HON. GEORGE FRANKLIN HUFF, the present member of Congress from the twenty-first district of Pennsylvania, whose home is in Greensburg, is the son of George Huff III, and was born July 16th, 1842, at Norristown, Pennsylvania. The history of the Huff ( originally von Hoof ) family, is closely identified with that of Berks county as to its settlement in America. The ancestry is traced in the following from the European List of Heraldry and Genealogy in the Vienna Library, as translated by Gottleib Hausser, of Altoona, Pennsylvania.
"ORIGIN OF THE GENEALOGY OF THE VON HOOF FAMILY, its first historical notoriety, and further circulation from authentic sources."
The generation of von Hoof is originally traced to have resided irr Bavaria where it did in olden times belong to the Knighthood, free from duties to the Empire. It had its permanent estates near the City of Passau. It is noted in the Vienna tables of genealogy as a generation which was famous amongst the Bavarian Knighthood and nobility and the first ancestor was Baldwin von Hoof, who dwelled in his own castle, so called from the ancient Knights, an he lived in the castle and estate Hoof, situated near Passau. The emblem in his shield consisted of a cross-log, signifying that his ancestors were princes. At his helmet he wore an emblem resembling a flower pot, a lily reaching out from it, which denoted that he was of French extraction. This is the origin of the heraldic emblem of this generation, and the emblem yet existing can be traced to these tokens on shield and helmet. The maiden name off Baldwin's wife was Isabelle von Stolberg. Baldwin came to his death in the first crusade in the month of July, A. D., 1099, whilst taking part in the storming of Jerusalem. He only left one son, whose name was Waldemar, who also took part in the crusade, but escaped with his life and safely arrived in Germany. After fighting for several years as a brave Knight in the Orient, he united himself in the bonds of matrimony with Julia von Helmhorst, and the Duke of Bavaria appointed him governor or the City of Augsburg. Waldemar died A. D. 1154, and left their sons, Julius, Ernest and Wolfgang von Hoof. Julius took possession of the family castle, but his generation died out and ceased to exist already in he fourteenth century. Wolfgang preferred the divine profession, and died as Bishop of Ortia in Italy.
Ernst was a warrior, an served for a long time in the army of the German Emperor, Fredericus Barbarossa, who, in consideration of his services, endowed him with an estate in the Valley of the Rems, Lower Suavia, and who also renewed the old title of nobility and emblematical heraldry, confirmed by letter and approved, as can be seen in the record of Heraldry in the City of Vienna, and this document, which has been issued in Mayence in the year 1172, is renewing the above title of privileges. Ernst flourished in Lower Suavia, and his posterity is found up to the year A. D. 1348, but in that year they fell victims of an epidemic disease which had come from Asia, and was like a pestilence, commonly called the 'black death,' and only one, Rudolph non Hoof, remained alive, but the original estate was already in other hands, and Count Eberhard der Greiner, of Wurtemberg, employed him as woodranger. He was stationed at Aichelberg, and his wife's maiden name was Mechtilde von Stadion. He died in Schorndorf at a very old age in 1394, and left four sons, but only one of them, Elias von Hoof, married, a Christine Junginger. He purchased an estate in the vicinity of Schorndorf, and lived there with his wife a very peaceable life. He did not regard his old title of nobility, and his descendants followed the culture of grapes and husbandry.
In the Peasant's War all the sons of Hoof's lost their lives in the battle at Roeblingren, except Elam, who was subsequently magistsrate at Pleidelsheim. He was married to Anna Maria Gessler of Besigheim, and died, well advanced in years, A. D. 1567. His two sons' names were Johann Anton and Jacob Friedrich von Hoof. Johann Anton's descendants removed to Graubuendten during the thirty years' War, and from that time no account could be had of them.
