In the early 1860s the Hoff family would move to Iowa and in 1877 E.B. Hoff was baptized. From 1883 to 1886 he attended Mt. Morris College. The Hoff family, unlike most farm families of the day, had a large library and a certain reputation for eccentricity. The South Waterloo congregation where Hoff was called to ministry had a reputation for innovation. In 1870 the congrregation hosted the first Annual Meeting held west of the Mississippi River.
In 1886, following graduation from Mount Morris College, Hoff engaged in local ministry near South Waterloo which had experienced a split in 1883 reflecting the division in the larger denomination as some members left to create a Progressive Brethren church. Five years later, following the death of his young wife, Hoff relocated to McPherson, Kansas where he first met A.C. Wieand. Here he was re-married and from 1895-1897 served the Des Moines, Iowa congregation while his wife practiced medicine.
In 1897 he enrolled at the University of Chicago and in 1899 was called to head the Bible department at Manchester College. During 1901-02, he traveled with A.C. Wieand to Europe and Palestine. In 1903 he took charge of the Hastings Street Mission in Chicago and continued his education at the University of Chicago. In October 1905, Hoff and Wieand founded Bethany Bible School where he was Bible teacher until his death in 1928.
It was the belief of E.B. Hoff that "our teaching and preaching are inspired only when they are in line with Bible truth."
Tomorrow: Best remembered sayings of E.B. Hoff
Sources: Bethany Theological Seminary: A Centennial History, William Kostlevy
The Brethren Encyclopedia