Roy V. Hoffman was born in Neosho County, Kansas, on June 13, 1869. In 1889 he moved with his family to the Sac and Fox Reservation in Indian Territory, and he settled in Guthrie soon thereafter. During his lifetime, Roy Hoffman worked at various jobs, including cowboy, teacher, newspaperman, public official, jurist, and soldier. He founded the Guthrie Daily Leader, the first daily newspaper in Oklahoma Territory, in 1889 and was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1891.
During the Spanish-American War, Hoffman enlisted as a private in the Oklahoma Territory Battalion of the First Territorial Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was commissioned as a captain. He was promoted to colonel in 1900 and was selected to command the First Infantry Regiment, Oklahoma National Guard. Gov. Charles N. Haskell ordered Hoffman to take his guardsmen and quell the Crazy Snake Uprising near Henryetta and Hitchita in 1910. In 1916 Hoffman served on the Mexican border where American troops were stationed to stop raids by Pancho Villa’s troops.
When the United States entered World War I, Hoffman was the nation’s senior National Guard infantry colonel. He was transferred to the U.S. Army and promoted to brigadier general in August 1917 and was selected to command the Ninety-third Division. Hoffman took the Ninety-third to France, and from February through November 1918, he and his troops saw continuous front-line action.
His last command was the Forty-fifth Infantry Division. Hoffman was instrumental in promoting and organizing a strong Oklahoma National Guard and has been called its “father.” His military awards included the French Commander Legion of Honor, the French Colonial Decoration, the Commander of the Crown by Italy, and the American Distinguished Service Medal. He retired as a major general in 1933.