The sturdy German element in our national commonwealth has been one of the most important in furthering the substantial and normal advancement of the country, for it is an element which takes practical values into account, and one of higher intellectuality which appreciates educational advantages and applies classical and special knowledge to the common affairs of life. Idaho has no citizens more patriotic than those of German-American birth, nor has it a citizen whose influence is better directed than that of one of the leading citizens of Montpelier whose useful career is here outlined.
Charles Hoff was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 19, 185 1, a son of John G. and Catharine (Pfitzenmaier) Hoff and a brother of Henry Herman Hoff, to a sketch of whose life, which appears in this volume, the reader is referred for much of interest concerning the Hoff family history. Charles was the seventh son in order of birth in a family of nine. By circumstances affecting the fortunes of his family he was prevented from attending school after he was ten years old. Previous to that time, however, he was a student in the public schools of Philadelphia, and, possessing an active, receptive and retentive mind, he there laid the foundation of his present wide range of useful information, most of which he obtained in the hard but thorough school of experience. When he was eleven years old he drove an ox team across the plains from Omaha, Nebraska, to Salt Lake City, Utah. In the spring of 1862, accompanying an elder brother, he left Philadelphia arid went by rail to St. Joseph, Missouri, and thence up the Missouri river to Omaha, where he found fifty-two wagons in a train, carrying freight and a considerable number of emigrants.
Soon after his arrival in Salt Lake City he secured employment in a bakery. Later he worked on a farm at Pleasant Grove, Utah, was clerk in a store and was employed in railway construction. After he had seen the golden spike driven which celebrated the connection of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific lines, he worked at mining, for wages, in American Fork canyon, until 1874, when he came to a favorable location within the present limits of Bear Lake county, Idaho, and took up two hundred and eighty acres of government land. He improved, cultivated and built upon this property, followed agriculture, with success, and in 1897 sold it, for three thousand and one hundred dollars cash in hand, and removed to Montpelier.
Upon his arrival here Mr. Hoff purchased town property and engaged in the hotel and livery business. He disposed of his hotel interest at the end of a year, and has since carried on a good livery business, in connection with draying, general teaming and a trade in coal. He is an alert, energetic, honorable and magnetic man, who draws custom by his methods and personal influence, and retains it by the fidelity with which he makes the interests of each individual patron his own.
A Democrat in politics, he is active and influential. He was county commissioner of Bear Lake county, has been a school trustee for seven years, and was prominent in connection with the erection of the school buildings at Georgetown, and otherwise helpful in educational matters, and at this time is a member of the town council of the city of Montpelier. He is an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which his family also are all members. He was happily married, in 1873, to Miss Celestia A. Bacon, sister of Mrs. Henry Herman Hoff, and they have had two sons, who are dead, and eight daughters, named Catharine Celestia, Harriet Edith, Grace Elizabeth, Nina, Mary, Ruby, Shirley and Genevieve. Harriet E. became the wife of Riley Barkdull.