In 1845, Charles H. Sheldon opened Sheldon’s Market; it served customers from the North Shore to New York’s finest hotels. In 1890 Gloucester native, George H. Hobbs, accepted a wagon driver position for Sheldon. George married Nancy F. Baker in 1887 and in 1904 they hired contractor Chester L. Crafts to construct their new home—one that would come to stay in the family for five generations!
Mrs. Abby Baker, mother of Nancy Baker, lived in the Baker house, a well-known Manchester landmark. In 1903, Mrs. Abby Baker granted Nancy a plot of land adjacent to the Baker house. George and Nancy broke ground for their 8 Pine Street house in June 1904.
George instructed Mr. Crafts to complete the house in time for Christmas dinner. Fortunately, Builder Chester L. Crafts was known for the rapidity he built homes! It is likely that Crafts served as the architectural designer and furnished the blueprints. The house has notable Colonial Revival details, especially the chimneypiece in the parlor.
In 1910 the Hobbs house was occupied by George H. and Nancy F. Hobbs, children Nellie, Byron, Chester, and George Jr., and mother-in-law Abby S. Baker, a widow. George Hobbs passed on April 3, 1934. He was remembered for his 44-year career at Sheldon’s Market, making him one of Manchester’s best-known residents.
The house was sold January 29, 1935, to George H. Hobbs Jr. and wife Josephine. By 1940 George was working for the town. He resided with wife Josephine, daughters Nancy, 12, Cynthia, 9, Josephine’s mother, Mrs. Adelaide Scott, a widow, and lodger Minnie B. Ball. Minnie was a Maine-born schoolteacher who taught fifth grade at Priest and Memorial schools in Manchester for 42 years. On May 3, 1943, the Hobbs family welcomed a third daughter, Virginia May.
In the 1950s the older Hobbs daughters, Nancy (Mrs. Nancy Ralph Hall) and Cynthia (Mrs. Linwood Mitchell), married. Virginia married Laurie S. McCoy on June 6, 1964.
On November 9, 1970, George H., and Josephine A. Hobbs sold the homestead to Laurie and Virginia McCoy. Mr. Hobbs passed on December 19, 1973, age 70, survived by three daughters and a brother. Mrs. Josephine Hobbs passed on December 24, 1997, age 91, survived by three daughters, seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Many Manchester homes are older than the Hobbs house, but few have had the same family living in the home since original construction over 100 years ago.
Credits: You can read the complete house history by Robert Booth at the Trask House.
The MHM House History and Marker program encourages everyone to appreciate the diversity of stories our architecture tells us about our shared history. Participants receive an extensive history of their house and occupants, a certificate, and a handsome house marker. A commissioned house history is a fabulous gift! For more information, go to www.manchesterhistoricalmuseum.org