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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1124~


Judge Alfred N. Hobson

 photo in the source book

Alfred Norman Hobson was born April 1, 1848, at Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, now a part of greater Pittsburg. He was the eldest child of Joseph and Elizabeth (Baker) Hobson, both now deceased. He came to Fayette county with his parents on May 4, 1855, upon their removal to this county, and, with the exception of brief absences from the county, has resided therein ever since. His father settled at Fayette, where he entered upon the practice of law. In 1858 he was elected county clerk and moved his family to West Union. After five consecutive terms as clerk, he was elected to a seat in the house of the thirteenth General Assembly, serving with ability during his term. At the close of it, he was appointed assessor of internal revenue, in which position he served until the office was abolished.

Joseph Hobson was a man of great force of character and commanding influence and enjoyed the respect and confidence of all who knew him. His wife was Elizabeth Baker, who was an ideal wife and mother, presiding over the home with dignity and tenderness, giving the best of care and counsel to her children.

It was under the influence of such a home that Alfred N. Hobson grew to manhood. In boyhood he attended the public schools of the village, afterwards the Upper Iowa University, and later for a brief period at the State University of Iowa. He chose law as his profession, and entered upon the study under the direction of his father and later in the office of L. L. Ainsworth. He was admitted to practice in the district court of the state on April 27, 1870, and in the supreme court of the state on April 2, 1873. After his admission to the bar he went to California with a view to locating there. He taught school one summer in the mountains in Sierra county, that state, and after an experience of a few months concluded to return to Iowa.

From April, 1871, to May, 1873, Mr. Hobson held a clerkship in the office of the United States assessor of internal revenue at Dubuque. During his residence in Dubuque he spent his leisure time in study and had access to many volumes from the public library. He considers the time thus spent among the most enjoyable and useful experiences in life. In his duties in this clerkship he was trained to the necessity for accuracy and promptness and gained much valuable knowledge of business, and made the acquaintance of a large number of the prominent men of Iowa.

After his return to West Union, in May, 1873, Mr. Hobson entered the law office of L. L. Ainsworth as a clerk and continued in that capacity until after the election of the latter to Congress. In February, 1875, a co-partnership was formed which continued until Mr. Hobson was called to the bench at the beginning of 1895. During the last eighteen months Judge Hobson was engaged in practice, W. J. Ainsworth was also a member of the firm.

During the time he was engaged in practice Mr. Hobson devoted his energies to acquiring a thorough practical knowledge of the profession, and won recognition at the bar of the district as a thorough student of the law and well informed on all subjects necessary to successfully pursue the practice of the law, but was particularly recognized by the bar as a chancery lawyer, unsurpassed in northern Iowa. In 1894 there was a spontaneous movement in the district to elevate him to the bench, and the Republicans tendered him the nomination, which he accepted. He was elected and entered upon the duties of the position for which he was eminently qualified, on January 1, 1895. As a judge, he has been remarkably successful, not only in earning the esteem of the bar and litigants, but in the care and caution exercised in ruling on points of law, in his methods of expediting business in the court room, and in rendering decisions that have been affirmed in the higher judicial tribunals. His judicial district consists of the counties of Allamakee, Clayton, Winneshiek, Fayette, Howard and Chickasaw. Judge Hobson was re-nominated by acclamation in 1898, 19802, 1906 and 1910, and re-elected without opposition in the recent general election, and has always been re-elected either without opposition or with only nominal opposition.

In 1878 Judge Hobson was married to Martha K. Ingham, daughter of John B. and Catherine (Neeb) Ingham, of Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. They have had three children, Joseph Ingham, Ida Neeb, and Florence Louise. The latter died in her tenth year. Joseph is married to a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Simeon HOWE, of Dover township, near West Union, and is one of the prosperous young business men at Emmetsburg, Iowa. Ida N. was graduated from the department of liberal arts of the State University of Iowa in June, 1909, and is at home.

Mrs. Hobson is a woman of intelligence and refinement, and, while devoted to her domestic duties, is imbued with the public spirit of the modern woman, and is active in club work, being a member of the Tourist Club, a well established literary club, and the Tuesday Art Club, which has for a number of years been an incentive to the study of art.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Tom and Sharon Dorland


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