Jacob Frederick settled down in Besigheim a merchant and innkeeper, and married Elizabeth Dietrich. He died in the year 1602. His son Justus von Hoof served in the Spanish Army for a long time and also took an active part in the campaigns in the Netherlands. Italy and Germany, and finally settled down in the City of Lauffen, on the Neckar, where he married Gertrude Loeffler. He died in the year 1652, and left three sons, whose names were Conrad, Wilhelm and George von Hoof. The descendants of these sons have spread over Wurtemberg an Baden an one of them, Wilhelm, owing to a great famine which was prevailing in Wurtemberg in 1771, moved away and emigrated, no doubt to America, but no certain acccounts of the further fate of the family could be obtained.
I. John Frederick von Hoof, son of Paul von Hoof, was born in Berling, Germany, July 8, 1734, and when a young man emigrated to America. On October 25, 1757, he was married to Susanna, a daughter of John and Mary Elizabeth Keim. He was a farmer by occupation and a Lutheran in religion. Not regarding the family title he droped the von an since 1840 the name in America has been spelled "Huff." Jon Frederick Hoof died April 26, 1816, and was buried in the old graveyard on Rauch's farm on the road leading from Seisholtzville to Huff's Church, the later being in Herford township, Berks county. His wife, Susanna, died May 12, 1809, aged 69 years, an was buried in the same place. By their marriage the following children were born: Frederick, George, Henry, Susanna, with other sons and daughters. Susanna was married to Abraham Mansch, of Herford township.
II. George Huff, son of John Frederick, and the grandfather of the Honorable George F. Huff, of Greensburg, was born August 1, 1779, at Huff's Church. He was a farmer and a hotel keeper and of the Lutheran religious faith as had been his father. He was maried to Anna Mull, by whom the following named children were born: Lydia, married James Bartram; Hettie, married Charles McNulty; Maria. married David Sassman; and George George Huff II, was liberal in his donations to the Church, and gave the premises upon which was built Huff's Church and also the land used for burial purposes. He died February 24th, 1845.
III. George Huff, IV, son of George Huff III, was born at Huff's Church in 1813. He was married to Caroline Boyer and they were the parents of George Franklin Huff. He was a merchant and first lived at Huff's Church, and in 1840 moved to Norristown, and from there to Middletown, in Dauphin County, and five years later removed to Altoona, Pennsylvania. He died in 1858.
The maternal genealogy of Hoh. George F. Huff is as follows:
I. Michael George Kuhns (Kunzen-Koons) left Germany and arrived in Philadelphia on September 27, 1727, and purchased a tract of land adjoining that owned by Ludwig Englehart in Montgomery county. On April 1st, 1732 he was married to Eva Englehart. The last will of Ludwig Englehart sets forth among other things, the following: "Also the seven children of my sister, Eva, wife of George M. Kuhns, namely, Frederick; Mary, wife of John Stelles; Margaret, wife of Johannes Reimer; Susanna, wife of John Ludwig Reimer; Catharine Kuntz, wife of Michael Kreps; and Elizabeth, wife of Jacob Seaber (Zeiber)." George M. Kuhns died in Montgomery county August 10th, 1759, and Eva, his wife, died at the same place June 27, 1772.
II. Catherine Kuhns, daugher of George M. and Eva Kuhns (I) was born February 9, 1750, at "The Old Tavern," in Montgomery county. She was married to Michael Kreps and they were the parents of eight children. Michael Kreps was born January 23, 1744, and died April 20, 1791. After his death his widow married James Reichard (Richard) and died January 6, 1814, and was buried at Swamp Church in Montgomery county. The children born to them were : Catharine, Henry, Eliza, John, Jacob, Sarah, Hannah and Philip.
