Saturday, April 3, 2021

Gideon Norton Hoffstot and Mary Cannon Hoffstot


     My maternal great great grand aunt, Mary Cannon was born in 1821 in Columbiana County, Ohio.  She was the daughter of Lindsey Cannon and Elizabeth Fife Cannon.  Mary's father was purchasing property in St. Clair Township in Columbiana County, Ohio between 1818-1821.  One piece of land would become Cannons Mills, where she spent her formative years.  

     Mary was a middle child in the Cannon family.  She had four older sisters and three younger brothers.  Certainly she would have been an active participant with the household and farm chores.  

Columbiana County Marriages 1838
 page 193

     On October 25, 1838 seventeen year old Mary Cannon married twenty-six year old Gideon Norton Hoffstot.  The wedding was performed by the Reverend William Reed of the Presbyterian Church in Calcutta, St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio.  Gideon, born on February 13, 1812 in  Newbury, Township, York County, Pennsylvania was the son of John Hoffstot and Mary Norton Hoffstot.

     Gideon and Mary welcomed their first child, Ada Hoffstot, born on September 19, 1839 in St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio.

    Gideon and Mary set up their household in St. Clair Township and are enumerated in the 1840 Ohio Federal Census.  Gideon's name is under his father-in law, Lindsey Cannon and brothers-in-law, Michael Souder and John March.  Listed are three males age 20-29, one female under age 5 (Ada), one female age 10-14, one female age 20-29.  One person employed in mining.  One person employed in commerce.  One person employed in manufacture or trade.  The Hoffstot's only had one child in 1840, so the one young girl and two young adult males are not their offspring.

     During the 1840's, two children were born.  DeWitt C. Hoffstot on December 9, 1841 in Columbiana County, Ohio and Almira Hoffstot March 1, 1846 and died September 10, 1849. 


      On March 11, 1842, Gideon Norton Hoffstot was the postmaster at Cannons Mills, St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio.

     I have not located a 1850 Census report for the Hoffstot family.  I believe they were living at Cannon's Mills during most of the 1850's.  One child, a son, John Lindsey Hoffstot, was born in 1852 in Ohio. 

     On February 23, 1853, Gideon borrowed $200.00 from his father, John Hoffstot.  The above record is part of debts owed to the estate of John Hoffstot in 1866.

1860 Pennsylvania Federal Census
4th Ward, Allegheny City, Allegheny County
June 15, 1860

G(ideon) Hoffstot, male, age 48, leather merchant, born in Pennsylvania
M(ary) Hoffstot, female, age 40, born in Ohio
A(da) Hoffstot, female, age 20, born in Ohio
C. Hoffstot, male, age 18, clerk, born in Ohio
J(ohn) Hoffstot, male, age 9, born in Ohio
Cannot read, female, age 18, servant, born in Germany

     C. Hoffstot is DeWitt C. Hoffstot.  Ada's birthdate goes from 1840-1848 on various census reports.  Sometime after the census report, John Lindsey Hoffstot died in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

     On May 31, 1861 a son was born to the Hoffstots, Frank Norton Hoffstot.

Corner of Isabella north Anderson
Ward 4
Allegheny City


1861 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 138

     On September 10, 1863, DeWitt C. Hoffstot at age twenty-one years of age, died in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh
Red line is where Gideon's business would have been located


1865 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 169


1867 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 181


     On December 8, 1867, Gideon paid the estate of his father, $128.55 owed on a note.


     Gideon is listed in most of the Pittsburgh City Directories during his lifetime. As time passed he had two companies; Hoffstot Leather, Hides and Oil at various addresses on Liberty Avenue and G. N. Hoffstot and Company at 8 Ninth. The family is listed as living at 8 Hand and 8 Ninth during the 1860's and through the 1870's. These two addresses are in the city of Pittsburgh near the Allegheny River.  It is confusing as the Hand Street Bridge goes into Ninth Street.  Perhaps the name is used interchangeably.

1878 Pittsburgh Business Directory
page 303

1870 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Ward 4, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
June 9, 1870


Gid(eon) Hoffstot, age 57, leather dealer, $10,000 value of personal property, born in Pennsylvania, both parents of foreign birth

Mary Hoffstot, age 45, keeping house, born in Pennsylvania, mother of foreign birth
     
Ada Hoffstot, age 23, at home, born in Pennsylvania

Frank Hoffstot, age 9, at school, born in Pennsylvania

Sarah unknown, 11, at school, born in Pennsylvania, both parents of foreign birth (I have no idea who this is.)

