HOBSON, JR., Richmond P. (1907-1966)




Author Tags: Biography, Essentials 2010

QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

Richmond P. Hobson, Jr. wrote two non-fiction ranching classics, Grass Beyond the Mountains (1951) and Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy (1955). Born in Washington, D.C., in 1907, Hobson, Jr. was the son of American war hero Rear Admiral Richmond P. Hobson who, in turn, was named for Lt. Richmond Pearson who fought in the American Revolution. After attending Stanford University, “Rich” Hobson worked to save money to buy a cattle ranch. When he lost his savings with the 1929 crash of the stock market, he went west to Wyoming and teamed up with Pan Phillips, also known as Panhandle Phillips. They came north to explore B.C. in the early 1930s. Phillips and Hobson, Jr. formed the Frontier Cattle Company and created the Home Ranch in the Chilcotin, north of Anahim Lake.

Grass Beyond the Mountains: Discovering the Last Great Cattle Frontier on the North American Continent recalls the early days of a fledgling enterprise on thousands of acres of land, culminating in a successful test cattle drive in 1937 known as the Starvation Drive. This tale of hardship and perseverance was initially serialized by Maclean’s magazine during a period when Ralph Allen and Pierre Berton were editors. Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy is a follow-up volume in which Hobson, Jr. recalls his struggles with Phillips to maintain their four-million-acre spread with a shortage of men and supplies due to the outbreak of WWII. The ranchers endure frozen faces, marauding wolf packs and blood poisoning mixed with the romance of starry skies and sweet mountain air. To break the solitude, Hobson has a recurring vision of a beautiful blonde woman. This true story of ranch life on the 52nd parallel reputedly sold more than 100,000 copies.

Hobson’s partnership with Phillips dissolved in the 1940s. Hobson resumed ranching in the Vanderhoof area with his wife, Gloria, leading to his third and final book, The Rancher Takes a Wife (1961). Hobson died suddenly at his River Ranch, 50 miles south of Vanderhoof, in 1966. His stories were the basis for a CBC television series entitled Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy, filmed in British Columbia.


FULL ENTRY:

Richmond P. Hobson, Jr. wrote the all-time ranching non-fiction classic of B.C. literature, Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy (1955), as well as Grass Beyond the Mountains (1951) and A Rancher Takes a Wife (1961).

Born in Washington, D.C. in 1907, Richmond Pearson Hobson, Jr. was the son of American war hero Rear Admiral Richmond P. Hobson who, in turn, was named for Lt. Richmond Pearson who fought in the American Revolution. His father became well-known in the United States after he led an unsuccessful effort to block the Spanish-held harbour of Santiago de Cuba in eastern Cuba by sinking the Collier Merrimac during the so-called Spanish-American War (a conflict that also involved Cuba and the Philippines). The Admiral's boyhood home Magnolia Grove is an historical landmark in Alabama where, as a youngster, the author learned to steal watermelons. His mother was a Pearson from North Carolina.

After attending Stanford University, Rich Hobson worked to save money to buy a cattle ranch. When he lost his savings with the 1929 crash of the stock market, he went west to Wyoming and teamed up with Pan Phillips, also known as Panhandle Phillips. They came north to explore B.C. in the early 1930s. Phillips and Hobson Jr. formed the Frontier Cattle Company and created the Home Ranch in the Chilcotin, north of Anahim Lake. His first book called Grass Beyond the Mountains recalled the early days of his fledgling enterprise on thousands of acres of land, culminating in a successful test cattle drive in 1937 known as the 'Starvation Drive'. This tale of hardship and perseverance was initially serialized by MacLean's magazine during a period when Ralph Allen and Pierre Berton were editors.

Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy was a follow-up volume in which Hobson Jr. recalled his struggles with Phillips to maintain their four-million-acre spread with a shortage of men and supplies due to the outbreak of World War II. The ranchers endure frozen faces, marauding wolf packs and blood poisoning mixed with the romance of starry skies and sweet mountain air. Hobson has a recurring vision of a beautiful blonde woman to break the solitude. This true story of ranch life on the 52nd parallel reputedly has sold more than 100,000 copies. Hobson's partnership with Phillips dissolved in the 1940s. Hobson resumed ranching in the Vanderhoof area with his wife, Gloria, leading to his third and final book, The Rancher Takes A Wife. He died in 1966 in Vanderhoof.

As of 1974, Hobson's books were included in the Canadian Nature Classic Series from McClelland & Stewart and were republished by Reader's Digest. As of 1998, Hobson's stories were the basis for a CBC television series entitled Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy, filmed in British Columbia. In 2006, Prince George writer Audrey L'Heureux, who knew the Hobsons, recalled: "Rich [Hobson] was honoured right from the start. A frontier Jamboree, celebrating Rich's first book and honouring Vanderhoof pioneers, became a huge success and was staged yearly as a pot luck for about 700 people from 1951 to 1968. The Nechako Valley Historical Society maintains a Rich Hobson Room that is a favorite with many visitors. They have prepared a slide show of Rich's life from family albums for visitors. To further celebrate and promote Rich's books a society was formed to offer a yearly trail ride called Rich Hobson Frontier Trail Ride that attracted participants by the hundreds between 1992 and 1998. Vanderhoof Community Theatre offered a stage production to sold out audiences called Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy adapted by local resident Doug Goodwin. Daughter Cathy Hobson and granddaughter Katy Hobson have returned to the north and now reside in Vanderhoof. The attractive log Frontier House built by Rich's mother in 1945, and used as home base for Rich and Gloria until 1967, is now privately owned in Vanderhoof."

