William Hobson

The following obituary and letters were contributed by
Barbara Richards of Seaside, Oregon
for use on oregonpioneers.com


"Daily Morning Astorian"  Dec. 8, 1896

 "An Old Pioneer Gone--Hon. John Hobson Passes Away and Is Buried on Clatsop Plains--Amidst the roaring of the surf of the Pacific ocean and the warring of the elements, the remains of the Hon. John Hobson were yesterday laid away on Clatsop Plains.  
     Mr. Hobson died Sunday morning, at the age of 72 years, after a painful illness extending over a period of several months.  Death was caused by cancer of the stomach.   For several months the sufferer knew that his end was approaching but with the same fortitude and bravery that characterized his whole life he bore up without murmur.
     Yesterday the services at the house, where a large concourse of relatives and friends were gathered, were conducted by the Rev. Henry Marcotte.  The words of the speaker were simple and referred to the exemplary life led by the deceased.  His subject was from St. John, "Let not your heart be troubled," and from the good deeds of the one gone before, was drawn a lesson for those left behind.  A special train at 1 o'clock conveyed the remains together with the mourners and friends, to Clatsop cemetery.  A large number of prominent citizens and warm personal friends of the deceased and the family, in spite of the inclement weather, participated in the last sad rites.  At the old Presbyterian church on Clatsop Plains, the impressive ceremonies of the Odd Fellows were held, and at the grave the Pioneer and Historical Society conducted the service.  As the casket was lowered into the earth the Hon. J. H. D. Gray pronounced the service of the society.  `We are assembled here today to perform the last sad rites that the living can pay to the dead.  The unerring hand of time has called our worthy member, John Hobson, to that home from whence no traveler returns.  His life has been that of a typical pioneer who did his part always and well.  Patriotic in his devotion to his adopted country; faithful and honest in the discharge of his public duties; self-sacrificing, watchful and diligent in the management of the widow and orphan trusts confided to his care; a kind and loving husband, father and friend.  Let us hope that when our time comes to walk through the valley of death, the journey may be ended as satisfactorily as his.  The mortal remains of our honored pioneer will now be committed to the silent grave.  Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes.'
     John Hobson was born in Derbyshire, England, December 4, 1824, and emigrated to America January 1st, 1843, arriving in Astoria in December the same year.  He was twice married.  His first wife was Diana M. Owens, daughter of Mr. Thomas Owens, who, with his family and the family of Wm. Hobson, father of John Hobson, crossed the plains in 1843 to Oregon.  His wedding took place after his arrival in this state on Clatsop Plains, and was attended by Col. John Adair and others.  Being one of the first weddings in this county.  Mrs. John Adair, Mrs. Jane Abrams, of Portland, and Mrs. L. A. Pike are all sisters of Mrs. Hobson.  At the services yesterday Mrs. Abrams and Mr. Pike, of Portland, and Mrs. Emma Eberman, sister of the deceased of Seaside, and Mrs. Willis Potter, another sister of the first Mrs. Hobson were present.  By his first wife Mr. Hobson had five children, four of whom are living:  Mrs. C. W. Fulton, Frank and Harry, and Mrs. G. C. Fulton; Mr. Hobson's first wife died in 1873 and two years later he married again, his wife still surviving him.  By his second wife he had three children, Edwin, Reba and Bertha, all of whom are living.
     Mr. Hobson has been a successful business man, always an ardent Democrat, and during Mr. Cleveland's first term was customs collector of the Port of Astoria.  He was also one of the incorporators of the Astoria National Bank, in which he was a director up to the time of his death."

William Hobson letters -- My ggggrandfather, William Hobson, was born July 28, 1797, in Hope, Derbyshire. He married Margaret (Peggy) Hutchinson and eventually became a hatter in Brampton Moor. Peggy and their 3 week old child, Charles, died in 1838 in Brampton. In 1843, William and five of his 6 living children sailed to New Orleans on a Mormon emigrant ship. I have a feeling this was a convenient conversion because upon arrival in the U.S. they unconverted and left on the first major emigrant wagon train for Oregon with Marcus Whitman. I am in possession of 7 of William's letters to family and friends in Derbyshire. In part due to his letters, quite a few families emigrated from Derbyshire to Clatsop County, Oregon. These letters give quite an interesting perspective on both the "old country" and the "new".

Letter 1:

Dear Brother. I write informing you that we received your letter dated May the 2 1846, 
and we are happy to hear you are all in good health as it leaves us all at this time thank
god for it. We have received no other from you. If would give me great pleasure if we
could hear from you oftener. The letter we got came through the united states and then
brought forward to oregon by the emegration that fall. You had better direct all your
letters by the way of the states for oregan as they are shure to be forwarded the spring
folowing by the emegrants but it is likely there will be a mail established betwixt the
states and oregon before long. I think there is something wrong with the Hudsons bay company in london with regard to
taking in letters. They know that I am not a servant of theirs. I supose before this time
that I am writing you have had a man from here by the name of Lewis Tailor. He will be able
to tel you more than I can write in a week. If you should see or hear aney thing of him you
can tel him that I buried his wife march the 24, 1848 and I took his child am keeping it. I had thought to have sent one of the boys over the last spring but cash is hard to come at.
Thair is no man of war ship been in the river sins the modest english man of war went out.
I sold them about 3 or 4 hundred of butter and chees. Thar is nothing but barter with
merchant ships scarce and now I think to let it be untill I see whether Lewis Tailor comes
back in fall as he promised to do. The ship vancouver was lost on this bar coming direct from england no lives lost. The
letters and some fur goods saved. The captain came to me and bought a ? , potatoes and
butter from me. We had the first mate and some of the hands at our house several days
Beef is worth five dolers a hundred, potatoes fifty sents, butter seventy five cents, beets,
carots, pees, parsnips are from eighty to one doler per bushel, pork 3 and salmon eight
dolers a barel wich is two hundred. I wish you had some of the salmon we gust have had to
diner. We get one fresh catched aney day. We like to go for it now but salmon season wil
be over verey soon, but goods is verey high in this countrey. We do not get much money at
present but we are geting property prety fast. Three years since we had but one cow and now
we have raised and I have bought betwixt forty and fifty head. We are milking seventeen
head. We make prety well of butter and chees. Butter is the best sale we have. They take
it to california and sell it from fifty to seventy five dolers a hundred. They will go in
three days with fair wind. We have some little loses as well as all gain. I gave forty dolers in cash for a work
horse last fall and wee lost him last week. He borak the fensing down and ? tied him head
and foot and he got entangled in the brush but I have no room to complain for wee are doing
well. We want for nothing. We have plenty of every thing. We have no fear nor dread how
we must live in fewtur. I have no trouble of mind how I shall live in old age. I work when
I have a mind and play when I have a mind and when I do work it goes sweet for I have no
tirant to find fault with me. We have a prety house we live in but I am building another
one on a diferent plan. It is 38 by 32 ft. a celer under the ole building. Such a building
in england would cost 3 or 4 thousand dolers. Now to conclude if I could get letters from you once or twice a year I would be one of the
hapiest men in the world as regards worldy afairs. Now about Isabella, I hope well and a
good girl and improveing in learning and I hope I shall be able to get her here before long.
(Isabella is his daughter who remained in England). Give our verey best respects to my brothers charles richard and sister mary ann and also
nephews and nieces and all relations and friends and I wish god ay bles you all amen. I wish you to write to us as often as posable and send us all the news you posable can.
I with you would write to William Oakley at bramtan for some news about my old shopmates.
I will write again as soon as posable. So I remain truly you affectionate brother William Hobson
Letter 2:In California things are verey ?. Goods are a great deal cheaper than ware the mines are
crowded to excess. We have not heard aney thing of my Brother Richard. I have just receaved a letter from the jeneral postoffice London stateing there is a
letter directed for me. The postage is two shilings and if i would write to aney of my
corespondents to call at the inland postoffice and pay the above sum the letter will be
forwarded immediately. If you should write for the letter you must be perticular in giving
the number of the letter which is 30440. I have been thinking it might be from my brother
Richard for i expect he is in the states and if you think it is from him I wish you to get
it. It has been the oregon bag that has been misplased at New York and got to london for
there is a whole file of letters coming here to people that got letters in the general
postofice london. If it is from you you will not need get it. it is dated 22 Novm 1850. I wrote to you in my last most perticulars. Be shure to write often and all news you can
think of and direct as usuel by the way of New York and ham bound to get you letters for
there is a male steamer runs into this river everey month. There is a line from New York
acros the isthmus to panama. Be shure to direct by way of New York. I would be verey much
pleased and obliged to you if it is not to much trouble and expence to send me a few
newspapers such as Bakewell, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Manchester and thay will be sure
to come and not much expence. Give all our kind love to all iour relation and friends and tell them we are all in good
health and circumstances. so no more from your afectionate brother William Hobson
Letter 3:
Clatsop Plains the 24 December 1866

