John Hofmeister has been a farm owner and farm cultivator all his active life and has well earned the retirement he now enjoys. His home is in section 36 of Liberty Township, five miles southeast of Liberty Village.
He was born March 24, 1853, on the old home farm in Beverly Township where his youngest brother, David, now lives. His parents were William and Elizabeth (Diehl) Hofmeister. His father was born at Mansheim, Hess-Darmstadt, Germany, November 25, 1819. He came to the United States in 1846. His brother was living in Charlestown, Indiana, where he had a cooper shop. William Hofmeister learned that trade with his brother in Indiana, and in 1849 came with another brother to Adams County and located in Beverly Township.
On May 10, 1849, he married in Quincy Elizabeth Diehl, of Beverly Township. they were married by Rev. Phillip Barth of Quincy. She was born in Pennsylvania and was sixteen years of age at the time of her marriage. She had come from Pennsylvania to Adams County a year or two before her marriage. Elizabeth Diehl had a sister and three brothers: John Diehl, who died at advanced age, Henry, who died in Missouri; Balzer, who went West and died there; and Anna, who married William Kuntz and lived in McKee Township.
Soon after his marriage William Hofmeister bought the farm of his wife’s father, and lived in that one location for sixty-six years. He died ilarch 16, 1916, at the remarkable age of ninety-six years, three months and twenty-two days. For many years he kept a cooperage shop on his farm, converting the timber on his land into barrels for the pork packers at Quincy and for other uses. He had put about two-thirds of his land into cultivation, and continued his farm management until he was seventy years of age. His wife died Febiniary 5, 1888. William Hofmeister was well educated, possessed a remarkable memory, and was one of the prominent men of his community for many years. He accjuired citizenship soon after coming to America and was always completely satisfied with this country and its ideals. He owned 240 acres of land. He was converted while living in Indiana in 1848, and for many years was an active member of the Bethel German Methodist Church in McKee Town.ship. He was a member of that church when they worshiped in a log house. At the time of his death he was its oldest member. For two years he was confined to his room, but he always enjoyed company and was a great social favorite. He was laid to rest in the cemetery at Kingston, a mile and a half from his old home. The present house on the farm was built by him in 1869 and he also put up barns and other buildings.
In his family were four sons and one daughter. The only daughter, Mina, was her father’s housekeeper for many years and died August 22, 1906. The son, William, spent his life on the old farm as a bachelor and died September 16, 1913. The next in the family is John Hofmeister. Davis is still at the old home in Beverly Township. Charles was a dealer in musical instruments at Barry, Illinois, and died at Blessing Hospital in Quincy.
William Hofmeister was not the only member of his generation to reach advanced age. His sister is still living at New Albany, Indiana, at the age of ninety-three. William was one of six children, and all but one passed the age of ninety. All but one of them came to the United States. One brother, Conrad, settled in McKee Township of Adams County. He came to America on money supplied him by his brother William. He died when past ninety years of age, and his three sons and one daughter are still living in the county. Lizzie, another sister of William, married Jacob Getz and also settled in McKee Township, where she died.
John Hofmeister lived at home to the age of twenty-four, and during his youth he assisted in clearing up the old farm. He then bought eighty acres in McKee Township and spent some years on that, clearing up the land and getting it into condition for profitable farming. He then bought his present place of 160 acres in Liberty Township, thus constituting him the owner of 240 acres. He had spent about twenty-three years on this farm and built the house and a substantial basement barn in 1895. Much of the land was originally covered with heavy timber and he put a sawmill into operation and sold large quantities of bridge timber. He does general farming and stock raising, breeding Polled Angus cattle and regularly turn off about 100 hogs for the market every year. Mr. Hofmeister is a republican.
April 15, 1885, he married Emma Knapheide, of Quincy, daughter of Henry and Catherine (Achelpohl) Knapheide. Concerning the Knapheide family of Quincy a more complete sketch is given on other pages. Mrs. Hofmeister was born in Quincy November 18, 1858, and was educated in the public schools.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Hofmeister are noted as follows: Lydia Edna, wife of Rev. F. W. Carwell, a retired minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church now living at Parsons, Kansas ; Linda Catherine married H. E. Carwell, a farmer at Troy, Missouri, and a brother of Rev. Mr. Car«’ell : Mil-ton Henry has a farm a mile and a half west of the old home and married Grace L. Zoller, who is organist of the Bethel Church : Alma Elizabeth is still at home ; Ralph Oliver is now in active charge of the home farm and also operates the 160-acre farm adjoining, owned by the widow of James Craigs. Ralph 0. Hofmeister is one of the pushing and energetic young men of the county.
Source: Quincy and Adams County History and Representative Men, pp. 1067-69; by David Wilcox. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1919.