Eoff – Jacob, Peter and Isaac: Three Generations of Patriots

Revolutionary War Flag

In an earlier post, we discussed the Palatine German migration and our first ancestor, Han Jacob Eoff who died in 1710 while still in quarantine on Governor’s Island, New York. His widow, Magdalena was listed with two children, John Jacob Offin age 8, and Anna Barbara Offin age 6. Magdalena  and the children somehow avoided the work camps. She married Joan Peter Kassener (John Peter Castner) in New York  April 2, 1711. (The Eoffs were ancestors of Edith McIntire Holder.)

In 1734, Johan Jacob Öff purchased 432 acres in Somerset County, New Jersey. There Jacob Öff/Eoff built a large tavern/inn which was well known for its soft beds and warm hospitality. It remained in the family for several generations. Jacob also donated the land and money to build Zion Lutheran Church, the cornerstone of which still stands today. The small town that built up around the Eoff tavern was called Pluckemin, supposedly so named because of Jacob’s talent at ‘Plucking them in’…

The most famous patron of the inn was George Washington, who leading a bedraggled but victorious army stopped at the Inn on January 5, 1777 to write to Congress and tell them of his victory at Princeton, New Jersey.

One of the first Masonic Lodges, Solomon’s Lodge No 1 F&A&M, Somverville, New Jersey, was organized in the barn of Christian Eoff, one of Jacob’s sons.   

Jacob Eoff died in Pluckemin, Somerset County, New Jersey on September 9, 1780. His wife was Marie Magdalen Spohnheimer.

Revolutionary War Records for New Jersey show that Jacob Öff took the loyalty oath and served as a private soldier. DAR records show he provided supplies to the Revolutionary Army. His DAR patriot number is A037036. He is listed in the Somerset County, New Jersey censuses of 1775 and 1779.

Johann Jacob Öff’s will is on file in the courthouse at Trenton, New Jersey. His estate was estimated at 13,000 pounds and included nine bound books and six unbound books! Who could imagine a small boy coming to America, with his father dead on Governor’s Island, leaving an estate valued over $1,120,000 in 2012 US dollars, as well as having a library of books!

Peter Eoff: DAR Patriot Number – A204951

Peter was born in Bridgewater, Somerset County, New Jersey in about 1734. He married Elizabeth, last name unknown, in 1760 in Somerset County, New Jersey. They had nine children. He managed the Inn for a while after his brother, Christian.

 We don’t know why the family left the relative comfort of New Jersey, but by 1780, they were on the frontier in Camden District, South Carolina. When Peter was drafted, his son Isaac served as his substitute. This was a common practice, with more experienced men staying home to work the fields and manage the livestock. Peter did serve in the militia in 1780 under Captain Jones. Peter died on December 5, 1788, in Madison County, Kentucky at the age of 54. Elizabeth lived in the same area until she died in 1805 at the age of 71.

Isaac Eoff gravestone

Isaac Eoff: DAR Patriot Number – A033811

Isaac was born on January 12, 1761 in Somerset County, New Jersey. He first served in the Revolutionary War, when he was sixteen years of age, in the place of his father who was drafted in Chester County, South Carolina. He served for four months at Charleston under Captain John Mills in Sumpter’s regiment. He then enlisted for ten months in a company commanded by Captain Mills who joined Sumpter. He served four months under Alexander Fagin , was in battle when Sumpter was defeated was in the battles of Fish Dam Ford, Blackstock and Eutaw Springs where he was taken prisoner. He served a total of 201 days. In almost all his tours of duty, he served with one of James Knox’ sons or sons-in-law. We’re not sure when or where he met Margaret Knox, but we’re glad they met. They married on March 12, 1783. They went on to have eight children, all born in South Carolina. In 1810, the family moved to Pulaski County, Kentucky. By 1840, they were in Cannon County, Tennessee.

Isaac died on October 2, 1841. His white marble headstone is located in the Civil War Cemetery in Coffee County, Tennessee just off I-24 at Beech Grove exit at Highway 64. Exit off toward Beech Grove, the cemetery is on the left on a small knoll. The Civil War Cemetery is older than the Civil War. The name was changed after the War because of the many Civil War solders buried there, most with no names on their headstones. This is a federal cemetery and well kept, very pretty and peaceful.