Cannot read the name, age 50 or 56, domestic, born in Pennsylvania


     Money was due to his father's estate for a bill of December 8, 1866 in the amount of $81.87.  Accrued interest as of September 5, 1870, $17.87.

1880 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Allegheny City, Allegheny County
June 9, 1880


Gideon N. Hoffstot, age 68, married, leather dealer, born in Pennsylvania, father born in Germany, mother born in England.

Mary Hoffstot, wife, age 50, keeping house, born in Ohio, both parents born in Pennsylvania

Ada Hoffstot, daughter, age 32, born in Ohio, father born in Pennsylvania, mother born in Ohio

Frank Hoffstot, son, age 19, at school, born in Ohio, father born in Pennsylvania, mother born in Ohio

Ida Nichols, servant, age 18, born in Pennsylvania, both parents born in England

Albert Lawson, servant, age 20, driver, born in Virginia, both parents born in Virginia


     The Hoffstot's have moved into their new home at 66 Lincoln Avenue in Allegheny City. The street was rather short in 1880 and as it elongated, the house numbers began to change. By the 1900 census the house number was 841 North Lincoln Avenue. Wealthy, prominent Pittsburghers owned homes on Lincoln Avenue, all with various servants employed.

     Today, the house still stands.  A high school friend and photographer, who lives in the area (now the North Side of Pittsburgh), took the following photos for this blog.

Photography credit:  Randy Strothman

Photography credit:  Randy Strothman


Photography credit:  Randy Strothman


Photography credit:  Randy Strothman

     The beautiful home stayed in the family until Ada Hoffstot sold it in 1903.  Although a rather dark and cloudy day, Randy captured the intricate architectural details.  I love reflections, and the bare tree branches on the street appear in the windows.  A precise history of 841 North Lincoln Avenue and it's owners is on the Allegheny West website.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  3 December 3, 1884
  Page 5

     On December 2, 1884, twenty-four year old Frank Norton Hoffstot married twenty-five year old Adelaide "Ada" Whittier Shaffer at her father's house.  Adelaide was born on July 6, 1859, the daughter of John S. Shaffer and Margaret Lougher Shaffer.

1888 Pittsburgh City Directory
page 479

     By the late 1880's, Gideon had started a new business, Union Foundry & Machine Company.  His son, Frank Norton Hoffstot, is listed as owner of F N Hoffstot & Company, iron brokers.  Gideon has been active in business circles in Pittsburgh for decades.  Now his son is beginning to make his mark.  



     This directory listing is somewhat confusing.  Actually Gideon's home is at 66 Lincoln Avenue.  The given residence address in this listing is the same as his son's business address in the 1888 directory.

Pittsburgh Dispatch
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 February 14, 1890
Page 8


     This is the final newspaper article I was able to find for Gideon.  In fact, I was unable to find an obituary.  He was a very prominent man in business and social circles in Pittsburgh and must have had an extensive death notice.   


Photograph from Find A Grave

Photograph from Find A Grave

     Gideon Norton Hoffstot died at age eighty-two on August 24, 1894 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He was buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There is a large Hoffstot grave marker with smaller, individual markers for the family. The entire family has a grave stone in Allegheny Cemetery.  I imagine Almira was buried in St. Clair Township, where she died; however her marker is in Pittsburgh.

     Gideon left a very explicit will outlining his properties and the distribution of his estate.  The house was to be his wife's home and following her decease, would go to his daughter, Ada.  Son, Frank was the trustee.   Gideon's wife, Mary Cannon Hoffstot, daughter, Ada  Hoffstot and son, Frank Norton Hoffstot were executors.  As trustee, Frank was to sell what properties were needed to maintain the house and pay annual stipends to his mother, Mary and sister, Ada.  Gideon also provided for money to be set aside for his grandchildren's education.  If Frank predeceased his sister, Ada, then she would become trustee.  If both Hoffstot siblings were deceased, then the trusteeship would revert to Frank's wife.  Gideon wanted to keep the money in the family.



