The East Bridgewater family bearing this name, the head of which was the late Hon. Aaron Hobart, long one of the town’s leading citizens and substantial men, and whose father before Him, Hon. Aaron Hobart, was an eminent lawyer and efficient public servant, holding many positions of trust and responsibility, State senator, member of the United States Congress, etc., is a branch of the older Abington Hobart family, in which town the Hobarts were long prominent, and that a branch of the still older Hingham family of the name.
It is the purpose here to consider the East Bridgewater Hobart family only. The name there is perpetuated and being worthily worn and the family reputation sustained by the posterity of Judge Aaron Hobart. There follows in chronological order from the first American Hobart ancestor and somewhat in detail the family history and genealogy.
(I) Edmund Hobart, from Hingham, in the County of Essex, England, and born in that parish about 1570, came to this country, arriving in 1633 at Charlestown, and with his son, Thomas, and several others, came to “Bare Cove” the same year, probably for the purpose of assisting in establishing a new plantation, but it is generally thought that he did not locate there permanently until the arrival of his son, Rev. Peter, and those who came with him. He was an early settler of Hingham, one of those who drew their home lots on Town (North) street Sept. 18, 1635. He married (first) Margaret Dewey, who was the mother of his children, and (second) Oct. 10, 1634, Mrs. Sarah Lyford, widow of Rev. John. Mr. Hobart resided on North street, opposite Hobart’s bridge. He was made a freeman March 4, 1634; was constable that same year; and in 1639, 1640 and 1642 was a deputy to the General Court. He died March 8, 1646. His wife Sarah died June 23, 1649. His children, all born in England to Margaret, were:
- Nazareth Hobart, born about 1600
- Edmund Hobart, 1604
- Peter Hobart, 1604
- Thomas Hobart, 1606
- Rebecca Hobart
- Sarah Hobart
- Joshua Hobart, 1614
(II) Thomas Hobart, born in 1606, in Hingham, England, came from Windham village, adjoining Old Hingham, to Charlestown in New England in 1633, and to Hingham, Mass., the same year. It is doubtful, however, whether he came here to live permanently until 1635. The Christian name of his wife, probably the second, was Jane. She died in Hingham, Feb. 18, 1690, and he died Aug. 18, 1689, aged eighty-three years. He was made a freeman May 14, 1634. His place of residence was on West street. His children were:
- Caleb Hobart, born in 1633
- John Hobart, born in 1635
- Rebecca Hobart, baptized in Hingham in December, 1637
- Joshua Hobart, baptized Feb. 4, 1638-39
- Thomas Hobart, baptized Oct. 23, 1649
- Mehetabel Hobart, born July 4, 1651
- Isaac Hobart, born April 25, 1653
- Hannah Hobart, born Jan. 17, 1654-55
- Moses Hobart, born Dec. 2, 1656
- Elias Hobart, born Dec. 9, 1658
- Aaron Hobart, baptized Aug. 25, 1661
- Nathaniel Hobart, baptized May 25, 1665
(III) Aaron Hobart, baptized Aug. 25, 1661, in Hingham, married, Jan. 27, 1696-97, Rebecca, daughter of Soger and Mary (Joselyn) Sumner. Mr. Hobart was drowned March 3, 1704-05, while sailing toward Boston. His widow remarried. Their children, all born in Hingham, were:
- Thomas Hobart, born June 27, 1698
- Isaac Hobart, born July 15, 1700
- Mary Hobart, born May 19, 1702
- Aaron Hobart, born Aug. 11, 1704
(IV) Isaac Hobart, born July 15, 1700, in Hingham, Mass., married in 1724, in which year he removed to Abington, Mary, daughter of John Harden, and died in Abington, Mass., in 1775. Children:
- Thomas Hobart, born in 1725
- Col. Aaron Hobart, born in 1729
- Mary Hobart, born in 1735
- John Hobart, born in 1738
Of Mr. Hobart, in his work on Abington (1866) the late Benjamin Hobart wrote:
“Isaac Hobart, the first named, was my grandfather; he is not, however, to be noticed on account of that relation, but on account of a noted work which he undertook in his day (1745). This was making a tunnel under ground, nearly fifteen rods in length, with deep cuts at the entrance and outlet; some points of it being about twenty feet deep from the surface of the ground. It was walled on the sides, and covered over at the top with large flat stones. The width at the bottom was five feet; at the top four; the height was from five to six feet. A canal, one mile long, conveying the water to this tunnel, was dug; and, by means of it, two streams were united to enlarge a mill privilege. The inhabitants agreed, as an inducement, to allow him to take three quarts of corn as toll for grinding a bushel, instead of two, as provided by law. This monopoly continued over thirty years until my father, Aaron Hobart, who inherited the mills and privileges, relinquished it in the Revolutionary war, as stated before.
