CITY MARSHAL LABEN JOHN HOFFMAN

End of Watch: January 6, 1871

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 City Marshal Hoffman was in a barber shop on the southwest corner of the Square and Second Street getting a shave. A man, later identified as “Wild George” Thomason (name also reported as Williams), 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 the 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.

It was reported that “Wild George” ran a gang of outlaws and that he killed Marshal Hoffman in retailiation for arrests of some of his gang members.

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 Adjutant General of the State Police reported in June 1871 that Thomason was mortally wounded by state policemen, but escaped. Since “Wild George” was not expected to survive, Marshall Hoffman’s widow was informed that he would not be apprehended and brought to justice for the murder of her husband. It is unknown if Thomason died from his wounds.

Hoffman was born around 1840 in North Carolina. He served in the Confederate Military for approximately three years. He was survived by his wife, Virginia, and two children, Ephriam, 8, and Beulah, 11 months. His place of burial has not been located.
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