CHARLES HOFFMANN. Our subject is one of the successful men of Dorchester; his business is that of a practical blacksmith and a breeder of horses and mules. He came to this village October 4, 1860, establishing here a business as a blacksmith to which he has devoted most of his time and attention, only varying it with that of a breeder of horses and mules, which he has engaged in for the past four years. In this last mentioned occupation Mr. Hoffmann has brought to bear a knowledge of the physical needs and constitution of the noble animals that have led to an improvement of the stock which has been bred under his charge.
Mr. Hoffmann came to the county in 1858 and located first at Staunton where he learned the trade of a blacksmith. Soon after this the first call was made for three hundred thousand volunteers to fight for their country's flag and freedom. Our subject soon enlisted in the Fifth Illinois Cavalry of Company L, whose captain was E. R. Sparks. The regiment was mustered into the service at Springfield and our subject who had enlisted August 2, 1861, was with the regiment at their first meeting of the enemy in the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark. He was a participant in many skirmishes and engagements that continued until the close of the war. During his service his regiment was confined to the Western Division of the army. For a time Mr. Hoffmann served as a detailed blacksmith and later as brigade blacksmith, having at the same time fought at the Yazoo River, where the Union forces were defeated, but later whipped the enemy at Arkansas Post. Our subject escaped unhurt from this battle and, except from the exposure incidental to army life, he carried away no evil effects of his experience, although his mind was full of incidents of military life. He received an honorable discharge at Springfield, Ill., September 5, 1864. He returned to Staunton, Macoupin County, and engaged at his trade as a blacksmith. Later he went to Montgomery County.
July 3, 1865, Mr. Hoffmann was married to Miss Elizabeth Houseman. The lady was born in Staunton, August 2, 1849. She is a daughter of John and Mary (Leonard) Houseman, both natives of Byron Germany, where they were reared and educated and after their marriage and the birth of one child, they came, early in the ‘40s, to the United States, settling at Staunton, where Mr. Houseman opened up a smithy, which was the first of its kind in the community. He also has the distinction of having been the first German settler in the place. Mrs. Houseman there died at the age of sixty-five. Her husband passed away in Madison County, five miles south of Staunton, in 1857. He was born in 1810 and with his wife had been a member many years before his death of the German Evangelical Church.
Our subject was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, in 1842. His natal day being September 26. He is of pure German blood and is the son of Christian and Mary Hoffmann, who were born and reared and ended their days in Hesse-Cassel. The father's death occurred before the birth of our subject and the widow was left with five small children to care for. She was a second time married, her husband having the same name as that of her first husband. Charles Hoffmann and our subject's mother both lived and died in their native land.
The original of this sketch did not leave home until he was sixteen years of age when he set out for the United States to make his fame and fortune. He took passage at Bremen on a sailing vessel, the "Warsotta," and after a long voyage of seven weeks and two days he landed in New York City, coming thence to Staunton and afterward removed to this county where he has ever since resided with the exception of one year.
Mr. Hoffmann and his wife are the parents of six children, they are: William H., Charles A., Mamie M., Theodore D., Minnie J. and George E. The eldest son has learned his father's trade and is of great assistance to him in his business. Charles A. also assists his father in his smithy. The other children are at home and are respected as estimable members of society.
Mr. and Mrs. Hoffmann are amiable, warm-hearted people who have made many friends in the county. By their energy and ambition they have acquired a competency and have made themselves a recognized position in the social life of their community. Mr. Hoffmann is a member of the Odd Fellows, Travelers' Rest Lodge No. 220, of Litchfield. He is a member also fo the James Robinson Post No. 624, G.A.R., of Gillespie Township, also a member of the Modern Woodmen. For the past two years he has been Township Collector and is Mayor of this place. For one year he has held a position in the Town Council. In political life Mr. Hoffmann has a preference for the Democratic party.