DOD: Friday, January 6, 1871
Laban John Hoffman was born around 1840 in North Carolina. He was married to Virginia who was born about 1845. They had two children, Ephriam, born about 1862 and Beulah born about 1869. Hoffman served in the Confederate army from at least August 1862 until August 1863. He served as a private in the Texas State Police in 1870 until he became the City Marshal of Waco in September 1870. His place of burial has not been located.
The Texas State Police were created by the Texas Legislature in between 1870-1873 during Reconstruction when the “carpetbaggers” controlled the state government. L. J. Hoffman had been a private in the Texas State Police in 1870 and was assigned to McLennan-Hill county area. He resigned on September 5, 1870 when he qualified as the City Marshal of Waco.
Around noon on Friday, January 6, 1871, Waco City Marshal L. J. Hoffman was in a barber shop on the southwest corner of the Square and Second Street getting a shave. An unidentified man rode up on horseback, dismounted and entered the barber shop from the rear. He examined the lathered face of the marshal to make sure it was Hoffman. He walked behind the barber chair and shot the marshal in the back of head, killing him instantly. The man remounted and fired two shots at approaching policemen. As the man galloped to the bridge, he tossed the toll collector a dollar and said, “Haven’t time to wait for the change,” and sped away.
Texas Governor Edmund J. Davis posted a $1,000 reward for the delivery of the body dead or alive of the murderer of Hoffman to the sheriff of McLennan County. The Galveston newspaper reported that the Waxahachie Democrat on June 24, 1871 reported that George Williams or Wild George was killed by the state police. A letter dated July 24, 1871 from Adjutant General James Davidson to Mrs. Hoffman stated, “…in reply to your letter of July 7, 1871…Wild George was shot by state police and is supposedly mortally wounded…however he escaped.” Another document identified the killer as George Thomason, alias Wild George. A letter dated April 21, 1871 from James Davidson to Mrs. Virginia A. Hoffman stated, “you can make an affidavit against Brack Mitchell as the party who committed this murder…and I will arrest him.”