The Hoffman (Huffman)* Family

Jacob T. Hoffman (White) died in April, 1845, leaving an estate of about 43,000 acres of land and 75 slaves. He owned vast tracts of land which included the middle section of Macon County from north to south: the western section around Milstead, Shorter; and then again the eastern section of Macon County ? bordering Lee and Russell Counties and hence South to Bullock County.

Jacob T. Hoffman was the founder or architect of the Hoffman family in Macon County, as confirmed by the historical files in the Macon County Courthouse.

Jacob and his family came from Germany in the late 1790's or very early 1800's. While in Germany Jacob married Catherine Stoudemire, and she was of German nobility. Her father was a prince. Once in America, the Hoffmans first settled in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and they moved onto West Macon County, Alabama.

A brief glance into the historical significance of the times and of the land speculation in the early 1800's (1800?1840),  shows that it was highly competitive. The White settlers like the Hoffmans who had settled in South Carolina, heard of the vast lands available in Texas, going as cheap as 50¢ per acre and as much as you wanted and the myth continued that one could grow crops easily in Texas due to the richness of the soil.  It was, indeed, the big land of opportunity.  It got so panicky, that in 1820, the state of South Carolina had to pass a law forbiding settlers to leave the state, otherwise there would be nobody left.  Jacob Hoffman, was about the biggest land speculator that ventured west, for he had not only the desire, but the most money.  So he went to Texas briefly, speculating, but due to the rising threat of the marauding Apache Indians, and Mexicans, (U.S.and Mexican War of 1836), Jacob left and returned to West Macon County, Alabama.

In 1820, Jacob speculated heavily in land and he had plenty of money to do it with.  He accumalated vast acreage all over Macon County.  He and his wife, Catherine, had a son, Jacob T. Jr.  He was born in April, 1845.  A guardian named James W. Dent was appointed to Jacob, Jr.  after Jacob Sr.'s death in April, 1845,  The private papers of Jacob T. Hoffman, Sr. show that his son was sickly during his early years.

Upon Jacob T.'s death, a vast estate was settled.  A slave boy by the name of "Berry" was listed at $1,200.  Berry was the founder of the (Black) Hoffman family.  As we now experience it as his descendants, Berry was not sold, as was the case of some of the other slaves of Jacob T., but since he was property, he was listed.

Berry was the son  of Jacob T. Hoffman, Sr. (White), and Berry's mother was not identified.  Berry was born in 1820. This birth year seems factual, as Berry later related to his grandchildren that he was 12 years old at the time the stars fell on Alabama, and this phenomenon happened in 1832. Additionally, Berry said that he related his age to a White boy who was born the same time he was. This information of Berry's age correlates with other time sequences of his life.  Berry died on or about 1924, and he was born in 1820 so, upon his death, he was 104 years old!

Jacob T. Hoffman, Sr., during his life time, gave Berry to his infant son, Jacob T. Jr., as his personal slave or manservant.

In the late 1820's, the Hoffmans (White) resettled in the Warriorstand, Creekstand and Society Hill area (East Macon) leaving West Macon as a homestead.  It was fashionable in those years for the wealthier families to live in this area. Nevertheless, this was the beginning of the big Hoffman Plantation which extended from East, Central and to South Macon. However, this plantation was close in proximity to the Creek Indian Confederacy. The Black slave men frequently intermarried with the Creek Indian women since there were in the early settling days, more slave males than slave females.  Hence, the slave males sought out the women available, and that for the most part were the Indian women.  Rarily, would an Indian male marry a Black slave female, for to do so, would mean his domestication, and the Indian male would have no part of that.  This historical fact might explain why the (Black) Hoffmans had strong Indian features.

Upon Jacob T. Sr. Death in 1845, there was a host of relatives to divide his property.  Among the slaves listed was ancestral grandmother, Lizzie, called then, "Eliza", who was willed to Amanda Hoffman (White), Lizzie's value was $600.  Upon Amanda's death on  March 31, 1856, Lizzie was willed to Rachael Hoffman and Lizzie's value was $1,000. Note: a slave list of Jacob T. Hoffman's estate follows:

Berry's and Lizzie's Children:






Georgia ann



Immediately following the Civil War, 1865, Berry and Lizzie Huffman settled in Fort Hull, Alabama.

