Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 415-17.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Samuel W. Hobbs

No history of Buena Vista county would be complete without a personal and extended reference to the history of Samuel W. Hobbs, who for many years has been prominently connected with the events which have shaped its annals.  He was Storm Lake's first mayor and has filled various offices, the duties of which have been discharged with promptness and fidelity.  He is now engaged in the real-estate business and his enterprise and diligence have constituted the factors in his well merited success.


Mr. Hobbs was born in Pelham, New Hampshire, in 1841. His father, Francis Hobbs, also a native of that place, was of English descent and belonged to a family represented in the Revolutionary war.  He devoted his life to the occupation of farming and during his later days, with his son Samuel, removed from the old Granite state to Massachusetts, where he resided until his death.  He met with a fair degree of success and was respected in the community as a citizen of worth.  He gave his political support to the whig party and held several township offices, including that of selectman.  He married Jane E. Hobbs, who was born in Pelham, New Hampshire, and was her husband's cousin.  She died in 1865, in the faith of the Congregational church, of which she was a devoted member, while Francis Hobbs passed away in 1869.  They were the parents of seven children, of whom Samuel W. Hobbs was third in order of birth.


Upon the home farm Samuel W. Hobbs was reared to the age of seventeen years and early became familiar with all the duties and labors that fall to the lot of an agriculturist.  After attending the district schools he continued his studies in an academy at Framingham, Massachusetts, and later engaged in teaching school for two years, subsequently he became a bookkeeper for a lumber company on a wharf near Boston, Massachusetts, where he remained for three years.


Mr. Hobbs arrived in the west in 1867, settling first in Adel, Dallas county, Iowa, where he secured a position as solicitor for a business house.  He afterward formed a partnership in Dexter, Iowa, for the conducting of real-estate business, and in May, 1870, he and his partner, L. J. Barton, came to Storm Lake, where they opened a real-estate office.  This partnership was continued for four years, at the end of which time Mr. Barton retired and Mr. Hobbs continued in business alone. He is one of the best known real-estate men in northwest Iowa.  From the time of the dissolution of the partnership until l885 he was local agent for the Iowa Railroad Land Company, handling lands granted to railroads in this section of the state.  He also had control of the business of the Iowa Falls & Sioux City Town Lot & Land Company, but in 1885 was called from private business pursuits to take charge of important official duties.


In the meantime, Mr. Hobbs had demonstrated his capability and fidelity in public office. He was one of the early county surveyors and was the first mayor of Sturm Lake, being elected to that office in 1872, his administration was businesslike and progressive, for he exercised his official prerogatives in support of many measures for the public good.  He has been assessor, member of the city council and a member of the school board.  In .March, 1885, when a vacancy occurred in the postoffice [sic] at Storm Lake, he was selected to fill the position of postmaster, through the appointment of President Grover Cleveland, and so continued until 1889.  In the meantime he had been elected county treasurer on the democratic ticket and he therefore resigned his position as postmaster to accept the other office.  He was the custodian of the county funds for one term and when he retired from the office he again took up the real-estate business, in which he has since continued.  He has handled much property in the county, has negotiated many important realty transfers and his efforts have been attended with success.  His own holdings include some town lots and a comfortable dwelling.


In 1873 Mr. Hobbs was married to Jemima C Orswell, the wedding being celebrated on the 23d of January.  She was born in Portsmouth. Rhode Island, October 23, 1845, and comes of English ancestry, although the family was established here in colonial days and was represented in the Revolutionary war.  Mrs. Hobbs was a member of the Universalist church and a most estimable lady, whose many good qualities of heart and mind won her the love and friendship of those with whom she was brought in contact.  She died November 5, 1907, leaving a son, Samuel W. Hobbs, who married Harriet Peters, who is a practicing physician of Aurelia, Cherokee county.


Mr. Hobbs is a member of the Universalist church and he was the first man in the county to be made a Freemason, since which time he has attained the master degree in the lodge.  In politics he has always been a democrat, active and earnest in the work of the party, and has been chairman of the democratic county committee.


Few, if any, are more widely or favorably known and none who have long been before the public enjoy in a larger measure the confidence and good will of those who know them.  Whether in office, in business relations, or in social life Mr. Hobbs has manifested those sterling traits of character, which in every land and clime awaken confidence and good will.  His activity has made him one of the upbuilders [sic] of the county and his worth is widely acknowledged.