Guide to the William Hoffman journal

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Hoffman, William, 1801-
Title: Journal of travel across the plains and Rocky Mountains, from Covington, Ind. to Jacksonville, Ore., in the year 1853
Dates: 1853
Quantity: 0.1 linear feet (1 folders)
Location of Collection: Collection is located with other small manuscript collections.
Collection Number: A 052
Summary: The collection consists of the manuscript journal of William Hoffman, which chronicles Hoffman's journey across the Oregon Trail from Covington, Indiana to Jacksonville, Oregon in 1853.
Repository: University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
Contact Information: UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

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.

Content Description

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.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

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.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The collection is contained in a single folder.

Acquisition Information :  

The journal was a gift of David Linn, grandson, in June 1940.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Detailed Description of the Collection

4 Journal 1853


  • Personal Names :
  • Hoffman, William, 1801---Diaries
  • Geographical Names :
  • Jacksonville (Or.)
  • Subject Terms :
  • Overland journeys to the Pacific
  • Pioneers--West (U.S.)
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Overland journals

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