***With much of this collection focusing on Riverside Farm, the biographical history thus focuses on the founder of this farm, Francis Arnold Hoffman.
Francis Arnold Hoffman was born in Prussia to Frederick William and Wilhelmina Hoffman. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 18. Soon after arriving in the United States Hoffman took a job as a teacher for a Lutheran congregation in Dunkley’s Grove, Illinois. As the congregation did not have a clergyman at the time, he also conducted services. Enjoying this work, Hoffman became ordained and started work as a pastor.
Hoffman was married in 1844 to Cynthia Gilbert. The couple had several children.
In 1851, due to health issues, Hoffman changed career paths, moving to Chicago to study law and real estate. This eventually led him into banking, the industry in which he worked from 1854-1861.
Hoffman was also active in politics. In 1853 he was elected as a member of city council and in 1860 was elected to the office of Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Hoffman also wrote and edited a variety of articles for largely German publications throughout his life. He wrote about a multitude of topics, but much of his writing focused on agriculture. His writing was often completed under the pen name, Hans Buschbauer.
In 1875, upon retirement, Hoffman purchased and moved to a farm in Jefferson, Wisconsin, which he named Riverside Farm.
Hoffman was part of a number of organizations throughout his life, including a member of the school board in Dunkley’s Grove, president of the Board of Chicago Underwriters and Deutsches Haus president.