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Company "D"
Transferred to Company "G" 2nd Veteran Infantry when the 1st & 4th Regiments combined.


To assist my friend, Dr. Alvin J. Cummins, descendant.

     Bernhart Hoeffner was born in Baden, Germany about 1829. He emigrated from Germany to the United States between 1853 and 1861, accompanied by his wife, Mary Margaret (nee Aman/Ammen), her son, John Cummins, from a previous marriage, and their son, Christian, born about 1853. They were in the United States at the time of the birth of their next son, George, in 1861.

     It is likely that the Hoeffner family emigrated from Germany in the 1850s. Census records found for step-son, John Cummins, give the year of his immigration as 1855 in the 1910 census, although it is not clearly legible. 1851 is the year stated in the 1920 census.

     Bernhart Hoeffner enlisted at Cameron, Marshall County, West Virginia on 17 Mar 1864 to serve for three years in Company "D" of the First West Virginia Infantry. At that time, he was described as a farmer, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with grey eyes, dark complexion and dark hair. He mustered in at Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia on 24 Mar 1864. He received an initial bounty payment of $60 and received his first month's pay in advance. He was not mustered out with his company 26 Nov 1864 because he still had time to serve. He was transferred to Company "G" 2nd Veteran Infantry, which was the consolidation of the 1st and 4th West Virginia Infantry regiments. By the time he was discharged 16 July 1865, he had been paid $140 bounty, with $160 due.

     A note on Hoeffner's muster card says, "Where credited - Baltimore City, Md. Ward No. 4." Perhaps he had been residing in that city prior to enlistment, but no records have been found. The family was likely in the United States before 1860 but they have not been located in the 1860 census records. A reason for that might be the spelling and pronunciation of the name of the immigrant. His name is spelled as HUFFNER, HOEFFNER, HAFFNER, HUFFMAN, etc. His name in the records of the West Virginia Adjutant General is Benhart and/or Renhart Huffner. A note in his pension file, held at the National Archives: "Claimant informs me that the correct way of spelling his name is Bernhart Huffner and signs his name in German, as follows:


     The name is spelled Bernhart Hoeffner in this presentation because
that is the spelling on his Pension Index Card at the National Archives.


1870 Census, Liberty District [Cameron], Marshall County, West Virginia
Benjamin Huffner, 42, Farmer, $200, b Germany, Parents of foreign birth
Mary, 40, b Germany, Parents of foreign birth
John, 21, Laborer, Germany, Parents of foreign birth
Christie, 17, Germany, Parents of foreign birth
George, 9, West Virginia, Parents of foreign birth
Samuel, 6, West Virginia, Parents of foreign birth
Philip, 6, West Virginia, Parents of foreign birth

     Christian Hoffner, the oldest son of the soldier, died 19 August 1875. According to the Mt. Calvary Cemetery office in Wheeling, West Virginia, a cemetery lot in Section 4 was purchased by the family in August 1875.

Wheeling Register, 21 Aug 1875
HOFFNER - Christian Hoffner, who met his death by an accident upon the B. & O. R. R., between 1 and 2 P.M., August 19th. - The funeral will take place at 2 o'clock this (Saturday) afternoon, from the residence of his father, No. 1938 Eoff Street. - Interment at Catholic cemetery. Friends of the family are invited to attend. It is the wish of the family that rules of the Church regarding funerals be observed.

Wheeling Register, 8 Sept 1875
JOHN CUMMINS was appointed administrator of the estate of CHRISTIAN HUFFNER, deceased, bond $100.

     When the veteran soldier, Bernhart Hoeffner, applied for a government pension in 1878, he claimed "that while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Lynchburg, in the State of Virginia on or about the 18" day of June, 1864, he was shot in the back of the neck by a rifle ball, fired by a 'sharp shooter,' which has effected the neck & shoulders ever since, very painful at times, often unable to work at his business." He stated he had not been treated at a hospital for the wound.

1880 Census, Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia
#123/148 - [2241? Eoff Street]
Bernard Haffner, 54, Laborer, Baden Baden Baden
Mary, 55, Baden, Baden, Baden
George, 19, WV, Baden Baden
Samuel, 17, WV, Baden Baden
Philip, 17, WV, Baden Baden

     Mary Margaret (Aman) Hoeffner died 7 January 1882 and is buried in the Hoeffner plot at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Wheeling.

     The death of the soldier's son, George Hoffner, occurred 4 February 1885.

Wheeling Register, 5 Feb 1885
HOFFNER - On February 4, 1885, at 4:30 p.m., at the residence of John Cummins, Esq., GEORGE HOFFNER, in his 24th year. - Funeral fromthe residence of John Cummins, No. 2316 Main street, on Friday morning, at 9 o'clock. Requiem Mass at St. Alphonsus church. Interment at Mt. Calvary cemetery. Friends of the family are invited to attend.

     Although Bernhart Hoeffner was not found in the 1900 census of Marshall County, he was a resident of McMechen, Marshall County, according to the address given in 1901 in a pension application. At that time, he claimed that he was "totally unable to earn support by manual labor by reason of Gunshot Wound in Neck, Rheumatism, Senile Debility and General debility - that causes inability to do manual labor and that for the last Five years he has not been able to do any manual labor." At that time, his pension was $10 per month.