III. Sarah Kreps, daughter of Michael and Catharine Kuhns-Kreps (II) was born February 28, 1784, at New Hanover Square, Montgomery county, in a house that was erected in 1754 and is still standing. On March 3, 1800, she was married to Henry Boyer, by whom she bore the following children: Michael Boyer, born July 10, 1801, and died December 21,1886; Catharine, born January 23, 1803 married to John Rhoads and died September, 1883; Elizabeth, born September 29, 1804, married first to John Gressmer, on whose death she was marriedto J. Weidner. She died November 23, 1850. Sarah, born Feburary 3, 1807, married Jacob Allebach, and died October 13, 1859; Henry, born June 11, 1809, married Nettie Shilling, and died November 17, 1858; Jacob, born December 21, 1811, married Lucy Ludwig, and died March 17, 1858; Hannah, born December 5, 1813, married Dr. Charles F. Sellers, and died March 20, 1882; Maria, born June 13, 1816, married Marshall B. Campbell, died October 12, 1862; Caroline, born September 5, 1817, married George Huff, III, and died Feburary 3, 1876; Philip, born October 27, 1820; Angeline, born February 12, 1822, married Rev. Frederick W. Dechant, and died February 4, 1890.
IV. Caroline Boyer, daughter of Henry andd Sarah Kreps-Boyer, born September 5, 1817, was married to George Huff and became the mother of Hon. George F. Huff. At the date of her marriage her father was Steward of the County House of Berks county, at Shillington Post Office. Politically he was a Democrat. His father, Jacob Boyer, was born in 1754 and resided in Perkiomenville, Montgomery county. He had eleven children, including Henry. Jacob Boyer died February 11, 1796.
Henry Boyer, born October 19, 1778, was married to Sarah Kreps, March 13, 1800, and died March 18, 1857. He was buried in Boyertown cemetery. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, representing Berks county in the years 1823, 1824, 1825, and again in 1831. He was the early founder of Boyertown, laid out lots there in 1835, and was instrumental in having it incorporated in 1851.
Michael K. Boyer, brother of Caroline Boyer-Huff, was born in 1801 and was also a member of the Legislature from Berks county in 1836. He was prothonotary of the same county in 1848, and was again in the Legislature from Jefferson county in 1855. He held a position in the Land Department in Washington, D. C., and died December 21, 1886.
IV. George Franklin Huff, son of George and Caroline Boyer-Huff, is widely known as one of the most enterprising and public spirited men in Westmoreland county, and is closely identified with nearly all of its many industrial and financial enterprises. When four years of age he accompanied his parents to Middletown, where he attended the public schools until 1851, when his parents moved to Altoona. There he attended the public schools until seventeen years of age, when he entered the car shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Altoona and learned the car finisher's trade. So faithful and true to every duty was he that three years later he was, without soliciation on his part, highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to a banking house in Altoona, that of William M. Lloyd and Company. He accepted the position and in 1865 his employer sent him to Ebensburg to establish a bank there. He succeeded remarkably well and a year later was re-called to Altoona.
In 1867 he removed to Greensburg, where he established the banking house of Lloyd, Huff and Company, know as the Greensburg Deposit Bank, and having branches at Latrobe, Irwin, Mount Pleasant and Ligonier. The panic of 1873 caused these several institutions to go out of business, but their property paid their full indebtedness with interest.
