Thomas Hunt Hobbs
Thomas Hunt HOBBS, familiarly known to everybody in Mt. Vernon as "Uncle Tommy",
died at his home at 105 North Union Street at 9:20 o'clock last night, of paralysis,
after an illness of nearly two months.
Deceased was born near Gallatin, Tenn., May 18th, 1820, consequently was but a few
weeks less than seventy-seven years of age. He removed with is parents to Illinois
in 1826 and settled in Williamson County, but a few months later they came to this
county, bought a small tract of improved land and engaged in farming, which was continued
till the death of the head of the family February 15th, 1852. The mother of the subject
of this sketch, survived her husband nearly two years, but on January 8th, 1854, passed
on to that bourne from whence no traveler returns.
Thos. H. HOBBS having emigrated to this county when only six years of age grew to manhood
in this community and here received such an education as the schools of the county then
afforded. In 1849 he was seized with the prevailing gold fever, and left for California
by overland route, and remained on the Pacific coast for a period of a little over two years,
during which he engaged in mining at various points in the Sacramento Valley, but like
thousands of others, with only an indifferent degree of success.
He returned to the States in 1851 after an absence of two years, two months and twelve
days. During the years of 1851 and 1852 he was engaged in contracting and superintending
the grading and track laying of the Illinois Central railroad through the central and southern
portions of the state. On the completion of the railroad, he purchased a farm in Washington
County near Ashley and for a short time devoted himself to agriculture, but farming not being
to his taste, he removed to Ashley and engaged in merchandising. In 1855 he sold his
merchantile interests in Ashley and with his family returned to Mt. Vernon, where he engaged
in the hotel business in connection with farming. In 1860 he entered the merchantile trade
in this city and continued in this business till 1867, although from August 28th, 1862 until
May 28th, 1864, he served in the Union Army in the War of the Rebellion and the business during
this interval was only nominally under his supervision. Mr. HOBBS was intensely patriotic and
when the war over the question of slavery broke out, he offered his services to the country
for the preservation of the integrity of the flag and on August 18th 1862, he enlisted in the
110 Illinois Infantry and continued with it until its consolidation with another regiment on
May 28th, 1864, when he was honorably discharged from the service of the government.
Shortly after his return from the war he was associated with his brother-in-law, James GUTHRIE,
in the milling business and erected the mill at the corner of Washington and Harrison Streets,
now used by Hayward Bros. as an office and storage building in connection with their lumber yard.
February 10th, 1884, he was married to Miss Malinda HOLTSCLAW, who died January 23rd, 1853,
leaving two children as the result of this union. Of these the youngest, Louise A., died
January 30th, 1876, while the other, James Henry, is well known as a machinist of this city.
Of August 9th, 1854 Mr. HOBBS united in marriage to Miss Eliza E. GUTHRIE to whom were born
five children. The eldest, Minnie, died April 13th, 1856. The others, Charles A., Alvin L.,
Edward T. and Homer W. are all living and except the second named were at the bedside of their
father at the time of his demise. The former is a resident of Chicago where he is employed
in the postoffice, Alvin L. lives in Raton, New Mexico, where he is prominently identified
with all its business interests; Edward T. is a resident of Centralia where he is in the
merchantile trade; Homer is at present at home but has been living at Raton, N.M. for the
past year or two, where he has been employed by the waterworks company which is managed under
the supervision of his brother, Alva.
Deceased was one of nature's noblemen and none knew Uncle Tommy HOBBS but to esteem his many
admirable qualities of head and heart and sterling integrity. He was one of the pioneers of
the county and one of the most conspicuous representatives of that class of old settlers that
is now so rapidly vanishing from our midst. But few men had such a wide and intimate acquaintance
among the people of Jefferson County as the deceased, and it is certain none had more warm
friends in proportion to acquaintanceship. His obsequies tomorrow will be attended by a
throng of people representing all classes of our people. The funeral services will be conducted
by Rev. J. W. VAN CLEVE at the First M. E. Church at 2 p.m. Interment in Oakwood Cemetery.
Source: The Daily Register - Mt. Vernon, IL
Date: Saturday, April 17, 1897
Submitted by: Mary Zinzilieta