Last year, my sister found the following biographical data in our archives:
“It is believed that Matthias Hoffer came to America seeking religious freedom. He came to America on the ship, “Loyal Judith” via Cowes and Rotterdam. He landed at Philadelphia on September 2, 1743.
By trade he was a weaver of fancy over-lids, but was forced to take such employment as he could find. Mr. Wohlweider, a wealthy Lancaster County farmer hired him as a farm hand.
The choice of job proved to be a happy one for Matthias married the farmer’s only daughter, Maria. She is described as an amiable and estimable young woman. They had six sons and six daughters: Maria, Rudolph, Catharine, Elizabeth, Veronica, Ann, John, George, Magdalena, Matthias, John, and Christian.
Maria died of smallpox contracted from Hessian soldiers quartered in their home the winter of 1778 when Washington and his half-starved army were camped at Valley Forge.
On Novemeber 3, 1779, Matthias married Anna Groh with whom he had six more children: Maria, David, Jacob and Henry (twins), Peter, and Joseph.
Matthias died at an old age, a man of wealth and influence. He was buried in a “farm grave-yard” such as are common in Lancaster County. His tomb is located several miles east of Manheim.”