The MOORE HOFF farm, 3 Mi. SW of Manassas, Prince William Co., VA was a low-lying 146 acre farm located on the east bank of Broad Run, and is just across the SE border of site of the present-day Manassas Regional Airport, on the eastern bank of Broad Run. The farm had 15 unmarked graves and may have been the place of residence of Daniel Hoff (a brother?), and if so, was the likely birth location of POWELL HOFF, noted to have been born "...near Manassas, Prince William Co., VA" (13 Aug 1801). It may also well be the probable burial location of JOHN/JONATHAN HOFF (b: 1720 NJ & father to DANIEL), the Reverend DANIEL HOFF, who also died there sometime in 1802, as well as Daniel's first wife, LAURA TITUS (d:~1770-75).
There was a 1997 archaeological "dig" of this location, which was abandoned shortly after the death of MOORE HOFF in 1838. Over 13,000 artifacts were located and well documented in this operation organized by the Virginia Dept. of Transportation, and a 313 page report was issued. Fifteen unmarked graves were found on the farm of MOORE HOFF, close to the farm house. It seems likely that these may have been the burial location of these NJ Hoff Family members who may have resided at the time of their deaths there on his farm (as non land owners) and farmed with MOORE HOFF.
There is a 313 page report that was produced on the findings of this "dig", and is available on CD-ROM from the Va. Dept of Transportation, Cultural Resource Program, for $16.59 on site 44PW600 (Tech'l Rept. #27). Hoff descendant(from Daniel's son, JAMES HOFF), DAWN HUX of Annandale, VA has also done considerable work on the identity and lineage of MOORE HOFF.
It seems highly probable that MOORE HOFF & DANIEL HOFF were related, in that their names are found together on several legal documents, like census data, a religious petition, one right after the other. So, too, were the signatures of MOORE HOFF & a "JOHN HOFF" on a Marriage Bond document dated 1792. The father of DANIEL HOFF was reportedly a "JOHN HOFF" (1720 NJ - ?). Up to now, his date and place of death following his NJ origins have been unknown. The origins of MOORE HOFF was reportedly "NJ". So, all of this seems to be too much to be just a coincidence. I suspect, but can't yet prove, that DANIEL HOFF and MOORE HOFF were likely yet undocumented brothers, and JOHN HOFF was their mutual father. DANIEL HOFF was known to have been married in Hunterdon Co., NJ in Sept 1769, and thus, is believed to have moved to VA from NJ around ~1770. Moore may have proceeded him in the move from NJ and established himself in rural Virginia and he encouraged or enticed other family members to come and join him. DANIEL HOFF may have come there with his first wife and very young sons to help his brother work the small farm, and resided in one of the numerous "out buildings" co-located and documented by the "dig" on the property. I found evidence that DANIEL HOFF paid personal property taxes, and was definately located there in Prince William County between ~1770-1802, but apparently owned no property - so where did he live (and die)? His name next to that of MOORE HOFF on the surviving U.S. census data would indicate that their were either living next door, or on the same property. Likewise, I found a 1792 Marriage Bond bearing the witness signatures of "JOHN HOFF & MOORE HOFF" on the same document. So apparently, if JOHN HOFF is the father of MOORE and DANIEL HOFF, he, too migrated down from NJ to VA at about the same time (perhaps with DANIEL), and died there sometime after 1792. There is no other apparent explanation as to exactly "WHO" this "John Hoff" was, his relationship to MOORE HOFF, or why their signatures would appear on the same legal document.
There were no established chruch buildings in that very rural and primative part of VA at that time. So, I find it likely that when DANIEL died in ~1802, and assuming he was living on the farm of MOORE HOFF, he was simply buried in the side yard of the farm of MOORE HOFF, joining his first wife, who previously died, and JOHN HOFF, the presumed father to both, who would have died sometime after 1792. There were no organized churches or organized public burial plots in this area at the time. This is the most likely explanation for the 15 unidentified burial plots and the disposition of the bodies of the missing Hoffs who came down from NJ and died in the County. DANIEL remarried a SUSAN SOPHIA HOFF, his second wife, at an unknown date and location. All that is known of her origins is that she was the daughter of a "Rev." William Moffett, who reportedly resided in Prince William Co., as well. No date or place has been established for the death of LAURA, nor the re-marriage of DANIEL to SUSAN SOPHIA MOFFETT, but their first child, ENOCH HOFF, was reportedly in his 1815 obituary in Washington Co., OH to have been born in "1773". The presumed re-marriage of DANIEL to SUSAN would have had to have taken place in the early 1770s, leaving me to speculate and wonder about the timing of LAURA's passing (her oldest son, AMOS HOFF was reportredly born in 1775), and DANIEL's remarriage to SUSAN, presumably (but not necessarily) before the birth of her first child in 1773. Daniel & W#2, SUSAN, could also have lived in a small cabin there on the MOORE HOFF property (numerous out-buildings were identified in the "dig") until Daniel's death in ~1802. Perhaps she continued to reside there on the MOORE HOFF farm for a time as a widow between 1802-05, living off the "largess" or generousity of her former brother-in-law MOORE HOFF and his spouse, until the mass move of her and her children to Washington Co., OH in 1805. If she didn't own any property, perhaps she felt (or was made to feel) a burden or unwelcome. Alternatively, she may have had a desire to get away from the memories, or she wanted to move in order to remain close to her 2 married daughters, both of whom had married 1/2 Dye brothers and were moving away to newly-opened Ohio and the Northwest Territories with or without her. Perhaps she felt she needed their support after the death of her husband. It is equally possible that things had grown "uncomfortable" with MOORE HOFF (or more likely, his wife), having the former widowed sister-in-law living conveniently close the property.