The families of the Ellingtons, Echols, Hoffmans and Whiteheads lived in close proximity of each other in the Fort Hull area. There were numerous marriages between the families.

From the many revelations given about Berry, from his relatives and neighbors, they all account of him as being a person of strong character; highly principled and a devout Christian.  He was superintendent of the sunday school, at Fort Hull, AME Zion Church for many years.  He enthralled the young people with his dynamic manner of telling the bible stories.  Berry, had long white silky hair.  He would look some what like the late Frederick Douglass (Black abolistionist) in his appearance.

Although he had a meager formal education, he had a deep thirst of knowledge and he read everything he could find, which was sparse to find in those days.  He made up for his education shortcomings by being very dignified.  All in all, he was an impressive man.

In 1882?1890, Berry was a special consultant to Booker T. Washington in the founding of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.  

What kind of a woman was Lizzie Huffman?
Lizzie, tempered with the arduous strain of slavery, reflected it in her fierce determination to succeed, especially for her children. She was a strong disciplinarian, although kind of heart, she tolerated no foolishness or disobedience, even from her husband, Berry.  When Berry would be out in the yard playing with the children, she would call out to him, "Berry, you ole goat, you bring those children out of that damn hot sun.”

Lizzie, as a slave, had worked for at least two (White) Hoffmans, Amanda and Rachel.  Her work might be described as a house servant for them, taking care of the house, cooking and sewing etc.

From their slave backgrounds, they were both in house or servant type slaves, and they both did not know much about farming as their counterpart slaves.  This can be attested to by the fact that the records books in the Macon County Courthouse do not show mortgages, or other property transactions.  They were at best, small patch farmers.

Lizzie was a handsome, broadfaced, brown-skinned woman with strong Indian features, whereas, Berry was light-skinned with long silver hair. 

Ned Hoffman
If there ever was a smart businessman, it was Ned Huffman.  Unquestionably, he was a genius at business transactions.  It is difficult to believe that a Black man who was born a slave in 1854, could be so shrewd without a formal education.  Yet, the property records, wills and testament, mortgages, from 1870?1900, show that he owned vast tracts of land which included the city property around (now) College, Oak and South Main Streets in Tuskegee, and about 250 acres of land leading South of Tuskegee, along the (now) Gautier Community and down Gautier, Morgan Russell, Fort Hull Road.  Additionally, he owned more than 40 acres of land in Fort Hull, and other land holdings in West Tuskegee.  Ned lost a considerable part of his bank savings in the bank foreclosure of 1932, which was ordered by then President Franklin Roosevelt.

It was often told that Ned lost a suitcase of money in the early 1900's, by burying it into the ground. What really happened, is that Ned threw the money in to the Creek, but it was retrived.  The manipulative White land speculators tried without success to get Ned's property.  Upon his death in the 1930's, he left considerable land all over Macon County to his heirs.

Ned was born in 1854. He was listed as a slave of Jacob T. Hoffman, Sr.’s Estate.  Ned was a good farmer and he lived well for his time and status.  Like the Whiteman speculator, Ned was also good at acquiring land.  He married Easter Paine on September 8, 1875, and he later married Corlie Fort on March 28, 1900.

Ned's Children                                                      Their Children

John                                                                        Ora Lee Menefee and Georgia Rogers

Sam                                                                        Mary Lue, Maggie, Frances, Rose John Will
Edward                                                                   Charles
Mary (Sugar)                                                           Svella, Lilla, Honey, Ramsee and Fannie
Mabel (Sweet)                                                        Joe, Preston, Willie Lee, Mabel, John and George
Clayton                                                                   no children
Murphy                                                                    Louvenia, Kate and Carrie Bell

Will                                                                          Edward, Rowena, Aaron and Ludie Hoffman Sr                                                                                                   (The father of Ludie Hoffman Jr, who was the father of    (Dr Ludie L Hoffman)