Digital North Carolina & George Hobbs

When I begin a deep dive on individuals in North Carolina, “Digital North Carolina” is the place that I go. It is one of the best websites that I know of for North Carolina information. The site contains North Carolina specific yearbooks, newspapers, city directories, images and other digital records.

George W. Hobbs (1805-1858) – York Rite Mason

George W. Hobbs is an ancestor that I’ve had difficulty finding his vital data. I’ve long wondered what his death date is. I have been unable to find George in the 1860 Census, although I have found his children dispersed around the country. I do see him enumerated in the 1850 Census, so I’ve long believed that he died sometime between 1850 and 1860.  I was wondering if Digital North Carolina could help me pinpoint George’s death.

I searched for George Hobbs and received 477 results in Digital Content and another 75 hits in Newspapers. The system provides the 20 most relevant but I wanted to focus a bit more on my George.  Although it is counter-intuitive, if you select “View Entire Result Set.” At the top of the new page is an option for Advanced Search (you don’t see the Advanced Search before then). From the Advanced search page I entered to search for the exact phrase “George Hobbs” and received 12 results; a much more manageable number.  Most of the results were Masonic documents.

Symbol of Royal Arch Masons
(York Rite)

There were several “Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient York Masons.” Through them, I was able to follow much of George Hobbs’s Masonic Life. I saw him first as a member Orr Lodge, No 104 in Washington, in 1840 and saw him as a member there for several years. Then I found him as a member of the Ancient York Masons, Conoho Lodge, No. 131, in Hamilton. His participation continues with the Conoho Lodge through June 1858. Beginning in 1959 Conoho Lodge failed to submit their annual “return” to the Grand Lodge. I noted they failed to return their information in 1859 and 1860. There were no returns during the Civil War. In 1867, the Conoho Lodge was suspended by the Grand Lodge.

No, the Digital North Carolina records found didn’t answer my question fully about when George Hobbs died, however, it did provide valuable information.  I know he was alive when the Conoho Lodge submitted it membership information in June, 1858, which places his death between June 1858 and May 1860. George doesn’t show up in the 1860 Mortality Schedule, so that suggests he died between June 1858 and June 1859.

More importantly, the Digital North Carolina records provided a much clearer of his interests. He was a Mason while he lived in Washington, Beauford County, North Carolina.  He maintained his Masonic activities after he moved to Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina. I also saw learned he had been a Senior Warden and was a member of the York Rite.

Digital North Carolina is on my list of “must-visit” sites whenever I am researching North Carolina ancestors; I hope you add it to your list too.

North Carolina

Digital North Carolina Yearbooks, Newspapers, Images, Memorabilia, City Directories and more.  

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James Ashley Hobbs (1843-1920)

James Ashley Hobbs (1843-1920)

James Ashley Hobbs was probably born in October 1843.  The 1850 and 1870 Censuses indicate he was 6
and 26 at the times of the two censuses. The 1880 and 1910 censuses infer that
his was born in 1844 and the 1900 Census clearly indicates he was born October
1844. Additionally, when James enlisted in the CSA in December of 1862 he
indicated his age was 20, suggesting an 1842 birth year. Because the 1850 and
1870 censuses are closer to the event, I believe that 1843 is more likely
correct. Martin County Heritage does
suggest James Ashley Hobbs was born in 1841, however the entry includes a
question mark, does not cite sources, and is not corroborated by any other
sources. Because of that, I discount the birthdate in Martin County Heritage.

All entries are consistent with his being born in North
Carolina. In 1840, his parents were living in Beaufort County, North Carolina[1]; in
1850, he and his parents were living in Martin County, North Carolina[2]. Therefore,
it isn’t clear exactly where in North Carolina he was born.
James was the sixth child of eight children born to George
W. and M. Hobbs, although it appears that two of his older siblings died before
he was born.

