Saturday, March 28, 2015

Central Texas History

Andrew B. Foster, sheriff of Comanche county, needs no introduction to the citizens of this or surrounding counties in central Texas.  There are, indeed few gentlemen here who are better known or more highly respected than he.  He has been connected with the sheriff's office for some eight years, having been deputy under F. E. Wilson and for the past six years being continuously re-elected.  Some personal mention of him is therefore appropriate in this work, and the following facts in regard to his life have been gleaned for publication.
Andrew B. Foster is a native of Tennessee, born July 15, 1843, son of T. Boyd and Eleanor S. (Cowan) Foster, and the fourth in their family of eleven children.  His father was a native of Old Virginia and his mother of Alabama.  He was reared to farm life in Alabama, where his parents resided for many years, and received his education in the schools of Jackson county, that state.  In 1862, at the age of eighteen years, he went forth in the strength of his young manhood to fight for the southern cause, civil war at the time having been in progress about one year.  It was as a member of the Thirty-third Alabama Infantry that he entered the ranks;  he served as a non-commissioned officer and distinguished himself by his brave and decisive action through the various engagements from Nashville to Atlanta, and at the last named place was taken prisoner and sent north.  He was held captive at Camp Chase, Ohio, during the last year of the war, was there at the time of surrender, and on being released returned to his home in Alabama.
Mr. Foster maintained his residence in Alabama until 1875, when he came to Texas and located permanently in Comanche county.  Here he has from time to time made profitable investments in realty and at this writing has a landed estate comprising a thousand acres, three hundred acres of which are under cultivation and producing the usual crops of the vicinity.  He has one acre in fruit trees.  And in connection with his farming operations he also has extensive stock interests, raising both horses and cattle and making a specialty of grading them up to a high standard.  Both as a farmer and a stock man he takes a high rank in the county.
Politically, Mr. Foster is a stanch and steadfast Democrat, has given the party valuable aid and has been honored by it with official preferment.  He is a man of promptness and nerve, ever on the alert in the faithful performance of his duty, and his long continuance in the office is evidence of his popularity.  Socially, he affiliates with the F. & A. M. and the I. O. O. F.
Mr. Foster is a man of family.  January 30, 1867, was consummated his marriage with Miss Nancy B. Brewer, a native of Alabama and a most estimable woman, who has since shared the joys and sorrows of life with him.  They have ten children living, viz.: Betty E., Sidney B., Sallie P., Thomas L., John C., Allie, Pearl, Annie B., Willie B., and Frank W.  Earnest and an infant daughter are deceased.

This text is from an 1896 book about the History of Texas "together with Biographical Sketches of Many of the Leading Families of CENTRAL TEXAS."  There is no author listed in the book, published be the Lewis Publishing Co.

The daughter "Sallie P." (mentioned in the last paragraph) is our g-grandmother - Sallie Pauline Foster, the wife of Charlie Row, these being the parents of Pauline (Roe) Bagley, Walter Roe, and others.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Life and Times of William A. Hoffman

This post is primarily for the enjoyment of the descendants of William A. Hoffman. The folks I have been in contact with are all in Washington and Oregon, although I know that there are others throughout the U.S.A.

For the descendants of Sylvester Clinton Hoffman, this 'William' is our Uncle William. He is the brother of Sylvester's father, John Hoffman. William A. and John were the only two sons of William Hoffman and Margaret Goforth.

William is listed in the 1850 census as 16 yrs, and the 1860 census as 26 yrs, so I have his birth year as 1834. He is the only child still at home in 1860. His sister Nancy 'Caroline' was 2 years younger, but she had married Charles F. Gano in 1855.

Illinois marriage records indicate that he married Anna Marie Adams on March 28, 1861. She was probably the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Adams, and according to the 1850 and 1860 census, William and Anna grew up near each other in southern Greene County. After the wedding, this young family seems to have continued to live near his parents on their land.

To this marriage were born at least 8 children. One died as an infant, and is buried near it's grandparents in Greene County. One daughter, Lucy, died at the age of 9 and is buried in the Farmers Branch/Keenan Cemetery in Texax, near the large stone of Mary Ann Fyke Hoffman, who was the wife of her cousin, Andrew Worth Hoffman.

