John Wilbourn Hobbs was born on April 7, 1896, in St. Louis to William Pulaski Hobbs and Laura Wilbourn Hobbs. He was the youngest of seven children, and his paternal grandfather was a judge in the southeast Missouri district. The Wilbourn home was one of the first large homes built in Missouri, but since both the Wilbourns and Hobbses were southern sympathizers and slave owners, they lost most of their wealth after the Civil War.
Hobbs received his primary education in St. Louis public schools, and attended Washington University night school. He then moved to Chicago, where he worked for the Continental and American Can Corporation and attended Northwestern University night school. He returned to St. Louis in 1917 to enlist in the aviation corps, and served in the war until 1919.
He moved to Jefferson City in 1923 and became involved in the real estate business. He developed the Oak Park subdivision, turned the Monroe Hotel into office buildings, and promoted the Bella Vista Apartments. He built one of the largest real estate changes in central Missouri, and served as both secretary and treasurer of the Missouri Real Estate Association.
Hobbs married Myrene Houchin in February of 1923, and his wife shared his love of the outdoors. Hobbs owned a farm outside Jefferson City, where he raised a herd of Guernsey cattle, and he and his wife spent their summers horseback riding every day.← Gass, Howard A. Houchin, James A. →