Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Dunfee Duo

Last December I wrote several posts regarding Aquilla and Eliza (Dunfee) Hoff and their son. In this post, I discussed the possibility that their son Jonathan H. Hoff (last found with his father in Drum Creek Township, Montgomery County, Kansas in 1880) and John Hazlett Hoff (found in Decatur County, Kansas in 1900 & 1910 and Lawrence, Douglas County in 1915, 1920, 1925, and 1930) were the same person.

Shortly after those posts were published, I contacted Cathy, the submitter of one of the most "promising" ancestry trees. We corresponded briefly at the end of December but came to no firm conclusions. In April, she ordered the marriage record for John H. Hoff that "Charlie" a kinexxions reader had located in an online index. It confirmed the names of his parents listed in the index, but didn't really bring us any closer to a conclusion.

Decatur County, Kansas Marriage Application dated March 15, 1892. Parents of Jno. H. Hoff are given as Olen Hoff and Eliza Durfee.

Part of the "issue" is that John H. Hoff is consistently 5 years younger than Jonathan H. Hoff. And there is the family tradition that John was "the only child of along-toward-middle aged parents, had a father 'mostly' German born in the United States. His mother, Irish, was born in Ireland and came to the U.S. in her seventeenth year" and John's parents reportedly died during his "early teen years" and he then went to live with an uncle.

Aquilla Hoff and Eliza Dunfee were married on September 4, 1851 in Ashland County, Ohio. He was 36 years old and she was 38. In the 1860 census, Jonathan is 6 years old. In 1870, he is 16 and in 1880 he is 26 years old - all consistent with an 1854 year of birth. So, yes, he would have been born to "late in life" parents with Aquilla being about 40 and Eliza being 42 years old. And he was an only child.

On his marriage application of March 15, 1892, Jno. H. Hoff gives his age as 33. In the 1900 census, John is listed as born in Nov 1859. In 1910 he is 51 years old. In 1915 he is 55. In 1920 he is 60. In 1925 he is 65. And in 1930 he is 70 years old. All consistent with a birth year of 1859-1860.

According to census records, Aquilla was born in Maryland and Eliza was born in Pennsylvania. My mother and grandmother always said the Dunfees were Scotch-Irish so maybe the "Irish" part in the John Hoff family tradition has some semblance of truth to it. But Eliza was not the immigrant - her parents were both born in Pennsylvania also.

Eliza died on August 6, 1876 probably in Lagrange County, Indiana. She is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lagrange County. At that time, Jonathan would have been about 22 years old (i.e. not in his early teens). Aquilla died June 27, 1883 also in Lagrange County. Jonathan would have been about 29 years old. Even subtracting the five years "lost" when given the age of John H. Hoff, it means he would have been 17 and 24 years old when Eliza and Aquilla died.

Of course, I have a theory regarding the age difference between John H. Hoff and Jonathan H. Hoff, assuming that they are indeed the same person. Did vanity enter into the equation? Perhaps John "shaved" 5 years off of his age so that he would not be so much older than his wife Mary who was born in January 1868. Using their ages, she would have been about 14 years younger than Jonathan and about 9 years younger than John.

One idea that Cathy proposed was that maybe Aquilla was John's uncle and that John was adopted by Aquilla and Eliza. But if that is true, he would have been adopted as a much younger child, not one in his young teen years. And there were no other known children for Aquilla and Eliza, especially older children.

So we're back to square one, not knowing with any degree of certainty whether John is Jonathan.

But, entering into the picture is contact with another Dunfee descendant, this one through a brother of Eliza. No, Roger didn't add anything to the information we have, but he did have a photo that really got my attention when I saw it. Roger's ancestor is Jonathan Smith Dunfee who is a brother to Eliza and to my 3rd great-grandfather, William Hamilton Dunfee.

You see, Cathy has a photograph of her great-grandfather John Hazlett Hoff. And Roger has a photo of his great-great-grandfather Jonathan Smith Dunfee. And they both gave me permission to use those photos here on kinexxions.

When I first saw the photo of Jonathan S. Dunfee it immediately called to mind the one of John H. Hoff. I kept clicking between the two and finally got them displayed side by side as shown in the composite below. The resemblance is striking. At least it is to me.

On the left is John Hazlett Hoff and on the right is Jonathan Smith Dunfee. Possibly nephew and uncle. Photos used courtesy of Cathy Hansen and Roger Waller.

But a really neat thing that I was able to do, with Roger's permission, was to give a print of the picture of Jonathan Smith Dunfee to one of his great-grandsons that lives here in Columbia City. Cal is my 3rd cousin twice removed and I've known him for a very long time. Mom and her siblings "always" knew their Dunfee cousins, which I think is pretty cool. I spent yesterday afternoon with Cal and his wife, Ardilla, talking about the Dunfee family, genealogy and numerous other topics. We had a wonderful visit! (As a side note, Ardilla is a grand-aunt of my brother's two oldest boys. Their grandfather is Ardilla's brother.)

A hearty "Thank You" goes out to Cathy and Roger for willingly sharing their research and their wonderful family photographs.

I must say, these last few months have been absolutely fantastic for me in terms of genealogy and family history research! It's been amazing and I can't wait to see what comes along next!

For more information on the Dunfee family, see the Index to Posts, which is a compilation of all the posts that have been published here at kinexxions on the family.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "A Dunfee Duo," Kinexxions, posted July 17, 2012 (http://kinexxions.blogspot.com/2012/07/dunfee-duo.html : accessed [access date])


Susan Clark said...

The resemblance is more than striking.

Shelley Bishop said...

Sounds like a great problem to gather strategies for at GRIP, Becky. My husband has Ashland County, Ohio ancestors too, and I have two township books of compiled information. Do you know what township Aquilla and Eliza lived in?

Becky Wiseman said...

I definitely agree. Do you think they might be related? LOL.

Becky Wiseman said...

Shelley, Eliza was shown living with her grandfather Jonathan Hazlett in the 1850 census in Mifflin Township, Ashland County. I'm guessing that Eliza & Aquilla may have lived with Jonathan after they married in 1851. Jonathan passed away in 1853 and Eliza & Aquilla inherited the land and purchased most of his personal items in the estate sale. In 1857, Aquilla sold the land and they moved to Lagrange County, Indiana. I have the estate papers and deed records.