Remembering Rose Marie Hoffman Taaffe, Los Altos Hills rancher and businesswoman

By October 12, 2022February 10th, 2023In The News

Katherine Simpson/Los Altos Town Crier

While Rose Marie Hoffman may have married into one of 19th-century Los Altos Hills’ most prominent families, her story is well worth telling on its own, particularly during National Hispanic History Month.

A relative of Gen. Jose Castro, Rose was a San Jose socialite born in 1868.

“Gently reared with a religious background by the sisters of Notre Dame, she was brought up in the old Spanish traditions in a secluded manner, never venturing out without a chaperone,” the Town Crier reported in 1999.

She married Martin Taaffe, an heir to the Hills’ first family, the Murphys, in 1888. The Murphy-Taaffe family ranch comprised 2,900 acres, or approximately half of the present-day Los Altos Hills area. The couple settled on Martin’s inherited portion of the family ranch, located near what is today Byrne Preserve, which he called “Rose Hill.”

Triumph and tragedy
Despite her upper-class upbringing, Rose led a difficult life. Her husband’s lungs were damaged when an engine exploded…cont.

Martin Taaffe, and Rose Marie Hoffman Taaffe

Martin Taaffe, left, a descendant of one of Los Altos Hills’ original families, married Rose Marie Hoffman, right, pictured on her wedding day in 1888. Rose recorded an oral history in 1949, which is in the Los Altos History Museum’s collection. Photos Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum