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Isaac White Hoffman
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Birth: Mar. 5, 1837
Dauphin County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Mar. 25, 1924

Isaac W. Hoffman was the younger half brother of my great great grandpa Gilbert "the saddler" Romberger, and uncle to my great grandpa Daniel H. Romberger. Isaac's mother was a widow who was twice married, having children by both her husbands, so her Hoffman offspring were half siblings to her Romberger children.

Mr. Hoffman intrigues me largely because his character is visible through his life and a surviving letter. His personality is the most clear to me of all the Romberger-Hoffman siblings. I'd like to think his decency and humor was shared by the family, and his elder half brother Gilbert, my great great grandpa.

Mr. Hoffman would marry twice, losing his first wife, possibly to childbirth, as she died a mere 3 years after her last living child was born. She may have been adored; when Isaac married again, he chose to finalize his vows on the exact same day that he first married, 13 years later.

"A solid citizen" are words that would very well describe Isaac W. Hoffman. Active in fraternal organizations, temperance groups, his community and church, traces of Isaac abound in biographical books and in tomes of his day. It seems he did nothing huge, but did a lot of decent things well.

It would seem too that he was a good-natured man. A letter of his survives, written to the Secretary of the International Association of Ticket Agents, appearing in the International Railway Journal:

Millersburg, PA
January 5, 1909

C. G. Cadwallader
Secretary I.A.T.A.,
Philadelphia


I was under the impression that my retirement two years ago would end my membership with the I. A. T. A., an Association which has always been dear to my heart, and the pleasures in the Association with the members on our trips and meetings will always remain green in my memory. The close friendships I have made and the information and knowledge I have gained thereby will be and remain a pleasure to me through the remainder of life.

I cheerfully enclose my check for $10 to square my account. If you have blank membership cards lying around loose you might send them as souvenirs of 1907 and 1908. I would have been delighted to have been at the meeting at Atlantic City last May, but I could not make it suit.

What effect has Bro. Hambright's resolution at the Atlantic City had relative to retired agents? Will that put me on the honorary membership? I have thought that likely the various roads might not be inclined to extend the courtesy of transportation to such members. I would be pleased to get full information on these points. If I can be placed on the list of honorary membership I would be glad to pay $1 per year to cover subscription of the Railway Journal, to keep in touch with my dear friends, who I value so highly and none more than yourself. The ties, to me, are like unto Jonathan and David. May the Lord bless you!

And right here permit me most heartily (which I should have done before) to thank you for your kindness last May.

With best wishes to you, your family, and the boys - Conrad, Ramsey, Treas. Frazee, and all the rest, I am most sincerely and

Fraternally yours,

Isaac W. Hoffman
Retired Agent
_____________________________________

ISAAC W. HOFFMAN, ticket and freight agent for the Northern Central and Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Millersburg, Pa., was born in Lykens, now Washington township, Dauphin county, Pa., March 5, 1837, and is a son of Jacob D. and Eve (Romberger) Hoffman.

John Peter Hoffman was the first American ancestor of the Hoffman family. With others of his family and friends he came to this country from Germany in 1739, and his descendants were soldiers in the Colonial army and in the wars with the Indians. He settled in Lykens Valley, at the end of Short Mountain, where he built a small house and where some of his descendants are living at this time. Jacob D. Hoffman, father of Isaac W. Hoffman, was of the fifth generation in the direct line of descent from John Peter Hoffman, and was born July 3, 1812, on the farm on which that ancestor first settled. On the same place Jacob D. Hoffman had his residence after the death of his father until 1855. He farmed the old homestead until 1850, when he took charge of the large Elder and Haldeman farm in the immediate vicinity, at the end of Short Mountain. Jacob D. Hoffman was married, May 19, 1836, to Eve, daughter of Adam Romberger, born June 28, 1810. In 1848 he was elected county commissioner to fill an unexpired term, and in the following year was elected to a full term of that office. He was twice elected sheriff, in 1854 and in 1866. He died May 30, 1887. His wife died October 31, 1876, from the results of an accident, having been run down by an engine at Sunbury, Pa., May 30,1876. They had nine children.

