“Mr. J.C. Hoffmayr, proprietor of the City Roller Mills, is the oldest miller in the West, the present business being established in 1856. This mill is supplied with the most modern machinery [1882] using the full ‘Hungarian process.’ He manufactures the following well-known brands of flour: J.C. Hoffmayr’s Fancy Patent, White Loaf, Busy Bee and Early Riser. Trade mark, Blue Rooster. A cut of the mill appears on this page. It is located corner Washington Avenue, Bryant and North Main Streets.”

Julius C. Hoffmayr’s obituary, The Nonpareil archives, city directories and Ancestry.com provide the highlights of his long and productive life.

Born in Prussia in 1834 to Charles and Emma (Von Treskow) Hoffmayr, he was educated at home until age 10 and attended public schools at Frankfort until the age of 14. He then went to work in the machine shops — first at Landsburg for a year, and at the locomotive works at Borsig — the largest of its kind in the country — at Berlin.

At age 16, he was hired by the Berlin & Stettin Railroad and learned to actually run the locomotives he had learned to build and maintain. After becoming an engineer, he went to work for the government railroad system between Berlin and St. Petersburg, was employed in locating and building the railroad bridges, and surveying and locating the road to Koenigsberg. On completion of the road, at age 17, he was given control of the first engine over the road to Koenigsberg.

“A few days after the appointment, he was given the first train, the inauguration train, with the King of Prussia on board, who opened the road. This was considered a great honor, as he won the place in competition with the older engineers of the road.

“He attended the polytechnic school at Berlin for a time and was then sent by his government to study the English methods of locomotive construction. Later, he was placed in the engineering corps of the royal navy and cruised along the Mediterranean coast subduing pirates on the North African coast and around the Cape of Good Hope to the East Indies. Then he returned home.” (Obituary, The Nonpareil, March 18, 1918)

In June of 1855, Julius Hoffmayr came to America with Charles Seeger, the chief engineer of the eastern division of Prussian railroads. They landed at St. Mary in Mills County.

“St. Mary flourished on the Iowa side of the Missouri River about three miles south of Bellevue, Nebraska. The town of St. Mary was founded in 1836 by Peter Sarpy and several other men. St. Mary was a thriving town second only to Glenwood in importance and size.

St. Mary died in the muddy swirling flood waters of the Missouri River, and by 1880 St. Mary was nothing but a memory to those who had once lived there”. (“Yellow Violets” — memoirs of Clarice Summerfeldt as told to, and written by, Jackie Sukup.)

Hoffmayr assisted Seeger in the construction of mills in the timberlands, and then managed them until Seeger returned. He had the honor of blowing the first steam whistle on land in this part of the country.

He returned to Prussia in 1857, where he married Antonia Wolfram on April 21, 1858. They came back to this country on the ship “Harmonia” and settled in St. Mary. The mills which he had built had been sold to Peter Sarpy, who hired Hoffmayr to manage them. He continued in the milling industry, assisting in building more mills.

During this time, the area around St. Mary and Council Bluffs was also home to the Pawnee and Omaha Indian tribes. While on the plains with the Pawnee scouts in 1867, Hoffmayr was made an honorary member of the Pawnee and named Co-ka-titsta-kah.

The Hoffmayrs moved to Council Bluffs in 1862 where Hoffmayr took charge of City Mills for Officer and Pusey.

Built in 1856 by John Baldwin and Grenville Dodge, the mills, located near Indian Creek, supplied flour to the wagon trains going west. Hoffmayr secured ownership the following year (c.1863). In 1865, he sold the mill to Baldwin and returned to Europe for a year.

On his return, he contracted to furnish ties for the Union Pacific Railroad. The History of Pottawattamie County, published in 1883 by O.L. Baskin, gives this account: “In 1865 to 1870 he was engaged in contracting to furnish ties and car timbers for the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, operating steam saw mills, and from 150 to 200 men and as many teams, and thus consuming several thousand acres of the best timber in Pottawattamie County, near Honey Creek, for almost five years”.

Then he regained ownership of the mill and operated it until 1882 when John Baldwin became a partner, at which time a fourth floor and an elevator were added, the building was refitted with the Hungarian roller process of grinding and the name was changed to City Roller Mills. Besides the local area, the mill supplied flour for Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

During the war in 1864, when Governor Stone called out three regiments of state troops to protect the southern border of the state, Hoffmayr was commissioned a first lieutenant of Company A and was later commissioned lieutenant colonel of the regiment.

Antonia, whom he married in Prussia in 1858, died on July 8, 1876, leaving an infant daughter, Ellen, who died two weeks later; Harry (age 12) and Arthur (age 9).

On February 7, 1878, Julius Hoffmayr married Clara Tzschuck, native of St. Mary and the daughter of Hon. Bruno Tzschuck (former Nebraska Secretary of State) in Sarpy County. Their home was on Frank Street. Clara died five years later, on February 8, 1883, leaving a daughter, four-year-old Julia, who was born in 1879 and died at age 15, in 1904.

This one-story Queen Anne house at 1107 Seventh Avenue was built on one of several lots Hoffmayr purchased from Baldwin in 1879. Hoffmayr is shown to be living there during the 1890s. It was possibly built as a rental property, as other addresses listed in the directories, are Second Ward, S. Sixth Street and Frank Street. The bank took possession of the house in 1898, following the nationwide depression of 1893.

According to his obituary, Hoffmayr went to New Mexico in 1899 and later bought a fruit farm there. His name is not listed in the Council Bluffs directory after 1900, but is listed in the 1910 Ventura, California, directory by 1910. He died in Moorpark, California, on March 9, 1918, “where he went something over a year before he died ... After the funeral, “the ashes were forwarded to Council Bluffs, the home he loved for so many years, for burial.”

J.C. Hoffmayr is buried with other family members in Fairview Cemetery.

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