Lieutenant John Hoff

A Bavarian baby that was born on today’s date is the starting point for this post. Elizabeth Margaret Dippold was born on March 6, 1846, making today here 177th birthday. Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Magdalena (Poehner) Dippold. Her mother died in Germany. Then, her father brought his family to America when Elizabeth was just 5 years old. They made the voyage aboard the ship, President Smidt, in 1851. We see the Dippold family on the passenger list for that ship below. There was a set of twin boys in this Dippold family.

Dippold names – President Smidt passenger list 1851

When the 1860 census was taken, we find the Dippold household living in the Bois Brule Township in Perry County. Elizabeth, at the age off 14, was the only female in the household. Her father was a farmer, and 3 older brothers were helping him on that farm.

1860 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

Now, it is time to take a look at the man who would become Elizabeth’s husband. His name was John Hoff, who was born on February 25, 1837 in Germany. His parents were William and Caroline (Schmidt) Hoff. Sometimes, you will see his surname spelled as Hof, and sometimes, it is Huff. Even his gravestone has his name spelled as Huff. His later obituary would state that he came to America when he was 16 years old. That would have been around 1853. His early years found him wandering around different locations in the United States and being involved in military pursuits. For a while he enlisted in the British Foreign Legion and fought in the Crimean War. After returning to the USA, John participated in the Civil War. He was part of an Illinois infantry unit. In Elizabeth’s obituary, it said that John was from Chester, Illinois when that couple was married. Make sure you read his obituary to see some of the battles in which John fought during the Civil War. He climbed to the rank of First Lieutenant. I could not definitively find John in the 1860 census, but there were several John Hoff’s living in different places during that year.

John Hoff married Elizabeth Dippold on June 2, 1868. I failed to find a marriage record for this couple, but the date for this wedding is given in Elizabeth’s obituary. According to our German Family Tree, this couple had 12 children. Not all of them lived long. Starting with their 3rd child, the baptisms took place at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Perryville. Perhaps the first children were baptized in Friedenberg, but there is no evidence of that. There is a bit of mystery here. The oldest child of John and Elizabeth, a boy named John Hoff, Jr., was born in 1862. That child’s later death certificate gives John and Elizabeth as his parents’ names. Did the Hoff couple have a child 6 years before they were married? Did these two get married much earlier than reported? Did Elizabeth have her first child when she was 16 years old?

When the 1870 census was taken, we find the Hoff’s with their first 2 children. John was a farmer in the Bois Brule Township.

1870 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

Next, we find the Hoff’s in the 1880 census with 7 children. John, Jr. was helping on his father’s farm.

1880 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

A photograph was taken of the John and Elizabeth Hoff home in 1893. The photo includes 5 sons along with their parents in front of their house.

John and Elizabeth Hoff home

The 1900 census displays the fact that 2 of the sons and 1 of the daughters were helping on the family’s farm.

1900 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

The last census in which we find John Hoff was the one taken in 1910. At the age off 74, John was still farming.

1910 census – Bois Brule Township, MO

John Hoff died in 1915 at the age of 78. His death certificate is one of the documents that spells his surname as Huff.

John Hoff death certificate

An obituary for John was published in the Perry County Republican. Even the headline acknowledges John’s military service. This is where we find many of the details about his life that have been mentioned. I have placed this obituary here in 3 images that are clickable. It says that even though John was not buried in the Lutheran cemetery, Rev. Griebel, who was the pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, conducted the rites.

John Hoff (or Huff) is buried in the Home Cemetery in Perryville. His gravestone indicates his rank of lieutenant.

John Hoff gravestone – Home Cemetery, Perryville, MO

Elizabeth is found in the 1920 census living in Perryville with one daughter and 2 granddaughters.

1920 census – Perryville, MO

Elizabeth Hoff died in 1921 at the age of 75. Her death certificate is pictured below.

Elizabeth Hoff death certificate

An obituary for Elizabeth was also printed in the Perry County Republican.

Elizabeth is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Perryville. Her husband’s surname is spelled Hoff on her gravestone.

Elizabeth Hoff gravestone

The Hoff name can still be found in Perryville. I know that I rely on the Hoff Brothers LP Gas Company to keep me supplied with the fuel to keep my house comfortably warm during the winter.

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