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: 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.
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
- “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.