The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
PHIL HOFFMANN, who is editor of the Oskaloosa Herald and an executive
officer of the Oskaloosa Herald Publishing Company, has reason for marked
satisfaction in being identified with a newspaper which, as weekly and daily, has been a power in connection with civic and material development and progress in Mahaska County during a period of eighty years, which statement connotes that the Herald had its inception when the present county seat was a little more than a frontier village. Further interest attaches to Mr. Hoffmann's alliance with this pioneer paper by reason of the fact that he is a native son of Oskaloosa and a representative of one of the old and honored families of this section of the state.
The Oskaloosa Herald is the lineal descendant of the Iowa Herald, which was
established July 2, 1850, as the first newspaper in the aspiring little village of Oskaloosa. The founders of the Iowa Herald were Hugh McNeely and John R. Needham, the former of whom came from Ohio to Oskaloosa in the early part of the year 1850. Mr. McNeely, a practical printer, assumed charge of the mechanical and operative affairs of the new paper and Mr. Needham functioned as its editor. The plant of the paper was brought from Cambridge, Ohio, where it had previously been utilized in the publishing of the Cambridge Times. Additional material was purchased in Saint Louis, Missouri, and thus it was with no meager equipment that was initiated the publishing of the pioneer
newspaper that was destined to become one of the leading journalist vehicles of the Hawkeye State. The Herald supported the principles of the Whig party until the birth of the Republican party, since which time it has continued a vigorous supporter of the cause of the latter party. The first issue of the Herald came from the press July 2, 1850, and on the first of the following November the Herald, after the purchase of new type and other material,initiated
its publication under the present title of Oskaloosa Herald. It was no minor problem that faced the publishers of this pioneer paper, as Iowa was without railroad facilities at that time and the machinery and other accessories of the newspaper plant had to be shipped by boat up the Mississippi River to Keokuk or Burlington and thence transported overland to Oskaloosa. In November,1852, Mr. McNeely sold his interest in the Herald to John W. Murphy, and in the spring of 1855 the latter sold to James H. Knox who remained but a short time. Thereafter Mr. Needham continued in full control of the property and the business until he gained the collaboration of James M. Brown. January 1, 1858, Dr. Charles Beardsley purchased the interest of Mr. Brown and assumed editorial management of the paper. Doctor Beardsley remained at the helm until March 9, 1865, the Herald having proved equal to the unwanted emergencies and vicissitudes that it was called upon to face during the period of the Civil war, even to the issuing of small special editions when reports from the
war front were thus conveyed to the attention of the people of the community, though such news was conveyed only by the pony news express, by way of Eddyville, and the celebrated Burlington Hawkeye likewise having depended upon this
frontier service. It is a local tradition of virtually authentic order that on four different occasions in the war period every employe of the Oskaloosa Herald left to enter the military service of the Union, leaving the publishers to issue the paper as best they could. Mr Needham retired from his association with the enterprise after fifteen years of loyal and effective service, and March 16, 1865, the Herald was issued under the management of Col. C. W.
Fisher and W. E. Sheppard, who had purchased the plant and business. On the 16th of the following November Mr. Sheppard sold his interest to his coadjutor, Colonel Fisher, who at this time admitted H. C. Leighton and W. H.
Needham to partnership. January 30, 1868, Capt. W. A. Hunter purchased an interest in the paper and assumed editorial control. November 11, 1869, H. C. Leighton purchased the Needham interest, but March 17, 1870, W. H. Needham acquired the Hunter interest. George Lee later became identified with the business and he sold his interest to Albert W. Swalm, a talented newspaperman of high reputation and one who had been previously connected with the Des Moines Register, he having been widely known as a vigorous and influential newspaper writer. August 1, 1889, Mr. Swalm and his wife Pauline, became the sole owners of the Herald by purchasing the interests of Charles and William Leighton, who had been connected with the paper thirty years, in various ways Mrs. Pauline Swalm, a woman of exceptional culture and executive ability, brought
efficiency into the business management of the Herald, and of the various persons who were connected with the Herald prior to its passing to its present management she is now the only one living.
On the 31st of December, 1896, Charles V. and Phil Hoffmann purchased the plant and business of the Oskaloosa Herald, and they maintained this pioneer newspaper at the best modern standard, making its service effective in the
advancing of local interests, good government, educational promotion, news purveying of general order, and in vigorous support of the principles and policies for which the Republican party stands sponsor. The Herald is issued as a
morning daily and has also a weekly edition. It is a leader in the directing of communal sentiment and action, and its every policy is marked by loyalty and cleanness. January 1, 1905, as a matter of expediency in the handling of the business of this metropolitan and influential newspaper, the Oskaloosa Herald Company was organized and incorporated, and the interested principals were Charles V.
and Phil Hoffmann, Charles S. Walling and Miss Maggie Hoffmann. In 1922 occurred the death of Charles V. Hoffmann, and shortly afterward A. K. Walling became a stockholder in the company. Phil Hoffmann is president of the company; A. K. Walling is its vice president; C. S. Walling is general manager and Miss Maggie Hoffmann is secretary and treasurer, she being a talented woman of marked administrative ability and having been actively concerned with the advancement made by this progressive newspaper corporation since 1905.
