the Godfrey John Hofer story

Godfrey John Hofer came to the Downs, Kansas area in 1877. He was born at Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 9, 1851, the son of John Ulrich Hofer (born in Swizerland) and Anna B. Mosiman. Brothers and sisters of Godfrey were Christian, who married Jennie Weinert; John, who took his own life; Christina, who married Madison Walter, a minister; Mary, who married William Heiser, also a minister; Lydia, who married a man by the name of Slater; and Adeline, who married Fred Bartsch.

Godfrey first came to Adams County, Nebraska in 1866 when about 15 years of age, and then to Downs in 1877, 11 years later. He married Philippena Blau on March 27, 1880 in Cawker City. Philippena was born in Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany on May 18, 1856. She was a daughter of Phillip Blau and Elizabeth Klein and had four brothers and 3 sisters: Philip, Karl, William, Louis, Frederica, Catherine and Magdalena. Philippena came to America by ship, being on the ocean for three weeks, then came to Downs in October 1879 at 23 years of age, to join her sister, Magdalena and brother, Louis. Her brother, William, came six or eight years later.

Following the marriage of Godfrey and Philippena, they settled on a farm on Twelve Mile Creek, in a dugout on the William Heiser farm. The Rev. Heiser was an early day minister of the Evangelical Church and was married to Godfrey's sister, Mary. The Hofers attended church in an old dugout near the site of the present Rose Valley Church which was built later. Mr. Hofer helped with the building of the church as his health permitted.

Godfrey died on February 15, 1903 at the age of 52 from tuberculosis. Philippena died at Simla, Colorado on September 4, 1944 at the age of 88. Both are buried in the Rose Valley Cemetery.

The children of Godfrey and Philippena were:

  • Anna Adelina was born May 2, 1881 and died June 3, 1953. she was married to David Kimble in 1902. He was born November 3, 1879 and died March 13, 1960.
  • Albert Eolios was born May 14, 1882 and died July 1, 1967. He was married to Mable Lemley who was born April 24, 1885 and died June 27, 1971.
  • Wilhelmina Marie, born June 21, 1884 and died March 4, 1971. She was first married to T.C. Stuart, deceased, and later on March 28, 1917 to E.M. Estes, who was born September 5 1888 and died February 28, 1976.
  • William Walter, born December 7, 1885, died November 22, 1967. He was married to Gladys Lovie Chapin in June 1910. She was born September 4, 1889 and died November 5, 1931.
  • John Godfrey, born July 29, 1889, died April 10, 1976. He was married to Ida May Bowers, born August 31, 1901. Still living in Beloit, Kansas as of 1990.
  • Henry Christian was born December 1, 1891. The date of his death is unknown. He was married to Emma Faye Henninger. She was born February 18, 1906 and died July 22, 1950.
  • Elizabeth Philippena was born November 9, 1894 and died January 19, 1984. On April 18, 1917 she was married to Wesley Earl Heiser of the Kill Creek neighborhood, southwest of Osborne He was born May 22, 1892 and died October 18 1967.
  • Two other children died as infants. Elsie Helen, born on November 10, 1892 and died November 20, 1892; and Herman Frederick, born December 3, 1896 and died April 15, 1897.

Godfrey and Philippena lived on a farm northwest of Downs in the Rose Valley neighborhood in Ross Township for a number of years. After Godfrey's death in 1903, Philippena and her sons continued to farm the home place. Later she moved to Simla, Colorado to be near some of her children. Her son, John and wife Ida, purchased the farm and continued to care for the land for many years. John and Ida's son, Howard is the present tenant of the family farm and farms the land.

Not too much is known about Godfrey's parents, John Ulrich and Anna Mosiman but it is known they lived in a house in Downs for a time, which they owned. They sold the house to the Kill Creek Evangelical Church and it was moved to the church site in Tilden Township where it was used as a parsonage for many years.

John Ulrich and Anna are both buried in the Rose Valley Cometery beside their son, Godfrey and his wife, Philippena and their two infant children.

Dorris Estes

click here for Godfrey and Philippena in the family tree

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