[For other authors pertaining to ranching, see abcbookworld entries for Adams, Ramon F.; Affleck, Edward L.; Alsager, Dale; Alsager, Judy; Bliss, Irene; Brown, Jack; Bulman, T. Alex; Carroll, Campbell; Cohen, Bill; Conkin, Jake; Cox, Doug; Duncan, Eric; Freeman, Richard; Hobson Jr., Richmond; Kind, Chris; Knight, Rolf; Lavington, Dude; Lee, Norman; Lee, Todd; Loggins, Olive Spencer; MacDonald, Ervin Austin; Mann, Elizabeth; Marriott, Harry; Mather, Ken; McCredie, Andrew; McLean, Alastair; McLean, Stan; Picard, Ed; Piffko, Karen; Place, Hilary; Resford, Eliza; Roger, Gertrude Minor; Shoroplava, Nina; Simmons, Clarence; Stangoe, Irene; Tepper, Leslie; Wuest, Donna.]

BOOKS:

Grass Beyond the Mountains: Discovering the Last Great Cattle Frontier on the North American Continent (M&S, 1951) [Originally appeared serially in Canada's Maclean's magazine]
Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy (M&S, 1955)
The Rancher Takes a Wife (M&S, 1961)

[BCBW 2010] "Ranching"

1907-1966
Obituary (1966)



"Rich" Hobson died suddenly at his River Ranch 50 miles south of Vanderhoof on Monday August the 8th from a coronary attack.

He is survived by his wife Gloria, a daughter, Cathy; his mother, Mrs. Grizelda Hobson; a brother, George of Virginia and a sister, Lucia Stokes of Lennox, Massachuttes.

Richmond P. Hobson Jr. , was born in Washington, D. C. , son of Rear Admiral Richmond P. Hobson of Spanish-American War fame.

His colorful character developed early.

"I learned to ride horseback, shoot a rifle and steal watermelons in Alabama,” Rich has been quoted as saying, "I played hookey in California, sneaking off into the mountains where I worked with pack outfits, survey crews, and construction gangs."

In an effort to make enough money to buy a cattle ranch, Rich Hobson, Jr. worked as a broker, insurance salesman, oilfield roughneck, and sparring partner for a bunch of fighters. Then his savings disappeared in the stock market and he decided that if he couldn't own a ranch, he would at least work on one. With that in mind he went to Wyoming, and before long he was headed for British Columbia and a new frontier.

"It took me thirteen years punching cows and breaking horses, several cracked bones, my feet frozen twice, a lot of bruises and scars, and a marriage, before I finally achieved my objective, a ranch of my own.

Rich, along with his wife, Gloria developed and sold Rim Rock Ranch south of Vanderhoof and they have been developing River Ranch in a nearby locality since that time.

The name Richmond Hobson is known across the continent and around the world. It meant many different things to different people.

Far and wide Rich had fans who valued him for giving them literary works that caught their fancy, gave them hopes and aspirations, and in some cases molded their destinies. He had personal friends in all walks of life of many creeds and colors.

Rich, in Vanderhoof was an attraction to tourists, as was his writing attractive to settlers.

The annual Frontier Jamboree began as a tribute to his first book "Grass Beyond the Mountains. "

The two other publications that Rich wrote were "Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy" and "The Rancher Takes a Wife."

Rich was a charter member of the Rotary Club in Vanderhoof.

-- Vanderhoof Museum

Family Background
Info



HOBSON, Richmond Pearson, (1870 - 1937)
HOBSON, Richmond Pearson, a Representative from Alabama; born in Greensboro, Hale County, Ala., August 17, 1870; attended private schools and Southern University; was graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1889 and from the French National School of Naval Design at Paris in 1893; served in the United States Navy from 1885 until 1903; special representative of the Navy Department to the Buffalo Exposition in 1901 and to the Charleston Exposition in 1901 and 1902; naval architect, author, and lecturer; elected as a Democrat to the Sixtieth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1907-March 3, 1915); unsuccessful candidate for nomination in 1916 to the Sixty-fifth Congress; moved to Los Angeles, Calif., and later to New York City; organized the American Alcohol Education Association in 1921 and served as general secretary; organized the International Narcotic Education Association in 1923 and served as president; organized the World Conference on Narcotic Education in 1926 and served as secretary general and as chairman of the board of governors; founder of the World Narcotic Defense Association in 1927, serving as president; awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1933 for sinking the collier Merrimac in 1898; was made a rear admiral by act of Congress in 1934; founder and president of the Constitutional Democracy Association in 1935; died in New York City March 16, 1937; interment in Arlington National Cemetery.

Bibliography

Pittman, Walter E. “Richmond P. Hobson, Crusader.” Ph.D. diss., University of Georgia, 1969; Sheldon, Richard N. “Richmond Pearson Hobson as a Progressive Reformer.” Alabama Review 25 (October 1972): 243-61.

-- U.S. Congress