The F word dates back to the Middle Ages at least and is probably much older (the German, Norwegian and Dutch languages that are related to or have had influence on the English Language in Anglo-Saxon times have similar words meaning the same thing as the ‘F’ Word).
It could not have survived until the 1890s unless it was in common usage outside of polite society. Back in the 1860s, it would probably have been seen as so far beyond the pale that its use would not have been typically recorded in documentary evidence, but it must have been used, or else it would have been lost. Not everyone was a lady or a gentleman back then...
Not that I use wikipedia all that much but there’s a great article on it there. Seems trustworthy, lots of footnotes on it.
It’s also worth noting that it did not appear in any of the “thieves’ slang” dictionaries of the time.
It is still in use in the Netherlands. On papers of purebred horses imported from the Netherlands, the breeder is referred to as the “fokker.”
Certainly, not all of my ancestors were perfect ladies and gentlemen.
Some of them were not even vertrebrates.