ANNIE L. HOFFMAN. Even a great war is not without its blessings. One of them is the tardily won recognition to woman for usefulness in other spheres than those traditionally and conventionally assigned to her. But long before the war was dreamed of many women in Kansas had already won that recognition, though perhaps their numbers were not sufficient to relieve the entire sex of a long inherited disability, and such women were in fact pioneers of a new epoch that is now dawning.
In this class should be included Mrs. Annie L. Hoffman, a well known farmer and rancher in Lincoln Township, Grant County. She was identified with the era of first settlement in that region, going there as a young woman in company with her parents.
Mrs. Hoffman was born in Saline County, Illinois, November 27, 1867. Her grandfather, William A. Swinney, was a native of North Carolina and a Methodist minister. When a young man he moved into West Virginia, and from there went to the vicinity of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he combined preaching and farming. His last move was to Illinois, and he died in Saline County in 1899, at the age of eighty-three. He was the father of four sons, three of whom were soldiers in the Union army and all went through that struggle without injury. One of the sons, Wiley Bascomb, was one of the soldiers of the family and later was a merchant at Decatur, Illinois, where he died. The surviving sons are Thomas W., of Eureka Springs, Arkansas; William Emery, of St. Joseph, Missouri; and Madison Clark, of Saline County, Illinois.
Thomas W. Swinney, father of Mrs. Hoffman, was born near Strawberry Plains, West Virginia, August 26, 1843. He was eleven years of age when the family moved to Saline County, Illinois, and was a youth when he enlisted in the Third Illinois Cavalry. From the time of his enlistment he was in service until the end of the war. Early in his service he was detailed for hospital work, and in that way acquired a practical knowledge of medicine and surgery. For some years after the war this knowledge was put to use at the urging of his neighbors in some of the simpler phases of surgery, especially in extracting teeth. After the war he engaged in farming, and owned places near Equality and Eldorado, Illinois. He sold them to come to Kansas, and in 1884 with his family located in Allen County. His home there was on the townsite of Gas. After two years he joined the settlers on the extreme frontier of the state, and was a factor as a "black cattle" man for many years in Grant County. His settlement was made on Bear Crock, where he took a homestead, and later he acquired extensive ranching property in that vicinity. He was a man of influential citizenship, and frequently was called to public service. He is still a stanch republican. This township had his services for a number of years, and he was also a commissioner of Grant County when the heard compromised the bonded indebtedness of the old townsite. He is a member of the Methodist Church, but never affiliated with a secret order.
In Illinois Thomas W. Swinney married Hannah J. Guard, daughter of Chalon G. and Elizabeth (McCoy) Guard. Mrs. Thomas W. Swinney died in Grant County July 3, 1900. Her children were: Charles Edward, of St. Joseph, Missouri; Mrs. Hoffman; Edith M., wife of Alonzo Garrison, of Kendall, Kansas. For his second wife Thomas W. Swinney married Mrs. Ellen Arnold, of Dodge City, and they now reside at Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Mrs. Hoffman acquired a good common school education in her native state and also in Allen County, Kansas. She secured her first county school certificate in Iola, and on coming to Grant County when a young lady in her teens soon enrolled as a teacher. She attended the County Normal Institute when this whole region was embraced in Hamilton County, and later was at the County Normal at Old Ulysses. All her work as a teacher was performed in Grant County, principally in the Shockey district, No. 34, and in district No. 8, now district No. 36.
While a teacher she married and her last term was completed after her marriage. On January 15, 1896, she became the wife of Mr. Isaac Hoffman. Mr. Hoffmnn was born at Martinsburg, Indiana, January 7, 1862. His brother is Charles Hoffman, elsewhere mentioned in this publication. Isaac Hoffman was well educated in the common schools of Washington County, Indiana, and was the first of his famliy[sic] to come to Grant County. His homestead was located on Boar Creek, after having pre-empted land, and he remained in that community a citizen marked by a life of strenuous achievement in material affairs, and also honored in civic responsibilities. For several years he represented his district on the board of county commissioners, and was on the board at the same time with Mrs. Hoffman's father. In politics he was a republican and was reared under good church influences.
Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman began their married life on a ranch in 1896, and their efforts were consistently and harmoniously directed toward the promotion of their industries and their home until Mr. Hoffman's death, greatly regretted, occurred February 4, 1913. At the time of her marriage Mrs. Hoffman owned thirty head of good blooded cattle acquired from her earnings as a teacher. Mr. Hoffman also owned a small bunch of cattle, and those combined gave the young couple a good start. From Bear Creek they moved to six miles east of Ulysses, where they owned land and developed a modest ranch. This ranch was subsequently sold to Waechter Brothers, the well known ranchers of Kearny County. On leaving that locality the Hoffmans came to the present ranch of Mrs. Hoffman, which since her husband's death she has carried on with a remarkable show of energy and efficiency. She has introduced the registered Herefords into her stock and also handles and breeds the Aberdeen Angus, the first of which stock was brought to Grant County by her father, Thomas W. Swinney. It is a big estate over which Mrs. Hoffman reigns supreme, comprising fourteen deeded quarter sections and several quarters of leased land. It is not only a ranch but a farm. About 200 acres are under cultivation, and most of the feed required for the stock is raised on the ground. All the land is fenced. Its pioneer improvements consisted of a soddy dugout, but in 1911 Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman erected a splendid two-story residence containing a dozen rooms, and with modern conveniences and facilities equal to those of the best city homes. Mrs. Hoffman also erected a cattle barn 44 by 70 feet with mow capacity for 100 tons. She has also built a garage, which is another evidence of her progressiveness, since automobiles have come into the life of the family both as a better method of prosecuting business and adding to the convenience and pleasure of life. Mrs. Hoffman also prepared a good home for her farm and ranch tenant. She is generous of her means to her own children and to the community, and has done much to make her home attractive and bind her children to it. The Hoffman home has a Schubert player piano, an Edison phonograph, and entertainment and education are ideals cultivated not less than the more severely practical virtues.
Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman had three daughters: Hazel H., Maude L. and Ethel W. Hazel H. is a graduate of the Grant County High School and now a teacher in the public schools, while Maude is a junior in the Grant County High School.
Mrs. Hoffman began her political career as a voter in 1916 with the republican party. She is a Methodist, and has given freely of her time and means to Red Cross work and other activities connected with the war. She is now a member of the board of school district No. 40, having served as clerk for several terms, and helped in the establishment of the new school in that district.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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