In 1870, William was deeded his parents land in a 'deed of gift'. This is detailed in another post, so I will not give details here. After his mother's death in 1881, he sold the land and moved his family moved to Texas, near where his sister, Sarah Perry lived. This is when they lost the daughter Lucy.

Harriet Witt says in her letter (see previous post) that the family did not enjoy Texas, and moved to Missouri in 1883. A few months before this move, two of William and Anna's daughters were married in Dallas County - both on the same day, February 12, 1883.

Rosalee Hoffman married J.M.Calloway
Hattie Hoffman married William Henry Hudnut

The marriages were performed by Eli Witt, the brother of Preston Witt, who was the brother-in-law of William A. Hoffman.

We have no record of William A. or Anna after they moved to Missouri. The 1890 census does not exist, and we have not found them in the 1900 census. We also have no further record of the children Rosalee, Margaret, or Emma.

The three children we do have records of are William E., Hattie (Hudnut), and Charles. All three of these moved to Washington state around the year 1901.

I've already mentioned Hattie's marriage, but her brothers also have an interesting story. The two boys, William and Charles, married two sisters after moving to Missouri. In 1895, Charles married Alice Bennett, and about 4 years later, William married Maude Naomi Bennett. William and Maude had a daughter that was born in November 1900. Her name was Lillian, and if you were looking for the member of our family who lived to the oldest age, she is the one! She lived to be almost 109 years old! In her obituary, in the Seattle Times in October 2009, it says that "she came to Woodinville [Washington] on the train with her parents before she was 1 year of age".

I will have to continue with the descendants of William A. Hoffman and Anna Marie Adams in another post. There is one other point to make concerning their life. In the letter which was detailed in the last post, Harriett Witt says about William "I did not know brother, it had been so long since I saw him". It is believed that Harriett and her husband Preston moved to Texas in the early 1840s. If she did not make it back to Illinois, she never would have seen her youngest brother after he was 10 years old. He then showed up at her house in Kansas, in 1883. This was when he was almost 50 years old. If these assumptions are true, then it is no wonder that she did not recognize him as her brother!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Harriet Witt writes 'home' in 1884.

This letter was kept in the 'Gano' family for nearly 100 years, copied for Peggy Jean Oliver, and sent to me recently by her daughter. I appreciate so much those who have preceeded me in keeping these records! The letter was originally sent to Caroline (Hoffman) Gano, the sister of Harriet, both of them being the sisters of our g-g-grandfather John Hoffman, the father of Sylvester Clinton Hoffman.

This letter will be of special interest to the descendants of William A. Hoffman, who was Harriet's youngest brother. She gives several hints concerning William and his family in this letter. My next post will give several details concering his life and his descendants.

Here is the letter:

Chetopa, Kansas
March 31, 1884

My dear sister and brother

It has been a good while since I heard from you but I hope this will find you all well and in good health. I am just recovering from a spell of fever. I am with my daughter in Kansas have been here one year next month. I did not stop and see sister Sallie as I came up for I was not well and I came straight through from my son who lives in southern Texas. I had a letter from him last week and he and family are well he is married and has four children. Brother William and family stopped and staid a few days here with us as he moved from Texas back to Missouri. They did not like Texas they had a good deal of sickness and one little girl died while they was there he had two daughters and two sons with him and two girls married living in Missouri. I did not know brother it had been so long since I saw him. I want you to write me and tell me their post office if you know where it is and where is sister Eliza Wright. I want to know her post office to. brother William came from near sister Sallie Perry's they were all well as he passed up last summer. Tell Harriet Skeen I remember her and would like to see you all. Where does Joe Maxwell live, I heard he lived in Kansas somewhere. Write and tell me his post office it might not be far from here. How are you all I hope to hear from you soon would like to see you all. My daughter and son in law are tolerable well, their little baby a boy nine months old has had lung fever but is better now they have buried several children but have only this one living. I think Kansas is beautiful country and I believe most anything will grow here. Fruits in abundance if the people will try to raise it and fine corn as grows anywhere. We had green apples to eat until two weeks ago. Apples, peaches, cherries, plums, siberian crabs all do well here. This past winter has been very cold here old settlers say the coldest ever known since they have been here. I will close as I have written all the news and hoping to hear from you accept our love and best wishes for all and write soon.
Your affectionate sister
Harriet A. Witt

As expained in an earlier post, Harriet Witt was Mrs. Preston Witt, the formerly Harriet Hoffman, the sister of John Hoffman, the father of Sylvester Clinton Hoffman. She was a widow by 1884, and as indicated in her letter, she had lived with her son in southern Texas, and then moved to be with her daughter in Kansas. We know from other sources she had also lived with her sister Sarah (Sallie) Perry for a while.