Dear Nephew. Sir. I send you a few lines hoping they will find you all in good health 
witch it leaves us all at this time. Thank God for it. I supose you have heard from
Mrs. and Mr. Ward and have got a good deal of news. Thay have been living here this yeare
and rented a farm joining to Johns. Thay are now left and gone to California. He thinks he
can do better there. I would like you to write and let us know what you are all doing in your country. My Brother
Richard and your Brother Edwin made a bad blunder in not coming here when thay were talking
so much about it. Thay could come now for one hundred dolers or twenty pound sterlin each. I have not heard from Charls Hadfield sinc Isabelas death. He sent me some verey hard tale
about how you mistreated Isabela and my Brother Charles and I thought pretty bad about it
because your father was the sole cause of me leaving her behind but I am happy to hear from
Mrs. and Mr. alltogether a diferent story. If you know whether the child of Isabellas is living I wish you would let me know and also
wat my Brothers Richard and Charls are doing and geting along. If Richard would he could be
at his ease here. Aney person can come here or to aney part of the United States and take up
one hundred and sixty acres of land that is vacant as homestead donation by living upon it
five years and then by paying about ten dolers for goverment survey. It is his own freehold
property to do what he pleases with it and there is milions of acers vacant. Richard has built a splendid new house this sumer. He is runing a boat betwixt here and
Astoria. John is going into his farme this Christmas. He has rented it out these last three yeare
he has been living in Astoria in a grand house that he has built there. He will leave the
family there and hire hands to work the farme here. Emma is doing pretty well but the husband has not energy about him. Mary had one daughter
and she is married and got one child.
Letter 4:
Respected Friend. Sir. I write to inform you that I and all our family are at this time 
in prety good health. Thank God for it. Now Friend John it is twenty years this morning since I left Bramton moore and I thought
I would write and say something knowing that your nephew Neby has wrote to you at difernt
times. He has told you of most common afairs that has took place in our family. Neby is in
the mines. He went last spring. John and Richard went but thay came back last fall and made
nothing and left Neby there intending to winter there. He has made nothing. The mines is in
oregon and three or four hundred miles up the Columbia river. Neby is verey anctious to make
a pile. By all acounts there is plenty of gold but so hard to get water to wash it with. Neby told me he expected a letter from you or some of his friends every day and if aney came
I was to open them and answer them but I have not seen aney. I supose you feel somewhat interested in the war in America. Today is the emancipation of
all slaves belonging to Rebels that are in armes against the united states of america. We
have had very fine whether now. Last winter was the hardest since we have been here. There
was great quantity of cattle died. I lost about fifty head. Well it is fifteen years sins I had a letter from Brampton. I had it from Wm Oakley. I heard
some little news from you in Crickes letters. I answered Wm Oakleys letter but never heard
from him since. Now John if you will oblige an old shopmate you canot bestow a more pleasing favour on him
then giving him as full acount as you conveniently can of all our ould shopmates whether
living or dead or what they may be doing and also all other strange things that may have
taken place since I left if aney of my old shopmates would write a few lines upon a stripe
of paper and put them in your letter I should look upon them as a great relic. You must give
my verey best respects to aney or all of them who you meet with and tel them it would give
me the gratest of aney thing I know of to see them here where they could live upon thair own
land and keep teling me difernt little things that has taken place the last 20 years. You will oblige me if youu send me some acount of the Hutchinson family whether Volentine
is living or not and what Pendleton is doing. If you wish aney information that I can give
you I shall be verey happy to serve you in the best way I can. Well I do not know that I have aneything more to say that is at this time. Giv my love to Mrs. Haslam and all your Family and accept the same yourself. From your old friend and shopmate William Hobson
Letter 6:
John Haslam
Direct for Wm Hobson, Clatsop Plains
Clatsop County, State of Oregon
(Oregon became a State in 1859)

