The Valley of Heart's Delight
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WILLIAM B. HOBSON




SURNAMES:Speinhour,Henderson, Botsford, Macauley, Connel,
O'Shaughnessey



For nearly three-quarters of a century the Hobson family have been closely associated with Santa Clara County, of which William B. Hobson is a native and for many years was engaged in the mercantile business in San Jose. He first saw the light on November 11, 1857, in a house that stood on the present site of Luna Park, and was the son of George and Sarah P. (Speinhour) Hobson. The Hobsons are of Southern extraction, George having been born in North Carolina in February, 1823. At an early age he migrated into Missouri and there met and married Miss Speinhour, like himself a native of North Carolina , born on May 18, 1828, and they were married on January 10, 1847. Early in the spring of that same year they started for the then unknown West, traveling with an emigrant train of sixty wagons by way of Forts Laramie and Hall and arriving at Johnson's ranch, near the present site of the city of Sacramento in October, having taken about six months to complete the journey. They soon came on down into the Santa Clara Valley, but did not tarry long, going to Monterey, then the capital of California. They only had stopped there a few months and during the time their eldest child was born, and then came back to San Jose in January, 1849, and this city and county has ever since been the scene of the activity of the Hobson family.

George Hobson tried his luck in the mines and met with gratifying results. He and his companions struck a rich lead and from one pocket alone each man washed out $1,000 in in three days. Two years of mining satisfied Mr. Hobson and he returned to Santa Clara County and turned his attention to ranching, which was conducted in a very primitive fashion in those days, a great deal of the manual labor being done by the Indians. San Jose was then a squalid village, made up of adobe huts and the city of inhabitants were Spanish and uneducated Mexicans. Mr. Hobson followed farming and also engaged in the dairy business, running the first milk wagon ever seen on the streets of the town.

In 1861 he moved his family to what is now known as Luna Park, where he owned about 1,200 acres; two years later he moved to a ranch of 160 acres upon which was an adobe house and in later years this section was subdivided and became a part of San Jose and Hobson street, near where the ranch house was located, was named in honor of George Hobson. Here he and his wife with their three sons established their home, which soon became the center of hospitality of the English-speaking residents of the town. There were nine children in the family, of whom two sons, and four daughters reached mature years. Thaddeus died in 1911; those now living are William B.; Mrs. Mary Henderson; Mrs. Annie Botsford; Mrs. Martha Macauley; and Mrs. Sadie Connel. George Hobson died in 1892 and Mrs. Hobson passed away in 1919, having reached the good old age of ninety-one.

George B. Hobson attended the public school and the old San Jose Institute and after quitting he worked on a ranch for three years. Finding ranch life not to his liking, he came to San Jose and 1876 bought out the clothing business of Obanion & Kent, who had established the business in 1875. Mr. Hobson carried on the store alone until 1882, when he took his brother, T.W. Hobson, in as a partner, and they carried on the business under the firm name of T. W. Hobson & Company, which continued active under the inspiriting influence of the two Hobsons until W. B. retired in 1921. The reputation of the firm for square dealing, strict business integrity and reliability enabled them to build up a large and successful trade among all classes of people.

The marriage of W.B. Hobson uniting him with Miss Marguerite O'Shaughnessey, occurred in San Jose January 13, 1886. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and takes an active interest in every movement that has for its aim the building up of San Jose and Santa Clara County. He is a charter member of San Jose Parlor No. 22 , N. S. G. W , belongs to the Elks, the Country Club and to the National Union. In his younger days he served for some years in the State Militia.

Popular as a citizen, genial in disposition, while a man of large interests, he has never allowed himself to become completely absorbed in business, but has found time for the pleasures of out-door life and is fond of hunting, fishing and trapshooting.


Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 406



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July 19, 2005