Briefly, I want to elaborate on three other folks mentioned in the letter:
- 'sister Sallie' is Sarah (Hoffman) Perry who married Alexander Perry.
- 'Harriet Skeen' is a daughter of the authors sister, Mary (Hoffman) Skeen.
- 'Joe Maxwell' is a son of the authors sister, Mariah Jane (Hoffman) Maxwell-Davis. Joe is known in other historical documents as Flavious Josephus Maxwell or some other variation of these names.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Releases to Michael C. McMahon

As detailed in the previous few posts, the 120 acres in Greene County, Illinois was owned by the Hoffmans for a little over 40 years. After the death of William and Margaret Hoffman, their youngest son sold the land to Michael C. McMahon. This was in 1881.

In order for Michael C. McMahon to get a 'clear title' to the land, all of the requirements of the inheritance had to be verified. This was accomplished with papers that were delivered to Greene County by all of those who received a portion of the money. These were recorded in Greene County Courthouse from 1881 to 1888.

William A. Hoffman had four sisters who were still living in 1881, and each of them was given $100.00. Two other sisters and one brother had died, but had living descendants. These descendants divided appropriate portions of the money due them. Here is a list of those to whom we know money was given, along with spouses and where they lived at the time.

The sisters of William A. Hoffman:

Caroline Gano and husband Charles Gano of Greene County Illinois - July 1881.

Harriet Witt of Jackson County, Texas. Widow of Preston Witt - Sept 1881. I hope to write about Preston Witt at some point in the future.

Sarah Perry and her husband Alexander Perry of Dallas County Texas - Aug 1881.

Eliza (Louisa) Wright and her husband Franklin Wright of Moultie County Illinois - Aug 1881.

The nieces and nephews who shared a portion were:

Sole heir of Mary Skeen:
Harriet Skeen of Greene County Illinois - Aug 1881.

Heirs of John Hoffman:
Clinton Hoffman, widower, of Dallas County Texas - 1884
Andrew Worth Hoffman and wife Mary A (Molly) of Dallas County Texas - 1884
Eugenia Claud Myers and husband Douglas Myers of Dallas County Texas - 1884
It is known that John had several other children, but these were the only three who filed a statement concerning the inheritance money.

Heirs of Mariah Jane Davis:
These folks require a little explanation. Mariah Jane Hoffman had married John Maxwell in 1837, but this marriage ended, possibly the earliest known divorce in our family history. Mariah then married William Davis in 1852. She died before 1870, so that her children are referred to as the 'heirs of Mariah Jane Davis' in the original Hoffman/Huffman Deed. All of her known children (4) were from the first marriage. So each of these children should have gotten $25.00 [1/4 of the $100.00 due to Mariah]. One of these, Narcissa, had 6 children prior to about 1875 and she also died before 1881. This meant that her 6 children split Narcissa's portion of the inheritance, $4.20 [1/6 of $25.00]. So here are the folks we know identified themselves as heirs of Mariah:

Nancy (Maxwell) Stoler and her husband Frederick Stoler of Marion County Kansas - 1882 (some evidence indicates this was Marion County Missouri)
Flavious Josephus Maxwell and his sister Zerriah Ann Maxwell of McPherson County Kansas.
Heirs of Narcissa (Maxwell) Ashford
William and Mary Ashford [probably brother/sister] of Greene County Illinois - 1886.
Kate Ashford - Kate co-signed the release with her cousin Clinton Hoffman listed above. Other sources indicate that the other three heirs of Naricissa were Hiram B. Ashford, Arthur Bruce Ashford, and Joseph Ashford.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Clinton Hoffman 'Inherits' 33 dollars!

Ok, we don't know for sure it was $33.00. And I'm sure the attorney took at least a couple dollars to file the proper papers!

Let me explain.