“This work, for that day, was a great undertaking, and its accomplishment by a farmer with limited means, shows great energy and perseverance of character. This tunnel, so far as I know, was the first dug in this country; and it has continued to be used to this day with but little repairs. There have been important results from the construction of this tunnel. Except for the union of the two streams, the present extensive works for making tacks, brads, shoe nails, and many other useful articles, would probably never have been established. My honored grandfather, who emigrated to this town over 140 years ago, little thought, when he was doing this work, that he was laying the foundation of so great an establishment in the days of one of his grandsons, the writer of this article.”
(V) Col. Aaron Hobart, born in 1729, in Abington, Mass., married (first), Nov. 5, 1753, Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Pilsbury, and (second) Nov. 25, 1777, Thankful, born May 25, 1747, widow of Elihu Adams, a brother of President John Adams.
Mr. Benjamin Hobart, in his history alluded to above, continues:
“Another one of the same name, Col. Aaron Hobart, my honored father, requires some notice, not, as I said above (of, my grandfather), because he was my father, but because he was a noted man in his day, and did honor to the town. It has been stated in a previous chapter, on Manufactures, that he was the first who cast meetinghouse bells in this country. About the year 1769, in an advertisement of his in a Boston newspaper, he offered his services in casting bells at his furnace in Abington. The editor of the paper in a note remarked that ‘it was a very fortunate circumstance that bells could now be cast in this country, and that we need not be obliged to send to England for them.’ Another important manufacture of his was the casting of cannon in this town. He was the first person who cast them in this country. This honor has been claimed for the old town of Bridgewater before its division. William Allen, Esq., who has been a representative from the town of East Bridgewater, claimed this in a statement in a public newspaper; but it was satisfactorily answered in the same paper that he was mistaken. Col. Aaron Hobart, of Abington, was the first person who cast them in this country.
“After continuing the business for a number of years very successfully and profitably, he sold the establishment to the State; and the late Col. Hugh Orr, of Bridgewater, now East Bridgewater, was employed to continue the business in that town. This probably caused Mr. Allen’s mistake
“Colonel Hobart in his day was a very active business man. He was the owner of several forges for making bar-iron and iron shapes, and a blast furnace for casting hollow ware and cannon balls. He was the owner of a township of land in Maine (18,000 acres), on which he settled two of his sons, and built two saw-mills and a grist mill.”
The children of Colonel Hobart and Elizabeth Pilsbury were:
- Jacob Hobart, born Aug. 5, 1754
- Seth Hobart, Sept. 4, 1755
- Nathaniel Hobart, Oct. 15, 1759
- Elizabeth Hobart, Feb. 5, 1761
- Aaron Hobart, Aug. 9, 1764;
- Noah Hobart, March 17, 1767
- Sarah Hobart, June 13, 1770
- Isaac Hobart, Sept. 1, 1771
The children of Colonel Hobart and Thankful were:
- Adams Hobart, Dec. 3, 1779
- Joseph Hobart, twin, Oct. 24, 1781
- Benjamin Hobart, twin, Oct. 24, 1781
- Salome Hobart, March 20, 1784
- Mary Hobart, Sept. 3, 1787
- Thankful Hobart, March 9, 1793
(VI) Aaron Hobart, born Aug. 9, 1764, was united in marriage with Susanna Adams, born Dec. 7, 1766, daughter of Elihu Adams, of Braintree, and niece of President John Adams. Mr. Hobart died Jan. 9, 1818. Mrs. Hobart died Dec. 31, 1826. They had children as follows:
- Elihu Hobart, born in December, 1785, married Sally Dyer, daughter of Christopher Dyer
- Aaron Hobart was born June 25, 1787
- Susanna Hobart, born in March, 1788, was twice married, first to Zebah Hayden and later to Jared Whitman
- Sarah Hobart, born in June, 1791, became the wife of John S. Champney
- Abigail Adams Hobart, born in June, 1793, married John S. Champney
- Eliza Hobart was born in January, 1800.
(VII) Hon. Aaron Hobart was born June 25, 1787, in what was afterward South Abington, Mass. He was fitted for college under the direction of Rev. Mr. Gurney, and at the early age of fourteen entered Brown University, from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1805. Having determined upon the legal profession as a life work he was prepared for it under the instruction of Hon. Nahum Mitchell, at East Bridgewater. After his admission to the bar in 1809 he passed a year abroad and returning to this country settled in the practice of his profession in about 1811 in the town of Hanover, Mass. He continued in the practice of the law in Hanover until 1824, then removed to East Bridgewater, which was ever afterward his home.
Liberally educated and of fine mind and ability, Mr. Hobart soon after his admission to practice took a leading position at the Plymouth bar, and as well from almost the very start was prominently identified with the political interests of Plymouth county. In 1820, when but thirty-three years of age and while yet a resident of Hanover, he was elected to the State Senate and a member of the United States Congress to fill out the unexpired term of Hon. Zabdiel Sampson, of Plymouth, and perhaps was the youngest man in that body. Young Hobart entered upon his Congressional career with a comprehensive idea of the demands of his section, and so satisfactorily did he discharge the duties devolving upon him that he was reelected for three successive Congresses, serving his constituents and country with intelligence, ability and fidelity until the year 1827, when in consequence of ill health he resigned and resumed the practice of the law in East Bridgewater.
