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Ventura County









            A leader in civic and philanthropic work in Ventura, Mrs. Edith (Hobson) Hoffman has constantly sought to enlarge her field of usefulness and is perhaps best known as one of the founders and the manager for the past ten years of St. Catherine’s elementary school for girls and boys and high school for girls.  Her father, William Arthur Hobson, was born in Ventura, July 10, 1865, a son of William Dewey and Isabel Jane (Winemiller) Hobson, of whom more extended mention is made elsewhere in this work.

            “William A. Hobson acquired his public school education in Ventura as a pupil in the old brick schoolhouse on the hill, supplementing this by a course of study in the Heald Business College of San Francisco.  At the age of sixteen he went to work in the Morrison grocery store, and two years later, in 1883, joined his brother, Abram Lincoln Hobson, in the packing and retail meat business in Ventura.  Some years prior to that time A. L. Hobson had become his father’s partner in that business and eventually acquired the latter’s interest therein.  The two brothers formed the Hobson Brothers Packing Company in 1883, purchased the market of Peralta & Brown in Ventura, and from the beginning developed the leading wholesale and retail meat business in Ventura county.  They also extended their operations into Santa Barbara county.  With the passing years they became the largest live stock dealers in this part of the state, meanwhile accumulating large holdings in real estate, and in the control of their affairs manifested the enterprise and mature judgment which characterized the commercial activities of their father.

            “William A. Hobson met an accidental death in July, 1913, when he was forty-eight years of age and in the prime of life. He was a man of exceptional worth and his untimely death was a distinct loss to Ventura county and to the wide circles in which he moved.  Of him it was said at that time: “Mr. Hobson participated helpfully in civic affairs and was honored with the presidency of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce.  In association with a number of other prominent citizens, he was instrumental in putting through the Rincon highway, and in 1913 he assisted materially in the preliminary survey of the Maricopa highway, supplying with T. G. Gabbert the bond of ten thousand dollars for the survey.  Many other projects for the benefit of the community and economic conditions therein were taking shape in his mind, and had he been spared from the automobile accident which caused his passing, Ventura county would have been much richer for his presence and cooperation.  He took pride in his birthplace and was an enthusiastic member of the Native Sons of the Golden West.  The term ‘native Californian’ has come to mean something on the Pacific coast and nowhere could have been found a better living example of this type than William A. Hobson.  With the exception of one year spent in travel on the continent, he lived all his years within the confines of the county and gave Ventura the best he had to give.

            “In 1888 Mr. Hobson was married to Miss Effie Sargent, who in her girlhood came from Ohio to California to teach school, locating at San Joaquin in 1883, while later in 1888 she removed to Ventura.  Mr. and Mrs. Hobson became the parents of a daughter, Edith May, now wife of Walter H. Hoffman, who reside on the famous old Rancho Santa Ana, now called the Rancho Casitas.  This is one of the show places of Ventura county and has large corrals and stables for several hundred head of stock.  Besides the many fine head of racing stock, there are also several hundred head of blooded cattle.

            “It was on the 2nd of October, 1914, that Edith May Hobson became the bride of Walter H. Hoffman, Jr.  He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, March3, 1887, a son of Walter H. and Mary (Waterman) Hoffman, and obtained his higher education in the University of Louisiana, which conferred upon him the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Science.  He was a chemist for the American Beet Sugar Company and afterward was with the Cuban American Sugar Company, spending five years in Cuba.  Since coming to Ventura he has greatly developed the widely known Rancho Casitas, which ranks with the finest stock farms in the west.  In his stables have been bred some of the finest running horses in California.  One of his horses, Crystal Pennant, in 1928 won the large purse, the ‘Coffroth Handicap’ of one hundred and ten thousand dollars, at the Tia Juana meet.  Mr. Hoffman was elected president of the Ventura County Fair and in 1926 was made chairman of the horse show, one of the most important features of the fair.

            “Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman have two children:  Katherine Louise, who was born August 17, 1919; and Walter William, born August 17, 1922.  The mother of these children was also born on August 17, an interesting coincidence.  Mr. Hoffman is identified with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and the Ojai Country Club.  Mrs. Hoffman is the past-regent of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Daughters of American Colonists, a member of Mission Canyon Chapter of the daughters of the American Revolution, and also belongs to the woman’s auxiliary of the Ventura Post of the American Legion.  In charitable and educational work she has been very active and at Ventura participated in founding St. Catherine’s School.  She has given liberally of her efforts and means to the support of this institution, which is taught by the Sisters of the Holy Cross of Ventura and is now one of the select schools on the Pacific coast.”


Transcribed by Kevin V. Bunker 18 November 2012.

Source: California of the South Vol. V,  by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 505-507, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012 K.V. Bunker.