Before Michael Damphoffer Sr. died in 1916 at age 101, he had been described as Vancouver’s patriarch.
He had served in the armies of two countries, participated in campaigns against Indians in the 1850s and enlisted in the civil War with one of his sons, in the First Oregon Cavalry.
Some reports also stated that the older Damphoffer also had participated in the Mexican War.
Damphoffer appeared regularly in Decoration Day ceremonies and military parades at Vancouver up to age 99.
He was born in Strasbourg, France, and enlisted as a musician in the French Army. In later years in Vancouver, he still owned the slide trombone he had played the Army.
In early 1856, Damphoffer arrived at Vancouver with the Ninth Infantry Regiment commanded by Col. George Wright. The regiment had the job of trying to quell an Indian uprising in the Northwest.
Damphoffer and his son Michael Jr. joined the First Oregon Cavalry in the 1860s. This unit’s job was to keep the Indians under control and suppress any possible uprising by rebel sympathizers.
One of Damphoffer’s sons, Peter was a band member with the 21st Infantry regiment and 14th Infantry Regiment. He served most of this time at Vancouver.
The family’s first home was at Sixth and Columbia, the site of the brewery. Later the Damphoffers lived at 13th and Reserve streets. The older Damphoffer, who survived his wife by many years, was involved in stock breeding and also operated a brewery that burned in the 80’s. His son Michael Jr. lived with him for many years.