Civil War Service – CSA

North Carolina Civil War Flag
James enlisted in the 41st Regiment (Cavalry) sometime
before October 1862 when he transferred to Company G[3].  In September, 1963, he transferred to the 17th
Regiment – NC Troops (2nd Organization) Company A – Roanoke Guards[4]. In
December, 1963, he was admitted to Hospital No. 4. In Wilmington, South
Carolina. He was there until 3 February 1864, when he was returned to duty in
Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina[5]. We
also know he was issued clothing on 21 June 1864[6].
After the war, James married Annie Deborah Long on 16 May
1866 in Hamilton, Martin County, North Carolina[7]. The
young family located to Temperance, Amherst County, Virginia where their first
three children, Charles Leon, George Samuel, and Annie Elizabeth were
born.  Then about 1873 they moved back to
North Carolina and lived in Palmyra, Halifax County where James was a merchant.
While in Palmyra, daughters Mattie D. and Mary Emolyn (Emily) were born[8]
About 1878 the family moved back to Martin County and lived
in Hamilton where James was a Farmer, carpenter, & captain on a steam boat
on the Roanoke River. 1878 also saw the birth of their sixth child, Roland
Rivers Hobbs.
Sometime before 1880 they lost their second child, George.
1881, 1883, and 1885 saw the births of three more children, James Floyd, Fanny,
and Mary Lillian Hobbs.[9]

In 1890, their oldest daughter, 18 year-old Annie Elizabeth
Hobbs married Frank Alton Armstrong. Sometime before 1896 two of their
daughters, Mattie and Mary Emolyn, died. While living in Hamilton, James was a
member of the Masons and attended the Methodist Church[10].
Martin County Courthouse, Williamston, North Carolina
Photo by J. Stephen Conn
James Ashley Hobbs was Clerk of Court from 1896 until 1914
In 1896, James was elected Clerk of Court for the Superior
Court of Martin County, North Carolina and the family moved to Williamston and
rented a house on Main Street. Clerk of Court is a prestigious position and one
he held until 1914[11].
In 1903 his daughter Fannie died[12].
In 1910, his daughter Mary Lillian Hobbs married James
Dallas Howell[13].
In 1913, his wife of 47 years passed away[14].
James was said to be a quiet person, he raised a fine
garden, and kept the place in first class shape. He read to his grandchildren
the continued stories in the “Youth’s Companion” and “Comfort.”[15]
James continued living in Williamston until his death in
1920. He died while in Hobgood, Halifax County, North Carolina. Both he and his
wife are buried in the cemetery in Hamilton.[16]


James Ashley Hobbs had a grandson (daughter Mary Lillian
Hobbs Howell’s) son name Ashley.

He also had a great-grandson, (Son – James Floyd Hobbs’ son
– James Floyd Hobbs’, son – James Ashley Hobbs) named after him.

Further Actions:

Find James Ashley Hobbs in the 1860 Census. (unsuccessful
in Ancestry.Com and Family
Further research James Ashley Hobbs’s contribution
to the Civil War and the actions of his companies. (Lots of things on Fold 3 to
Find, document, and photograph James and Annie’s burial
location. (Not seeing on Find-a-Grave) 

List of Greats

1.    James Ashley
George W.

[1] 1840 Census,, 1840; Washington, Beaufort, North
Carolina; Roll: 355; Page: 268; Image: 546; Family History Library Film:
[2] 1850 Census,, Year: 1850; Census Place: Martin,
North Carolina; Roll: M432_636; Page: 403B; Image: 443.
[3] James H. McCallum,
Martin County during the Civil War
Including a Roster of Troups from Martin County (:  Martin County Historical Society, 1971), Page
[4] James H. McCallum,
Martin County during the Civil War
Including a Roster of Troups from Martin County (:  Martin County Historical Society, 1971), Page
[5] Hughes, S. J. N.,
& Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage
(Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 418
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[11] Francis M. Manning
and W. H. Booker, Martin County History – Vol. 1 (Williamston, N.C., Enterprise
Publishing Company, 1977), Page 188-189.
[12] Hughes, S. J. N.,
& Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage
(Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 418 –
James Ashley Hobbs
[13] North Carolina,
Marriages, 1759-1979, Family Search, J. D. Howell & Mary Lillian Hobbs –
Accessed 2013-12-07.
[14] Hughes, S. J. N.,
& Martin County Historical Society (N.C.), Martin County Heritage
(Williamston, NC, Martin County Historical Society, 1980), Article # 418 –
James Ashley Hobbs