Dear Cuz Larry: 23 Aug 2010
The situs of the old MOORE HOFF farm is on the SE side immediately adjacent to the present-day Manassas Regional Airport. It is all fenced off and covered with 6’ of weeds along the creek. The nearest I could get was the parking lot of the general aviation side of the airport and looking down hill into the ravine it is located in. I’ll try to mail you a detailed map and some more info I received from the VA DOT on the “Dig” and documentation they generated. I even wrote the director of the dig several years ago, but he failed to respond to me.
MOORE HOFF also had several children, and if I recall correctly, several were confusingly similarly named with the male children of DANIEL. So, it is possible that some of the male off-spring attributed to DANIEL could have, in reality, been MOORE HOFF’s sons or they were more “name-sakes”. The Virginia DOT did a large archeological “dig” there on the old MOORE HOFF farm in the mid 1990s (If I recall correctly), and they documented some 46,000 “artifacts”, including ever brick, arrowhead, etc. they found there. Interestingly (to me), they also found 15 “unmarked graves” next to the site of the old farm house, which they didn’t dig up nor disturb (too bad, as a DNA sampling would be interesting). Near the former slave quarters (near to a forge), some distance fromthe main house, they found additional unmarked graves sites, assumed to have been slave graves. I have assumed that in those 15 graves next to the “main house” are the remains of JOHN HOFF, his son, DANIEL HOFF, Daniel’s W#1, LAURA TITUS, amongst the other relatives of MOORE HOFF. MOORE HOFF died n 1832 (if I recall correctly). Like you, I have never seen any documentation that JOHN HOFF nor DANIEL HOFF ever actually owned any property there in the Prince William Co., VA region, although they are KNOWN to have resided there. So, like you, I have assumed that they likely resided on the property of MOORE HOFF, and perhaps helped him to farm the property. The “Reverend” DANIEL HOFF was likely an itinerary preacher, given the honorary title of “Rev.” by the parishioners or local laity who gathered in some settler’s cabin on a Sunday, the kids were “shooed” out and he did this thing. He may have gravitated into the position because, first of all, he could read (not all could), and could read the Bible with some facility (or with fire-and-brimstone fervor), and may have been religiously motivated. But back then, in this very rural and agrarian start-up sparsely populated area, there simply were no organized churches (nor church yards for burial), and “paid” televangical positions were then unknown. So, I assumed that he “farmed” to "make a living" and support himself and his young family, and did his preaching with some apparent charisma (to have earned the honorary title “reverend”) on the weekends. I have never learned of any religious affiliation or seminary training he received. A "local" at the Alexandria public library told me that it was customary at the time to bestow this "honorary" title on someone from the local laity who was willing and able to fulfill this position and function.
Also, given that BOTH AMOS HOFF & JONATHAN HOFF were reportedly born to two different women the SAME YEAR (1775), perhaps DANIEL possessed some of the same stamina, charisma and sexual appetite that many of today’s televangical ministers also possess! He could have been the same kind of early-on, silver-tounged, active lebido scoundrel that match today’s televangical folks. I have wondered about the overlap of W#1, LAURA TITUS HOFF, and W#2, SUSAN SOPHIA MOFFAT/MOFFETT HOFF, and how it was that the two male sons attributed to DANIEL HOFF could have both been born the SAME YEAR (1775). Perhaps DANIEL saddled-up, rode around and spoke at multiple locations on Sundays, galloping from place-to-place on his horse. And, perhaps this gave him an exposure/opportunity to have met and “charmed” (in a Biblical sort of way) W#2 before things were quite concluded (by death, divorce or abandonment) of W#1, LAURA TITUS. The timing was such that if LAURA died on day one in ~1775, and somehow, he managed to marry W#2, SOPHIA the very next day, given that AMOS was born attributed to have been born to LAURA (I believe from bad memory to have been on 6 May 1775), Daniel could not have been able to sire a second son (JONATHAN/JOHN F. that same year by another woman without getting a bit of a “head start” and some overlap from SOPHIA. Stranger things have happened. So, either one of the two men attributed to behis sons (AMOS & JOHN F. HOFF) were in reality NOT a son of the apparently prolific DANIEL; or alternatively, we have to assume that DANIEL was squiring two different women simultaneously (setting a fine tradition for the likes of Jimmy Baker, Jerry Farwell, Jimmy Swaggert, etc.).
I have never seen any documentation of what exactly happened to W#1, LAURA, and the interesting (and apparently rapid) transition to W#2, SOPHIA (whose own father also had the “handle” of “Reverend” - noted in the obit.of her son ENOCH HOFF). But, I assume that LAURA most likely died (perhaps in child birth with son #3), and is planted next to the house of MOORE HOFF. I further have speculated that when DANIEL died ~1797, and went to the “harp farm” that he was also planted by MOORE HOFF next to the “main house”. However, that then left his then-available “widow” residing on the property with MOORE HOFF and his wife. Perhaps that made MOORE HOFF’s wife a “tad” uncomfortable. Given the date I have seen for DANIEL’s untimely death of ~1797, and SOPHIA’s departure for Ohio in 1805, perhaps things had gotten tense with MOORE HOFF’s wife, and it was “time" for widow SOPHIA to "move on”. And ,since she owned no property (and inherited nothing from he former husband, DANIEL), she joined her children who had made the decision to migrate to Ohio along with numerous other families in the area. I further assume that the NW Territory Land Company in Marietta had “drummers” working the Marietta area trying to attract potential purchasers to come to the newly opened up territory of Ohio, and it took until 1805 for the families to make up their mind that this was a “good thing”. MOORE’s wife may have made things uncomfortable for SOPHIA, and SOPHIA may have found that this was an easy way out for her to tag along with her then young adult children and their spouses and start over in the Marietta area.