MOORE HOFF had a few slaves living on his property to help him and his sons work the small farm, and it is possible that the unmarked graves might have been theirs. But this seems unlikely in that in those times the family and the slaves would likely not have been comingled and buried in an single, integrated family burial plot. However, this is also a possibility. Given the proximity to the main house, it seems more likely that these were purely Hoff family graves. If not the above individuals, who was buried in these 15 graves? It is likely that the graves would have had wooden rather than masonry markers (stone masons being expensive and in rare supply in such a rural area), so when the property was abandoned after 1838, these markers likely rotted away, fell over, and over time, disappeared.
So, while it is purely reasoned speculation on my part, I believe that MOORE HOFF's farm just SW of Manassas, and the unmarked 15 graves beside the main farm house, was most likely the final resting place of JOHN/JONATHAN HOFF and his spouse, as well as that of The Rev. DANIEL HOFF when he died in 1802, and his first spouse, LAURA TITUS. The farm was also the likely birth place of POWELL HOFF (13 Aug 1801) and his siblings.
Next, I wondered what denomination or religion was the "Rev." DANIEL HOFF; what seminary or theological institution he attended, and who ordained him or gave him that title. I determined that at that time the Commonwealth of Virginia had an official, established State Religion, with official, required tithing (a form of tax). There were no organized churches or church buildings at that time that were in the very rural areas far outside Alexandria. So, like-minded families would congregate on Sundays via horse or buggy within a 2-4 mile radius at the largest home or cabin, all the children would be thrown outside, and who ever could read (or read the best), and was the most inspired, would read the scripture, fill the room with fire and brimstone for that week, and these individuals would serve as "lay" ministers. They were selected by the "vestry" (or ad hoc "congregation") to serve in that capacity. They would be given the title of "Rev." as an honorarium by their fellow parishoners to reflect their status. So, there was likely no organized religion or traditional denomination, but just a fudimental "Christian" belief based on his devout and strict NJ Dutch Reform Church upbringing. The Rev. DANIEL HOFF's second wife, SUSAN SOPHIA MOFFETT's father, WILLIAM WILLIAM, was also reportedly a minister and used the title of "Rev.", and may have also served in a similar capacity in a differenct part of the County. So, this is the most likely (but non-confirmed) source of the title "Rev." for both men. I could not locate him on any Pr. Wm. Co. census or other document.
Because Prince William County's official records were all "burned" in the Civil War, and it is thus referred to as a "burned county", it is difficult to find definitive records of land ownership, marriages, deaths and weddings. However, some collateral records have since come to light, like official U.S. census records, and other documents "taken home" by certain officials, put in attiacs, behind walls, etc. for personal reasons, and some of these have come forth over the insuing 150 years. So, unlike New England, the VA records are "spotty" or completely non-existant. Thus the full truth of some of the above speculation and conjecture may never be known with certainty as to what what some of these relationship actually were, as well as the present mystery of who is buried in these 15 unmarked graves. DNA testing of the remains might be enlightening.
Also, in checking the 14 page census of 1810 of the entire Prince William County, where MOORE HOFF's name appears (on Page 3), DANIEL HOFF's name is absent, because he died in 1802 and his widow and children had all moved to Ohio in 1805. However, on page 5 of the 1810 Census (following page 3 where MOORE HOFF's name appears) were the names "AMOS HOFF & CORNELIUS HOFF". These 2 names were listed as two of the 3 sons (including a "POWELL HOFF") attributed to the Rev. DANIEL HOFF and his first wife, LAURA TITUS. This would make them the older, 1/2 brothers to JONATHAN/JOHN F. HOFF, and thus the 1/2 uncle to POWELL HOFF, his likely name-sake, born in 1801. There is a CORNELIUS HOFF who went on to SC and later WV to be a minister, and this may have been him. Also, an AMOS HOFF shows up in the Washington Co., OH records, and there is an AMOS HOFF (1775-1855 buried near POWELL HOFF in the Hoff-Prarie Cem. in Dallas Co., IA, and this is likely the same individual. The above leads me to further believe that LAURA TITUS made the overland treck to Pr. William Co. from NJ with her young sons and her husband, DANIEL HOFF, and perhaps his father, JOHN/JONATHAN HOFF. These other 2 Hoffs appear to have stayed on for some time there in Pr. William Co. after the death of their mother and their father, the Rev. DANIEL HOFF. They were both listed in the 1810 Census as married with young children, so they may have felt tied to the land there and chose to not make the journey to Ohio with their former step-mother, SUSAN SOPHIA MOFFETT HOFF and her children. However, it appears that both left the county later, as described above. AMOS would have been JONATHAN/JOHN F. HOFF's 1/2 brother, and POWELL's 1/2 uncle, and he may have taken on a quasi "fatherly" status for young POWELL, whose own father who died in 1812, and POWELL was only then age 11.
Nothing concrete links MOORE HOFF with the other HOFF Family members from NJ - except what I have noted above. More research will be necessary to establish the exact link, if any, between the Rev. DANIEL HOFF and MOORE HOFF, as well as that of JOHN HOFF, their presumed father, and father to DANIEL HOFF.
Any one with any insight is welcome to contact me, JOHN SCOTT HOFF at (312) 346-8111 in Chicago, or via E/M at <email@example.com>
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