Galveston Historic Overnights: The Widower's Townhouse
Built in 1870 by Charles Angerhoffer.
To a time-traveler, the Angerhoffer house today would look slightly different from the original front-gable, side hall townhouse that was built in the late 19th century. Historic records cite repairs that occurred in 1894, 1900, 1907, and 1921. During that time, the house boasted six rooms, one bathroom, two halls, four closets, a kitchen pantry, three porches, a wood cistern, woodshed, and an outdoor privy. Later, sometime before 1964, the house was divided into a duplex. Despite the changes to the structure, the home's stories remain intact, having borne witness to no small amount of comings and goings, and even its fair share of tragedy...
Parts of the owner biography below were researched and written by Jami Durham, historian at the Galveston Historical Foundation.
About the Original Owners
Charles Alexander Angerhoffer (1841-1914) was one of two partners in J.P. Davie’s hardware firm, located at 2218 Mechanic Street. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Angerhoffer immigrated in 1847 and served in the Confederate Navy, Marine Division, Galveston, during the Civil War. Initially noted as “Charles A. Hoffer,” he was included in the Galveston City Directory for the first time in 1866. His occupation was noted as a clerk for Davie but his residence was not noted.
Angerhoffer married Caroline Strohecker (1853-1876) at Galveston’s First Lutheran Church on 4 September 1869. In 1874, the couple’s first daughter, Rosalie, was born, followed by daughter Christina in 1875.
In 1880, Angerhoffer sold the house to his business partner, J.P. Davie, and he relocated his family two blocks west.
Naturalized as an American citizen in Galveston in 1872, Angerhoffer was well known in commercial circles. He entered the hardware business as a clerk for Davie’s hardware operation but eventually rose to the rank of partner. After Davie’s death in 1892, Angerhoffer assumed ownership of the hardware firm and operated at the same location under his name until he died in 1914.
The Death of Caroline Angerhoffer
It's unclear what Caroline and her two daughters died from, as a death certificate could not be located. However, the dates might reveal a link between their deaths. The Angerhoffer's infant daughter, Christina, was the first to pass in June 1876. Their oldest daughter, Rosalie, died on October 15, and Caroline followed just six days later, passing on October 21, 1876. Records do not reflect any outbreaks in Galveston that year, either of yellow fever or cholera, but their proximal deaths suggest some kind of contagious infection.
The bereaved Angerhoffer temporarily vacated the house following his young family’s demise and resided at the home of J.P. Davie for a year.
He returned to this property in 1877, and in 1879, he married Caroline’s sister, Mary Strohecker (1862-1947), with whom he had two sons, Charles Henry (1881-1932) and Arthur Christian (1884-1958).
John Parker Davie (1816-1892) was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. After a four-year apprenticeship with a local coppersmith and tinner, Davie left Norfolk and began to work his way across the country as he made his way south. He returned to Norfolk upon his father’s death and after the estate was settled, Davie converted his property into cash and left New York with a stock of goods he intended to sell in Texas. He arrived in Galveston in 1838 and traveled to Houston where he entered the hardware business. Davie soon left Houston and explored southwest Texas before he returned to Houston and eventually Galveston, where he settled and formed a partnership with William R. Wilson and opened a tin-shop on the corner of Mechanic and 22nd Streets. The partnership with Wilson dissolved after 18 months but Davie maintained a business presence on the block with J.P. Davie & Company Hardware. Within a few years, he built his own building to serve as the storefront and warehouse ( J.P. Davie Building, 2220 Mechanic, built 1860. Extant).
In addition to his hardware business, Davie founded a brick yard in Harris County at Cedar Bayou, invested heavily in Galveston real estate and owned stocks in several local businesses that included the Galveston Wharf Company. He served two terms as a city alderman and resided on the southeast corner of Church and 20th, next to the First Presbyterian Church, where he was a faithful and loyal member of the congregation.
After Davie purchased 1419 Broadway in 1880 he utilized it as rental property. His daughter, Agnes Davie Griffin, inherited the house upon his death in 1892. She continued to use it as a tenant house until she sold it in 1896.
The Rosas Family
Between 1896 and 1960, the title to this property transferred 10 times, with the majority of owners continuing to utilize the house as investment property. However, the longest period of ownership of this property belongs to the Rosas family, beginning with Jose Diodoro "Yoyo" Rosas (1922-1994) who purchased the home in 1981.
Rosas was born in Morelos, Coahuila, Mexico, and first entered the United States with his parents in 1925 with additional immigration records that noted he traveled back and forth across the border numerous times between 1925 and July 1948, when he married Galveston native Maria de Refugio "Cucua" Reyna (1931-2017). After Jose and Maria married, their union was blessed with eight children between 1949 and 1966.
In 1953, Jose declared permanent residency in Galveston and in 1981, he became a United States citizen. Jose worked as a longshoreman on the Galveston wharves and was a member of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local #20. Maria was a dedicated housewife and caretaker for their large family. After they purchased this property, the Rosas family made numerous repairs to the building yet they maintained the two-family configuration that remains today. The couple's five sons (Santiago “Jimmy," Jose Jr “Coco," Javier “Huggy," Andrew and Arnold) bunked on the second floor while their three daughters (Christina, Blanche, and Nancy) shared a bedroom downstairs near their parents.
After Jose’s death in 1994, Maria maintained the family home until her own death in 2017.