     An affidavit by Hoeffner's step-son, John Cummins, 2318 1/2 Main St., Wheeling, W. Va., was given in July 1901: "I have known Bernhart Hoeffner for forty years he was for many years a Blacksmith's helper in the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co. his last employment was light labor in the Oil House of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co. by reason of his age and Physical infirmities he is unable to do any manual labors and by reason of his Physical infirmities he was discharged from the employ of said railroad Co and has not done any labor the last Four or five years and he is unable to do labor of any kind."

     Samuel J. Huffner, born 27 Jan 1863, was a barber in Wheeling. He died unmarried 19 Sep 1901. His name appears in the list of burials at Peninsula Cemetery in Wheeling.

     Bernhart Hoeffner died 14 August 1909 at 62-23rd St., Wheeling, following an attack of bronchitis and subsequent debility that began 16 July 1909. He was cared for by his son, Philip, who filed for reimbursement. However, because John Cummins had paid the livery bill of Lewis Steenrod in conjunction with the burial, he was required to write that he would not file a claim for reimbursement. At that time, Cummins referred to Hoeffner ans his "Step-father."

     The veteran soldier was buried at Peninsula Cemetery, Wheeling, West Virginia.

     Philip J. Huffner, twin of Samuel J., worked as a railroader on the B & O. Railroad. He was married to Emma Vogt and they had sons Paul and Robert, found in the 1900 census of Ohio County. A daughter, Mary Virginia, died at the age of six weeks in 1897. According to his Death Certificate, Philip committed suicide 18 Aug 1919 by shooting himself in the chest. He is buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in the same plot as his mother, his brothers, his daughter, and probably a number of other family members.

     As stated above, the wife of Bernhart Hoeffner was previously married while still in Germany. The first husband of Mary Margaret Aman Hoeffner was (Unknown) Cummins. John Cummins, born 23 June 1849, was her son from that marriage. Except for the 1870 census, John retained his own surname after his mother married Bernhart Hoeffner and came to the United States. (Unknown) Cummins died not long after his son's birth because Mary Margaret and Bernhardt Hoeffner had their son, Christian, about 1853, while still in Germany.

     Regarding the surname CUMMINS, that spelling, and variations, are found in Germany in abundance. Some spellings are: CUMMINS, CUMMIN, COMMINGS, CUMIN, KUHMANN, CUMMENS, CUMMINGS, COMENS, KOMEN, KUMMIN, KUMMEN, COMMON. In the 1300s, a version of the name was DeCOMYN. It is beyond the scope of this research to study the possible emigration of these families from other countries to Germany over the centuries.

     The exact age of John Cummins when the family emigrated from Germany is not known because the year of immigration is stated differently in census records. In 1920, the year of his immigration is given as 1851, which can't be correct since his brother, Christian, was born in Germany in 1853. The year of John's naturalization is 1858 in the 1920 census. He was employed as an engineer on the B. & O. Railroad and numerous articles about him, as well as events in his career, are found in Wheeling Register newspapers. John married Annie Campbell, daughter of Patrick and Mary (Conway) Campbell. According to the 1920 census, Annie immigrated from Ireland in 1862 and became a naturalized citizen in 1870. Their children were Alvin Bernard, born Feb 1878; John William, born July 1881; George H., born Dec 1885. John Cummins died 3 Aug 1931. His wife, Annie, died 3 Apr 1936. Both are buried in the family plot at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

     John Cummins' son, Alvin B., married Clara Agnes Ackermann, born 12 Aug 1888, the daughter of Dr. Gregory Ackermann (1852-1928) and Mary Elizabeth Sickler. They had one son, Alvin J. Cummins, and were later divorced. Alvin J. was born in the home of his grandfather, Dr. Ackermann, and he lived there with his mother. The house, on Chapline Street in Wheeling, is listed on the National Register of Historic places. Alvin J. Cummins is a physican and resides in Memphis, Tennessee. His father, Alvin B., was a dentist and married Sarah Miller in 1937 in Wood County, West Virginia. He died 2 Apr 1969 and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Wheeling.

     John Cummins' son, John William, known as J. William Cummins, was the subject of a biographical sketch in the West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia.

CUMMINS, J. William - (1881 - 1965), Ohio County Member of the House of Delegates, was born in Wheeling, son of John and Annie (Campbell) Cummins. He was educated in public schools, West Virginia University (A. B. 1905), and Georgetown University Law School (LL.B). He served as 1st Lieutenant in the air service of the United States Army, 1918-19, and as Captain in the reserve corps of the United States Army. He was elected to the House of Delegates from Ohio County in 1926, 1927, 1928, 1930 and 1938, and served as Speaker at the 1929 session and as Minority Leader at the sessions of 1931 and 1939. His wife was Jean Welty, whom he married in 1912.

(The soldier is buried at Peninsula Cemetery with son, Samuel.)

Overview of Graves
Monument - Mary M. & George
John & Annie Cummins
J. William & Jean W. Cummins

Note from Linda Fluharty: DR. ALVIN JOSEPH CUMMINS died 30 Sept 2010 (OBIT). He had written to me for a few years and was an extremely interesting and treasured internet friend. He had wondered about his ancestor's step-father for his entire life. After the pieces were put together, he wrote: "Dear Linda - You have sent me a most wonderful gift about the Cummins side of my family. Fantastic! I read it like a parched man finding water in the desert. This clears up a number of things for me. I look forward to what next you will find and send me. I congratulate you highly on your proficiency and interest. You have helped me more than any other genealogist ever has and I am deeply grateful. My best - Al Cummins"