Christian Hoffarth and
Elizabeth Keim

- by Alice Marie Beard

Christian was born in Schwaigern, Germany. He arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on September 15, 1729, having crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Ship Allen. He arrived with his parents, Hans Jorick HOFFART (b. 1674) and Anna Margaretha MOST (b. 1675).

In Germany, his family's ties had been to the Lutheran Church in Schwaigern. His family became associated with the Brethren, an Anabaptist group. The Anabaptists were "encouraged" to leave Germany, and Christian and his family traveled across the Atlantic on the ship that carried Alexander MACK, the man who had founded the Church of the Brethren in Schwaigern, Germany, in 1708.

Christian was 13 years old when he arrived in Pennsylvania. Before he was 30, he was married to Elizabeth KEIM, daughter of Johannes KEIM. Elizabeth had been born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and was about 22 when she married Christian.

The 18-year marriage of Christian Hoffarth (1716-1788) and Elizabeth Keim (1723-1764) produced seven children.

Elizabeth's year of death is presumed from the fact that she gave birth to a son in August 1762, and Christian's second wife gave birth to a daughter in 1764. Elizabeth vanished from the records after her seventh child was born.

For many years, some had claimed that all seventeen of Christian's children had the same mother, a woman named Anna Catharine who was Christian's wife when he died in 1788. The evidence clearly proves that is not so: One clue is found in the confirmation records for Christian's children. For the oldest seven children, under "parent," the pastor recorded only Christian's name. However, for children after the first seven, when they were confirmed, the record noted both Christian and his second wife, Anna Catharine.

The definitive proof that Christian had a first marriage is found in a quit claim deed on Elizabeth's late father's property. In it she is named as the wife of Christian Hoffart. Dated 29-Apr-1762, titled "Release John Kihm [Keim] to George Kihm [Keim]." It is a quit-claim deed for the 200-acre plantation in Oley Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, formerly owned by Elizabeth's father Johannes KEIM. The opening clause of the deed follows:

This indenture, made the 29th day of April, 1762, between John Kihm, Stephen Kihm, Nicholas Kihm, John Henry Schneider and Catherine his wife (late Catherine Kihm), Christian Hoffart and Elisabeth his wife (late Elisabeth Kihm), Jacob Kihm, Conrad Kihm, Jacob Yoder and Maria his wife (late Maria Kihm), Michael Witman and Barbara his wife (late Barbara Kihm) and Frederick Hung and Susannah his wife (late Susannah Kihm), hiers and representatives of John Kihm, late of Oley, in the County of Berks and Province of Penna., deceased of the one part and George Kihm, of Oley aforesaid Yeoman, of the other part.

Christian and Elizabeth's first child's birth and christening are recorded in the Lutheran Church book of New Hanover, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania. Their last child was born in Frederick Co., Maryland.

By 4-Nov-1762, the family was established in Frederick Co., Maryland, where Christian signed a 21-year lease on a ten-acre parcel of land, small enough that it was likely the place to live and not the land to farm. Ten acres is large enough for children to play, large enough for some household fruits and vegetables to grow, large enough for chickens and a few butchering hogs, but ten acres is not enough land to farm to produce crops to feed a large family.

The owner of the ten acres that Christian leased was the English royal Lord Baltimore. The land was managed by a governor appointed by the English lord. Since the land in Monocacy Manor was not available for purchase, farmers signed long-term leases on plots of land.

By 1764, Elizabeth was dead, and Christian was left with seven children. Their ages were about 1, 5, 7, 9, 13, 14, and 17. Because there is a lag of four years between child #6 and child #7, it is possible there was a child between those two children, who either already had died, or who was alive when Christian was widowed but who died before leaving any record.

Soon after Elizabeth died, Christian married again. The first of ten children born to his second wife was born in 1764. The last of those ten children was born in 1780.

After the Revolutionary War, the Maryland General Assembly took possession of the land that Christian had long-term leased because the land had been owned by the British Lord, who obviously had sided with the British in the war. The long-term leases were voided, and the land was divided and sold.

In addition to the ten acres Christian leased in November 1762, he had a long-term lease on 193 acres. On 10-Oct-1781, that long-term lease was sold to one Maj. Davidson for 1,300 pounds. The major paid with Army pay certificates that he had been granted as a soldier of the "Maryland line."

