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



  • “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.


Flag of Scotland

Our Knox/Craig ancestors emigrated from Scotland, to Ireland and then to America arriving in Charles Town, S.C. in 1767. South Carolina paid bounty to Scots-Irish willing to settle in the frontier acting  as a buffer between the coastal plantations and the Indians, a perfect role for the Scots-Irish warriors. Edith McIntire Holder, my maternal grandmother, was a descendant of these ancestors.

James Knox Sr. was born on July 26, 1713, in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. His parents were John Knox and Agnes Johnstone. (Not John Knox, the Reformer, whose two sons did not have descendants.) On December 26, 1719, Lady Elizabeth Craig was born on the other coast of Scotland in Edinburgh. Her parents were John Craig and Elizabeth Moir/More. She was an only child. It is thought her father’s estate reverted to the Crown because he died without a male heir. Even after she married, it has been said, she used the honorific Lady with her married name. This is unusual, but I found one of her great aunt’s who was able to prove her claim to land and a title, because she never gave up her title. Perhaps, Elizabeth hoped the same could happen to her.

The Knox and Craig families had at least one connection over the years, with a Craig mentioned in conjunction with John Knox, the Reformer. Our James Knox and Elizabeth Craig married in Lanarkshire, Scotland. They were of the Covenanters Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and raised their children in strict obedience to God’s laws.

Children born in Scotland:

1740-1830, Mary. Married Pollock/Polk by Reverend William Martin.  Mary Polk remained in Ireland. Some genealogists have said Mary’s children immigrated to the colonies and were the ancestors of President James Polk. I have found no evidence of either, with President Polk’s ancestors already in the colonies by this time.

1742-1839, Janet. Married John (JR) Gaston in fall of 1768 by his father Justice John Gaston.

1744-1818, John. Married Elizabeth Eoff on Feb 12, 1789. The groom was forty-five and Elizabeth was eighteen, the first marriage for both. It was said John didn’t marry until later in life since he was too busy taking care of the farm. He died in 1818 at seventy-four years of age, leaving three minor children.

1749-1781, James. Married Jannet Miller in 1770. James was murdered by Tory neighbors during the Revolutionary War.

1751-1830, William. Married Patience Gill about 1779.  Died Oct 31, 1830 at age 78.

 In 1752, the family traveled by ship from Scotland across the Irish Sea to Belfast, then settled in the  Ballymoney area of North Antrim, Ireland with other Covenanters, where they farmed rented land.

Children born in Ireland:

1753-1843, Samuel. Married Caroline Jones in 1780. They were married by her uncle John Simpson, a Presbyterian minister with Margaret Knox Eoff as a waiter (witness.) Caroline’s mother was a Simpson.

1755-1832, Elizabeth. Married Samuel Morrow in 1776, Chester Co, SC. Final move was to Laurence County Alabama, then onto Fayette Co, Alabama. She died by Sept 3, 1832. Samuel was born in 1743 and died March 8, 1835. He had emigrated from Ireland to the colonies at the age of fourteen.       

1758, April 11-1861, Robert. Married Elizabeth Gill in 1784. In 1817, Robert married (1) Elizabeth Gill, ca 1763-ca 1809. Then he married (2) Mildred (Milly) Bohannon ca 1792-1861. 

1763-1848, Margaret. Married Isaac Eoff on March 12, 1783, in her father’s home in Chester Co, SC. Rev. John Simpson performed the ceremony, with Margaret’s childhood friend, Catherine Jones Knox, now her brother, Samuel’s, wife and six months pregnant with her first child present at the ceremony. Isaac died Sept 26, 1848 in Carroll County, AR. (Now Boone County.) See Eoff, Elliott, and Todd stories for more on this family line.

1760-1850, Joseph. Never married. Was blind.

1765-1842, Nancy Agnes (Ann). Married Jacob Sutton (blacksmith) on Jan 1, 1784. He was born in 1758 and died in 1836. The wedding was most likely performed in the home of her parents with her father Justice James Knox, Sr. officiating.  Final move was to Laurence County Alabama. Named Agnes after paternal grandmother.

1767, Susan was born on board ship to America, where she died and was burned at sea.

 On July 25, 1761, South Carolina passed an act which paid the passage and, upon arrival, provided each head of household over 16 years of age a grant of 100 acres and 50 acres to his wife and each child. In March 1767, the family sailed (on the Earl of Hillsborough, disputed, more likely on the Prince of Wales) from Belfast for Charles Town, South Carolina. As they departed on the ship, Elizabeth was 48 years old and pregnant with her last child, with twelve other children ranging from 2-25 years of age.

On May 28, 1767, South Carolina Warrants and Petitions indicate Knox family received 450 acres in a land grant from the General Assembly of South Carolina in Chester County, S.C.,  100 miles into the Carolina upcountry. A wagon, head of oxen, plough, seeds and provisions were purchased in Charleston from grant monies. The family moved up the Santee/Catawba Rivers and settled on land close to Fishing Creek in Chester County. The family lived out of wagon until cabin was finished. After the cabin was built, they could enjoy a Saturday night bath in front of the fireplace. They attended the Old Richardson Meeting House on Fishing Creek for Sunday services, also called the Catholic Church, comprised of Covenanters, Associates and Presbyterians, on Rocky Creek. By 1772, the Covenanters had their own church, called Reformed Church, with Reverend William Martin as the minister. He was their minister in Ireland and came over from Ireland bringing the rest of the congregation.  Most of the family is mentioned in the Fishing Creek Presbyterian Church visitation list in 1771 – 1774.

Land had to be cleared and planted for fall harvest. The oldest son, John, took the lead in developing the family farm on Rocky Creek.

Shortly after the Knox/Craig family’s arrival in the colonies, tensions between the colonies and England began to develop, but didn’t really affect people on the frontier, who were busy clearing their fields, protecting their families from Indians and raising crops and kids.  

Passage of the Declaration of Independence  on July 4, 1776, did not pass unnoticed on the frontier, but most people carried on with their busy lives. However, ultimately the Revolutionary War affected all their lives. Subscribe to my blog to see other posts as they are posted.  

Source: “James Knox Sr. and Elizabeth Craig Knox and their Descendants,” compiled by Lorene K. Petersen and Jennie Bell Lyle, 1984.

Copyright, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.