Hoffman, Francis A.
Born: 1822-06-05 Herford, Prussia
Died: 1903-01-23 Jefferson, Wisconsin
Alternate name: Hoffmann
Francis A. Hoffman was a bootblack, teacher, clergyman, editor, lawyer, realtor, lieutenant governor, farmer, and author. Hoffman received his education in Prussian state schools, cultivating a life-long interest in farming and horticulture. In 1840, he immigrated unexpectedly to the United States, leaving Prussia, according to family tradition, to escape mandatory service in the Prussian Army. Landing in New York City, Hoffman worked his way to Buffalo, where he boarded a schooner for Chicago. He found a job as a bootblack, but after two months he took a position as a teacher and choirmaster of a Lutheran congregation in Addison in Du Page County. The Lutheran Synod of southeastern Michigan ordained Hoffman, and the Synod installed him as pastor of the Lutherans of northeastern Illinois. In addition to his clerical duties, Hoffman took an active interest in civic affairs. From June 1845 to July 1846, he served as postmaster of Addison. He won election as town clerk and served on the public-school board. He represented Du Page County at the River and Harbor Convention held in Chicago in 1847. Gravitating to the Democratic Party, he was a frequent contributor to the Chicago Democrat. He also edited
In February 1844, Hoffman married Cynthia Gilbert, with whom he had four children.
J. H. A. Lacher, “Francis A. Hoffman of Illinois and Hans Buschbauer of Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Magazine of History 13 (June 1930), 327-55; J. H. A. Lacher, “Hoffman, Francis Arnold,” Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964), 5:1:118-19; Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls, Records of the Post Office Department, RG 28, 1845-1855, Volume 18:36, 46, National Archives Building, Washington, DC; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Addison, Du Page County, IL, 270; The Watertown Republican (WI), 31 January 1903, 1:6.