Pages 380-382, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




HARMON HOBART.—In all ages and enlightened places the administrative officer of the court has been fraught with serious and weighty responsibilities. He is the agent of the court and stands between the


citizen and the seat of justice. The mandates of his authority he executes without favor and this execution requires not only superiot intelligence but must be done without timidity or lack of courage. The sheriff's office, like all others in a county, has its clerical duties to be performed, but unlike other offices, it furnishes ample opportunity for the exercise of native ingenuity and tact, elements not universal in the mental composition of a man. But once in the past quarter of a century has Allen county chosen a man for high sheriff who was not only lacking in clerical ability but was woefully short on courage. For sixteen years the county has placed men in the shrievalty possessing prime qualities for court officers. They have been men who knew the meaning of duty and were only satisfied in its performance, men who were good citizens as well as good officers and whose history will reveal the incumbency of the sheriff's office as the leading chapter of their lives. But of all the court officers of Allen county none has excelled in ability or official integrity the present incumbent, Harmon Hobart. The element of training for any business is one to be considered from the standpoint of efficiency and if our subject has not erred, in any manner, during his administration it is due to his bringing-up in the office.

Harmon Hobart was born in Cottage Grove township, Allen county, September 4, 1869. He is the son of ex-Sheriff Lewis Hobart, and was a country youth up to his twentieth year. His father was born near Oswego, New York, in 1840, and his grandfather was born in Dublin, Ireland. The latter Edward Hobart, owned and operated a steamer between the ports of Liverpool and New York and upon settling in the United States took up his residence near Oswego, in the Empire state. Some time prior to the Civil war he removed to MaComb,[sic] Illinois, where he died at the age of eighty-nine years.

Lewis Hobart was reared on his father's farm in McDonough county, Illinois, and when the war came on he enlisted in the Sixteenth Illinois Infantry. After his discharge he attended Bryant & Stratton's Business College, in Quincy, Illinois, and graduated. He came to Kansas at once and worked as a farm hand till 1867 when he married Eliza J., a daughter of William Bartley, of Champaign county, Illinois. Mr. Hobart took a claim five miles south of Humboldt, improved it and resided upon it as a farmer and stock raiser till 1889 when he assumed the sheriff's office to which the Republicans had elected him. He served two terms and has, since his retirement, been occupied with his large private interests and with handling real estate.

Harmon Hobart is one of a family of seven children. His education was acquired in the schools of his native county. He took the position of jailer and under-sheriff when his father became sheriff and filled the position with exceptional ability through his terms and those of his successor, Sheriff Ausherman. He was slow to become a candidate for the office and did not announce his willingness to accept a nomination till other candidates believed they had the prize well in hand. His nomination, the first time, came to him without a great contest and the second time without


competition, and each time he was elected by majorities much in excess of the head of the Republican ticket.

When Mr. Hobart was elected sheriff he was twenty-eight years old, the youngest sheriff the county ever had. His entrance upon his first term was no experiment. He had demonstrated his competency when deputy sheriff and the fact that all went smooth and without a jar was no surprise to the public. His administration will pass down into the archives as one of the most able and successful in the county's history.

In 1900 Mr. Hobart became a partner with J. D. Arnett in the Iola Telephone Exchange. When he has retired from public sevice[sic] the extension and improvement of the telephone service will claim his time and attention.

February 23, 1898, Mr. Hobart was married to Estella, a daughter of George S. Davis, of Iola. Mrs. Hobart was educated in the Iola public schools and is an accomplished musician. She was born March 3, 1875. Harmon Hobart is prominent in fraternal circles. Odd Fellowship, Pythianship and Masonry have claims upon him superior to none, save the domestic circle.

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