Obituary for Charles / Carl HOFFMANN
17 January 1865 - 24 Feb 1961
and his wife Franciska HAHN HOFFMANN
19 Dec 1869 - 25 March 1935
Pierce County Leader, Nebraska, 2
Charles Hoffmann, Senior
Citizen Of Pierce County, Dies At Age Of 96 Years
A devoted family is mourning the loss of a father, Charles Hoffmann,
96, and a community is still unable to believe that a tie between the
pioneer days and our modern times has been severed.
Charles Hoffmann passed away at his home shortly before noon
Friday. He had not been feeling quite up to his usual self the
day before but his death was unexpected.
Pages have been written of his many accomplishments but one of the
finest tributes was a statement he made on his ninetieth birthday
anniversary, "It feels good to be 90". Every day was a good day
for him and especially birthdays and holidays when he could have his
large family gathered about him in his ancestral home.
Charles, the youngest in a family of four children was born in the
small village of Peurbach, in lower Austria, January 17, 1865, son of
Casper Carl and Johanna Hoffmann. He was given the came of Carl,
for his patron saint, St. Carl the Great. When he was about 6
years old the family emigrated to America and homesteaded on the land
south of Pierce which has since been their home. Carl attended
school in Dist. 7 and because the teacher had trouble with the German
pronounciation (sic) he called him Charles, the name he was known by
for the rest of his life.
The Hoffmann family first located in Madison, Wisc., but when the
father learned of the opportunities in Pierce county through an aunt of
the late Theodore Raubach and that land could be had for homesteading
he came with a cousin, Mr. Weiser, by train to Columbus. From
there they walked to Pierce and beyond to the Osmond area.
When they saw the herds of antelope on their way to the Northfork creek
they decided it was where they wanted to locate. They retraced
their steps to Madison, Nebr., where Hoffmann took up three homesteads
and three pre-emptions, one for himself and one for each of his older
sons, Vincent and Sylvester.
The father returned to Wisconsin, purchased a team of horses and a
covered wagon, loaded up his family and came to Nebraska struggling
along alone. Besides the parents the family then consisted of
Vincent, Sylvester, Julia (Mrs. Hutfless) and Carl (Charles).
At Marshalltown, Ia., Casper Hoffmann 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. This started him on a
career as a cowboy. Julia was given a dime to buy milk for which
they were always given all they needed with no one taking the dime so
the family traveled with all the milk they could use and Julia had the
dime when she got to Nebraska.
They crossed the Missouri river on a ferry at the then small town of
Omaha, and after camping out and traveling for six weeks the family
arrived in Norfolk. Here he was told that a pioneer had jumped a
part of his claim so he took his family to a sod house on the Theodore
Later on he purchased the farm where Charles was to live the rest of
his life from Charley Hahn for $1,400. The unplastered frame
house had furniture in it and the machinery on the farm was included in
the purchase price but when the family returned to take possession most
of the furniture was stolen.
Two teams of oxen were later purchased which were used in plowing and
to haul grain to the nearest marketing place, Columbus and
Wisner. Cattle were bought and when the herd grew large enough
young Charles turned cowboy. His range was as far as Willow
Creek, more than six miles west of the Hoffmann place. His
companion herders were Bill Dean and Webb Riley. During the day
the cattle were left to graze as a herd but at night they were driven
to their respective farms.
When reminiscing, Mr. Hoffmann would talk about the harships they
experienced. The blizard of 1888, the drouth of 1894, the
grasshopper infestation which came in such dense swarms they would
darken the sky.
Often he would say, "I am happy that the Lord has let me live through
the most inventive time of all times, from the sickel to the most
modern of machinery. Proud, too, that I have had the strength and
opportunity to help the community in which I live, to have seen its
growth and helped its growth from trails to paved highways, from oxen
travel to cars, from a few business houses to what Pierce is now."
His family thanks the good Lord for having had the rare privilege of
sharing in his full life.
One of his pleasantest memories was the dedication in 1939 of the
native boulder at the entrance of his farm in memory of his parents,
with the inscription "Homestead of Casper and Johanna Hoffmann, erected
by the Charles Hoffmann family".
His museum was his pride and joy. It was started Christmas, 1937,
when his family had a neighbor build a display case with four sliding
glass doors. The first articles to be displayed were sea shells
which he brought from Florida in 1912. It has since been enlarged
with seven cases so full of antiques, relics, mementoes gathered on
trips around the country that they seem to burst at the seams.
