My PFEIFER Family - HOFFMANN biographies
On 25 Nov 2002 I posted a query on the Pierce County Rootsweb message board. (Pierce County Message Board) The Pierce County GenWeb site has an index for the publichation Echoes of the Past and Along Pioneer Trails in Pierce County, Nebraska. I asked for a lookup for the HOFFMANs / HOFFMANNs who were listed on page 97.

On 27 Nov 2002 I received a reply from a volunteer from the Pierce (NE) Public Library Genealogy Help Group not only with information from the Echoes publication, but also a story that was printed in the Pierce County Leader during the 1934 Pierce County Fair. Following is the response I received:


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Subject: Re: Lookup from ECHOES OF THE PAST Author: PPL Genealogy Help Group Date: 27 Nov 2002 11:42 PM GMT Email:

On behalf of the Pierce (NE) Public Library Genealogy Help Group we are happy to supply the following information:

From the book: Along Pioneer Trails

Hoffman Monument
"The large granite block which stands at the entrance of the farm where Casper and Johanna Hoffman homesteaded in 1871 was dedicated to their memory on Sunday afternoon, November 19, 1939. A bronze plaque on the side which faces the highway reads:
Homestead of Casper and Johanna Hoffman
1871
Erected by Charles Hoffman, Sr., and Family
Mr. Hoffman was the first person in Pierce county to erect a monument which honors not only his own parents but all pioneers."


Also from a collection of stories printed in the Pierce County Leader during the 1934 Pierce County Fair contained the following story of the Hoffman family:

CHARLES HOFFMAN, SR.

Mr. Charles Hoffman, Sr., one of our oldest residents in Pierce county, was born January 18, 1865 in Beurbach, Nieder-Ostreich, Europe. In the spring of 1871 he emigrated to America with his parents, Casper and Johanna Hoffman locating in Madison, Wisconsin with relatives, August Wieser and Mrs. Anna Pfeifer. (The Pfeifer family later moved to Platte county, where Mrs. Pfeifer froze to death in a blizzard, while on her way to visit a sick daughter.)

Mr. Casper Hoffman, Charley's father, learned of Pierce county through an aunt of the late Theodore Raubach that land could be had for homestead here. He and Mr. Wieser went as far as Columbus by train and walked from there to Pierce. Mr. Hoffman left Wisconsin because he wanted free government land.

The first night they stopped at Wetzel breaking and plowing camp. At daybreak they started on their way again without waking anyone. Two mules of the camp had gone astray in the night and since these two strangers in camp had left so early it was naturally thought that they were the thieves. Five miles from the camp they were caught up with but of course the mules were not in their possession.

As Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Wieser came in the vicinity of Osmond they saw a herd of antelope trailing each other to their watering place in the North Fork of the Elkhorn. Both decided they had gone far enough into the wilds of Nebraska so retraced their steps to Madison, Nebraska, where Mr. Hoffman took up three homesteads and three preemptions, one of himself and one for each of his sons, Vincent and Sylvester. (The latter being Frank Hoffman's father). Mr. Hoffman then went back to Wisconsin, bought a team of horses and covered wagon, loaded his family and migrated to Nebraska. The family consisted of his wife, Vincent, who had served in the Austrian army as volunteer, Julia, the late Mrs. Wm. Hutfless of Plainview, Nebraska, Sylvester, deceased, and Charles, Sr.

At Marshalltown, Ia., Mr. Hoffman purchased a small horse and a saddle. This saddle proved to be too small for a grown person so Charles was made the happy possessor of it and the horse which started him in his career as cowboy. People were very kind to them. Julia bought all the milk they wanted with a dime. Nobody took it so she still had it when she came to Nebraska.

They crossed the Missouri at the then small town of Omaha on a ferry. After camping out and traveling for six weeks the family arrived in Norfolk. Here Mr. Hoffman learned that some other man had jumped part of his claim so he went on and stopped at a sod house on the Theodore Raubach homestead. From there he went to seek homestead land but was unable to find anything suitable so he purchased the present Charles Hoffman, Jr. farm, 5 miles southeast of Pierce from Charley Hahn for $1400. This farm had an unplastered frame house The machinery was included in this purchase.

The neighbors were Doc Verges to the North, Adam Bauman to the east, Theodore Verges and his father to the south, and James Dean to the west. Old settlers recall them all. Bill, Jarves's son and Charles H. have become such fast friends that they have established a permanent office in the building across the street from the Farmer's Grain elevator office.

Two team of oxen were later purchased which were used in plowing and to haul grain to the nearest marketing places, Columbus and Wisner. Other cattle were purchased and when the herd grew large enough Mr. Hoffman turned cowboy. His range was as far as Willow Creek, a distance of six or more miles west. His companion herders were Bill Dean and Webb Riley. During the day the cattle were left to graze in a herd and at night they were separated and driven to their respective homes.

We think hog prices are low now, but Mr. Hoffman recalls when a dressed hog was sold and delivered to Columbus for $2 each.

He also remembers blizzards when the snow had full sweep through the county since prairie fires which burned for weeks at a time had cleared the country of all obstructions. Snow came for miles until it drifted about a sod house, higher than itself and filled in creek beds in such a compact mass that it was possible to cross over with loaded wagon.

Grasshoppers also were plentiful then. Sometimes they came in such hordes that it seemed to be a cloud of dust moving along the horizon. When they landed they would not leave again until a favorable wind presented itself. Sometimes they stayed for three days. They ate the bark and leaves off the trees, nipped off the grain ears and did general damage to corn.

On Dec. 28, 1890 Mr. Hoffman was married to Frances Hahn, daughter of Joseph and Margareta Hahn of Bavaria in Germany. Mrs. Hahn, the mother, came to America after her husband died. She also went through the hardships of Nebraska pioneer days. Mrs. Charles Hoffman came to America in 1888. Through pioneer days even until today her one and foremost thought has been her family which consists of eleven children, Mrs. Sophia Tomek, living four miles south of Pierce; Carl V., living on the old Zibell farm; Mrs. Agatha Weber, of Sheridan Lake, Colorado; Mrs. Wm. Fehringer of Bandon, Colorado, Agnes, who is engaged in school work; Andrew, living on the old Wichman farm south of Pierce; Berthold, Sylvester, Raymond and Julia, who are at home; and Frances, who is a registered nurse at Norfolk, Nebraska.

Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman are still living on the old home place which they and the family love.