funeral Home of Plattsmouth.

Comments are closed.