Hobart family papers, 1737-1941 (inclusive), 1752-1873 (bulk)

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Content Notes

The Hobart family papers, 1737-1941 (inclusive), 1752-1873 (bulk), contain the correspondence and records of Philadelphia merchant Enoch Hobart and his son, merchant, insurance broker, and attorney Robert E. Hobart, as well as other Hobart family members, such as Hannah Hobart, wife of Enoch Hobart, several of Robert E. Hobart’s children, including attorney and justice of the peace Nathaniel P. Hobart, and various relations through marriage, such as the Potts, Pratt, and Rutter families. Enoch Hobart's papers date from 1752 to 1776 and relate to trade of staves, flour, rum, and sugar in the West Indies and parts of Western Europe, and his ownership of several vessels. They include several ledgers, a letter book, bills, invoices, and receipts. Robert E. Hobart's papers date from 1790 to 1825, and include correspondence and legal documents generated during his work as a lawyer, insurance policies and claims, and writings related to his term in the Pennsylvania state legislature. Papers of other Hobarts and extended family members contain legal and estate records, correspondence, school materials, poetry and other writings, and genealogical information.

Biographical Notes

The Hobart family was active in business, law, and politics in Philadelphia in the 18th and early 19th century. Captain Enoch Hobart (1712-1776), a mariner, merchant, and ship owner, traded commodities including staves, flour, bread, fish, candles, rum, cotton, sugar, molasses, and coffee, in the West Indies and Europe. He owned or held interests in the brigantines Polly, Minerva, and Dove. Hobart completed several extended journeys to Jamaica, where he sold rum, lumber, and other goods. He occasionally partnered with Philip Haughton (1700-1765), a plantation owner in Jamaica, and John Bringhurst (1772-1789) of Philadelphia. In 1755 Enoch Hobart married Hannah Pratt (1732-1804), and they had nine children including Robert Enoch Hobart (1768-1826), who, like his father, engaged in shipping and trade. He also started an insurance brokerage, worked as an attorney, and was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Montgomery County In 1790 he married Sarah May Potts (1770-1826), granddaughter of John Potts (1710-1768), the founder of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where they lived. Their twelve children included Nathaniel Potts Hobart (1790-1860), an attorney and Justice of the Peace for Montgomery County and Robert Enoch Hobart, Jr. (1796-1869). In addition to the Potts and Pratts, the Hobarts were related through marriage to the Anthony, Smith, and Rutter families. The Potts and Rutters founded and managed iron furnaces in Pennsylvania, and were active in politics.