Timothy Dwight Hobart

Timothy Dwight Hobart

Infobox Person
name = Timothy Dwight Hobart

image_size = 300px
caption = Timothy Dwight Hobart (1855-1935)
birth_date = birth date |1855|10|6
birth_place = Berlin, Vermont, USA
death_date = death date and age|1935|5|19|1855|10|6|
death_place = Pampa, Texas
occupation = Businessman; Landowner
Rancher; Mayor of Pampa
spouse= Minnie Wood Warren Hobart (married, 1888-his death)
children=Four children; one died in 1910
residence=Pampa, Texas
footnotes=(1) Vermont native Hobart played a major role in the modern development of the Texas Panhandle – far beyond his service as mayor of Pampa, a town that he had helped to establish in 1902.

(2) Hobart left his job as a small-town school superintendent to become a land agent and eventually prosperous businessman in Texas.

(3) As outgoing manager of the JA Ranch, Hobart had urged Montie Ritchie to sell the ranch, but Ritchie persevered and reversed the operation's declining financial footing.

(4) In his later years, Mayor Hobart worked to establish the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon.

Timothy Dwight Hobart (October 6, 1855May 19, 1935) was a Vermont-born businessman, landowner, surveyor, and civic leader in the Texas Panhandle. He lived primarily in Pampa, the seat of Gray County, which he had helped to establish in 1902. He was elected mayor of Pampa in 1927. In his later years, he was the manager of the large JA Ranch, based in the first third of the 20th century in four counties southeast of Amarillo: Donley, Armstrong, Swisher, and Briscoe. [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fho1.html Handbook of Texas Online - HOBART, TIMOTHY DWIGHT ] ]

Early years

Hobart was born in Berlin in Washington County near the capital city of Montpelier in northern Vermont. He was school superintendent there, when in 1882 he heeded the advice of a cousin, Ira Hobart Evans, to relocate to Texas to work as an agent for the New York and Texas Land Company. At the time, the firm owned some five million acres (20,000 km²) from Brazoria on the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle. Hobart arrived in the fall of 1882 in Palestine, the seat of Anderson County in east Texas. He worked with a surveying crew under E.A. Giraud in southwestern Texas during an apprenticeship and learned about Texas climate, soil, vegetation, and wildlife. Added business compelled that he be shifted to the state capital of Austin for easier access to official records. In 1886, Evans placed Hobart in complete charge of a million acres (4,000 km²) of open range in the Panhandle. [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/NN/ufn2.html Handbook of Texas Online - NEW YORK AND TEXAS LAND COMPANY ] ]

Disposing of Panhandle lands

Hobart established headquarters at Mobeetie in Wheeler County, one of the first three Panhandle settlements. He surveyed, fenced, and improved lands for leasing and subdividing among various cattle operations. Hobart noted that sales increased where pastures were fenced, and water was easily available. He devised a plan, approved by Evans, to lease land to large cattle operations for grazing at the rate of four cents an acre and applying the first year’s rental to improvements. Hobart reasoned that the improvements would bring greater profits down the line. Execution of the plan required the stringing of hundreds of miles of barbed wire, cutting thousands of fence posts, and the digging hundreds of wells with accompanying windmills. There were also earthen dams required to hold the water. The fence posts came from the Palo Duro Canyon to the south; most were cut by two bachelor brothers, Ben and Sebe Merry, believed to have been over seven feet tall, who were paid seven to nine cents for each post.

As the number of settlers, some foreigners, increased, so did the demand for smaller tracts. Some of the largest sales included the North Fork Pasture of convert|190000|acre|km2, the Sam Lazarus Pasture of convert|100000|acre|km2, and the Nick Eaton Range of convert|88000|acre|km2. By 1897, most of the large cattle concerns had been divided into smaller units, and large tracts were not so available for leasing. That situation had compelled Charles Goodnight to end his partnership in the JA in 1888. The leasing of smaller parcels, at from five to eight cents per acre continued to provide funds for improvements. By 1900, the company’s Panhandle lands had been improved and sold at profitable prices ranging from $1.75 to $3 an acre.

White Deer Lands

In January 1903, Hobart resigned from the New York and Texas Land Company to become general manager of the newly-established White Deer Lands Trust Company, which purchased some convert|1000|mi2|km2 of land from him in Carson, Roberts, Hutchinson, and Gray counties in the northern Panhandle. From his Gray County headquarters, Hobart surveyed, fenced, improved, and sold land for White Deer until 1924.JA Ranch exhibit, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas]

Hobart was in charge of recruiting farmers to the Panhandle lands, with Henry Thut and Perry LeFors being among the first to purchase such agricultural tracts. Farming communities, including LeFors and Groom, sprang up. The company office was located in the new railroad town of Pampa. The Diamond F Ranch, then consisting of convert|630000|acre|km2, sold its cattle and leased its land to various cattle outfits. White Deer Lands had succeeded in selling most of the remaining convert|400000|acre|km2 of land. [ [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/FF/dsf2.html Handbook of Texas Online - FRANCKLYN LAND AND CATTLE COMPANY ] ]

The history of the company, which existed until 1957, is maintained at the White Deer Land Museum in a structure constructed in 1916 and located at 112-116 South Cuyler Street in Pampa. [ [http://www.museuminpampa.org/AboutUs.html Welcome To The White Deer Land Museum ] ]

Hobart and the JA Ranch

In 1914, JA manager James Wolcott Wadsworth, Jr., a nephew of ranch owner Cornelia Adair (1837-1921), was elected to the United States Senate from New York. Adair then asked Hobart to take over the management in 1915. On Cornelia’s death, Hobart became a coexecutor of her estate. As the sole JA administrator in 1932, Hobart had urged Adair’s grandson and principal heir, Montie Ritchie (1910-1999), to sell off the JA lands, but Ritchie, who became sole owner and manager on Hobart’s death, refused. Ritchie turned around ranch operations during the 1940s, having overcome the effects of his grandmother’s estate debts, the Great Depression, and drought. Today, the ranch remains in fifth-generation hands of the original Adairs.

Civic leadership

Throughout his later years, Hobart devoted himself to civic improvements in Pampa. He was the president of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society during the latter 1920s and early 1930s.. He assisted the board in securing funding to construct the first portion of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon in Randall County south of Amarillo, which was dedicated on April 14, 1933. He also was a banker and twice president of the trade association, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, based in Fort Worth. [http://ftp.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txgray/gbios2.html Gray County Biographies ] ]

In 1888, Hobart had married the former Minnie Wood Warren of Vermont. They had four children; a son died in 1910. Minnie and the three other children survived Hobart, who died of pneumonia.

Lester Fields Sheffy published Hobart’s biography, ‘’The Life and Times of Timothy Dwight Hobart’’ through the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society in 1950. [cite book
title=The life and times of Timothy Dwight Hobart, 1855-1935: Colonization of West Texas
author=Lester Fields Sheffy
publisher=Panhandle-Plains Historical Society


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