Notes and Documents
A German-American Pioneer Remembers:
August Hoffmann's Memoir
DAVID R. HOFFMAN*
AUGUST HOFFMANN, BORN IN GERMANY IN 1842, CAME TO THE
United States of America with his father in 1854, and grew to matu-
rity on the Texas frontier as the nation went through its Civil War. In
1925, ten years before he died, he was persuaded to write down what
he remembered of his life. The memoir, in his German script, and an
English translation were given to me by my aunt, the late Mrs. August F.
Hoffmann of LaMarque, Texas, in 1988.
I could not read the German original and was unable to determine who
had made the translation. At the suggestion of Katherine Adams, assistant
director of the University of Texas's Center for American History, I asked
Mrs. Jeanne Willson of Austin, Texas, to prepare a new translation for me.
Her translation follows. I am grateful to Mrs. Willson for this new transla-
tion. The original Hoffmann memoir has been deposited at the Center
for American History at the University of Texas in Austin.
The memoir and Mrs. Willson's translation are generally not divided
into paragraphs. I have made divisions solely to make it easier for the
reader to follow August Hoffmann's story. I have by design avoided any
other changes in the text, preferring to let Hoffmann's words tell the
story. His formal education in Germany ended before his twelfth birth-
day, and he learned what English he had "on the job" after his arrival in
Texas. If the sentence structure seems archaic, these are his words. The
spelling of names remains his; readers familiar with the history of
Gillespie County may see variant spellings of individual and family
* David R. Hoffman, retired director of the State Library of Pennsylvania, lives in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania. He is a great-grandson of August Hoffmann.
SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. CII, NO. 4
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed September 4, 2015.