Isaac W. Hoffman received his primary education in the district schools. At sixteen or seventeen years of age he attended the Berrysburg Academy for one term, after which he was urged by the school board to take one of the schools in his native township. Mr. Hoffman yielded to this request and taught a six months' term. After this he studied one term at the Harrisburg Academy, and then taught a winter school in Lykens township, spending the next term in study at the White Hall Academy in Cumberland county, and teaching the winter school at Stauffer's school house in Lower Paxton township. The next summer found him at the Freeland Academy, Montgomery county, Pa., after which he taught a regular term in the Berrysburg Academy, and in the following winter taught the regular term of the district school of that place. He spent the next summer at the State Normal School, Millersville, Lancaster county, and in the following winter taught the Elder school, in Swatara township, Dauphin county. Mr. Hoffman now determined to try another branch of business, and accepted an agency for the Osborne Reaper and Mowing Machine Company, of New York, in which he was active for one season. In the following winter he did important service at Halifax, where he taught the borough high school, and was instrumental in establishing the grading of the schools. On September 5, 1859, Mr. Hoffman received from the county superintendent a county certificate for professional teaching. In 1861 he was appointed route agent in the United States railway mail service. This position he held until November 30, 1865, when he was appointed agent of the Northern Central Railway Company, at Millersburg, Pa., and later was made agent of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at the same place, which position be still satisfactorily fills.

Isaac W. Hoffman was married, November 6, 1866, to Sarah Frances, daughter of Dr. H. G. and Elizabeth Martin. Their children are: Roscoe White, born September 5, 1867; Jacob Odin, born August 5, 1869, married Elizabeth Crawford; and Pauline, born December 4, 1871. Mrs. Sarah F. Hoffman died December 17, 1874. Mr. Hoffman was married, the second time, November 6, 1879, to Marion, daughter of Jacob E. and Catherine (Bollinger) Meek. Their children are: Dean Meek, born November 11, 1880; Herbert Spencer, born January 24, 1882; Margaret, born March 27, 1889, died December 7. 1891; Lois and Marie, twins, born June 26, 1893.

Mr. Hoffman has served as director of the First National Bank of Millersburg, was one of the organizers of the Standard Axle Works, and among the organizers of the Millersburg Building Association. He holds a prominent place in the International Association of Ticket Agents, and is also active in fraternal organizations, being a member of Perseverance Lodge, No. 183, I. 0. 0. F.. of Millersburg [Note: Odd Fellows], of which he has been secretary for twenty-five years; of Dauphin Encampment, No. 10, I. 0. 0. F., of Harrisburg; a member of Perseverance Lodge, No. 21, F. & A. M.[Free and Accepted Masons]; Perseverance Chapter, No. 21, R. A. M. [Royal Arch Masons]; Pilgrim Commandery, No. 11, K. T.; Harrisburg Consistory, 32, S. P. R. S., of Harrisburg; Lulu Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., of Philadelphia; Syrian Commandery, No. 133, A. & I. 0. K. of M., of Millersburg. Mr. Hoffman has served on the borough school board for twelve years. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

The parents of the present Mrs. Hoffman, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Meek, are both living. They had six children; William North, died when one year old ; the living children are: James L.; Marion, who is Mrs. Hoffman; Annie S.; Mary A.; Ida May, wife of Kimber E. Heckert, of Millersburg, Pa.

(Info for the above bio came from an item offered on eBay, the original source of which was not noted, but appears very similar to the account in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County which appears next.)

"Hoffman, Isaac W., ticket and freight
agent for the Northern Central and Penn-
sylvania Railroad Company, Millersburg,
Pa., was born in Lykens, now Washington
township, Dauphin county, Pa., March 5,
1837, and is a son of Jacob D. and Eve
(Romberger) Hoffman.

John Peter Hoffman was the first Ameri-
can ancestor of the Hoffman family. With
others of his family and friends he came to
this country from Germany in 1739, and his
descendants were soldiers in the Colonial
army and in the wars with the Indians. He
settled in Lykens Valley, at the end of Short
Mountain, where he built a small house and
where some of his descendants are living at
this time. Jacob D. Hoffman, father of
Isaac W. Hoffman, was of the fifth genera-
tion in the direct line of descent from John
Peter Hoftinan, and was born July 3, 1812,
on the farm on which that ancestor first set-
tled. On the same place Jacob D. Hoffman
had his residence after the death of his
father until 1855. For his education he is
less indebted to schools than to his native
talent, his quick and clear perception and
ready observation of men and events. His
knowledge was of that practical character
which prepared him for action and leader-
ship, when matters of importance were to be
decided upon in the community. He farmed
the old homestead until 1850, when he took
charge of the large Elder and Haldeman
farm in the immediate vicinity, at the end
of Short Mountain. Jacob D. Hoffman was
married, May 19, 1836, to Eve, daughter of
Adam Romberger, born June 28, 1810.

