Author: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
FRANK DOUGLAS HOBERT, whose death, on July 28, 1926, was regarded as a great loss to La Center, Clark county, Washington, had been in business there for many years. He was a man of many estimable qualities of character and marked business ability, while as a citizen he took a deep and effective interest in everything concerning the public welfare and the progress of the community.
Mr. Hobert was a son of Henry and Sara (Bolen) Hobert, and of this family Fred Lockley wrote in the Journal of February 16, 1926, as follows: “Henry Hobert was one of the early settlers at La Center. He was born in Union county, Ohio, August 6, 1836. In 1858 he moved to Iowa, where, in December,1859, he married Sara J. Bolen. They had four children, Frank, Luella, Harry and Elizabeth. Frank and Luella were born in Iowa and the others in Clark county, Washington. He moved to La Center in 1872. He farmed, and later went to work with Miller & Gaither in their store at La Center, where he worked till 1883. In 1884 he went into partnership with O. M. Bernard, who shortly sold out to T. J. Kinder.
“While at La Center, recently, I dropped in to have a chat with Frank D. Hobert, the present owner of the store. Mr. Hobert said: ‘I came to La Center when I was twelve years old. I was born in Iowa, October 8, 1860. When we first came west, we settled near Perrydale, in Polk county, Oregon, but came to La Center in 1872. Transportation facilities at that time were very primitive. We came from Portland to St. Helens by steamer and from St. Helens to La Center by rowboat. My father, Henry Hobert, was a regular Yankee. He was a good trader, a schoolteacher, carpenter, farmer and storekeeper. Tom Headley, the blacksmith here, and I are the pioneer businessmen of La Center. He started his blacksmith shop in 1884, the year my father started his store on the bank of the river. J. H Timmen, now living at Chinook, Washington, ran a hotel here forty or more years ago. I started to work in the store when I was twenty-three and I have been in the store ever since. When I first went to work in the store, along about 1884, La Center was the center of the trading district. Farmers came from Yacolt, Lewisville, Seletchie prairie and Battle Ground to trade at our store. They came with their ox teams and mudsleds to bring their produce and haul their supplies back to their farms. When we came to this district my parents planned to stay only a short time. My mother’s uncle, William Bolen, had lost his wife, so he wrote to Perrydale, where we were living, asking mother to come and keep house and take care of the children till he could secure a housekeeper. He settled here in 1865. When we came here, we got our mail at Pekin. John Caples, now living at Forest Grove, Oregon, ran a store and post office on the main Lewis river, three and a half miles from here, known as Pekin. My father’s partner, T. J. Kinder, was an old-timer. The Kinders settled here in the ’50s. Transportation and trade are very different today from what they were when I came into the store as a young man forty years ago. One year I shipped to F. C. Barnes, of Portland, over four thousand grouse and pheasants, for which I received an average of three dollars a dozen. I used to ship lots of deer to the Portland market. They used to run the deer with dogs. The last deer I shot, I shot from the back door of this store.”
“We haven’t had a single boat come up the east fork of the Lewis river for more than three years. Our paved highway has made the auto trucks our principal means of heavy transportation. The smelt run up the Lewis river, but during all the years I have lived here we have had but one run of smelt up the east fork, though we have plenty of salmon and salmon trout.
“When I was thirty-one, I married Florence Eland. We have two children. My son Robert is in the store with me, and Marjorie married Donald Keys and lives in Portland.”
In 1907 Mr. Hobert sold out to Kane Brothers and moved to Portland, where for about five years he engaged in the real estate business, and in 1912 bought a stock of merchandise at Scappoose, Columbia county, Oregon, and conducted a store until 1915. He then returned to La Center and opened a general store under the name of F. D. Hobert, which he conducted until his death. He was a good businessman and secured a large and prosperous trade. He became prominent in local public affairs and served several terms as a member of the city council. He became a charter member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at La Center in 1891 and was formerly a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. As he prospered in his financial affairs, he wisely invested in property in and near La Center and became one of the well-to-do men of the locality. His sterling honesty and fair dealing won for him the confidence of his fellowmen, and his genial and friendly manner gained for him the good will of all who came in contact with him.
Mrs. Hobert was born in England and is a daughter of Edward and Alice (Tuthill) Eland. The family came to the United States in 1872, locating in Oakland, California, where they lived for five years, and then went to Portland, Oregon, and about 1884 to Clark county. Mr. Eland, who was engaged in mercantile business, died in September 1923, and his wife passed away in January 1928. Robert E. Hobert, who is assisting his mother in carrying on the business since the father’s death. married Miss Idell M. Robbins, who was born in Portland, Oregon, and they have two children, Robert Douglas and Edgar Danford. He is a Mason and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. Mrs. Hobert is a charter member of the Daughters of Rebekah and is a woman of many gracious qualities of character, and kindly and hospitable manner, and has many warm and devoted friends throughout this locality.
History of the Columbia River Valley From The Dalles to the Sea, Vol. II,