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Henry County, Indiana
Genealogy and History

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Volney Hobson

Transcription of Biographical Sketch From
Hazzard's History
Henry County, Indiana
1822 - 1906
George Hazzard
Author and Publisher
New Castle, Indiana, 1906

p. 236

The subject of this sketch, Captain Volney Hobson, was the son of Evan B. Hobson and Elizabeth (Elliott) Hobson, who were united in marriage, January 8, 1826, at the then village of New Castle. To this union were born six children, Volney, the second child and the only son, being born April 9, 1828.

The Hobson and Ellott families were among the earliest settlers of Henry County. Abraham Elliott, the father of Elizabeth (Elliott) Hobson, came from Wayne to Henry County, about the time the latter county was oprganized. He had been a prominent citizen of Wayne County as he became, afterwards, of Henry, during the remainder of his life. The Hobson came to Henry County and were identified with its affairs prior to the coming of the Elliotts, and it was at the house of Joseph Hobson, the brother of Evan B., that the commissioners appointed to organize the county, were authorized to meet by act of the General Assembly. This house was situated on what is now known as the Stephen Elliott farm, about two miles south of New Castle.

From the foregoing, it will be readily discerned that the subject of this sketch was a scion of two noted families of the early days, who were among the most active and prominent in the civil and political affairs of the county.

Evan B. Hobson died August 22, 1838. After the death of his father, Volney lived for several years at New Castle with his uncle, on the maternal side, Judge Jehu T. Elliott. In 1847 or 1848, he went to LaPorte, Indiana, where he served a three-year apprenticeship at the tanner's trade, with his uncle, the late James Black, whose wife, Jane Elliott, was a sister of Elizabeth (Elliott) Hobson, and the mother of the late Amanda V. Hudelson, the late Nathaniel E. Black and of Mrs. Kate McMeans, of New Castle.

After finishing his trade, he returned to New Castle about 1852 and in February, 1853, started overland to California. It may sound strange now, but for many years after gold was discovered in California, and before the days of the western railroads, it was the custom to drive cattle, from the central and western parts of the Mississippi Valley, to that State, to supply the miners with beef. At this period, there lived south of New Castle, on what is known as the Jacob Walker farm, a man named Hugh Sweeney, who made a business of driving cattle across the plains. To that end, early in the Spring of 1853, he had arranged to start with a drove from the Platte Country, in Missouri, in the western part of that State, just across the Missouri River from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. For this venture, Volney Hobson contracted with Sweeney to go as his companion and assistant. They left Fort Leavenworth for California early in May and reached Sacramento about September 1st. Hobson remained with Sweeney until the cattle were disposed of, after which, in the Fall, he went to the mines in Eldorado and Placer counties. He followed mining, with varied success for several years, but finally abandoned it and commenced farming in the Sacramento Valley. He continued at this work until the beginning of the Civil War, when he left the Golden State, reaching his home at New Castle in the Spring of 1862. Soon after his arrival, he tendered his services, in a clerical capacity, to the headquarters of the 19th Indiana Infantry, commanded by Colonel, afterwards General, Solomon Meredith, serving with the Army of the Potomac. In this capacity he was present at the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862, and witnessed what is recognized as one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles of the Civil War. He remained with the Army of the Potomac, until the Spring of 1863, when he again returned to New Castle.

In the Summer of the same year, when the Confederate General, John H. Morgan made his famous raid into Indiana, Volney Hobson assisted in recruiting Company A, 110th Indiana Infantry (Morgan Raid Minute Men), of which he was made Second Lieutenant. In the Winter of 1863-64, he was the principal mover in the organization of what became Com[any E, 9th Indiana Cavalry, and of this famous cavalry regiment is the military histroy of Captain Volney Hobson, until the day of his untimely death, December 17, 1864. He was instantly killed near Franklin, Tennessee, while leading his company against the enemy under General Hood, who had fallen back from Nashville, to Franklin. As soon as possible after the battle, the body of Captain Hobson was secured and sent to New Castle from whence it was taken to the Batson Cemetery, in Liberty Township, and there interred in the family lot, with all the ceremonies appropriate to the burial of a deceased soldier.

No braver man the Captain Hobson ever wore the uniform of a United States officer. To him fear was a stranger. He died in a noble cause and to him and the thousands of others who sacrificed their lives on the battlefield, our Country owes its preservation. Captain Hobson was the soul of honor and exceedingly genial in disposition. He despised the slanderer and the mean and cowardly met with his deserved contempt. His memory to all who knew him will ever be most fondly cherished.

For the purpose of this history, it is necessary to state that Captain Hobson's mother, Elizabeth (Elliott) Hobson was on November 26, 1839, married to the late James Peed, one of Henry County's best known citizens. To this union were born three children, namely: Caroline, Evan H., and Helen, now Mrs. William F. Johnson of Washington, District of Columbia. The last two named alone survive. Evan H. Peed is one of the best known citizens of the county and is respected at home and abroad for his sterling integrity, urbanity and generous nature.

At the battle of Antietam, Captain Hobson secured a very fine gold watch and chain, taken from the body of a South Carolina Major, and when, at a later date, the Captian went into the Federal Army with the 9th Indiana Cavalry, he left the watch with his half-brother, Evan H. Peed, who is still its possessor and regards it as among his treasured mementoes. It is worthy of mention that the Hobsons were from North Carolina and the Evan Hobson, together with his brothers, settled in what is now Henry County, sometime prior to its organization as a county.

Captain Volney Hobson was commissioned as Captain of Company E, 9th Indiana Calvary, December 18, 1863, and was mustered into the United States service January 8, 1864.