He was one of the most influential Repub-
licans of his neighborhood. In early life he
filled many of the offices in his native town-
ship in the most acceptable manner; later
he became prominent in county politics. In
1848 he was elected county commissioner to
fill an unexpired term, and in the following
year was elected to a full term of that office.
He was twice elected sheriff, in 1854 and in
1860. Mr. Hoffman was also a man of great
social worth, and his life was characterized
by unfailing kindness and generosity. Those
in need of help never appealed to him in
vain. Few men draw to themselves more
loyal friends than those who were attached
to him. He died May 30, 1887. His wife
died October 31, 1876, from the results of
an accident, having been run down by an
engine at Sunbury, Pa., May 30, 1870. They
had nine children.

Isaac W. Hoffman received his primary
education in the district schools. At sixteen
or seventeen years of age he attended the
Berrysburg Academy for one term, after
which he was urged by the school board to
take one of the schools in his native town-
ship. This was in 1854, when the system of
county superintendency first went into effect.
Mr. Hoffman yielded to this request and
taught a six months' term. After this he
studied one term at the Harrisburg Acad-
emy, and then taught a winter school in
Lykens township, spending the next term
in study at the White Hall Academy in
Cumberland county, and teaching the win-
ter school at Stauffer's school house in Lower
Paxton township. The next summer found
him at the Freeland Academy, Montgomery
county, Pa., after which he taught a regular
term in the Berrysburg Academy, and in
the following winter taught the regular term
of the district school of that place. He
spent the next summer at the State Normal
School, Millersville, Lancaster county, and
in the following winter taught the Elder
school, in Swatara township, Dauphin
county.

Mr. Hoffman now determined to try
another branch of business, and accepted an
agency for the Osborne Reaper and Mowing
Machine Company, of New York, in which
he was active for one season. In the follow-
ing winter he did important service at Hali-
fax, where he taught the borough high
school, and was instrumental in establishing
the grading of the schools; so fully was he
appreciated that he was retained for two
terms in the superintendency of the Halifax
schools. On September 5, 1859, Mr. Hoff-
man received from the county superintendent
a county certificate for professional teaching.
In 1861 he was appointed route agent in the
United States railway mail service. This
position he held until November 30, 1865,
when he was appointed agent of the North-
ern Central Railway Company, at Millers-
burg, Pa., and later was made agent of the
Pennsylvania Railroad Company at the
same place, which position he still satis-
factorily fills.

Isaac W. Hoffman was married, November
6, 1866, to Sarah Frances, daughter of Dr.
H. G. and Elizabeth Martin. Their children
are: Roscoe White, born September 5, 1867;
Jacob Odin, born August 5, 1869, married
Elizabeth Crawford; and Pauline, born De-
cember 4, 1871. Mrs. Sarah F. Hoffman
died December 17, 1874, sincerely mourned
by her relatives and friends, and by all who
knew her lovely character and unselfish life.
She was a true Christian woman, conscien-
tious in the discharge of duty, and doing
good to all about her. Mr. Hoffman was
married, the second time, November 1879,
to Marion, daughter of Jacob E. and Cath-
erine (Bollinger) Meek. Their children are:
Dean Meek, born November 11, 1880 ; Her-
bert Spencer, born January 24,1882; Mar-
garet, born March 27, 1889, died December
7,1891; Lois and Marie, twins, born June
20, 1893.

