City Marshal Laban John Hoffman

City Marshal Laban John Hoffman

Waco Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Friday, January 6, 1871

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Laban John Hoffman

City Marshal 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. 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 fire 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 Adjutant General of the State Police reported in June 1871 that George Thomason, alias "Wild George" (name also reported as Williams) was mortally wounded by state policemen, but escaped. It is unknown if he died from his wounds. An alleged accomplice, legendary outlaw John Wesley Hardin, was arrested in 1871 but escaped after killing Texas State Policeman Jim Smalley.

City Marshal Hoffman was born around 1840 in North Carolina and served with the Confederate Army during Civil War. He was survived by his wife, Virginia, and two children, Ephriam, 9, and Beulah, 2. His place of burial has not been located.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 4 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender escaped

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Marshal Hoffman,
On today, the 150th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Waco.


United States Border Patrol

January 6, 2021

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