Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Hoffman Family Civil War Veterans – Part 2 of 2

Posted By on November 23, 2010

Go back to the year 1924 when the Hoffman Monument was erected.  If 10% of the Civil War veterans from the Lykens V alley area were still alive at that time, they would have numbered about 200, and surely, as senior members of any family, would have been sought after to tell their stories of war and patriotism – particularly at family reunions.  Were any of these stories written down before these veterans passed from the scene?  Were any of these stories collected by the Hoffman Association?  Are there any identified pictures of these veterans available?

Without extensive research, there probably is no way to get an accurate estimate of how many descendants of John Peter Hoffman served in the Civil War.  It is possible though to get a general idea.

To determine the number of those with blood descent, an analysis of existing genealogical records can be compared to the surnames in the current list of about 2000 Civil War veterans from the Lykens Valley area.   John Peter Hoffman had eight children – three boys and five girls.  Each of those married and had children.  Each time a girl married, a new surname appears in the tree.  Two to four generations down from John Peter is when the Civil War service-age males appear.  Checking those surnames against the list of 2000 could produce a count of possible number descendants who served.

With the Hoffman surname, there are 34 known Civil War veterans, all presumed to be descendants of John Peter Hoffman.  These are direct descendants of John Peter Hoffman’s three sons.

In the first generation, Hoffman’s five daughters each married as follows:   (1) Anna Catherine Hoffman married Andreas Riegel.  Nine Riegel descendants appear in the list, all confirmed as related to John Peter Hoffman.  (2) Anna Margaretha Hoffman first married a Steinbruch and then married a Newbaker.  No Steinbruch’s and no Newbakers are in the list of 2000.  Why?  With Steinbruch, Anna Margaretha had only one daughter who married a Klinger.  If all the Klinger’s in the list are connected to John Peter Hoffman, 31 more names would be added.  As for Newbaker, one of the daughters of married a Schoffstall.  Add 5 more names.  (3) Anna Elizabeth Hoffman married Ludwig Sheetz.  The Sheetz surname appears 3 times in the Civil War veterans list.  One of the Sheetz daughters married a Riegel – previously counted.  (4) Christina Hoffman married Christian Seyler, of which little is known, although one Seiler appears in the list as a possibility.  (5) Anna Barbara Hoffman married George Buffington.  Five Buffington’s appear in the list.  Anna Barbara’s daughters married Lubold, Fisher, Yeager, Lark, and Daniel.

We also have to look at the daughters of the three sons of John Peter Hoffman and see who they married:  (1) John Hoffman’s daughters married into the families of Neagley, Frantz, Koppenhaver, and Specht.  (2) John Nicholas Hoffman’s daughters married Schoffstall, Buffington, Hawk, Snyder, and Klinger.  (3) John Christian Hoffman’s daughters married Pease, Fetzer, Shott, and Novinger.

At this point, we have only looked at the surnames that appear through the second generation or the grandchildren of John Peter Hoffman.  There are 88 Civil War veterans for which it can be said with some certainty that they are direct blood descendants of John Peter Hoffman.  Going down two more generations would significantly increase the number of surnames but also make it likely that many of these surnames had no relationship to John Peter Hoffman.  For example, if a Smith appears in the list of Civil War soldiers, it would be difficult to connect that Smith to John Peter Hoffman even if there is a Smith somewhere in the genealogy.  It’s too common a name.

What has also not been counted is that many Civil War soldiers married direct descendants of John Peter Hoffman.  What of the direct descendants of John Peter Hoffman whose fathers-in-law were Civil War soldiers – or brothers of fathers-in-law – brothers of spouses?  Using the same criteria as the Enders family used, the list of “Hoffman Family Civil War Veterans” could grow significantly!

Fortunately, there are complete Lykens Valley area genealogies available for some of the families mentioned above.  Many more genealogies will be published by the Gratz Historical Society in the Lykens Township history, including a most complete Hoffman genealogy starting with John Peter Hoffman.  But genealogies are only skeletons that support the body of history and help make relationship identifications.  Stories, pictures, and artifacts bring everything alive!  This project is about finding out as much as possible about these veterans, their lives and their families.

As this Civil War Project continues into the Sesquicentennial years, it is important to connect with all the family associations and collect and compile as much as possible before it is lost forever.  One of the most important of these associations is the one associated with the Hoffman family whose members interconnect with so many of the families in the Lykens Valley.  Undoubtedly, over the years, much information was collected and shared but now is in danger of being lost and forgotten.  Adding this material to the current mix, including the Internet, will insure perpetual care for it as it is shared and passed on to succeeding generations.  Come forward, if you are out there, and tell us what you have!  And, lets also talk about caring for the Hoffman Monument.


12 Responses to “Hoffman Family Civil War Veterans – Part 2 of 2”

  1. Charles David Hoffman says:

    I just came upon this web page this evening and I am already excited. My lineage starts with John Peter Hoffman and includes the following male ancestors: Christian I, Christian II, Cornelius, Charles Darwin Hoffman, Clarence (my father), me, my son Charles David Jr., and my grandson Christian Nicolas Hoffman. Interestingly, all of the names in this lineage begin with C, except for the founder. My family attended many Hoffman Family Reunions when I was growing up in the forties and fifties, most of which were held at Lykens Park, and always on the first Saturday in August. My father was president of the association for about five years in the 1950’s.

