GEORGE M. HOFFMAN, president of the Citizens State Bank of Little River, came to Kansas in territorial times and is one of the oldest residents of the state. His life has been as varied in its activities and experiences as it has been long, and perhaps no individual has contributed more to the real advancement and upbuilding of the Town of Little River than Mr. Hoffman.
His birth occurred in Franklin County, Indiana, February 7, 1843, and he is of German ancestry in the paternal line and his paternal grandfather was a German soldier in the magnificent army of Napoleon during the Russian campaign which ended so disastrously after the march to Moscow. His father, Henry Hoffman, was born in Baden, Germany, in 1790, grew up and married in that country, followed agriculture and in 1840 brought his family to the United States and settled on a farm in Franklin County, Indiana, where he died in 1865. After coming to America he never made any definite choice of political parties and usually voted independently. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He married in the old country Maria Hornberger, who was born in Baden in 1810. She died in Franklin County, Indiana, in 1875. They had only three children, George M. being the youngest. Katrina, the oldest, married Ed Pape and they live retired at Keokuk, Iowa. Barbara, the other sister, is unmarried and lives at Greeley, Colorado.
George M. Hoffman acquired his education in the common schools of Franklin County, Indiana, at a time when most schools were conducted on the subscription plan. His years passed quietly and uneventfully on his father's farm until he was fifteen but he then spent about a year working on a farm at $7 a month wages in Dearborn County in Southern Indiana. It was from the savings of this work on the farm that he paid his way out to Kansas.
Mr. Hoffman arrived at Topeka in 1859, at a critical period of the settlement and the political fortunes of the Sunflower commonwealth. He readily found work on a nearby farm and spent about two years as a farm hand. The first experience that identifies him in an interesting manner with the history of Kansas came in March, 1861, when he and Copeland Gordon moved the capitol of Kansas from the old Town of LeCompton to Topeka.
Soon after that Mr. Hoffman started west to the plains country and had a varied and eventful experience in Western Kansas and adjoining states for fifteen years. He was in the cattle business, a cowboy, an Indian fighter, and again and again came into close personal contact with many of the notable pioneers of the day, including the late William Cody or Buffalo Bill, and he learned to appreciate the splendid qualities of that type of westerner. Mr. Hoffman himself was engaged in many fights with the Indians on the plains and in one such encounter was wounded in the right leg and carries the scar to the present time.
As a cattleman Mr. Hoffman had his early interests chiefly in Ellsworth County, Kansas, and later in Rice County. He continued one of the leading ranchers and stockmen of Western Kansas until 1907. Since 1883 his home has been at Little River. At one time he owned 2,000 acres in Rice County but has now sold the last of his farming possessions. In Little River he erected a modern home in 1887 and it has long stood as one of the residential landmarks of the city. He still owns several dwelling and business buildings in the town and also the principal garage.
His presence in Little River has meant much in many ways for that community. Both now and in time to come his name will be preserved in grateful remembrance for the splendid hospital which he has given to Little River known as the Hoffman Memorial. The hospital, situated on Main Street, is housed in a large brick structure which in point of architecture and equipment is one of the best buildings of its kind in the state. Mr. Hoffman held the plow which made the first furrow for the breaking of the ground for the foundation. After it was completed he gave the building to the city in 1915.
For many years Mr. Hoffman has been active in banking affairs. The Citizens State Bank of Little River, of which he is president, was originally established in 1885 by J. W. Pulliam under the name Little River State Bank. On September 22, 1897, Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Pulliam and others re-organized the institution as the Citizens State Bank. Its present officers are: Mr. Hoffman, president; J. W. Pulliam, vice president; George G. Green, cashier; and George Moorehouse, assistant cashier. It is a strong and conservatively managed institution with a capital of $20,000, surplus of $10,000, and deposits aggregating about $255,000. Mr. Hoffman is also a stockholder in the Pulliam Investment Company of Lyons.
Politically he has never identified himself permanently with any one party and has been chiefly concerned with good government in his community. He has served on the school board of Little River and was a member of the first town council. Many times he has been urged to run for mayor, but his aspirations do not run in the direction of political honors.
In 1882, at Ellsworth, Kansas, Mr. Hoffman married Miss Annie Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Martin, both deceased. Her father was a farmer and a pioneer in Hall County, Nebraska.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Jerriad Gordon, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 15, 2000.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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