This biographical sketch, provided by BRIAN STUART KESTERSON, is an addendum to his 2005 book,
Campaigning with the 17th Virginia Cavalry, Night Hawks at Monocacy.
Original material for this sketch was provided by James Boso of Parkersburg, WV & Nelson Harris of Roanoke, VA.
The cost of the book is $26.20, including postage. To order, contact Brian: email@example.com.
Lewis Ross Hoff
Lewis Ross Hoff of Harrison County, West Virginia died on March 4th, 1923, in his 85th year. He was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery at West Milford, West Virginia, which was a part of the farm belonging to his father, Captain Samuel Hoff, and before that belonged to his grandfather, Major John Hoff. Major John Hoff had come from York Pennsylvania and had settled on his farm in West Milford at the beginning of the 1800’s and remained there the rest of his life. The wife of Lewis Ross Hoff was Ingaby Robinson, who proceeded him in death. After her death he lived with his daughter, Mrs. Charles C. Fittro of Stealey Heights. Mrs. Fittro died about two years before her father and Mr. Hoff continued to live with Mr. Fittro from whom he had the kindness and consideration of a son.
Hoff served as first sergeant in Company B, 17th Virginia Cavalry until Captain Edward Grandison Smith was mortally wounded just days before the surrender at Appomattox, leaving Sergeant Hoff in command of the company. After Appomattox, Hoff drew his company up on a ridge at Staunton to be paroled; there were present nine officers and men all told. During the war Sgt. Hoff and 18 other men of Company B, were at Carlisle, Pa. when they were dispatched as a scouting party to reconnoiter the country north of there. It is said that Hoff and his party were farther north than any other Confederate troops during the war. (It should be noted that Company C of the unit also claimed this distinction as well.) Hoff is further noted to have reported that he and the 17th Virginia Cavalry were there when the fight at Gettysburg began.
Hoff had a very distinguished genealogical family tree. The Ross family, from whom he was descended from on his maternal side, originally lived in Lancaster, Pa., included in Revolutionary times, George Ross, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and his brother, John, the husband of Betsy Ross, the maker of the first American flag. Lewis Ross Hoff’s mother, Catherine Feris, daughter of Humphrey Faris and Sarah Ross, was born in the old stone house built Uel Faris near Bridgeport.
Rev. John Burnside and Rev. Hall conducted Hoff’s funeral services at the residence of C. C. Fittro in Stealey Heights. Rev. Hall conducted graveside services at the cemetery. Hoff had been a member of the Baptist church of West Milford for some forty years and a deacon for many years, and generally attended the association to which his church belonged. Hoff had spent most of his married life farming on Elk above Quiet Dell and was associated for many years with his brother, Silas in the meat business in Clarksburg. Hoff took considerable pride of ancestry and probably took more interest in his family tree than any other member of his family. He personally knew a greater number of his numerous relatives than any other member of his family. He was always hospitable in his home after the old style of hospitality. He loved to hear a good story and to tell one, especially of army experiences. To the last he made a point of visiting annually his favorite relatives and friends in different counties in the state and different parts of the country where he was always a welcome guest.
He belonged to the Confederate Veterans and sometimes attended the organization’s reunions. Hoff was so well thought of in his community and county that the local G.A.R. chapter sent a floral tribute to be placed upon his casket. From all accounts this beautiful sentiment was a great honor that showed how the bitter animosity of days gone by had disappeared between those heroic soldiers who wore the blue and the gray.
The only account of Hoff’s adventures that still exists is one that he gave the Clarksburg chapter of the UDC sometime prior to his passing. It is given in its entirety: “Between seventy and eighty Harrison County men met at the Methodist Protestant Church on Jesse’s Run and after assembling there, went through the mountains to Millpoint, Pocahontas County, where they organized a company of cavalry. The following members of the company elected as its first officers were Captain Thomas Armsey, First Lieutenant E. G. Smith, Second Lieutenant Daniel Davis, Third Lieutenant Philip Hilkey.
This company was not at first incorporated in any body of Virginia troops, but like many troops in this section of Northwestern Virginia, saw independent service. Immediately after its organization, the company started on a raid through the mountains, from Pocahontas County through Randolph to Buckhannon in Upshur County, thence to the Ohio River, through Weston in Lewis County, Glenville in Gilmer, Spencer in Roane, Ripley in Jackson at Ravenswood, where we struck the river, crossing here to raid into Ohio. On the return they struck Kanawha River at a point above. Putnam County, proceeded to Barbersville in Cabell County from there they struck south some distance up the Gyandotte River and through the Glades in that section.
The return was made down the Coal River to Charleston, from Charleston they went into camp for several months and then went to Roanoke Virginia, where the regiment was formed in January 1863, and this company taken in as Company B.”
A letter, circa 1986, from the late Anna Dean Casto about the Knopp Family, tells how her Uncle Henry Knopp was captured in Jackson County, W.Va.:
"George W. Knopp was a member of the 17th Virginia Cavalry and his brother John Peter Knopp born 1847, joined the Home Guard for the North. John probably had someting to do with his Uncle Henry Knopp (of the 17th Virginia Cavalry) being captured when he came home to cut fire wood for his wife and small son.
Henry was marched past his house where his wife was standing in the yard. A gun was at Henry's head. She never heard anything till he came home, thinking they probably had shot him."