This past weekend, 28 JUNE 2008, I drove to Rochester, Millbrook Twp, Peoria Co., IL and to nearby Princeville, Peoria Co., IL to see what I could find regarding the Hoff family tenure in this area.
1).First, as to "Rochester", located in Millbrook Twp., Peoria Co., IL:The name has changed, and "Rochester" no longer exists, as such.The town of "Rochester" is now known as "Elmore", which old maps indicate use to be the U.S. Post Office that serviced "Rochester".Locals told me that the name was "officially" changed some 30-40 years ago.There are currently about a dozen reatively modernmodest homes there, and a small cemetery on the west side of the settlement.The settlement is located in a hilly, forested ravine area on the Spoon River, which runs east/west.No older "pioneer" or early farm type homes exist there currently (sadly).The one church there (Methodist) was "establihed in 1866" (as indiccated by a sign over the door).So, it would not have existed in its present structure in 1854-55.I could also find no "Hoffs" in the litte Glendale Cemetery located NW of the settlement.Family records indicate no Hoff deaths occurred in the 1854-55 period when the property was owned in this area.Family records indicate that PRUDENCE POWELL HOFF, the spouse of AMOS HOFF, who some in the family members believe was the father & mother of POWELL HOFF, died in Illinois in "1847", before the family moved to the Des Moines, IA area.If the family actually resided on the land in this Rochester area, and AMOS and wife PRUDENCE POWELL may also hve lived the with POWELL & MARTHA, it would appear that PRUDENCE died before the property was purchased there and she would not be buried in this are.So, no Hoffs were found buried in this cemetery.However, the 4,000 acres of land purchased by POWELL HOFF for $125 n Millbrook Twp (11N), Range 05E, Maridian 4, Section 11 was bought on Nov. 17, 1854.This location is straight east of Elmore/Rochester, 4 sections, and 2 1/2 sections north of the E-W train tracks south of the settlement.However, it is possible that the family never actually resided on the property, and lived in Peoria, purchasing the property only for speculative resale.One son, JOHN H. HOFF (my 1XG Grandfather) had by 1854 left for Des Moines, as he took a bride (MARY ANN AKINS) there in DSM in April of 1854.Presumably they must have had a few months of courtship, so he may have actually arrived there sometime in 1853.The Rochester/Millbrook Twp. property was purchased by POWELL in late November of 1854.So, it appears that the family didn't travel as a single unit, and all traveled at the same time from the Peoria area to DSM.Perhaps young son JOHN was sent ahead to DSM "scout" for available, cheap property, and the rest of the family followed there between 1854-55.Obviously, the fairly massive 4,000 acres of land purchased near Rochester in late 1854 had to be disposed of and sold before the move to DSM, and the new property purchased in Dallas County in 1855.The Rochester/Millbrook Twp. property was actually purchased - and was not "homestead", free issued property, which typically required actual actual residence upon the property for some period of time as a condition.So, it is possible that the Hoff Family may never have actually resided there on the property near Rochester, and remained in the City of Peoria before the move to DSM.
2). Next, as to NANCY HOFF;I also droveto nearby Princeville, Princeville Twp., located immediately to the east of Millbrook Twp.There was just one old protestent cemetery, known as the "Princeville Cem." located NW of the village.After a lot of looking, and finding three separate grouping of "Blanchards", I finally found the headstone of "NANCY BLANCHARD", (nee "HOFF") (1825-1850) located next to the newer red granite massive headstone of her husband, JOHN L. BLANCHARD.They are located to the south, and on the edge of a road going into the cemetary about 100 feet into the cemetery under a tall pine tree.There was no reference to her maiden name of "HOFF" on the headstone.From the headstones, I learned that young NANCY HOFF was actually the second wife of JOHN L. BLANCHARD.His first wife, MARIA (1815-1846) died in 1846, and apparently left one child, MARY J. BLANCHARD (b: 1841).Widower JOHN BLANCHARD was thus apparently "in the market" for a quick "replacement" wife, and a mother for his young daughter, MARY J., who was age 7 at the time of the re-marriage to NANCY HOFF on 29 April 1847.A copy of the Marriage License I obtained was issued in Peoria by William Mitchell, County Clerk.It revealed the actual signature of POWELL HOFF on the reverse, taking no objections to the marriage to JOHN L. BLANCHARD.He shows the location of "Rochester, Peoria Co., IL", implying so form of residence or presence there.Family records show that the wedding took place "in Rochester, IL", but no specific location wa shown.Wife #1, MARIA, too, is buried nest to JOHN and NANCY, along with his third wife,EVA.JOHN L. BLANCHARD lived 1817-1896, dying at age 79.Three children noted on his headstone were buried there, too: 1) MARIA J. (1841-1861 (at age 20)(the issue of his marriage with W#1, MARIA); 2) DANIEL BLANCHARD (1851-1864); and, 3)EVA (1865-1867) (age 2), the later two children born to W#3, EVA and JOHN BLANCHARD.I found no children or issue of the brief 3 year marriage of NANCY and JOHN BLANCHARD.As with Nancy, JOHN BLANCHARD wasted no time following her untimely death in 1850 in finding a third wife, EVA, as they had their first child, DANIEL born in 1851, only a year after the death of W#2, NANCY. NANCY HOFF BLANCHARD died of "consumption" (tuberculosis), then (as now) a deadly and highly contageous illness.The weathered, but readable limestone headstone of NANCY (HOFF) BLANCHARD indicated her death on Apr. 27, 1850, age 25, 1 mo., and 3 days.This death and birth dates are 100% consistent with other given family records.John Blanchard was likely the son of WILLIAM P. BLANCHARD, an early Princeville town founder, and a 1838 Justice of the Peace.I found numerous other Blanchard family members located in this cemetery in three "groupings".It seemed likely that POWELL & MARTHA HOFF, the parents of NANCY, would likely have attended the funeral and burial of their young daughter.In 1850 they would have been age 49 and 48, respectively, and it must have been heart-breaking for them to have to bury their second-born child, young, relatively newly married, and with a great potential future ahead of her.Five years later, the Hoff Family "moved on" to Dallas Co., and this one burial is the only remaining physical nexus I could find thus far of the Hoff Family with the Peoria and central IL area.
3).PURDENCE POWELL.Some family members' records indicate her DOD of "1847".She is listed as the wife of AMOS HOFF (1775-1855).This DOD would have been before the 4,000 acres of land was purchased in Millbrook Twp. in 1854.So, presumably if she and husband AMOS HOFF lived with or near POWELL & MARTHA HOFF, who appear to have resided somewhere in the City of Peoria, she is likely buried in an older cemetery somewhere in or near the then older central area of the City of Peoria.I didn't have the time to check this out on this trip.Given the dates of land purchased in Millbrook Twp (Rochester) in 1854, there is no reason to believe that PRUDENCE POWELL HOFF, who died in 1847 would be buried in the Rochester area, located some 20 miles NW of the City of Peoria, in the far NW corner of Peoria County.
I'd welcome any feedback. JOHN SCOTT HOFF, Chicago, IL (312)346-8111 or >email@example.com>