Judge Hobart, for he was for years judge of Probate for Plymouth county, holding the office until it was abolished, was a man of fine legal training, possessed great force of character, sound judgment, and was one of the honored, distinguished sons of Plymouth county. He was for many years a member of Governor Lincoln’s council. Notwithstanding the fact that he was deeply absorbed and engrossed in the arduous duties of professional life, he took the time to indulge in literary lines. His “History of Abington” (1839), a volume of 176 pages, is an invaluable contribution to the historic literature of the Commonwealth.
The Congressional career of Judge Hobart covered an historic and most interesting period of our country’s history. He sat in Congress with the great Webster, and Calhoun and Randolph, whose withering sarcasm and invective, perhaps, was never equaled, especially up to that period, in the Halls of Congress. Judge Hobart witnessed the presentation of General LaPayette to Congress, and was also a participant in the vote which made John Quincy Adams President. His journal kept by him during these years, wherein he sketches, with a graceful pen, men and scenes in Congress, is now in the possession of his descendants, also his correspondence with his constitutents and others. He witnessed in Congress the struggle over the “Missouri Compromise.” Judge Hobart, too, was a member of one or more of the Constitutional Conventions of Massachusetts.
In 1814, Judge Hobart married Maria, daughter of Andrew Leach, of Belfast, Maine, and there were born to them:
- Susan Hobart, who married Eliab Latham, of East Bridgewater
- Aaron Hobart, of East Bridgewater
- George Hobart, now deceased
- Maria Hobart, who married John Lane, of East Bridgewater
- Edward Hobart, of New York
- John Hobart, of East Bridgewater
- Catherine Hobart, who married Oakes A. Ames, Esq., of North Easton.
Judge Hobart died at his home in East Bridgewater, Mass., Sept. 19, 1858.
(VIII) Hon. Aaron Hobart, son of Judge Aaron, was born in 1816, and lived the greater part of his life in East Bridgewater. After acquiring his education he was employed in a commission house in New Orleans, La., and there became very successful in business, being a member of the firm of Tufts & Hobart, general commission merchants. At the close of a business career in which he had been abundantly prospered he returned North, where he purchased in the town of East Bridgewater the Barzillai Allen estate on Central street, upon which he erected a handsome home, in which he passed the remainder of his life. Mr. Hobart was one of the best and most honorably known business men and citizens of Plymouth county. He was actively identified with the Carver Cotton-Gin Company from 1850, and for the greater part of the time its treasurer, on through life. He was practically manager of the business of the concern, and, possessed of rare good judgment and business ability, the success of the corporation was largely due to him. He was ever actively interested in the welfare of East Bridgewater and its people. He believed in employing at all times all of the home people practicable. He, too, believed in paying well for his skilled help, and it was a common thing to find people in the employ of the Carver Cotton Gin Company for a quarter of a century and more.
Mr. Hobart was a gentleman of the old school of whom in this day we see so few; the blood of his distinguished forefathers was evident in his demeanor and general deportment. He was ever most courteous, was of a kindly disposition, and given to the performance of good deeds, but always in a quiet, unostentatious manner. He cared little for political preferment, but served one term as senator from the East Bridgewater district in the State Legislature, 1857.
The wife of Mr. Hobart was formerly Agnes, daughter of the late President Swift, of the Fitchburg Railroad. Three of the four children of this union survived the father, namely:
- Edward Hobart, mentioned below
- Aaron Hobart, who resides in Braintree
- Agnes Hobart, who is the wife of W. H. Adams, M. D., of North Adams.
There was one that died young. Mr. Hobart died at his home in East Bridgewater, Mass., Oct. 8, 1898. Mrs. Hobart passed away in 1903.
(IX) Edward Hobart, son of Aaron, born March 4, 1866, received his education at Boston, attending first the public schools and later Harvard University, from which he was graduated in the class of 1889, with the degree of A. B. After completing his college course he entered the establishment of the Carver Cotton Gin Company, of which his father was then the head, working in the different departments until he had mastered the details of the business, and in time becoming assistant treasurer under his father. He filled that position until the father’s death, when he was elected to the office of treasurer. This responsible position he has filled to the present time, giving satisfactory evidence of his business ability and executive powers in the continued prosperity of the large concern of which he is so important an officer. Aside from his connection with the company, he is a trustee and the president of the East Bridgewater Savings Bank and a director of the Commercial National Bank of Boston. He is a Republican in political sentiment but independent in action; in religion he is identified with the Unitarian Church.
On June 7, 1904, at Newton, Mass., Mr. Hobart married Mabel H. Kimball, of Newton, daughter of Sylvester Kimball. They have had one child, Alice Hobart.