Mr. Hoffman has served as director of the
First National Bank of Millersburg, was one
of the organizers of the Standard Axle
Works, and the treasurer of that company
for a year; he was also among the organizers
of the Millersburg Building Association, of
which he served as secretary during the
whole term of its existence. He holds a
prominent place in the International Asso-
ciation of Ticket Agents, and is also active
in fraternal organizations, being a member
of Perseverance Lodge, No. 183, I. 0. 0. F.,
of Millersburg, of which he has been secre-
tary for twenty-five years; of Dauphin En-
campment, No. 10, 'l. 0. 0. F., of Harris-
burg ; a member of Perseverance Lodge,
No. 21, F. & A. M.; Perseverance Chapter,
No. 21, R. A. M.; Pilgrim Commandery,
No. 11, K. T.; Harrisburg Consistory, 32,
S. P. R. S., of Harrisburg ; Lulu Temple,
A. A. 0. N. M. S., of Philadelphia ; Syrian
Commandery, No. 133, A. & I. 0. K.
of M., of Millersburg. Mr. Hoffman is a
Republican. He has served on the borough
school board for twelve years, having been
its secretary during all that time. He is a
member of the Methiodist Episcopal church.
The parents of the present Mrs. Hoffman,
Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Meek, are both living.
They had six children : William North, died
when one year old ; the living children are :
James L.; Marion, who is Mrs. Hoffman ;
Annie S.; Mary A.; Ida May, wife of Kimber
E. Heckert, of Millersburg, Pa."
_____________________________________

A list of subscribers of The Guardian from 1858 includes Isaac's name. He'd have been 21 when receiving this magazine, published by Pearsol and Geist in Lancaster, PA, which described itself as "A monthly magazine devoted to the social, literary and religious interests of young men and ladies." The monthly was edited by Rev. H. Harbaugh and cost a dollar (paid in advance) for one year.

Likewise, he was 21 when mentioned in Annals of Harrisburg (1858) which said the following:

WASHINGTON LODGE, No. 107, I. O. of G. T., was instituted January 28, 1854. Its members are composed of respectable males and females, the former over fourteen and the latter over sixteen years of age. The initiation fee is fifty cents, and the annual dues for male members one dollar and four cents, and for female members fifty-two cents, payable quarterly in advance. The members derive no pecuniary benefit from the lodge when incapacitated from pursuing their regular occupation. The organization numbers about three hundred members, and is very serviceable in the cause of temperance. It meets every Thursday evening, in the Sons of Temperance Hall, Second street. The following is a list of the first officers of the Lodge..." and lists Isaac W. Hoffman among them. [NOTE: The I.O.G.T. still exists, and their site is here.]

An 1861 civil service list shows Isaac's name as a postal employee working for the Northern Central Railroad as a route agent, earning what appears to be the top of that position's money, $800. No one in that role is shown as earning more. It is not known to me if this was considered a full-time job, but for a show of wages of the time, the vice president was earning $8000, while President Lincoln pulled in $25,000.

Proceedings of the 5th National Temperance Convention (1865, Stearns, NY) lists Isaac as part of Pennsylvania's Grand Lodge Good Templars.
_____________________________________

My suspicion had been that Isaac W. Hoffman is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery with his second wife. An obituary stating her place of rest was found, and she's in Oak Hill in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. This suspicion has been confirmed by the historian for the Romberger Family Association who has the Oak Hill records. Further, his first wife Sarah Francis is also buried there under the name Frankie Hoffman.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Jacob David Hoffman (1812 - 1887)
  Eva Romberger Hoffman (1810 - 1876)
 
 Spouses:
  Sarah Frances Martin Hoffman (1844 - 1874)
  Marion Meck Hoffman (1854 - 1920)
 
 Siblings:
  Rebekah Hoffman (____ - 1908)*
  Gilbert Romberger (1829 - 1894)**
  Luther D Romberger (1831 - 1908)**
  Susan Romberger Bowman (1832 - 1900)**
  Isaac White Hoffman (1837 - 1924)
  Adam Hoffman (1838 - 1902)*
  Sarah Hoffman Schreiner (1842 - 1926)*
  Addaline Hoffman McAlarney (1845 - 1915)*
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Burial:
Oak Hill Cemetery
Millersburg
Dauphin County
Pennsylvania, USA
 
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Mar 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 49445881
Isaac White Hoffman
Added by: Bruce Speck
 
Isaac White Hoffman
Added by: sr/ks
 
Isaac White Hoffman
Added by: sr/ks
 
 
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- Diane Miller
 Added: Mar. 25, 2014

- Diane Miller
 Added: Mar. 4, 2014

- Diane Miller
 Added: Mar. 26, 2013
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