      Gideon listed the properties he still owned at his death. A warehouse located at 811 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh--not to be sold, but to be used as income property. A dwelling house located at 8 Ninth Street in Pittsburgh. A dwelling house located at 66 Liberty Avenue, Allegheny City, where he resides. A tract of land in Marathon County, Wisconsin.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
15 May 15, 1895 
Page 5


Photograph from Find A Grave

     On May 15, 1895, Frank's wife, Adelaide "Ada" Whittier Shaffer Hoffstot, died at age thirty-three.  She was buried in the Hoffstot plot in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She left her husband and three young children, Henry Phipps Hoffstot, John Gideon Hoffstot and Helen Hoffstot.


The Chicago Chronicle
Chicago, Illinois
 October 22, 1895
 Page 8


Pittsburgh Daily Post
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  September 2, 1897
 Page 4

     On September 1, 1897 in Keeseville, New York, thirty year old Annie Willard married thirty-six year old Frank Norton Hoffstot.  Annie was born August 25, 1867 in Keeseville, New York to Jacob P. Willard and Harriet Baber Willard Houghton.


1900 Pennsylvania Federal Census
Allegheny City, Allegheny County
June 5, 1900

Mary Hoffstot, head, birth October 1822, age 77, widow, mother of 5 children, 2 alive, born in Ohio.  Mary owns the house at 841 Lincoln Avenue free of mortgage.

Ada Hoffstot, daughter, birth September 1848, age 51, single, born in Ohio

Minnie Bluemke, servant,  birth November 1882, age 18, single, born in Germany


Photo from Find A Grave

    Mary Cannon Hoffstot, age seventy-eight, died at her home on September 26, 1900. She was buried beside her husband and deceased children in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

     Mary's sister and my maternal great great grandmother, Nancy Agnes Cannon Orr McCormick was enumerated with her daughter, my maternal great grandmother, Lucinda Orr Frederick, on the 1900 Pennsylvania census.  They were living down the Ohio River from Allegheny City in Esplen Borough.  I wonder if the two sisters ever visited or if Nancy attended her sister Mary's funeral?

*********************

      I will admit, I went down the provable rabbit hole with this family.  Pittsburgh is my hometown and my fascination with the rich and powerful got the better of me.  The Hoffstot Family, although I had not heard the name before this research, were members of the "blue bloods" of Pittsburgh and New York.    

The Pittsburgh Press
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 1 May 1, 1911
  Page 1

     Frank Norton Hoffstot became a millionaire banker and President of Pressed Steel Car Company. He moved from Pittsburgh to the New York City area living in a huge mansion, that he built, on Sands Point, Long Island named Belcaro. In 1909, there was a bloody strike at Hoffstot's Pressed Steel Car Company in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.  The plant referred to as "The Slaughter House" reportedly treated their employees and families with cruelty and extremely low wages.  In 1910 Frank was brought up on charges of bribery and conspiracy involving Pittsburgh politics. He was acquitted in May, 1911. Frank's first wife's sister, Anne Childs Shaffer, married Henry Phipps, Jr. a well known name in Pittsburgh.

     Ada Hoffstot, was actively engaged in high society social circles.  Entertaining women for cards in the Lincoln Avenue house, trips abroad, spending summers in White Mountain, New York and Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and holding large receptions in Pittsburgh and New York.  She held a degree from the Pittsburgh Female College which became Chatham University.  Ada sold the family home in North Lincoln Avenue in 1903 and moved to New York City.  In 1910 she was renting a place at 15 West 59th Street, located across from the pond in Central Park.  In 1920, she was living at 131 West 59th Street near Fordham University.  Ada had two servants living with her.  In 1930, ninety year old Ada was living in an apartment at 1140 Fifth Avenue, New York near the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.  She had two nurses and a cook living with her.  Ada never married.

Children of Gideon Norton Hoffstot and Mary Cannon Hoffstot
  1. Ada Hoffstot born on September 19, 1839 in St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, died on January 9, 1931, Manhattan, New York.  Buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
  2. DeWitt C. Hoffstot born on December 9, 1841 in St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, died September 10, 1863, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
  3. Almira Hoffstot born on March 1, 1846 in St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, died September 10, 1848 probably in in St. Clair Township, Columbiana County, Ohio.  There is a grave marker for her in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
  4. John Lindsey Hoffstot born in 1852 died in 1860 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
  5. Frank Norton Hoffstot born on May 31, 1861, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania died on December 25, 1938, Long Island, New York.  Buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Married first Adelaide "Ada" Whittier Shaffer.  Children from first marriage:  Henry Phipps Hoffstot, John Gideon Hoffstot and Helen Hoffstot.  Married second Annie Willard.


Additional information regarding Gideon Norton Hoffstot



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