Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
HOFFMAN, GEORGE - Although Lincoln, Sherman and many of the other heroes who figured so prominently during the Civil War, are now dead, there remain in our midst those who knew them well and served their country in a humbler, yet not less brave, capacity. One of these is George Hoffman, gate-keeper of Oak Ridge Cemetery, at Springfield. He was born in Baltimore, Md., February 23, 1840, being a son of Charles G. and Christian (Schultz) Hoffman, the former born in Hesse Darmstadt, and the latter in Baltimore. The father was a shoemaker, who came to America after learning his trade. He settled in Baltimore, Md., as early as 1837, there marrying and following his trade. During the two years spent in Baltimore after their marriage, the only child born to these parents was George, but after they located in St. Louis, Mo., four more were born. This city continued to be the family home until 1853, when the father went to California, with an ox-team, taking George with him. They were 125 days traveling across the plains from Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Upon their arrival in the gold fields the father began prospecting; they returned via Panama to New Orleans. They visited Havana, Cuba, eventually arriving at St. Louis. A short time later the family moved to Springfield, where the father continued to reside until his death, which occurred May 4, 1910, when the was ninety-five years old. His wife died in Springfield in 1880. The grandfather, Charles G. Hoffman lived to be one hundred and three years old and a brother of his also lived to the same age, both being natives of Germany.
George Hoffman learned the process of manufacturing sugar in St. Louis, and worked at it in that city. For several years he was on a Mississippi River boat, running from St. Louis to Memphis, and so was in touch with both sides of the question when the war broke out. In 1861 he was one of the first to offer his services, enlisting in Company G, Tenth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, and serving until January 6, 1866. He participated in many battles, including the Siege of Vicksburg, Helena, Licking Bend, Cotton Plant and also at Little Rock, but never had the misfortune to be taken prisoner. His first commander was Col. Barrett, but later he was under Col. Wickersham and Col. J. B. Stewart, being a part of the Seventeenth Army Corps under Gen. Steele. Mr. Hoffman was Commissary Sergeant, being mustered out with that rank. Mr. Hoffman was taken sick at Milliken's Bend, and was removed to Birds Point, at the time of the fall of Vicksburg, there becoming much worse, so that his weight fell from 178 to 96 pounds. At the time of Mr. Lincoln's assassination Mr. Hoffman was at Greenville Parish, La. The regiment was sent to San Antonia, Tex., and Mr. Hoffman was sent to Sedwich Hospital, New Orleans, from Shreveport, thence to Jefferson Barracks, and then on to Camp Butler, where he was mustered out, as above states.
At the close of the war he came to Springfield, and began working in a lumber yard, remaining with this firm for many years. He has also assisted in contract work for the city in its street department, but has been with the Oak Ridge Cemetery for thirteen years. He is a member of Stephenson Post, G.A. R. In political faith, he is a Democrat. His membership is with the First German Lutheran Church.
In 1879 Mr. Hoffman was married in Springfield, to Mrs. Mary Hosler, nee Gall, born in Germany, who came to America with her parents in 1844. They settled in Springfield, her father being in the employ of the Wabash Railroad Company until his death. His wife is also deceased. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman, two of whom survive; Christopher, proprietor of a milliner establishment of Springfield; and Fred, a painter by trade, in the employ of R. F. Kinsella, of Springfield. Mr. Hoffman has a step-daughter, Mrs. Christina Paul. Mrs. Hoffman has eight grandchildren, seven of them having been born of her former marriage.
Mr. Hoffman was personally acquainted with Abraham Lincoln and other great men of the times. He now lives on his son's property.