In 1871 Mr. Huff establishsed the Farmers' National Bank of Greensburg with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars. He was its first president and remained as such until 1874, when he became the active manager of the house as its cashier under General Richard Coulter as president. By Act of Congress the bank was reorganized as the Fifth National Bank of Pittsburgh, Mr. Huff being elected its vice-president, which position he held until 1876, when he resigned. In 1874 he, with others, organized the Greensburgh Banking Company, which soon became a leader in the rural banking business of Western Pennsylvania. He was cashier of this bank until 1887, during which time through his untiring efforts and business sagacity, a very large volume of business was secured. In 1881 the First National Bank of Greensburg was chartered, and Mr. Huff became one of its most potent directors, which position he still retains. Since then the First National Bank has absorbed the Greensburg Banking Company, and has now a larger deposit and surplus than any other institution in the county. Mr. Huff also became largely intereted in coal and coke industry of Westmoreland county. He was the prime mover in organizing the Greensburg Coal Company, the Alexandria Coal Company, Mountain Coal Company, the Argyle Coal Company, the United Coal and Coke Company, the Mutual Mining and Manufacturing Company, the Manor Gas Coal Company, the Madison Coal Company, the Salem Coal Company, the Latrobe Coal Company, Carbon Coal Company, and several others. Most of these companies were since consolidated in the Keystone Coal and Coke Company, of which Mr. Huff is president. It and the companies with which he is connected, employ about 7,500 men an produce now in the neighborhood of six millions of tons of coal per year, or twenty thousand tons per day. He was also one of the organizers of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the main line of which passes through the Connellsville coking coal region, he being its treasurer until the offices were removed to Philadelphia. He was one of the founders of the Greensburg Electric Street Railway Company, the Greensburg Fuel (artificial and natural gas) Company, and the Greensburg Steel Company. He was formerly president of the Greensburg Electric Light and the Westmoreland Water Companies.
The development of the Jeannette natural gas region also felt his potency as well as the general upbuilding of that sprightly town. He donated seven acres of valuable land for manufacturing purposes at Burrell, a Station near Greensburg. The thriving towns of Youngwood, Southwest Greensburg, and other outlying sections of Greensburg were laid out largely by his efforts, and he has always been financially interested in the Kelly & Jones Company and its various improvements.
He is also a director of the American Surety and Trust Company of Washington, D. C., the President of the Westmoreland Hospital Association, and is further interested in coal companies outside of the Keystone Coal and Coke Company in nearly every section of the bituminous region in Pennsylvania.
Adjoining Greensburg he has a large landed estate containing about 500 acres, upon which the family residence is built. It consists of highly cultivated farm land and original forest, all of which is beautified by a system of landscape gardening and parks ; and through the entire farm there are winding driveways of over four miles in length, which are kept up by Mr. Huff and are at all times thrown open for the public to enjoy.
Mr. Huff is a progressive Republican. His political career began in 1880 when, as a member of the Chicago Republican Convention, he was one of the 306 who supported Geneal U. S. Grant for a third term as President. In 1884 he was a candidate for the office of State Senator in the Thirty-ninth Senatorial District, composed of the County of Westmoreland. He was elected by a majority of seven hundred although the county had for long years been regarded as the Democratic stronghold of the West. Since then the county has been generally Republican.
In 1888 Mr. Huff was nominated for Congress by the Republicans of Westmoreland county, but another was selected under the conferee system. In 1890 he was chosen as Congressional candidate by the Republicans in the district and elected by a large majority, representing the counties of Westmoreland, Indiana, Armstrong and Jefferson. He served in Congress until 1893, and in 1894 was elected Congressman-at-Large from Pennsylvania. In 1902, 1904, and 1906 he was returned to Congress, and now represents the counties of Westmorland and Butler. During his service in the National House of Representatives, Mr. Huff has proved his ability to well represent the large and varied interest of his constituents, and no member of Congress from the Commonwealth stands higher than he. He is now prominently mentionee as a candidte for the Governorship in 1906.
On March 16, 1871, Mr. Huff was united in marriage with Henrietta Burrell, a daughter of the late Jeremiah M. Burrell, twice President Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, and later United States District Judge for the Territory of Kansas. Judge Burrell died at Greensburg, October 21, 1856. (See Sketch of Judge Burrell in that part of the first volume of this series relative to the Westmoreland Bench).
Mr. and Mrs. Huff are the parents of eight children, four of whom are living, namely, Lloyd Burrell, Julian Burrell, Carolyn Burrell and Burrell Richardson.
Source: Pages l thru 5 History of Westmoreland County, Volume 1, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906
Transcribed April 12, 1999 by Marilynn Wienke for the Westmoreland County History Project.
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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