Frederick Shobert tried his luck at gold mining in California for a couple of years, starting about 1849, but finally chose the Ridgefield area for a home. The family’s name designated a steamboat landing on Lake River in the early days.
After the mining venture, Shobert had returned to his family in the Midwest, and they crossed the plains to Oregon, with Shobert’s brother Napoleon.
The Shoberts resided in Portland until about 1853 or 1854, before moving to Clark County. Frederick Shobert wanted to cut the timber and roll it to the water for transportation.
“A deep Indian trail was worn along the river,” a son, William Henry Shobert, remembered. “The Indians used to come to our house, after they found out we had a grindstone, to sharpen their knives.”
The community was named Union Ridge in 1865, reflecting the pro-Northern sentiments of the residents.
Frederick Shobert died in 1873 but his widow, Catherine, remained with other members of the family.
A son, Stephen Shobert, tried mining east of the Cascade Mountains, but returned and served as postmaster at Union Ridge from 1873 to 1886. He also operated a store in partnership with J.J. Thompson. The office was served on a steamboat route, but in 1873 a contract was let to carry mail on a land route from Vancouver.
Stephen Shobert was listed as a fruit grower in the 1890s, and William Henry Shobert’s occupation was carpenter.
A home built by William Henry Shobert at Ridgefield has been placed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Descendants of the Shobert family continue to reside in Clark County.