From Poverty in a Land of Plenty, Tenancy in Eighteenth Century Maryland, by Gregory A. Stiverson, pub. by Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1977, at page 132:

The auction of the Manor was held at Grost's Tavern in Frederick Town on September 10, 1782, and the tenants who assembled for the sale, many of whom were first generation German immigrants who had worked hard improving their leaseholds, must have been appalled at the number of high-ranking army officers and affluent storekeepers who had come to bid against them for their land. Monocacy tenants were among the most prosperous of any on the proprietary manors, and yet few could hope to compete with men who could pay for land with certificates that had been acquired for only a fraction of face value.

When Christian was dealt that blow, he was 66 years old. He was also the father of a two-year-old daughter. In another six years, Christian was dead. His will was found at the courthouse in Frederick County, Maryland, in Will Book GM #2, pp. 289-290. All seventeen children were named in the will. A PDF copy of the will as recorded in the "Liber" of wills at the courthouse in Frederick, Maryland is HERE; the actual original will is on file at the Maryland Archives in Annapolis, Maryland. The original (in the Maryland Archives) shows the erasure of son George's name in "the 16th Line" of the original will. Below is a transcription of the will:

IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN. I Christian Huffert of Frederick County and State of Maryland, Farmer, being weak in Body but of sound disposing -- Mind and Memory Thanks be Given unto God, calling unto mind the Moratality of my Body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form Following: that is to say, principally and first of all, I give and Recommend my Soul into the Hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my Body I Recommend to the Earth, to be buried in decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection, I shall receive the same again by the mighty Power of God. And as touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it has pleased God to Bless me in this life; I Give, demise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.

First, I desire that all my Just debts be contented and paid within Convenient Time after my decease.

Item: I Give and Bequeath to my Well Beloved Wife Ann Huffert besides her thirds my bed with its furniture whereon we now lie also a Cow and Calf and her Spinning Wheel.

The rest of my Estate both Real and Personal I leave to be Sold at publick Sale and the Moneys arising therefrom to be (after my Wife's part is deducted) divided among my Children in the following manner:

Item. I Give and Bequeath to my daughter Rebecca Huffert, the Sum of ten pounds Current Money.

Item: I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Barbara Huffert the Sum of ten pounds Current Money, the above Legacys I leave to be paid to my two Children above named, as soon as the Estate is Settled and the Children Shall come to age, by my Executors.

The Rest of my Estate, after my just debts and Legacies are paid and my Wife's Third is deducted; I leave to be equally divided among my Seventeen Children. Namely: Christian, Christiana, Philip, Margaret, Daniel, John, Casper, Catharina, George [hard to read after sealing of will], Elizabeth, Adam, Hannah, Jacob, Susanna, Magdalene, Rebecca, and Barbara Hufferts.

And I Nominate and Appoint my Trusty and Well Beloved Son in Law Adam Creigher my Executor of this my Last Will and Testament hereby Revolking all other Wills by me heretofore made, ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament in Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my Hand and Seal.

The burial sites of both Christian and Elizabeth are lost to history.

Christian is a DAR established Patriot. His DAR Ancestor Number is A-056231. He is listed in the records of the Daughters of the American Revolution as "Christian HOFFERT," and he is credited with having furnished supplies in Frederick County, Maryland, and with being an "Associator."

Six of Christian's 17 children have had DAR members come in on their lines: Christina, Philip, Daniel, John, Casper, and Barbara.

Christian's son Casper has had DAR members come in under 5 of his 13 children: Solomon, Abraham, Daniel, Jacob, and Rebecca.

Proof of Alice Marie Beard's line has been accepted and verified by DAR genealogists. Therefore, if you are closely related to AMB, you need only prove back to the ancestor you share with AMB. AMB's line goes through Elizabeth HUFFORD (1851-1929), of Carroll County, Indiana.

Because giving credit where credit is due is especially important among family, it should be noted that credit is due to the late Florence (Grove) Woods, to Shirley (Hufford) Hegeman (retired legal secretary and genealogist for the DAR), and to Barry Wood (attorney). The bulk of the research is theirs. Any errors are mine.

Christian & Elizabeth's children, and Christian's children by his second wife are listed at the site for Christian & Elizabeth's son Casper:
Casper Hufford

For a list of Christian Hoffart's descendants:
Hufford descendants

For a list of Christian's ancestors:
Hufford ancestors

Search my database at one of these sites:



Hufford genealogy

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