Philip H. Hoffman
Morris Co. Up


Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

Philip H. Hoffman was born at Schooley's Mountain, Morris county, New Jersey, on the 28th of July, 1827.  His father was Captain Henry I. Hoffman, and his grandfather was John Hoffman, of Cokesbury, Hunterdon county.  He was one of the "minute men" of the Revolution and served throughout the entire war.  The Hoffmans were early settlers of New Jersey having emigrated from Germany about the year 1660. The ancestor of our subject located in New Sweden, in the southern part of the state, between the years 1663 and 1670. On the maternal side our subject is descended from Casparus Steinmets, who left his native Holland and located in New Amster­dam, now New York, about the year 1640. In later years he removed to Bergen, New Jersey, to take charge of the farm belonging to the East India Company, of Holland. He was very prominent in the community, served as judge of the court, and captain of a military company, and later was elected to the upper house of the first state legislature that met in Elizabethtown. New Jersey, under Governor Carteret. During the period of the Revolutionary war his descendants were residents of New York city, and during the British occupancy, they were driven from the metropolis, their houses were burned, their property destroyed, and they were forced to seek refuge among friends in New Jersey, where some of them eventually made permanent location, their descendants being still found in the localities where they settled.

Mr. Hoffman's father was the owner of a large farm on Schooley's mountain, and there in his boyhood and early manhood he assisted in the labors of field and meadow or spent his time in acquiring his education in the schools of the neighborhood. At the age of eighteen he left home and went to Morristown to learn the trade of tailor and clothier. On the expiration of his term of apprenticeship, he began business on his own account, in connection with S. B. Ryerson, under the firm name of Hoffman & Ryerson, opening the store on the 1st of October, 1849. They sold out, however, the following year and Mr. Hoffman removed to Dover, New Jersey, where he conducted a tailoring establishment for some time.

In March, 1851, he was married to Miss Barbara A., daughter of Manuel N. Byram, Esq., whose ancestors were among the early Pilgrim settlers of Bridgewater, Massachusetts.   In March, 1856, Mr. Hoffman removed with his family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and engaged in business there for a time, but on account of continued ill health, occasioned by the change in climate, he was obliged to return to the east, and again began business in Morristown, in the fall of 1857. In the summer of 1863, in connection with Abraham L. Cross, he purchased the Duncan House property facing on the park, better known as the "Old Arnold Tavern," General Washington's headquarters during his stay in Morristown in the winter of 1777: this they entirely remodeled in the spring of 1864, making two handsome stores in the lower story. The upper stories were used as a boarding-house, for some years known as the Losey House. A partnership was formed by Mr. Cross and Mr. Hoffman, under the firm name of Cross & Hoffman, and they conducted a dry-goods and clothing business, which proved to be very profitable.   After a few years this partnership was dissolved, Mr. Cross selling his interest and removing from Morristown.  Mr. Hoffman then carried on the store alone, and is still interested in the enterprise, under the firm name of P. H. Hoffman & Son, the junior partner being Henry Byram Hoffman, his only surviving son.

Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman had three sons. The eldest, Orlando Kirtland, died in infancy. The second is Henry Byram, and the youngest was Joseph Reed, who on arriving at years of maturity studied medicine and was graduated from the New York Homeopathic Medical College.  He located in Morristown, where he built up a large and lucrative practice. He died, after a very brief illness, on the 11th of December, 1893, highly esteemed by all who enjoyed his acquaintance.

Mr. Hoffman, of this review, united with the South Street Presbyterian church, in June, 1848, and during the greater part of the time since has served as teacher, superintendent of the Sunday-school, trustee of the church, and ruling elder. In the latter capacity he has represented the church in the presbvtery, state synod and general assembly of the United States. He is a member of the New Jersey Historical Society, a member and officer of the New Jersey Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and has served for several years as a member of the board of education of Morristown. He has also been a member of the board of aldermen, and is a member of the board of managers of the Morris County Saving's Bank. In the spring of 1886, in connection with the late Hampton O. Marsh, who at that time was joint owner of the Arnold Tavern property, he decided to remove the old building, and erected in its stead the present substantial and beautiful structure known as the Hoffman Building, of which he is now the sole owner. Although it is now fifty years since Mr. Hoffman commenced business, he still takes an active part in the management of his store, and in the public affairs of his town.

Transcribe by Brianne Kelly-Bly


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