Charles V. Hoffmann, whose death occurred in March, 1922, was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, January 28, 1860, a son of Philip and Eleanor (Addy) Hoffmann. He received the advantages of the public schools of his native city and was about seventeen years of age when he here, in 1877, in the Herald office initiated his apprenticeship to the printer's trade and in the general newspaper business. In 1889 he was elected treasurer of Mahaska County, and in this fiscal office he gave two terms of loyal and efficient service. In December, 1896, as previously noted, he became one of the owners of the Oskaloosa Herald. In the following year he initiated his service as postmaster of his native
city, his appointment having been made under the administration of President McKinley and his original term having expired in 1901, while his second term ended in 1905. Thereafter he gave his time and attention mainly to the affairs of the Oskaloosa Herald until the time of his death, and in his character and his achievement he honored and was honored by his native city and state. May 20, 1890, marked his marriage to Miss Grace Seevers, daughter of Hon. W. H. Seevers, of Oskaloosa, and she survives him, as does his son, Guilford. Gladys, a daughter, died in her twentieth year.
Phil Hoffmann, whose name introduces this review, was born in Oskaloosa on the 16th of August, 1868, and is a son of Philip and Eleanor (Addy) Hoffmann. Philip Hoffmann, Sr., was born in Steinweiler, Kingdom of Bavaria, Germany,
October 13, 1830, and was a son of Peter and Anna (Pflatzgroff) Hoffmann. He was reared and educated in his native land, and there learned the trades of cabinetmaker and glazier. He was twenty-two years of age when he came to the United States in 1853, and in 1855 he gained pioneer honors in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he, was long engaged in his trade and in the mercantile business and where he continued as an honored and influential citizen until his death, July 10, 1902, his wife having preceded him to eternal rest.
Phil Hoffmann, immediate subject of this review was graduated from the Oskaloosa High School as a member of the class of 1885, and in this city he attended Penn College during a period of eighteen months, he having in the
meanwhile been employed in a local drug store evenings and in vacation periods. He learned at first hand the intricacies and mysteries of the "Art preservative of
all arts," as he served a practical apprenticeship in the offices of the Oskaloosa Herald, where he initiated his service in the dignified and autocratic position of "printers' devil." He won advancement through his ability and loyal service and finally became identified with the editorial department of the Herald. In 1892 he found another department for clean service, as in that
year he and his brother Charles V. purchased the Oskaloosa steam laundry, which they successfully conducted under the firm name of Hoffmann Brothers until December, 1896, when they sold the plant and business and purchased the
Oskaloosa Herald from Mrs. Pauline G. Swalm. Under the Hoffmann management the Herald expanded its influence and service and gained its present rank as one of the leading newspapers of Iowa, with a plant of the best metropolitan
facilities and with all departments of service maintained on a high plane of efficiency.
Phil Hoffmann is one of the representative business men and loyal and progressive citizens of his native city, his political allegiance is given to the Republican party, and he has been influential in its local councils. He and his wife are communicants of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in which he is a member of the vestry of the local parish. He was president of the local Rotary Club in 1928, and he is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the
Knights of Pythias. Mr. Hoffmann was an active member of the Iowa National Guard during a period of five years, and became a first sergeant of company F. Third Infantry Regiment. He is a member of the Iowa State Press Association and also of the Chicago Press Club, a representative organization in the great western metropolis.
On the 20th of September, 1905, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hoffmann and Miss Anna M. Glaze, daughter of Frank W. and Lily (Lloyd) Glaze, of Oskaloosa, her father having been one of the leading merchants of this city. Mrs.
Hoffmann is affiliated with the Order of the Eastern Star and the P. E. O. Sisterhood, is a member of the local Woman's Club, and is a popular figure in the social, church and cultural affairs of her home city. Mr. and Mrs.
Hoffmann have one daughter, Eleanor, who was born August 8, 1908, and who graduated from the University of Iowa in June, 1930.
Phil Hoffmann has become known as a versatile and representative newspaper editor in his native state and also as the author of an interesting and valuable work entitled Roustabout, this being a history of Mahaska County told with marked effectiveness through the medium of many humorous descriptions of life and manners, the little volume having met with marked popular approval.
*Check your facts, don't know how accurate.