Sunday, June 17, 2012

The 1913 Hoffman Family Reunion

This article (and a second one) was brought to my attention a few days ago by Bob Hoffman (see this post), courtesy of the two wonderful ladies who volunteer at the Columbiana County Archives and Research Center.

The Chronicling America website (part of the Library of Congress) shows that The Mahoning Dispatch was published weekly on Fridays in Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio beginning on May 4, 1877 with the last issue printed on April 26, 1968. The site currently has digitized issues available from October 2, 1908 through September 30, 1921. I haven't yet taken the time to go through all of the issues but a search for Hoffman and related surnames provides quite a few hits.

As a side note, there are two options for downloading the images - a high quality, large "jp2" file and a smaller pdf file of lower quality. After downloading the jp2 file I discovered that I didn't have a graphics program that would open the file! A quick search showed that Irfanview along with a JPEG2000 plugin will open the downloaded images.

The article consumes the entire first column of the first page and a small portion of the second column so it had to be "clipped" in sections. It includes quite a few surnames, some of which I recognized from information that was given to me in September 2004 by Stephanie Martin Shively. She is a descendant of Daniel Coy, half-brother of Catherine Coy who married John Hoffman. Catherine and John are my 4th great-grandparents.

Stephanie had some information on all of the eleven children of John and Catherine, more on some than on others. This article contains quite a bit of information on the family of John Hoffman, Jr., which is one of the children for which Stephanie had little information.

Since obtaining the article two days ago, I have found quite a bit more information on the family of John Jr. and have been able to trace all of his children and some of the grandchildren through census records from as well as marriage and death records from FamilySearch. but still have a few holes to fill in. Several passages have been emphasized in bold and will be discussed in future posts, as will other portions of the article.

The Mahoning Dispatch ~ Canfield, Mahoning County, Ohio ~ Vol. XXXVII

Bright, Breezy Paragraphs Telling
The Happenings in the Village on
Mahoning's Southern
By Peter M. Herold.

Hoffman Family Reunion.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart
And hope to meet again.

The largest family gathering held in Washingtonville for many years assembled in town hall last Saturday, when the Hoffman family held their annual reunion and picnic. Other families have had larger gatherings, but they are held statedly in groves especially fitted up for the purpose; while that of the Hoffman family held last Saturday was all under cover and had the privileges of the town property and the school grounds.

The out-of-town members of the family came by electric line and automobiles from Cleveland, Chagrin Falls, Canton, Homeworth, Alliance, Freeburg, Paris, Salem, North Lima and Leetonia - the Washingtonville kinship being divided among the Weikarts, the Bostons, the Hilemans, the Fitzsimmons' and their intermarried relatives, so that when dinner was announced 138 relatives surrounded the tables and partook of a bountiful meal, which none can prepare and enjoy than persons of German extraction. Before adjournment everybody present was served with ice-cream and cake.

Order being restored, the meeting was opened with devotional exercises conducted by Rev. S. Z. Cowgill of Salem, whose mother was a Hoffman. Then followed the following program, conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Hoffman, president and secretary of the reunion: 
Piano solo..... Marie Weikart
Recitations by Willie Bowker and Ethel Weikart.
Vocal solo..... Thelma Bossert
Recitation........Helen Woods
Song - "Count Your Blessings," by Dr. H. K. Yaggie of Salem, whose mother was a Hoffman.
Recitation....... Mary Grim
Piano duet... Ruby and Marie Weikart
Recitations... Rose Woods and Glen Van Skiver
Piano solo......... Freeda Paisley
Recitation....... Dorothy Woods
Vocal solo..... Mercedes Gilbert

Short talks by Rev. S. Z. Cowgill, J. R. Hoffman and others interested and entertained the audience. Some of these talks were for the benefit of the family historian who is preparing a book of some 800 pages and dates the family tree to Germany in the 17th century, when Adam Hoffman and his brothers Michael and Robert sailed for America, locating in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Another branch whose paternal head is Didrich Hoffman (first son of Michael Hoffman) was born in Philadephia, Pa., and located in this part of Ohio. He owned the Cherry Valley farm now covered by the coke ovens. The brown stone marker in the Lutheran graveyard at Washingtonville bears the following inscription:

"In memory of Didrich Hoffman who was born June 23rd, 1751, and departed this life on the 10 of March A. D. 1826, aged 74 years, 8 months and 13 days."

His son, John Hoffman, sr., owned the Fairview farm north of town and his son, John Hoffman, jr., resided in Washingtonville; was thrice married, all of whom bore him children - Mrs. N. C. Fitzsimmons of this place being by his first marriage with Nancy Koons. His second marriage was to Tabitha Crane, whose sons were here from Cleveland at the reunion. Of his third marriage with Elizabeth Hess are Mattie and Curtis Hoffman, both married. Mattie Graduated from the Washingtonville high school in the class of 1890, and was afterwards married to Grant Greasel, now of Cleveland. Curtis was in the employ of the Brown-hoist Co of Cleveland and represented his company in Cuba for a while, then in Russia and in Egypt. Both were here Saturday.And inasmuch as many of the Hoffman family attended school here, A. L. Taylor of the school board opened the new school building, and all those in attendance went through the various rooms, and some from basement to bell tower. Curtis Hoffman was one of the Hoffman Bicycle Co. a few years ago, but now resides upon a small farm near Chagrin Falls. When going through the various school rooms on Saturday with his wife and three children he remarked to "Buck" Taylor that after all the carving he had done, getting his name and initials, upon the seats and benches in the old building, it was a pity to have all his labor destroyed by fire. So that it can be seen that C. C. Hoffman was much like the average boy of his day.

It should have been stated in the proper connection that the elder John Hoffman and his wife Catharine are also buried in the Lutheran grave yard with the following inscriptions:
   "Catharine, wife of John Hoffman died Feb. 10, 1857, aged 77 years."
   "John Hoffman died Feb. 8, 1869, aged 80 years, 3 months."

John Hoffman, jr., was buried in the Odd Fellows (or Oakland) cemetery west of town; his first wife having been buried in the Methodist grave yard. His third wife was at the reunion on Saturday and enjoyed the day's proceedings with her children and grandchildren.

A business session was held near the close of the reunion. The old officers were retained for the coming year and Washingtonville was unanimously chosen as the place of next meeting to be held the second Saturday of August, 1914. A collection was taken and enough money was raised to pay for the use of town hall and other incidentals, leaving $6 in the hands of J. C. Weikart, treasurer of the Hoffman Reunion.

Relatives visited both church yards after adjournment, and while they found the names and dates they sought for, they found neither grave yard in an inviting condition. They may get some needed attention before next year's reunion.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The 1913 Hoffman Family Reunion," Kinexxions, posted June 17, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])


domesticated_desk said...

Do you know anything about "Our Kin Being a History of the Hoffman, Rhyne, Costner, Rudisill, Best, Hovis, Hoyle, Wills, Shetley, Jenkins, Holland, Hambright, Gaston, Withers, Cansler, Clemmer and Linebuger Families" by Laban Hoffman published in 1915? The timing seems about right, but I can't find a copy to read.

Becky Wiseman said...

Neither Laban Hoffman nor any of the surnames mentioned,are in my database, so it is doubtful that it is the same line. A quick online search showed that it was available for purchase by 4 different vendors for about $50. It is also available at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne so it is likely that it is available in other libraries as well. I'll definitely be looking for it sometime. Thanks for the tip.