Thomas J. Hoffman
Thomas J. Hoffman, who has served as postmaster of Vail since his appointment to that office on the 1st of July, 1897, has also been successfully engaged in the grain and stock business here for more than a third of a century.
His birth occurred in Iowa on the 4th of December, 1846, his parents being Henry and Nancy (Baldwin) Hoffman, who were natives of Pennsylvania and Kentucky respectively. They took up their abode in Keokuk county, Iowa, in 1846 and the following year entered land in Boone county, where the father erected a log cabin. The primitive little structure had a clapboard roof, a puncheon floor and a door with a string latch. That the region was still but sparsely settled is indicated by the fact that the nearest market was Davenport. Henry Hoffman passed away in Boone county in 1869, while his wife was called to her final rest in 1878, her demise occurring in Crawford county.
Their children were eleven in number, namely: Elizabeth, who is a resident of West Bend, Iowa; Thomas J., of this review; Ella, the wife of Everell Springer, of Pennsylvania; and eight who are deceased.
Thomas J. Hoffman attended the common schools in the acquirement of an education and remained with his father until 1864, when he joined Company H, Forty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, serving with that command for one hundred days. On the expiration of his term of enlistment he returned to Boone county, Iowa, and in 1867 came to Crawford county, purchasing a farm whereon he resided for ten years. On abandoning agricultural pursuits he took up his abode in the village of Vail, where he has been identified with the grain and stock business continuously since, having met with success in his undertakings in this connection. He was appointed postmaster of Vail by President McKinley on the rst of July, 1897, and for the past fourteen years has discharged the duties of this office in a most satisfactory and commendable mannero Mr. Hoffman has a nice residence in Vail and also owns the building in which the postoffice is located.
In 1869 Mr. Hoffman was united in marriage to Miss Debbie Leonard, a native of Michigan and a daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Leonard. Unto them were born three children, as follows: Leonard S., who is married and acts as assistant postinaster of Vail; Harry B., who is a resident of Denver, Colorado; and Earl E., living in Vail, Iowa. The wife and mother passed away on the 8th of February, 1903, her remains being interred in the Vail cemetery.
In 1908 Mr. Hoffman was again married, his second union being with Miss Annie Wall, a native of England, who came to the United States with her parents at an early day. Both her father and mother are now deceased.
In politics Mr. Hoffman is a republican and for several years he served on the school board. Fraternally he is identified with the Masons, belonging to Diamond Lodge, No. 422, at Vail, in which he has filled some of the chairs. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church. Good qualities of heart and mind have gained for him warm and lasting friendships and he has a wide and favorable acquaintance in this part of the county.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.