After his death, Margaret moved with most of her children to Carroll County, Arkansas, where she died in 1848, far away from Ireland where she was born.

 This family represents one of the few families I’ve seen, who have three generations of patriots in support of the Revolutionary War.

DAR Logo

My DAR application through Isaac Eoff is pending. If my application is approved, if you are a woman in this family line within three generations of me, you can apply to DAR using a short form. Let me know if you have question. amp

 

Sources

  • “A Study of the German Immigrants Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710″ Published 1985. This set includes two pages of data on the Off family–see p. 713 of Volume II
  • “The Palatine Families of New York” by Henry Z. Jones, Jr.
  • Peter Eoff – provided a substitute, his son, Isaac. Captain Jones, militia; “Roster of South Carolina Patriots in American Revolution,” AA. 2232A L325. SC Arch Acct. Aud #1004, Roll #4842, SR3362V-pension of Isaac Eoff.
  • Isaac Eoff -National Archives file #3362; served in the army from Chester Co SC #326, Book L. “Roster of South Carolina Patriots in American Revolution,” AA. 2232A L325.

Copyright, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

PALATINE GERMANS AND OUR FIRST EOFF’S IN AMERICA

 

Flag of Germany

Generations of wars and heavy taxation in southern Germany plus a severe winter in 1709 caused devastation in the land and impoverished the people, making many families seek relief by migrating.

They were called “Palatines” as most were from the Palatinate region of Germany. One group left in 1708, but a larger group left in 1709. They traveled down the Rhine River to Holland and camped near Rotterdam waiting for ships to England. Of 13,000 Germans who reached London in 1709, only an estimated quarter came on to New York.  The rest found refuge in other places. The huge migration overwhelmed the British government and caused a big political uproar.

Queen Anne encouraged this Protestant migration to her American colonies. Most boarded ships for New York in December 1709, but did not leave England until April 1710. They sailed on eleven crowded boats with unsanitary conditions. Typhus was a problem for these already malnourished refugees. Four hundred seventy people , most children, died before reaching America. With about twenty-one hundred survivors, the Palatine immigration was the largest single immigration to America in the colonial period.  

On reaching New York in June 1710, the ships were quarantined on Nutten Island (now Governor’s Island). Governor Hunter of New York needed the immigrants for the making of naval supplies of pitch, turpentine and tar. Most families first settled along the Hudson River in work camps, to pay off their passage. (This was not a well-thought out process, since Governor Hunter’s pine trees were the incorrect species for producing the needed naval supplies, causing more hardship for the refugees.) Some widows and children, deemed as unfit for the work camps, were left in New York.

Our first Eoff ancestor to come to colonial America was Hans Jacob Eoff (variously spelled Öff, Hoof, Oave and Offin) born October 17, 1679 in Grossheppach, Germany. He was serving an apprenticeship as a weaver, when his illegitimate son Johann Jacob Öff, born to Magdalena Nussbaum, was baptized on April 10, 1702.  Han Jacob and Magdalena married on June 14, 1702. Since an apprentice could not be married, the financial burden of not having a trade and the lure of cheap land could be the reason for the family’s migration. A subsistence list on July 1, 1710 in New York shows the Hans Jacob Off family with five members. By October 4, 1710, the family had decreased to three members. Hans Jacob Eoff died on September 24, 1710 on Governor’s Island, probably from typhus. A child must have also died before October 4, 1710. Magdalena Offin was listed with John Jacob Offin age 8 (or Johann Jacob Off/Eoff our direct ancestor and founder of the Eoff family in America), and Anna Barbara Offin age 6. Magdalena and her children were probably left in New York and did not go the ill-fated Hudson River work camps. She married Joan Peter Kassener (John Peter Castner) in New York 2 April, 1711.

Source for Eoff material – excerpts from “The Eoff Family from the Old World to the New”, from a manuscript by Roberta Grahame in “The McIntires and the Elliotts of Bickle’s Cove, Stone County, Arkansas and the descendents of John McIntire of Maury County, Tennessee” by Pauline Mitchell Pierce, January 1997.

The Eoff ancestors were in my maternal family line, through Edith McIntire Holder.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.