Tombstone Tuesday-Johan Hoffmann

Johan Hoffmann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Johan Hoffmann, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Hier ruhet
Johan Hoffmann
Den 14 Nov. 1865
Alter 41 Jahre
8 Mo. n. 9 Tage

Here rests Johan Hoffman, died 14 November 1865, age 41 years, 8 months, and 9 days.

This weathered marble tombstone is a little difficult to read because some of the 4s now look like 1s. Some of the old engravings consisted of a very thin line on the number 4 and over the years that line can become so faint that a 4 can look like the number 1. That can make a big difference in determining the vital dates and the age of a person. This has happened to this stone and the inscription on it has been recorded differently at times. From the information in Zion Schumm’s records and from looking closely at the stone, I believe some of the 4s have sometimes been read as 1s.

According to Zion Schumm’s records, Johan Hoffmann was born 5 March 1824 in Waldeck, Germany.

Johan Hoffmann married Eva “Katharine” Windsheimer 30 September 1853 in Allen County, Indiana. [1] They resided in Van Wert County, near Willshire, by 1860.

The Johan Hoffmann family in 1860: Johan, 36; Katharine, 27; Christopher, 6; Elizabeth, 3; and John, 1. This enumeration shows that Johan, Katharine, and Christopher were all born in Germany, while the other 2 children were born in Ohio. This does not quite add up since the couple married in Indiana in 1853. [2]  

Johan Hoffmann is mentioned several times in Zion Schumm’s records, in his children’s baptism records or when he was a baptismal sponsor for another child, usually a relative or neighbor. From the scant information in the church records I was able to put together a little information about his family. Some of this is theory, particularly about who his siblings were. They may have been siblings or close relatives.

Johan’s wife was listed as Eva Katharine in the church records, with no maiden name. However, her full name appears as Eva Kathryn Windsheimer on their son Christian Hofmann’s death certificate [3] and on their 1853 Indiana marriage record.  

The children of Johan and Eva Katharine (Windsheimer) Hoffmann:
Christian Hoffmann/Hofmann (1854-1919), married Lena Schinnerer
Rosina “Elisabeth” Hoffmann (1857-1913), married Abraham Pflueger
Johann George Hoffmann (1859-1942), married Malinda Miller
Christian Adam Friedrich Hoffmann (1861-1864)
Hannah Rosine Magdalena Hoffmann (1863-?), married Fredrick Glessing

Johan Hoffmann died of lung fever on 14 November 1865, at the age of 41 years, 4 months, and 10 days. Lung fever may have been what we call pneumonia today. He was buried on the 16th.

Johan Hoffman’s widow Eva Katharine was left to raise at least two, possibly four, children. She married Martin Gaier/Geier in 1866 and they had at least two children, Maria, born in 1867, and Magdalena, born in 1869.

Eva Katharine (Windsheimer) Hoffmann Gaier died in 1870. The surviving children from her marriage to Johan Hoffmann had lost both parents and someone had to take them in and raise them. In 1870 it appears two of their children, John Hoffmann, 11, and Hannah Hoffman, 7, were living with Charles P & Anna E Germann. [4]

Johan Hoffmann may have had siblings living in the area. My theory is that Rosina (Hoffmann) Schinnerer Geissler Lutz was the sister of Johan Hoffmann. Anna “Rosina” Hoffmann (1829-1899) first married Pankratius Schinnerer. After his death she married George Geissler, and after George’s death she married Johann Lutz. Johan Hoffmann was the baptismal sponsor for at least two of the Schinnerer children. [5] He was likely their uncle. More research is still needed to determine if Johan Hoffmann had other siblings, possibly with a Germann connection, too.


[1] Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993, John Huffmann & Catharine Windsheimer, 30 Sep 1853, Allen County, Indiana;

[2] 1860 U.S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, p.152 [penned], dwelling 1085, family 1079, John Hoffman; digital images by subscription,  ( : viewed 22 Jul 2019).

 [3] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Van Wert, Pleasant Township, Christian Hofmann, 27 Mar 1914; database with images,, ( : viewed 22 Jul 2019). [This record gives his parents as John Hofmann & Eva Kathryn Windsheimer.]

[4] 1870 U.S. Census, Harrison, Van Wert, Ohio p. 24 [penned], p. 262B, dwelling & family 164, John Hoffman; digital images by subscription, ( : viewed 22 Jul 2019).

[5] Zion Schumm’s records show Anna “Rosina” was born in Waldeck, Dieketsbuehl Bayern, where Johann Hoffmann was also born. Johann Hoffmann was the baptismal sponsor for several her children. Their birth years indicate they could be siblings.


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