I did a search on Findagrave.com on the page of Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville for the surname, Hoff. I was somewhat surprised to find that there are 14 grave sites there that matched that search. Although I am familiar with this surname in the Perryville area, I did not really expect to find it in our German Family Tree. That can probably be attributed to my being fairly new to Perry County and also more familiar with the surnames from what is often called East Perry County. You will read a story today about some Hoff’s.
Ferdinand Theodore Hoff was born on February 18, 1880, so he is today’s birthday boy. This man was mostly called Theodore or Theo during his life. Theodore was the son of John and Elizabeth (Dippold) Hoff. Our German Family Tree lists him as child #8 of 12 children in this Hoff family. Beginning with this family’s 3rd child, the baptisms began showing up in the books of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. That is where we find the baptism record for Theodore. We cannot view the original church records for Immanuel Lutheran Church. I have decided that the transcriptions of the records we have from Immanuel are not worth me stomping through knee-high drifts in the museum’s parking lot like I did yesterday, so you will not see such a baptism record for Theodore here.
Since Theodore was born so early during the year of 1880, he manages to show up in the census for that year as an infant. The Hoff family could be found in the Bois Brule Township of Perry County.
The next census we can view containing Theodore was the one taken in 1900 when he was 20 years old. That entry said that Theodore was a farm laborer.
Now, we will take a look at the early years of Theodore’s future wife. Her name was Esther Thieret, who was born on September 7, 1880. She was the daughter of Martin and Julia (Phillips) Thieret, the 2nd child of 7 in this family. All of the Thieret children in this family were also baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. Although Esther was born in the same year as Theodore, she was born too late in the year to be included in the 1880 census. That means the one and only census in which we find Esther as a single person was the one taken in 1900. Her family can be found living in the same township as the Hoff family, and she was listed as being 19 years old.
Theodore Hoff married Esther Thieret on February 15, 1904. So, Theodore’s anniversary date was just 3 days before his birthday. These two were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. We can take a look at this couple’s marriage license.
Our German Family Tree lists 3 children born into this Hoff family. The first two were boys, followed by a girl, all of which lived full lives. We find the Hoff household in the 1910 census where we see the two sons included. As near as I can tell, Theodore was a farmer his whole life.
Theodore had his World War I draft registration completed in 1918. His mailing address on this form indicates a rural route out of the Perryville post office.
When the plat maps for Perry County were made in 1915, we find a parcel of land in the name of Theo. Huff. I think that is a misspelling of Hoff. This farm was located not far from Perryville.
We see all three children in the entry for the Hoff household in the 1920 census. This time this family was found in the Central Township of Perry County.
In the 1930 census, we once again find the Hoff’s with all 3 children in their household. The oldest son was working with his father on his farm, but the other two were working at the shoe factory in Perryville. The International Shoe Company had built a plant in Perryville around 1923.
I located this photograph taken in 1933 at the International Shoe Company in Perryville. It shows the Lasting Department, with the shoe factory in the background. The Hoff children did not work in that department.
The last census we can view for this family was the one taken in 1940. Harry and Beulah were still living with their parents and still working at the shoe factory.
Theodore Hoff had his World War II draft card completed in 1942 when he was 62 years old.
Theodore Hoff died in 1959 at the age of 79. His death certificate is displayed below.
Esther Hoff died in 1968 at the age of 87. Her death certificate states that she died at the Perry County Memorial Hospital.
Theodore and Esther Hoff are buried together in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville.
I know that as soon as I began researching for this story, I had an unanswered question in my mind. Our house in Altenburg uses propane to run our furnace, and these days, it has been pretty important to have a furnace that operates properly. We get our propane from Hoff Brothers LP Company which is located outside of Perryville. I cannot help but wonder whether the Hoff’s that operate this business have connections to the family of Theodore and Esther. I was told this morning that the Hoff’s who run that business are Lutherans, so I think the chances are pretty high that there is a connection. Perhaps one of our readers can tell me for sure if this is the case.