One wife or two? M & Eartha [Hobbs]

One Wife or Two?

It is really unclear to me if George Hobbs (1801-1860) had one wife or two. The records and family history make it really difficult to determine the truth. But, here is my logic.
Martin County Heritage, by Hughes, S. J. N., & Martin County Historical Society (N.C.) Published in 1980 has hundreds of articles regarding individuals from Martin County, NC.  What is good about these articles is they were written by individuals who had access to family records and often knew the individuals written about.[i]

Article 419 was written by 1st cousin once removed, Hazel Armstrong Valentine. Hazel was born in 1895 and knew the family in North Carolina first hand. Her article sates that “George Hobbs and Eartha W. Gaskins were married 3-29-1836. This is the first entry under “Marriages” in J.A. Hobbs’ Bible. 
Another article in the same book, “Article 495 – Hettie Elizabeth Johnson” indicates that Hettie’s mother [Hester Jane Hobbs] was “the daughter of George A. Hobbs and his wife listed as only ‘M’ (born 1809).” 
It appears that George died before the 1860 Census as I cannot find him enumerated in that census. Also it appears that all his children are living in different places.
The 1850 Census is clear, George Hobbs, living with 41-year-old M Hobbs, and six Hobbs children.[ii] Although relationships are not given in the 1850 Census, it is clearly a family unit. Being 41 years of age during the 1850 census infers “M” has a birthdate between 2 June 1808 and 1 June 1809. Also, their daughter Sarah F Hobbs was age 14 during the Census. That would infer a birthdate between 2 June 1835 and 1 June 1836. What isn’t clear is that if Eartha Gaskins married George on 3-29-1836 then Sarah came pretty quick after the wedding, within 2 months. Alternately with Sarah being 14 during the 1850 Census, she could have been born as early as 2 June 1835. If that is the there was probably another wife who gave birth to Sarah and that would have to be “M.” But “M” is reported in George’s household in 1850, so “M” couldn’t have been replaced by Eartha, rather, “M” is likely Eartha M Gaskins (“M” instead of W” and was misread.

Eartha W. Gaskins
Mother of Hester Jane
I cannot be certain if “M” and Eartha are the same person, but I suspect that they are.  I will need to closely analyze the other children and see if I can find any additional facts which will prove my contention either way.

Bio – Eartha W Gaskins, aka “M”

Born:  1809 in North Carolina
Married: 3/29/1838 to George W Hobbs.
1850: Lived with George Hobbs and apparently six children

Sarah F Hobbs (1836-?)
C. S. Hobbs (Edward s) (1840-?)
George Hobbs (1842-1865)
James A Hobbs (1841-1920)
Elizabeth Hobbs (1847-?)
Easter I Hobbs (Hester Jane) (1849-1908)

Future actions

Find death record for Eartha W Hobbs and/or “M” Hobbs.
Trace Birth, marriage, and death records for Sarah, Edward, Elizabeth and Hester.

List of Greats

James Ashley Hobbs
M and/or Eartha W Gaskins


[i] Hughes, Shelby Jean Nelson. 1980. Martin County heritage. Williamston, N.C.: Martin County Historical Society.
[ii] Source: 1850 Census; George Hobbs – Martin County, North Carolina; Ancestry.Com

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