CHARLES HOFFMAN. People more generally prosperous, contented and forward looking are to be found in no section of Kansas more than in Grant County. One of the representative men of that section, an old settler and a prosperous rancher and farmer of Sherman Township, is Charles Hoffman.
Mr. Hoffman is perhaps as well acquainted with the conditions governing farming and stock raising in that part of the West as any other man. He came into Grant County in March, 1887, and along Bear Creek entered land in section 12, township 27, range 38. It was at that point that his permanent residence in Kansas and the county began. He was then a young man of twenty-one. For six years he remained a bachelor and had an active working partnership with his brothers, doing his share of the hard work and also looking after the development of the farm and handling the stock. At his homestead he constructed a half dugout with a "top house," making two rooms. This was his home during the proving up process. His brothers were located near by on claims of their own, and all three of them eventually secured their title patents from the Government.
It would not be entirely true to say that Mr. Hoffman came to Kansas a poor man, since his energy, ambition and ability to adapt himself to circumstances were worth a great deal more than the little cash capital and other resources which he brought with him. In partnership with his brothers he owned a team. Their location was in a region where the bottom land grew heavy grass, and this they converted into hay and sold readily to the cattlemen. That was one of the important features of their living income. They also picked up a few bones from the prairie, marketing them at Lakin and otherwise did ranch work, freighting and well digging for the settlers. It was inevitable that such enterprising young men would in time get ahead.
They began cattle raising with a bunch of twenty-five head of the genuine Texas long horn variety. As the old long horns were rapidly going out of date even at that time the Hoffmans introduced blooded Shorthorn males to grade up their herd and later changed to the White Faces, which are the favorites with many of the cattlemen here on account of their big bone and frame and general qualities. The Hoffmans annually put up hay from the open bottom lands to feed, and in order to reduce the annually recurring losses of severe winters they began raising other classes of feed stuffs. The brothers bought several quarter sections and developed a ranch of 1,200 or 1,300 acres. This ranch was eventually sold to the Waechter brothers.
On dissolving partnership with his brothers and selling his interests in that locality Mr. Hoffman came to Sherman Township and has since had his home in section 10, township 27, range 36. This was a tract of absolutely wild land when he bought it. Altogether he acquired eighteen quarter sections in a single body, and on this vast domain, as it would be regarded in the older eastern states, he has concentrated his activities as a stockman and farmer. His pioneer home was the proverbial dugout, to which he introduced his wife and family. It contained two rooms but only one had a floor, and the roof was of dirt. On the surrounding land he turned out his cattle to graze, and livestock has always been his chief resource. To maintain his stock he has entered rather actively into farming and has had perhaps more than the average success at crop growing in this part of the state. There have been very few seasons when his fields have not produced sufficient feed for his ranch stock. He is cultivating 250 acres and raises maize, kaffir and also corn. His success with the latter crop is rather remarkable and in the year 1915 he grew forty-five bushels to the acre. He has two residences on his ranch, his own home being a nine-room, two-story dwelling erected in 1908. His barn is 40 by 50 feet, with mow room for fifty tons, and he also has extensive graneries to store the grain yield of the farm. At times Mr. Hoffman has taken his own stock to market and has also been in the market as a dealer and shipper. His cow brand is the "L" on the left hip. He has also entered rather extensively into the raising of Percheron horses, and these have proved very profitable since there is a minimum amount of trouble in raising them as compared with cattle.
Mr. Hoffman has been an active and public spirited citizen of his county, has served many years on the school board of district No. 39, and for about twelve years was clerk of the township. Politically he votes with the republicans.
Mr. Hoffman is an Indiana man by birth and of German ancestry. He was born near Martinsburg, Washington County, October 25, 1865 and his school advantages were only those of the local district. He was seven years old when his father died, and after that he remained at home and as strength came to him did much of the work of the home farm for his widowed mother. His father, Thomas Hoffman, was born in Germany and died in 1872, at the age of fifty-six. He had a brother, John Hoffman, who spent his life in Stark County, Ohio, and never married. Thomas Hoffman married in Indiana Nancy Rickard, daughter of Jacob Rickard. Their children were: Isaac, who died in Grant County, having been associated with his brother Charles in early activities; George, now a farmer in Shawnee County, Kansas; and Charles. Thomas Hoffman married for his first wife a Miss Young, and the only child of that union, Miss Margaret Hoffman, is now living with her halfbrother Charles and has been a resident of Grant County since 1890. She also proved up a claim in this county.
In Shawnee County, Kansas, February 16, 1892, Charles Hoffman married Miss Lizzie Gall. She represents an old and well known family of Western Kansas. She was born in Affaltrach, Wurtemberg, Germany, April 8, 1869, a daughter of Carl and Caroline (Fritz) Gall. Her father brought his family to the United States in 1885 and to Kansas in 1886. His children were: Charles; Mrs. Hoffman; Mrs. Mary Sinshouser, of Colorado; Miss Augusta, who is now filling with admirable competence the office of register of deeds of Grant County; August, a guard at the White House in Washington; and Ernest M., of Ulysses. Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman have had three children: Bessie, wife of Harry Corley, a farmer of Grant County, and their one child is named Carmen; Thomas, who died at the age of sixteen; and Charles, who is the youngest.
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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