Biography of Otto Hoffman
Cambria County, PA Biographies





Otto Hoffman, president of the Vintondale State Bank, and general superintendent of the Vinton Colliery Company, ranks among the leading and highly esteemed business men of Cambria County. He was born at Sheboygan Falls, Wis., Jan. 15, 1874, and is the son of John Jacob and Rose Bertha (Anschutz) Hoffman.

John Jacob Hoffman and his wife were natives of Germany. Both came to this country with their parents when they were four and five years of age respectively, making the voyage in a sailing vessel which required nine weeks. He was born in Prussia and she in Saxony. They settled at Tawas, Saginaw Bay, Mich. Mr. Hoffman received a common school education and later attended college near Buffalo, N. Y., where he studied for the ministry. He was later ordained as a Lutheran minister. He then moved to Northern Wisconsin and settled at Wausau. He erected a log cabin, the land was cleared, and then made ready for cultivation by oxen. It was necessary to drive a distance of 90 miles to Stevens Point, Wis., to purchase flour and other necessary food stuffs. The family did their own weaving and made homespun clothes. Mr. Hoffman resided in this section of the country for nine years and during that time would cover a radius of 100 miles holding church services. He later removed to Portage, Wis., and from there to Sheboygan, where be remained until 1882, when he returned to Wausau. During his absence the community had become a thriving settlement and was thickly populated. Reverend Hoffman took charge of the Lutheran parish and the log cabin, which was formerly his home, was used as a parochial school for Lutheran children. Another small church was situated two and one half miles east of Wausau, where he also conducted weekly services. He also preached at Marathon City, Wis., and in 1885 removed to Sheboygan, where he had charge of the Lutheran parish until 1890, when he removed to New Orleans, La., on account of ill health. Here he established a non secfarian mission, which was conducted for the needy. Reverend Hoffman was actively engaged in this work until his death in 1919. He is buried in New Orleans. His widow returned north and died at Merrill, Wis., in 1923. To Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman eleven children were born, as follows: William, deceased; John, deceased; Jacob, deceased; Martin George, twin brother of Jacob, lives at Pensacola, Fia.; Clara, mention of whom is made below; Philip H., lives in Kansas City, Mo.; Adolph E., lives in Minneapolis, Minn.; Otto, the subject of this sketch; Edward A., lives at Detroit, Mich., where he is vice president of the United States Bonding Company, William P., died Jan 1, 1926, buried at Cleveland, Ohio. He was a chief engineer on the Great Lakes and was affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, Cleveland Consistory 32nd degree, and Al Koran Temple; and Harry H., lives at Seattle, Wash. Clara Hoffman was married to Prof. Filibert Roth, founder and professor emeritus of the forestry department, University of Michigan. He was called "Daddy of Forestry," having taught forestry longer than any man in the country. He was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, April 20, 1858, and came to the United States in 1871, locating immediately at Ann Arbor, Mich. From 1871 until 1874 he lived in Wisconsin and from there went to Texas and Montana, where he lived as a frontiersman. He returned to Michigan and in 1890 was graduated from the University of Michigan. When Cornell University founded the first school of forestry in the country, in 1898, he accepted an assistant professorship, remaining there until the disorganization of the department three years later. The following two years of his life were spent as administrator of the National Forest Service. He resigned that position and went to the University of Michigan as first professor of forestry, a post he held continuously for 20 years. In 1923 by the action of the board of regents, he was made professor emeritus. During the same year Marquette University bestowed upon him the honorary degree of L. D. D, He died Dec. 4, 1925. His widow resides at Ann Arbor, Mich., with her daughter, Mrs. O. M. Boston.

Otto Hoffman received his education in the Lutheran schools and at an early age was employed in a toy factory at Sheboygan, Wis. When he was 16 years old he sailed the Great Lakes as a fireman and in 1895 was appointed assistant engineer on the steamship "Maryland" of the Interocean Transportation Company, which was operating on the Great Lakes. Two years later he was appointed chief engineer for this company. He served in this capacity until 1911, when he came to Vintondale with T. W. Hamilton, superintendent of the Vinton Colliery Company at that time. Mr. Hoffman served as master mechanic for this company until 1913, at which time he was appointed general superintendent in charge of the company's four mines. Mr. Hoffman has equipped these mines with modern machinery and through his efforts has made them successful operations. He is one of the organizers of the Vintondale State Bank, of which he is president.

On Jan. 1, 1901, Mr. Hoffman was united in marriage with Miss Maude M. Landers, the daughter of Thomas Landers, who came to this country from Montreal, Canada, and settled in Wisconsin. He is now, deceased. To Otto and Maude M. (Landers) Hoffman a son was born, Kenneth L., born Feb. 9, 1905. He was educated in the public schools of Cleveland, Ohio, and Vintondale, and in 1921 was graduated from Mercersburg Academy and in 1926 from Lehigh University. He now attends Harvard Law School. He was senior class president at Lehigh University, chairman of the board of control of athletics, manager of the 65 piece band, vice president of the Y. M. C. A., and a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He has served at Camp Meade, Maryland, in the Citizen's Army Training School, is a second lieutenant in the Officer's Reserve Corps, U. S. Army, and was a captain in the Reserve Officer's Training Corps at Lehigh University. He is also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, national all campus honorary activities society, and of the Scabbard and Blade Society, Lehigh University.

Mr. Hoffman is a Republican and has served as president of the borough council for 12 years. He has always taken an active interest in the welfare of Vintondale and during his residence here has been instrumental in making it the progressive and prosperous community that it is. Mr. Hoffman holds membership in the Presbyterian Church, F. & A. M. No. 498, Cleveland, Ebensburg Golf and the Sunnehanna Country Club, Johnstown. He and his family have a wide acquaintance throughout the county and are representative of the best citizenship in the community.


From:
History of Cambria County, Pennsylvania
By: John E. Gable
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis, 1926

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