Hobart, Garret Augustus
b. June 3, 1844, Long Branch, N.J., U.S.
d. Nov. 21, 1899, Paterson, N.J.
Prominent politician who was vice president of the United States (1897-99) in the conservative Republican administration of Pres. William McKinley and the sixth Vice President to die while in office.
He was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, to Sophia Vanderveer and Addison Willard Hobart, a descendant in the eighth generation of English emigrant to Massachusetts, Edmund Hobart (1573?-1646), and grew up in Marlboro Township. He graduated at the top of his class from Rutgers College in 1863 and was a member of The Delta Phi Fraternity. He was admitted to the bar in 1866, and practiced in Paterson and soon won a wide reputation in business and legal circles. His political career began with a term in the state assembly (1873-75). Later he was a state senator (1877-82) and president of that body the last two years. He was chairman of the state Republican committee (1880-91) and became a member of the Republican National Committee in 1884.
When McKinley was nominated for president in 1896 on a platform stressing hard money and a high tariff, Hobart was a natural choice for second place on the ticket; he came from a densely populated state and was an avid supporter of the gold standard. His one important act as vice president was to cast the tie-breaking vote in 1899 against an amendment to the treaty with Spain that would have promised future independence for the Philippine Islands
He served as Vice President from March 4, 1897, until his death from heart failure in Paterson, New Jersey, on November 21, 1899, aged 55.
During his tenure Hobart became one of the McKinleys' friends and his close confidant and adviser. He was called "Assistant to the President". Because of this and in contrast to the tradition of a powerless Vice Presidency, he is regarded as one of the most powerful Vice Presidents while in office.
In 1899, Hobart became ill. He returned to New Jersey to recover but instead became worse. He died from heart failure. Following his death, the Vice Presidency remained vacant for more than a year until the inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt to that post in 1901. Hobart is interred in Cedar Lawn Cemetery.
The city of Paterson placed a bronze statue of Hobart in front of its city hall, next to a statue of city founder Alexander Hamilton. Hobart's statue remains there to this day, and is one of three that stand in front of the building (the other two honor former Paterson mayors Nathan Barnert and Dr. Andrew McBride).
Jennie Tuttle HobartHobart married Esther Jane "Jennie" Tuttle on July 21, 1869. They had two children, Garret Jr, and Fannie. Fannie died in 1895.
During his tenure as Vice President, his wife frequently performed the duties of First Lady because Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of President of the United States William McKinley, suffered from epilepsy.
Mrs. McKinley and Mrs. Hobart became close friends, and the latter rushed to Buffalo, New York while the president lay dying from bullet wounds in September, 1901, to offer sympathetic support to the First Lady.