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John Early Andrews Collection of Letters

Family Tree Letter from Dr. Gerald Norton Hoeffel to Mrs. Hall 1953
Submitter: John Early Andrews
jandrewsfam@juno.com
Gerald Norton Hoeffel, M.D.
November 2, 1953

My dear Mrs. Hall:

Your letter of introduction was very pleasant to receive. I am sorry though, that the weather and traffic was so bad that you passed up the opportunity to call. Your excuse is well taken and we forgive you this time.

Regarding the Hoeffel family in this country. I am sorry to admit that I have very little exact information written down concerning the various branches and collaterals. This should have been obtained and recorded during the years my parents and my fathers brothers and sisters and cousins were available. As I remember it, however, here are some of the details.

My grandfather was Joseph Hoeffel born of Antioine and Cecile Carabin in Lutzelbourg (Moselle) November 12, 1825. His parents migrated to Ohio in 1827. Cecile Carabinís parents were from Paris. Antoine evidently had eight brothers and sisters some of whom followed him to the U.S.A.:
  • Antoine born 12-1-1824,
  • Jacques 26-5-1813,
  • Louis 24-10-1827,
  • Aloise 10-3-1882,
  • Charles 15-12-1814,
  • Veronique 2-5-1816,
  • Angelique 16-6-1818,
  • Antoine 6-6-1820.
In addition to my grandfather, Joseph, Antoine and Cecile had other children as my father had first cousins who lived in Green Bay and Fondulac, Wisconsin. Joseph Hoeffel married twice. One child of this marriage was Louis. His second marriage was to Catherine Knowles who was born in Ireland (County Cork) and migrated to Canada as a young girl and I think taught school in Halifax. My father Sylvester was born August 12, 1854 in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Joseph moved his family from Brookfield to Green Bay in 1856. My father married Genevieve Heath of Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1881. My parents died in 1938 as the result of an automobile accident. My immediate family consists of a sister and two brothers. Marion Frances wife of Col. George Albert Bentley, U.S.A. Ret. Chevy Chase Dr. Paul Heath Hoeffel; Evanston, Illinois; Rear Admiral Kenneth Hoeffel, U.S.N. Retired, Chevy Chase, Md.

To identify myself: Following my graduation from the Harvard Medical School in 1920, I practiced Pediatrics there until June of 1952 when I moved my large young family of seven to Cape Cod at Truro. In your city of Rochester is Dr. Paul Hoeffel Garvey associated with the University as professor of Neurology. He is the son of Louise Hoeffel Garvey a first cousin of my father. Another cousin is Mrs. Joseph Sainton, 332 Batavia Street, Toledo, Ohio. She is the daughter of my fatherís sister Agnes Hoeffel Cole. She is very interested in the genealogy of the family and no doubt has collected material that is more substantial and complete. I am sure she would be interested in hearing from you.

In 1925 I had the pleasure and satisfaction of visiting the Hoeffels living in Lutzelbourg and Bourviller. These towns are between Nancy and Strasbourg. It was pleasant to learn that the name is held in great distinction in these parts. In Bourviller I visited with Doctor Jean Hoeffel. He was an elderly man who represented Alaace Lorraine as a Senator in the German Reistag for twenty years. He was held a hostage in Berlin during the first world was. He told me that the original Hoeffels moved from Saxe-Gotha to Alaace in the middle of the seventeenth century. Doctor Jeanís younger brother Timothy was in active practice of medicine in Bouxviller. He was on a fishing holiday with a daughter when I called at his home. His wife was charming and had been educated in England and talked English beautifully. They had three sons and two daughters. One son Doctor Jean was home for a vacation from the University of Strasbourg and was looking after his fatherís practice. Another son, Ernest was in the French foreign service and stationed in Indo China. A rather sad instance happened in 1942 relating to this family. A letter came to my house in Cambridge addressed to Monsieur Ernest Hoeffel, Cambogia, French Indo China. It was from his father Doctor Timothy who with his wife had fled the German invasion and were living in Vichy. The censors stamp had covered part of the address and owing to the resemblance of Cambridge it was sent to me. I in turn redirected it but have not heard any further word from any of the Hoeffels in France since that time.

In Lutzelbourg I found only one remaining Hoeffel family. Emile was off fishing with his son but I visited with his wife and daughter. Emile had a large general store he inherited from his father Lorentz who had died at the age of 76 some twenty years before my visit. I found Hoeffels in Nancy and Strasbourg but did not contact any of them. No doubt the American branch of the Hoeffel family are closely related and I trust before long some one will gather together the facts and establish a real family tree.

Again, let me say that it was a pleasure to hear from you and I trust that the next time you are in these parts you will call.

Sincerely,
signed Ė Gerald Hoeffel
Edgewood Farm
Turo, Massachusetts

Lost Faces Ancestor Photos from the 1800s

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Notes: Dr. Hoeffel graduated from Harvard Medical School and practiced pediatrictics in Brookline, Massachusetts. He started an organization in Boston called the "Cradel" to assist prominent people in adopting children, according to Elizabeth Jane Early Andrews. He was 58 when his son Christopher Knowles Hoeffel was born. Christopher is one of seven children and he has a younger sister.

His cousin, Joseph Merrill Hoeffel, was an only child and a University of Wisconsin football star. He was the first coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1920, their first year in the National Football League. His brother, Rear Admiral Kenneth Mortimer Hoeffel, was the naval liaison to the white house for two presidents, Coolidge and Hoover, prior to WWII. In W.W.II he was captured by the Japanese and was a prisoner of war. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery, not far from John F. Kennedy.

Read more letters in the John Early Andrews Collection

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