Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wisdom Wednesday - What I learned about and from Christ Hoffman

Mary and Christ Hoffman
Christ Hoffman (b.1861 in Germany to Gottlieb Hoffman and Kunijnunda Buchner) was the second husband of my great-great-grandmother, Mary Sitzman. I first started learning about him in going through my Grandma Blossom's photo albums, as Grandma Blossom's mother, Rosie Wagner (one of Mary Sitzman's daughters) had taken a lot of pictures of Christ and Mary. Before he was married to my great-great-grandmother, however, he was married to a girl named Annie Clausen, b. abt 1858 in Germany. I think they married in Nebraska, as that's where their oldest surviving child, Christ Hoffman Jr., was born in 1891. I say oldest surviving, because in the little research I've done on the family so far, I've found that of their seven children together, only three lived to adulthood. Two children, whose names I have not yet found, died before 1900. Another child, August, born around 1894, died somewhere between 1900 and 1910. The only death I've found much information on was little Frederick, who died at the age of 2 years and 7 months. His passing was mentioned in a newspaper article in the Anaconda Standard in 1905, which also stated the funeral would be held at the family home. A really touching thank you from Christ and Annie appeared in the Standard a few days later, which said : "We desire to express our heartfelt thanks to our friends and neighbors for their kindness during the illness and death of our beloved son. We also wish to thank our friends for the many floral offerings.
I think it says a lot about Christ and Annie to have responded so quickly to thank their friends and neighbors, even in the midst of their grief.

Christ was also very successful at raising chickens. He won several awards for his Barred Plymouth Rocks and single-comb white Leghorns at the Montana state fair in 1909. He used those wins to his advantage the next year when trying to sell the eggs from his "prize-winners" in the local paper. In another ad he placed in 1912, Christ said he was willing to trade two very large St. Bernard dogs for chickens - a trade which would seem a hefty loss on the part of the dog owner to me, but then, I don't know chickens like Christ did.

One of the most fascinating things I came across was an ad he placed tyring to sell an egg incubator. The model he listed was a 240 X Cypher's Incubator. I got curious as to what that would have looked like, so I did a Google search. I didn't find the exact model, but I did find some pictures from a vintage Cypher's catalog someone was trying to sell online, which included pictures of several other models of Cypher's incubators. The photo at left shows the 360- and 440-egg capacity incubators, so I'm guessing the "240 X" in the model name meant it was a 240-egg capacity incubator. That's a lot of eggs!!

Christ married my great-great-grandmother on 1 July 1919, and they stayed married until his death in 1942 at the age of 80. He had a very interesting life, and I look forward to learning more and more about him and his descendants.

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