S. C. Hoffman had already moved to Texas before this 'inheritance' happened. Before he left home in Illinois, his mother had died in about 1875 and his father died in 1877. He was 18 years old at this time. He and his older brother, Andrew Worth Hoffman, went to Texas and are found living with the James Kennedy family in Dallas County in the 1880 census (going by their middle names). He also had one younger sister, Eugenia, who was 'adopted' by her Aunt Sarah Perry's family after their parents died. The Perry family lived near the Kennedys and Eugenia Hoffman is found with them in the 1880 census as a 15 year old niece.

By 1881 all three of these children had married folks that were part of the close-knit Baptist community in the Farmers Branch area, just north of Dallas. All three signed papers saying that they were the children of John Hoffman, and that they had received their portion of this inheritance. (see the Sept 23 post)

Here is the paper filed on behalf of our g-grandfather...

Clinton Hoffman
To release Deed Filed Nov. 30th [1888] at 4 o’clock PM
Michael C. McMahon

Know all men by these presents that Clinton Hoffman widower of the county Dallas and State Texas for and in consideration of one dollar and for other good and valuable considerations the receipt whereof is hereby confessed do hereby grant . . . and quit claim unto Michael C McMahon of the county of Greene and the State of Illinois all the right . . . whatsoever I may have as one of the heirs at law of John Hoffman deceased by virtue of a certain Deed of William Hoffman to William A Hoffman bearing the date the 11th day of June AD 1870 and recorded in the recorders office in Greene County Illinois in Book SS at page 383 in and to the described real estate situated in the County of Greene and State of Illinois to wit the north half of the north east quarter and the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section one (1) in Township nine(9) north Range Twelve (12) west 3rd PM in Greene County Illinois and I hereby acknowledge the receipt of my portion of the money directed in said Deed to be paid to John Hoffman now deceased. Witness my hand and seal this 15 day of July AD 1884.
Clinton Hoffman (seal

I don't quite understand why the document says 'one dollar'. There were at least 10 other similar documents filed by other folks who also received a portion of this inheritance. Some of the papers say 'one dollar', and some of them specify the exact amount the person was paid. Maybe our family attorney could answer that question (Tim?).

What we do know is that there were only three heirs of John Hoffman who filed papers related to this land, so it seems that they must have been paid $33.33 each (one third of the hundred dollars that was to go to John Hoffman). It is possible that there were other heirs with whom this $100.00 was shared, but no other living children of John and Jane have been identified in 1880 or later.

As I said before, there are other important details which confirm that this is 'our' Clinton Hoffman. He was married to Carrie Perry in 1880, using the name Sylvester Clinton Hoffman in the Dallas marriage register. She died in 1881 after having one daughter. Thus, when he states that he is a widower, living in Dallas, these details fit the other historical documents and family history as passed down through our family and the Perry family.

To a family historian, these types of papers are a true gold mine. The next post will list several of the other folks who claimed a portion of the money paid by William A. Hoffman in compliance with his inheritance.

Monday, October 11, 2010

William A. and Ann Maria Huffman sell the 'Family Farm'.

William had inherited this land as William A 'Hoffman', but he used the 'Huffman' name when selling it. See the Sept 13 post for more discussion about the spelling of names.

We don't know why he sold the land. As part of the requirements of his inheritance, he owed $700.00 to his siblings and their descendants. This might have been a factor. After selling the land his family moved to Texas, so they may have just wanted to move. (This family only stayed in Texas a couple of years, then moved to Missouri, and at least three of the children moved to the Seattle, Washington area in about 1900. I hope to detail how/what is known about this family in a future post.)

Whatever the reason, the land was sold in the same year as his Mother died, 1881. (His Father had died in 1871). The Deed of is dated July 29, and was filed in the courthouse on July 30, 1881.

William A. Huffman
To:: Warranty Deed
Michael C. McMahon

This Indenture made the Twenty Ninth day of July in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty One Between William A Huffman and Ann Maria Huffman, his wife of the County of Greene and State of Illinois party of the first part and Michael C. McMahon in the County of Greene and the State of Illinois party of the second part. Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of Three Thousand Dollars in hand paid . . .

It looks like William and Ann Maria came out 'OK' on the sale of this land. It had been purchased for $150.00 by his Father in the late 1830s. After paying the obligations to his family, he would have still had $2300.00 from the sale. The Deed does not mention the money that was required to be paid to the other members of the family, but it is obvious that these payments had to be documented in order for Mr. McMahon to gain a clear title to this land.

In the next post I will share the document in which our g-grandfather inherited his portion of this inheritance.