Friends and relatives have been generous in adding to the museum to
make it an extremely interesting one.
Charles Hoffmann has devoted much to community activities. He has
been a faithful member of the Catholic church since its beginning which
he helped to organize and build. He also helped build the
parochial school and donated the first parsonage to the parish.
He planted all the trees around the Catholic cemetery and helped in
erecting the archways.
He helped oganize the Pierce Cooperative Creamery, the Farmers Grain
Elevator at Pierce and Hadar. He has been on the school board in
his district (No. 7) from the age of 21 to the age of 90. During
this period of his life he voted in every national election.
On December 28, 1890, Mr. Hoffmann was married to Franciska Hahn, a
native of Nittnau, Bavaria, Germany. To this union eleven
children were born. Sophia (Tomek), Carl, Andrew, Berthold,
Sylvester, Raymond, Agnes and Julia, Pierce; Agatha (Weber) Limon,
Colo.; Mathilda (Fehringer), Bloomfield; and Frances (Larsen), North
Bend, Ore. All his children survive and were here for the last
His wife died March 25, 1935, and one grandchild preceded him in death.
He has 110 descendants including 11 children, 27 grandchildren and 72
Solemn Requiem High Mass was read by Father Peter Dunn Monday morning
at St. Joseph Catholic church which was filled to capacity. He
was assisted by Father Mines, Tekamah, and Father Hunkler,
Bloomfield. Altar boys were James, Francis and Jack Leathers and
Usheres were Leonard Hoffmann and Arthur Polt.
Burial took place in the family plot in St. Joseph cemetery beside his
wife. Pallbearers were Edw. Buckendahl, E. G. Schellpeper, Arthur
Drake, Edw. German, Lawrence Kolterman and Herman Magnussen.
The parish women served dinner at Unity Hall.
Charles (Carl) HOFFMANN was my second cousin three removed
Franciska HAHN HOFFMANN
Thursday, 4 Apr 1935
Last Sad Rites For Mrs. Hoffman
Large concourse of relatives and friends pay tribute to pioneer woman.
Funeral services for Mrs. Carl Hoffman Sr., at St. Joseph's Catholic
church Thursday forenoon was the occasion of the gathering of a large
concourse of relatives and friends to pay a deserved tribute to a
loving wife and mother, a kind neighbor and a worthy pioneer
woman. Many were present from points in and outside of the state
and the church was filled to its utmost capacity, a large number not
being able to gain admission. The services were in charge of the
pastor, the Rev. Theodore Mester.
Five sons, Carl Jr., Andrew, Berthold, Sylvester and Raymond, and a
nephew, Frank Hoffman, who had been reared in the Hoffman home as a
son, were active pallbearers.
Mrs. Frank Nave, Mrs. Florian Widhelm, Mrs. Joe Homan, Mrs. Edmond
Abler, Mrs. Karl Arnberger and Mrs. Andrew Polt, members of the Society
of Christian Mothers, were honorary pallbearers.
Burial was in St. Joseph's cemetery southwest of Pierce.
Mrs. Hoffman died at her home, southeast of Pierce, at 7 o'clock Monday
morning, March 25th. She had been critically ill for several
weeks, during which time she was tenderly nursed and cared for by her
daughter, Miss Frances, a trained nurse of the Norfolk hospital.
Mrs. Hoffman was born in Bavaria, Germany, Dec. 19, 1869. Her
maiden name was Francis Hahn. She came to Norfolk in 1888, where
she was employed until she was married to Carl Hoffman at Pierce, Dec.
29, 1890. All her married life has been spent on the farm
southeast of Pierce which was the homestead of Mr. Hoffman's father.
She is survived by her husband and the following sons and
daughters: Mrs. James Tomek, Carl, Agnes, Andrew, Berthold,
Sylvester, Raymond and Julia of Pierce; Frances, a nurse at Norfolk;
Mrs. Frank Weber, Sheridan Lake, Colo.; Mrs. William Fehringer,
Branden, Colo. There are twenty-two grandchildren. Peter
Hahn, Pierce, and George Hahn, Petersburg, are brothers; Mrs. Theresa
Pint, Mrs. Frank Hoffman, Pierce, and Mrs. Anna Denkinger, Humphrey,
The sympathy of this community go out to the father and children their
great sorrow and loss.
Created 5 August 2007
Graphics by Marge