Richmond Pearson Hobson

US Navy Admiral, Humanitarian

Richmond Pearson Hobson was born in Greensboro, Alabama, August 17, 1870. He was the son of James Marcellus and Sarah Croom Pearson Hobson. His father was a lawyer, state legislator, and probate judge.

A formal, grave-faced, precocious child, Richmond studied in private schools before entering Southern University, in his hometown of Greensboro. From Southern University he entered the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1889. Further studies in France at the Ecole d' Application du Genie Maritime culminated with a degree in 1893.

Hobson chose the Construction Corps of the Navy to use his education and abilities as a naval constructor with the fleet at Annapolis. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, he gained national recognition because of his outstanding heroism. He resigned from the Navy in 1903, having made significant contributions to the design and construction of the American vessels that would be used in World War I.

In 1906, Hobson was elected to Congress from Alabama, serving four terms. During this Congressional tenure, he served on the Naval Affairs Committee, championing United States naval supremacy as the stabilizing force for international peace. While promoting a strong navy, he also advocated that an International Congress be established to strengthen world peace and justice.

Hobson, concerned about international matters, was also deeply concerned about the dangers of alcohol and drugs upon the physical well-being and moral standard of the nation. He wrote and spoke extensively to educate and heighten awareness about these problems. His efforts led to the creation of the first government organizations that would give protection from the misuse of drugs.

Recognizing his valuable contributions both to the Navy and society, Congress awarded Hobson the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1933 and in 1934 designated him Rear Admiral on the list of retired naval officers. In later years, he and his wife, Grizelda Houston Hull made their home in New York. Richmond Pearson Hobson died in New York, survived by his wife and three children, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.