Biography of Fred Hoskins

This enterprising and progressive fruit-grower and ranchman of Mesa county, living two miles and a half north of Grand Junction, belongs to a family in which the martial spirit is high when occasion demands, and the devotion to pursuits of productive industry is equally strong when “Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front.” His grandfather, his father, two of his brothers and several of his uncles were gallant soldiers for the Union in the Civil war, one of the brothers dying of exposure on account of Hood’s raid in Tennessee, where he was buried. The grandfather enlisted at the age of sixty-four in a Wisconsin cavalry regiment and served four years, being the oldest volunteer in the service from his state, if not in the whole country. Mr. Hoskins was born in Richland county, Wisconsin, on September 11, 1857, and is the son of Amasa and Jane H. (Murdock) Hoskins, natives of New York, where they were reared and married. Soon after their marriage they moved to Ohio and a little later to Richland county, Wisconsin, where they were pioneers. They entered a body of heavily timbered land on which the advance of civilization had as yet made no mark, and which was still the abode of savages and wild beasts that stubbornly resented their intrusion. There were few settlers in the neighborhood, and they were obliged to make their way in this wilderness almost alone and unassisted. The father erected the first saw mill in the county, and by its aid cleared his land and transformed it into a fine farm. Soon after the beginning of the Civil war he tried to enlist in what was known as the Iron Brigade, but was not accepted. Later he organized a company of his own, of which he was captain, and which became a part of the Forty-eighth Wisconsin Infantry. In this command he served to the close of the war. After that he returned to his Wisconsin home, and there he died several years later. The mother is still living, at the age of eighty-four. The family comprised seven sons and one daughter, six of whom are living, Fred being the fifth in the order of birth. He was reared on the Wisconsin farm and bore his share of the burdens of conducting its operations, receiving, however, a good public-school education and taking a course at the business college in Madison. After leaving school he learned the tinner’s trade, and when nineteen years old went to Sioux Rapids, Iowa, where he worked at his trade for awhile, then conducted a hardware business for a number of years. Selling out there, he went to Storm Lake, in the same state, and passed four years. In the spring of 1894 he came to Colorado and located in Mesa county, purchasing and settling on the farm of twenty-five acres on which he now lives two miles and a half north of Grand Junction. About fifteen acres of the farm had been planted in fruit trees, which were then young. He has planted three acres additional, and now has one of the best and most prolific fruit farms in the county. His crop in 1903 was two thousand three hundred boxes of pears, eight hundred of apples, one wine-sap tree yielding twenty-two boxes. These netted him one dollar and sixty-five cents a box, a very unusual return from one tree. On May 10, 1879, he was married to Miss Mary L. Sanderson, a native of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a daughter of Hubbard and Jane (Warner) Sanderson, natives of New York where they grew to maturity and were married. In 1844 they moved to Wisconsin and settled on a farm over most of which the city of Oshkosh has spread. Mr. Sanderson paid for his land in part in deer hides. In 1866 the family moved to Iowa and took up a homestead on which the parents passed the rest of their lives. They were pioneers in Buena Vista county, and the father was its treasurer two terms in the early days of his residence there. Their nearest railroad station at that time was Sioux City, eighty miles distant. Mr. and Mrs. Hoskins have five children, Bertha M., wife of Truman Ketchum, of Seattle, Washington; Orda J., wife of V.G. Callanan, of Chicago; Jay L., a resident of Chicago; and Gregg and Ross, who are living at home. In politics Mr. Hoskins is a Republican, and in fraternal alliances is a Freemason and a Modern Woodman of America, with membership in these orders at Grand Junction.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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