    I have some Hoffman Family memorabilia that my father passed on to me. It is mostly pictures and a few reunion programs and some personal notes by my father. To my knowledge anything resembling official records was passed on from president to president. I do have a nice collection of teacher’s school books which were owned and used by Cornelius Hoffman, who taught all grades in a one room schoolhouse in the Valley. They are dated in the 1850s through 1870s….

    I’m quite pleased to learn of your deep interest and great effort in learning about our family. I would like to continue this correspondence and perhaps return to the Valley to learn more about my Hoffman ancestry. My wife and I reside in Franklin, Venango County, PA.

  2. Edith Procopio says:

    I just stumbled upon this site. I suspect you & I may have played together at the Hoffman’s Reunion in Lykens during the 40’s & 50’s. I attended with my mother & grandparents, MAME HOFFMAN & Isiah Keiter. I received a notice of the John Peter Hoffman Association Reunion in 2009 which unfortunately I was unable to attend. It was the 95th reunion & they were celebrating John Peter Hoffman’s 300th birthday. Do wish I could have attended. I was hoping to find information on this year’s reunion but so far have had no luck.

  3. Sue Petres says:

    I have finally taken the time to look through all of your blogs on this site. I am also a descendant of John Peter Hoffman (several times, both through my mom’s line and also through my dad’s)

    The Hoffman Association is alive and well and still meeting once a year at the location of the old Hoffman’s Church. They meet the first weekend of August each year. I attended twice, and that was probably in the 90’s.

    I cannot currently locate the postcard I received last summer announcing the reunion. When I run across it again, I will contact you with their contact information.

    • Shannon says:

      I just found out that I am a direct decendant of John Peter Hoffman, he is my 8th great grandfather! My line is John Peter Hoffman – John Nicholas Hoffman – Susanna Catharine Hoffman – Solomon Buffington, Buffington, Buffington, Snyder, Snyder, Snyder, Snyder and then ME! 🙂

      My maternal grandfather (Snyder) says he gave all of his father’s (Walter Snyder) records to the Hoffman Association when he died in 1990. I’d really love any information about the Hoffman Association as well as how to get in touch with them and get included on their mailings. My grandfather is in his 80’s and I’d love to be able to attend a meeting with him!

  4. Loren Hoffman says:

    Thank goodness I decided to keep my maiden name. It’s amazing what you can find when you have a little bit of knowledge and really go digging.

    My sister and I grew up in NJ, and except for some very small snippets, ie: Pop was from Pennsylvania or Arkansas, I knew absolutely nothing about my Dad’s/grandfather’s side of the family. Turns out, John Peter Hoffman is my 4th great grandfather. My father Arthur “Red” Hoffman was the only son of my grandfather Arthur Harry (who moved from PA to MN) who was the son of Benjamin Frank Hoffman (and Elizabeth Spangler) who was the son of John Nicholas Hoffman (and Anna Harman) who was the son of, drum roll please, John Peter.

    I went to college in Philadelphia, my maternal grandparents had a cottage in the Poconos, and as a family we visited Hershey when I was a kid. So close. Obviously, my family was never aware of the stellar connections in Pennsylvania or we surely would have checked them out .

    Today, my husband and I live in Maine, but I have never felt closer to my relatives in Pennsylvania. I’m sure if I have a chance to meet with my brand new cousins, I’ll cry.

  5. Loren Hoffman says:

    Sorry, I was so excited that I forgot this one…2nd great grandfather, son of John Nicholas and Anna Harman is John or Johannes Hoffman (Elizabeth Bordner)

    so working back…

    Arthur “Red” Kyle Hoffman, Arthur Harry Hoffman, Benjamin Frank Hoffman, John or Johannes Hoffman, John Nicholas Hoffman and then, John Peter

  6. Bryanna says:

    My HOFFMAN line comes down through John Peter’s Daughter Anna Elizabeth and Ludwig SHEETZ> Catherine SHEETZ m Joseph HARMON > (Anna Maria) Mary HARMON m Peleg WARDELL> Caleb WARDELL m Abelina PARKER> Sarah Anna WARDELL m John William DESSNBERGER who is my great grandfather.
    Side note to the above Mary HARMON’s sister Catherine married Peleg’s older brother John.

  7. Loren says:

    I have to go in another direction…I was so proud of finding the distinguished pedigree that I thought was mine. It was only after I did all that connecting that I found out my Great Grandfather’s name was either Edward or John – my Grandfather and his sister’s documents differ on the name of their father. So all the connections that I found in Pennsylvania were wrong. Now my challenge is to find out … who was the guy that married my Great Grandmother Catherine Barnes? She was born in upstate NY. Her family moved to Ohio, Iowa and settled in Omaha. She gave birth to my Grand Aunt Edith in Dakota Territory and my Great Grandfather Harry 2 years later in PA. Why PA? I have yet to find out. Could be she had siblings or relatives there.

  8. Denise van Reyendam says:

    As a Trustee of the John Peter Hoffman Family Reunion Association, I can assure you that we are alive and well!
    Our 100th reunion celebration will be held on August 2, 2014 at St. Peter’s (Hoffman’s) Church, Lykens Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
    A Facebook page has just been launched at John Peter Hoffman Family Reunion Association so continue to look for updates on there.
    Hope to see you at the 100th!!

  9. Pegge Baher says:

    need info on william henry grant hoffman

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