Western Spectator, 15 May 1812

Including Hoff, Moffit/Moffett and Dye.

Contributed by:  Marilyn Sharp

WARNING: Racially offensive word here, not to say offensive deceased person, but interesting that this man’s activities were condemned in Washington Co as early as 1812.  And a serious departure from obituaries of this period, which were uniformly flattering tributes.  There’s also important genealogical information here, possibly the only existing evidence of the connection of the Washington Co Hoffs and Dyes to John Hoff and William Moffit of New Jersey.


It is a general rule that death is accompanied by grief and perhaps to his mother this might be true.  But last Thursday at Cow Run Enoch Hoff died of fever and it would take a strange man indeed to mourn his passing.  Although his mother is a gentle and kind woman, this was not passed on to her son who made his living through the miseries of other human beings.  Catching run-away slaves and selling hem back to their owners was how he spent his time to a point where he was known throughout the Cow Run region as a nigger catcher.  He also caused trouble in other ways and only the high regard for his mother prevents us from exposing them here.

It must prove that a man does not get his life’s tendencies from his parents and other close relations since even though dying in Prince William County, Virginia, about a decade ago, his sire was Reverend Daniel Hoff, a farmer and a man of God in that region as well as his native New Jersey.  There according to his wife Sophia, Hoff’s father was John Hoff, also a Christian man who lived in a rural area near a village of the family name.  The violence of the war near this region caused Reverend Hoff and his family to move to northern Virginia.  Also the late Enoch’s other grandfather, William Moffit, was a Christian minister who followed the Hoff group to Ohio along with other residents including the well-known Dye family.  

Thus God moves in mysterious ways and the 39 years of Hoff’s life does nothing but substantiate this.  He will not be missed by his neighbors who have had the strength of character to tolerate his nefarious activities.  Our only sympathies go to his family who deserve more.