William Hoffman was born on September 7, 1801 in Baltimore, Maryland. Around the age of eleven or twelve, William Hoffman attended a Lancastrian school kept by Mr. John Creery. There he gained the majority of his education. William Hoffman also attended a German school, as his parents were of German descent. In 1816, Mr. Hoffman went to live with his brother Jacob Hoffman in Middletown, Maryland. There he engaged in drinking and gambling. Soon after, he reformed his life and became a religions man. In 1820, Mr. Hoffman joined his sister and brother-in-law in going to Ohio. There he worked at the business of his brother-in-law's brother in Urbana. In 1824, Hoffman returned to Baltimore where he was an active member of the German Reformed Church and where he worked for D. &. J Ruddach as a clerk, then partner. In 1836, William Hoffman was married, wife's name is not mentioned. In 1840, William Hoffman was elected as County Recorder. He held that position until 1853. The Hoffman family moved to Covington in 1841. There he was the superintendent of the Sunday School, and a Ruling Elder of the New School Presbyterian Church. On April 13, 1853, William Hoffman and his family began their journey across the American West from Covington, Indiana. They arrived in the Rogue River Valley in October 1853.
Once in Oregon, William Hoffman attempted to farm, but failed. In 1855, he was nominated for the office of County Auditor under the Territorial Government. He held this position until Oregon was organized as a state. After, he was elected as county clerk until 1866. In 1866, William Hoffman was given the appointment of Notary Public, an office held until 1879. William Hoffman also held the position of U.S. Commissioner and a U.S. Circuit Judge. In 1868, William Hoffman became business a partner of Mr. Henry Agent, who was based in Jacksonville, Oregon.
William Hoffman with his wife had six daughters. He had twenty-three grandchildren.
Collection comprises a single manuscript, the journal of William Hoffman as he journeyed across the Oregon Trail in 1853. The journal is typewritten and is seventy-one pages long. The original is in private hands. The manuscript also contains biographical materials.
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Hoffman, William, 1801-. Journal of travel across the plains and Rocky Mountains, from Covington, Ind. to Jacksonville, Ore., in the year 1853, A 052, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.