Dr. David Bancroft Hoffman (1824-1888)

davidhoffmanDr. David Bancroft Hoffman, was a native of Bainbridge, New York, came to California as a young boy by way of the Overland Trail. He attended Toland Medical College in San Franciso, graduating at the age of 25. He first visited San Diego as a ship’s surgeon for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company in 1851 and returned in 1853-4 to establish his office and a drug store on the plaza of Old San Diego. A notice in the San Diego Herald November 12, 1853, announced

Doctor D.B. Hoffman
Physician, Surgeon, Accoucheur
May be found at the office of
The San Diego Herald.

According to Smythe:

This name first appears on the records on December 1, 1855, and in that and the following years he served as coroner. He was admitted to practice law, April 1, 1856, and in 1859, 1860, and 1861, served as district attorney. In 1857 he was town trustee, in 1862 assemblyman, in 1865 school trustee, and in 1868 Democratic presidential elector for California. He was collector of the port from 1869 to 1872, and also acted as tidal gauger. His wife’s name was María Dolores, daughter of Peter Wilder and Guadalupe Machado, who died August 12, 1887. He died in 1888, leaving a son named Chauncey, also a daughter, Miss Virginia Hoffman. He was a good physician and a much respected citizen.

He was a graduate of Toland Medical College. When he came to the Pacific Coast, he was at first in the employ of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, between Panama and San Francisco. His card first appears in the Herald on December 1, 1855, which probably marks the date when he left the steamship company and settled in San Diego. In later years he was post surgeon of the army in San Diego. When the San Diego Medical Society was formed, July 23, 1870, he was chosen president of the organization, and the address which he delivered on that occasion is extant.

[from Smythe, William Ellsworth. History of San Diego, 1542-1908. San Diego: History Co., 1907. (page 276)]

Dr. Hoffman purchased the half block between Seventh and Eighth Streets on the north side of G Street, where he built his house and office in 1869. Hoffman and his wife had nine children by another account, five of whom survived at the time of his death.

See also:

Graves, Clifford L. “David Hoffman, M.D., An Early San Diego Physician.” The Journal of San Diego History 10.3 (July 1964): 35-39.

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