the Clatsop Plains June 28 1870
Deare nephew. I write this in answer to yours of mailed march the 1 and received it 
April the 1. I am glad to hear you are all well and I hope this will find you all the same
as it leaves us all at this time thank god for it. Brother Richard had not sent me word of Brother Charleses Death but I had heard of it from
Mr. Ward. I have not heard from Mr. Ward for nearly two years. I have wrote to him two letters and
had no answer. I think he must have moved to some other place. I wrote to Brother Richard
about two years ago and I have not received an answer. I want to thank you to send me some
perticulars about him. You say you are in possesion of the old homstead. Where is Charleses
son how did he dispose of it. I ham sorey to hear of you Brothers misfortune. I hope it is
not so bad but that he can use it to work with. I supose his family some of them workes at
the mill. Pleas send me word how our relatives at Derwent and Lytton are getting on in the world and
those that have left Hope for the United States are. You say a great many of the old people are ded. I can cast my minds eye back fifty or
sixty years and see persons and places around the countrey as fech as but yesterday. The Day
used to be a great day in Hope and it is my 73 birthday. Well I have not mutch frech news to send you. I supose you keep hearing from Mr. Ward. Richard is Captain of a Steam boat runing around this river and up to portland and has a
small share in it. He hets about one hundred and sixty dolers a month - 32 soverings. John is keeping butchers shop in town and lets out his farm. Emma is living on the plains and doing pretty well. They have eight children. I could send you some newspapers but they would not intrest you mutch not knowing the countrey.
You might send me some. Postage is cheap enough not and thay come quick enough now. You can
come now to Oregon in about three weeks and it took us gust one year. I conclude with our love and best wishes for you and family and all relatives. From your afectionate Uncle W. Hobson
Letter 7:
I write this hopeing it will find you all well has it leaves us at present. Thank God for it. 
Well I do not know how to write not having received aney answer from my last letter witch
I wrote last Cristmas but one. We are living in Astoria. I rented out my farm to a man that
my grandaughter maried. Her mother was Mary. I find ? all implements and stock and I get one half of what he has raised. Johns wife died last fall. He has four children the oldest a boy 22 years and youngest a
girl 11 years old. The oldest girl 17 years old. John is doing a larg buisness in butchering
and suplying shiping with stores. John Richard and us all live withing one or two hundred yards of each other. Astoria is
geting to be a larg town and seaport. There is a larg quantity of ? up the Columbia river.
There will be likely fifty English ships in here this fall for Wheat and flour. There is a
larg quantity of salmon caned and shiped off from here. Charles Ward was here last sumer but one. I have not heard from him since. I think he will
be here this sumer. Well I don not know what to write not having had aney answer from you since my last letter
to you. I send several newspapers as well. I will answer this as soon as received and send me all the news you can then I will know
what to write and will send you all perticulars Give all our best respects to all our relations and friends and send us word how thay are
all geting alond and what my Brother Richard and family are doing and who is living at the
old place. Well I must conslude with my verey verey best respects to you and family. From your Uncle Wm Hobsaon

William died Aug. 10, 1879 in Astoria. John remarried and had more children. (I am descended from John and Diana ). 
Two of John's children from his second marriage returned to live in Chesterfield: Edwin who was and actor and Reba
who married in Hope. Richard died at sea between Honolulu and Astoria. (He did finally find a wife from Tasmania).

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