Given the known marriage date for DANIEL & LAURA TITUS HOFF in NJ in Sept 1769, DANIEL HOFF could not have gotten to Pr, William Co., VA earlier than that date. However, we have found documents earlier than that bearing the names of MOORE HOFF & JOHN HOFF on the same document that preceed that date. So, I have assumed that MOORE HOFF perhaps needed help on his small farm, and wrote JOHN HOFF in NJ encouraging him to "come on down", and he did. Perhaps JOHN HOFF later encouraged his son, DANIEL, to bring his new bride and join him, and subsequently, he did, as well. They had to have lived somwhere, and since no property records bear any of these names besides MOORE HOFF, perhaps the two "new" Hoff arrivals (at different times) from NJ resided on his porperty and helped him run his small VA farm. And, given the dates of birth of the three sons attributed to DANIEL and W#1, LAURA, noted in the various family trees as being in “VA” (if that is accurate), I have assumed that the two of them made the trek from NJ to No. VA around 1770-71, and they had the three sons in rapid succession. I am not sure what would have happened to the three very young sons after the presumed death of LAURA (perhaps in child birth of the third and final son) ~1775. Were they sent back to NJ to live with and be raised by other Hoff or Titus relatives? Dids he marry SOPHIA the day after LAURA "checked out" early? And if so, did she take these three infant males on as step children, and raised them with her own soon-arriving children? Certainly if AMOS and JONATHAN were the identical ages, that would have given each of them someone to “play with”. However, if there was an "overlap" of the two relationships, I seriously DOUBT that SOPHIA would have been willing to take on the responsibility of raising DANIELS children mothered by a different woman under those circumstances. I don’t find the later possibility to be too logical, and I question what REALLY happened to the first three male heirs of LAURA TITUS HOFF and the good (or ‘randy’ – or both) “Reverend” DANIEL HOFF after her date of death. But even if AMOS was not particularly “close” with presumed ½ brother JONATHAN HOFF (having different mothers, for sure), AMOS sure seemed to develop a close, personal relationship to JONATHAN’s presumed son, POWELL HOFF (his nephew - if JOHN was his "1/2 BROTHER) and left a strong “parental” impression on him after the death of POWELL’s father, JONATHAN, that lasted during POWELL's ensuing lifetime.
I will find and mail you the info I possess on the MOORE HOFF farm and the VA DOT "dig", and the conclusions and comments they had about MOORE HOFF, his origins and off-spring. I recall that they thought "he may have come from NJ", but offered no details on how they came to that conclusion. However, in the documents and petitions that JOHN & MOORE HOFF signed dated in the 1790s, you will find their names one after the other, indicateing that they likely resided together, near or next to each other (or they went to the same local political protests together). So, for a variety of reasons, I believe that JOHN HOFF, and later DANIEL HOFF likely resided on, worked, died and werre buried on the property of MOORE HOFF. It is just outside of present-day Manassas (which only came into existance just before the Civil War as nothing more than a railroad crossroads, which was why it hadmilitary significance at that time).
Ah – more questions, a LOT of imaginative speculation - and (sadly) - few firm answers.
But to directly answer the question you posed as to the distance from the MOORE HOFF farm (near to Manassas) to “downtown” Fairfax, it isn’t very far (perhaps 35 miles). Find an atlas/map with Manassas, VA (and see if you can locate the regional airport on the SW part of Manassas), and plot a course north to Fairfax. Today’s state roads & highways were probably built on old 1700s roads, and I recall there being more than a few that connect these two “dots” on the map. Also recall that the original “Braddock Road” of ~1755-58 (in the French & Indian War between England and France) that starts in Alexandria runs directly past Manassas (which of course didn’t exist at the time). I have always assumed that the mass migration of the families (including the Hoffs and Dyes), followed the path of General Braddock and George Washington who blazed and broadened the former Indian path that connected Alexandria to Pittsburgh, and it was this overland route that the families utilized to get them to the “head waters” of the Ohio River, from which they progressed by “flat boat” down stream from Pittsburgh to the Marietta area. There, they claimed the land that they likely already bought “sight unseen” from the land company “drummer”, who was working the Manassas area and “signed them all up”. I've oftened wondered if the original land sale recoreds of the NW Territory Land Company (in Marrietta) will ever be put on-line. It would be interesting to see when these sales were originally made, where and to whom.
I admittedly do have an active imagination, and some or most of the above is an educated guess on my part to fill in the why and how of some of the missing parts of this period.
Best regards, /S/ CUZ JOHN SCOTT HOFF
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