In 1935 our family moved from Harbor Road to 98 Chestnut St. It was a wonderful neighborhood and there were some school-age children, so we had many friends. It was fun walking to school with friends, rather than alone. Yes, we always walked as there were no school buses; in fact everywhere we wanted to go it was by “shanks mare” (walking), and later by bicycle.

Across the road were J. Crosby Hobbs, his wife Annie, daughters Nancy and Catherine and son William. Mr. Hobbs was born in Hope on Sept. 24, 1879, the son of James P. and Nancy Hobbs. He had three brothers — Josiah H. of Camden; Miller B. and Everett N. of Hope. He also had three sisters — Mrs. James Robbins of Searsmont, Mrs. Arthur Harwood of Hope and Mrs. Leland Johnson of Appleton.

J. Crosby Hobbs was well known for his political affiliation with the democratic party. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1896, which nominated William Jennings Bryan as candidate for president. He served as County Commissioner for six years (1908-1914) and also sheriff of Knox County for four years (1914-1918).That year the Democrats elected every county officer.

Hobbs took on his duties as sheriff in 1915, with a mandate to control the liquor trade in Camden. He appointed Aubrey Heal as his deputy and quickly impacted the liquor trade throughout the county. By the end of March, $1,650 in fines had been paid by violators. Then an Anti-Saloon League was formed in Camden with the Miller brothers and Rev. Baker most active. Sheriff Hobbs arrested the Miller brothers and charged them with blackmail, as they were offering to call off the Anti-Saloon League if saloon keepers would pay them several hundred dollars. The Millers said they were offered a bribe to call off the campaign. The problem of liquor and gambling still was controversial.

A Good Roads Committee was formed in 1922, with J. Crosby Hobbs as chairman and five sub-committees under him. It started because Melvin Heights Road needed repair. Mr. Strawbridge built it in 1905 at a cost of $30,000 and had maintained it until he died in 1911. After that they felt they needed to take a look at all the roads.

Since that time Hobbs served several terms on the board of selectmen and as an active member of the Democratic Town Committee. He served as trustee of Camden Public Library in 1930.

His fraternal affiliations included membership in the Mount Battie Lodge I.O.O.F. and Canton Molineaux. He was elected as Scribe in 1907. He was a worker in all the activities of the Order.

His brother Josiah H. Hobbs (about whom I have previously written) owned the J. H. Hobbs Lumber Company in Camden. His brother, J. Crosby, worked there for 16 years, between 1898-1914, as assistant superintendent and clerk. But in later years, he acted as local representative for the Bowers Investment Co. of Portland.

Camden was saddened and shocked by the sudden death of one of its best known citizens. On Wednesday morning, Feb. 8, 1942, at 8:30 a.m. at his home on Chestnut Street he died, following a period of failing health. He concealed from his friends the seriousness of his condition by acting happy as usual.

Funeral services were at First Congregational Church in Camden, with Rev. Winfield Witham officiating. Burial was at Mountain View Cemetery.

His wife, Annie Johnson Hobbs was born in Kezar Falls on Feb. 5, 1885, the daughter of Hugh and Elizabeth Johnson. She had one brother, Ralph Johnson Sr. of Camden.

Mrs. Hobbs raised four children, was a member of the First Congregational Church in Camden and active in its Ladies Circle. She was a member of the Rebekahs and Chairman of the Red Cross Drive in 1935.

Annie Hobbs died Jan. 10, 1970, at a Rockland nursing home. She was survived by her son William Hobbs of Braintree, Mass.; two daughters, Mrs. Lucien Green Jr., of Rockland and Mrs. John Stolia of Pleasantville, N.Y. She was also survived by her brother Ralph Johnson; eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were at Laite Funeral Home with Rev. Donald Henderson officiating and burial with her husband at Mountain View followed.

Barbara F. Dyer is Camden's official town historian.