HENRY HOFFMAN. From the sister Repub1ic of Switzerland comes the subject of this sketch. He is the son of John and Elizabeth (Homberger) Hoffman, the former of whom was born Feb. 12, 1802, was a carpenter by trade, and lived in his native land all of his lifetime. The latter accompanied her children to America, and died at the residence of our subject in Derinda Township, July 9, 1870. In their family were seven children, two of the sons dying in this country. Caspar in Washington Township, Carroll Co., Ill., and Christian at Toledo, Ohio, from small-pox contracted on the vessel on the passage across the Atlantic. The particulars of his death were never fully known, as he was accompanied to that place by a stranger from Switzerland, who left him there in delirium. from which he never recovered. Jacob married Elizabeth Zolinger, a native of Zurich, Switzerland, and a farmer in Woodbine Township, Carroll County. He is also a carpenter by trade, and has built a large number of houses and barns in this county. He had one daughter, who was married, and died, leaving two small children, Jacob and Henry. Margaret was married to Jacob Bloomhart, a native of Germany, who enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, in one of the Illinois batteries, and was discharged at Nashville, Tenn. He had applied for a pension, and, going to the post-office for a reply, mysteriously disappeared and has never since been heard of, either living or dead. His wife, who has no children, lives with her brother, our subject. Bloomhart was a carpenter and joiner by trade, and also owned some land in Woodbine Township, Carroll County. Regula became the wife of John Hagy, a native of Switzerland, who is a merchant tailor in Elizabeth, Ill. They had three sons, two of whom are married, and all live in the city of Elizabeth; they are named John, Frederick and Albert. John wedded KuhnIgunda, a native of Saxe-Coburg, Germany, and is keeping a hotel in Savanna, Carroll Co., Ill., and also a hotel in the village of Hanover, this county, and has five children: Maggie, Emma, Harry, Matilda, and a baby unnamed.
Henry Hoffman, our subject, was born Feb. 25, 1828. He received a good common-school education in his native country, where he lived until the emigration of the family to this country where they arrived in the City of New York on March 8, 1834. Our subject soon made his way to Chicago believing that the Great West offered the best opportunity for the poor man to acquire a home. On his arrival in Chicago, he secured work on a grading train, and made his way to Scales Mound in this county. Here he determined to make for himself a home, and, returning to Chicago to get his baggage, he came back to Scales Mound, and upon getting there had but twenty cents in his pocket. He has been the architect of his own fortune, and everything that he has, his splendid farm of 276 acres of ground, all well-improved and either cultivated or in pasture, his fine residence and comfortable buildings, are entirely the result of his own well-directed energy and enterprise. When he first came here, this part of Jo Daviess County presented a wild appearance. Few improvements had been made, and the neighbors were few and far between. His first purchase was of fifty acres, to which he, however, soon added until he had a good farm of 180 acres. This not satisfying his ambition, he sold it and bought his present fine location.
Mr. Hoffman has been twice married, his first wife being Mary Downer, who was born near Munich, Bavaria, and who died Sept. 14, 1872. His present wife was Miss Eve Barbara Everhart, a native of Bavaria, who came to America in 1870. To this union six children have been born all of whom live with their parents and form a bright, happy and intelligent family. They are named Henry William, Wilhelm. Manie, John, Charles and Fred. During the late war our subject served in the 42nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry doing duty until February, 1865, when he received an honorable discharge. He was personally acquainted with Gen. Grant, the late Congressman E. B. Washburne, Gen. John A. Rawlins, and many other prominent men. In his political views he is an ardent Republican. His first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln, and he has voted for the candidates of that party ever since, and is heartily glad that Harrison is to fill the Presidential chair for the next four years.
In addition to his general farming and stock-raising Mr. Hoffman makes a specialty of feeding yearling calves for the Chicago market, a branch of business in which he has been more than ordinarily successful. A self-made man in the fullest acceptation of the word, owing everything to his own industry, enterprise and upright character, Mr. Hoffman is a good example of what may be accomplished by any young man starting out in the world similarly endowed and with an honest determination to succeed.
Transcribed byJean Hoffman.
Jean notes that there are a few errors in the above:
1 Jacob lived in WoodLAND Township, Carroll County, Ill.
2 The name is probably Blumhardt, but under any spelling I cannot find him in the Illinois Civil War rosters. A Jacob Blumhardt is recorded in the 1870 census in Stockton (northeast of Derinda) with a wife Rachel.
3 This either refers to Woodland Twp., Carroll Co. or Woodbine Twp., Jo Daviess Co.
4 This common German name is usually spelled Kunigunda.
5 The year was 1854 and the customs list was dated March 7, but he may not have left the ship until the 8th. The rest of the family came at other, later dates.
6 The first 3 children are Henry, William and Wilhelmine or Minnie.
7 He was discharged in 1866, not having enlisted until March of 1865.