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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES JACOB HOFFMAN, who commenced at the bottom round of the ladder leading to success, has made his own way to the top and to well merited prosperity by his excellent business ability and native characteristics. For many years he has been engaged in the manufacture of carriages in Bethlehem, and has the leading trade in his line in this locality, as he turns out nothing but the very best quality of work.

Born in Allen Township, Northampton County, in March, 1828, Mr. Hoffman is the son of John Hoffman, a native of Moore Township, this county. His grandfather, who bore the same Christian name, was of German descent, and a farmer by occupation. Our subject’s father also followed agricultural pursuits and was likewise a millwright. His death occurred in Bath, Northampton County. He was a member of the Reformed Church, in the faith of which he died when in his eighty-second year. His wife, formerly Maria Seigfried, also a native of Bath, lived to attain the age of eighty-two years. Of their five children four are now living. John H., who is retired and makes his home in Ohio, was in the Civil War in an Ohio regiment; our subject is next in order of birth; and Michael, and Amanda (Mrs. Bartholomew), who reside in Bath, complete the family. Henry E. departed this life in Easton.

Until thirteen years of age J. J. Hoffman was reared on his father’s farm, and on attaining that age he started out to make his own livelihood. At the age of nineteen he commenced an apprenticeship to a coach-maker at Catasauqua,and at the end of two and a-half years, or in 1848, came to Bethlehem. After working for others for some time he started in business for himself, but in partnership with William F. Ritter, buying out an old shop. Seven years later his partner died, and Mr. Hoffman bought out his interest and carried on the business alone until the year 1885. He manufactures everything in the line of carriages, and keeps a fine stock on hand at his location, No. 21 Broad Street. His carriage repository, 25x85 feet, is of brick, three stories and a basement, with elevators, and this entire space is occupied by his business. In the rear he has a shop 60x100 feet in dimensions, three stories in height, with the blacksmith department on the first floor. In his main building, the boiler and engines (the former of thirty-horse and the latter of twenty-horse power) are in the basement, and the second and third floors are used for woodwork, trimming and painting. From twenty-five to thirty men are kept constantly employed, and they turn out nothing but the very best carriages, ranging in price from $125 upwards. In April, 1885, our subject took his son-in-law into partnership, the firm becoming Hoffman & Shinier. The residence of Mr. Hoffman is located at No. 221 Market Street, and was erected by him. He was married in this city to Lovina Line, who was born in Salisbury, Lehigh County. They have two living children: Amanda H, wife of I. Shimer, of this city; and Emma E., wife of Walter Crawford, a druggist of Nazareth. Since its organization Mr. Hoffman has been one of the Directors of the Lehigh Valley National Bank, which he helped to incorporate. Politically a Democrat, he was for one term Councilman from the Second Ward, and also served as a member of the School Board for one term. In church work he is very active, being an Elder, and having held all the various offices in Christ Reformed Church. He was one of the founders of the First Union Church on High Street, which he helped to build in 1850, being one of the charter members, and now the only one of the original members of the church left. When the new church was erected he was on the building committee, and a large contributor to the work. He is the oldest member in the church, and for eighteen years has been active in the Sunday-school, and for the same period has also served as Librarian.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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