|Captain I.N. Hibbard
(Hibberd?) – Part 1
May 11, 2010
article is being divided into several parts due to the length and amount
of the information. Here is part 1:
I received an email recently from a wonderful lady
in Stillwater, Oklahoma who expressed that she had in her possession a
Hibbard Family artifact. She said that it was charming and of considerable
historical value. She had collected a considerable amount of factual
information about it, but was seeking more and asked if we could help.
The email was forwarded to a colleague, Ulysses, who
enjoys this type of research as one would enjoy a sport, and so when she
offered to compensate him for his time, he suggested that she instead make
a donation the Hibbard Family website to assist in paying for the costs of
hosting and server bandwidth, which she most graciously did. Excited about
this discovery, he contacted her and asked how he could help.
My interest lies in the actions of Captain I.N.
Hibbard after a steamship wreck that took place in 1904. I have collected
material on the event, but have been able to learn very little about
Captain I.N. Hibbard himself.
- What do the initials I. and N. stand for?
- He is quoted as saying that he had experienced 22
years on the seas. It certainly sounds like a naval captain, but I can’t
- Did he ever work for The Pacific Coast Steamship
Company, that major company that ran ships up and down the west coast for
a number of years?
- I can verify that he and a partner ran a whaling
Company from 1907-1910. It was The Tyee Company of San Francisco,
operating out of Alaska.
I have no idea what he looked like, where his
permanent home was, whether he had any descendents, or a anything else
about him. I know nothing of his connection to Dr. Lloyd Hibbard, the
well-known musicologist, a professor in the Music Department of North
Texas State University, Denton, Texas until his death sometime in the
1970’s or 1980’s.
Mainly I want to know as much as possible about
Captain I.N. Hibbard and I thank you most gratefully for whatever
information or information leads you are able to send to me.
I want to tell you at this stage, because I believe
it is proper to do so, that I believe that the artifact I own is
historically important. It was left to his long-time friends, my parents,
who in turn left it to me. I believe strongly that it belongs in a museum
or even better in the home of some Hibbard family, who would treasure it,
tell its story over and over to family and friends, and pass it on, with
pride, to future generations of Hibbards. For that reason, instead of
passing it on to members of my family or selling it to some west coast
museum, I want to honor it with as much background as I can so that it can
take its suitable place in the history of a particular, fascinating time
in Pacific coastal history.
I will then put it and the accompanying facts
regarding it — about the event and the man — up for direct sale or auction
to members of the Hibbard family only. I have no way of knowing how you
would feel about this plan, but whatever amount of assistance you feel
like giving me or helping me to uncover under these circumstances will be
Do you have an actual name spelling anywhere
associated with the artifact, either on the item or any associated notes
with the name, Captain I.N. Hibbard?
The reason I’m asking before I continue my research,
is that I already have reasons to believe that the actual spelling of the
person’s name you are seeking information about may have spelled his name
‘HIBBERD’ instead of ‘HIBBARD’. This is a common occurrence in the study
of the Hibbard family genealogy.
The HIBBARD surname appears to be both patronymic
and characteristic in origin, and is believed to be associated with the
English meaning, “descendant of Herbert” (army, bright). Different
spelling variations of HIBBARD include Hebbard, Hebard, Hibard, Hibbert,
Hibberts, Hibberd, Hibberds, Hibert, Hiberts, Herbert, Herberts and
Hibbards. I’ve come across records, for instance, of a person who has up
to three different spellings of his or her name, while still being
associated with the exact date of birth, death date, having 2 twins with
the same names and ages, a boy with the same name and age, a girl with the
same name and age and wife with the same name, age and with the same
Many records, especially those generated during the
1700’s and 1800’s contained varied spellings, due in part to high
illiteracy rates and ‘word of mouth’ spellings. The same spelling is then
carried on the next generation. If you say, “HIBBARD”, someone recording
this name on a document could hear it as, “HIBBERD”, which to me actually
looks more like the pronunciation of the word HIBBARD. This is only one of
the reasons the names HIBBARD and HIBBERD have become synonymous and in
most instances are indeed the same person. Wills will contain one
spelling, but signed checks and even census records contain another
spelling while still being confirmed as the same individual.
I have found Isaac (could be Norris) Hibberd, who is
listed as “Captain” and has several passports to various places around the
world. The date of birth is abt 1833 which would put him at an age to
still be working in 1904. He lived in San Francisco and worked as a
Captain for the Alaska Ex. Co. (as listed in the Federal Census). If you
too believe this may be the person, then I will continue the research and
send the documents for clarity that I have available (passports, census,
Her reply was:
Very exciting! I seem to remember the name Isaac
somewhere in my searching, but the spelling of his last name, as I’ll
illustrate below, is indeed Hibbard. I really enjoyed your discussion of
variations on the name, and can add one I ran across — Hubbard, as in old
Mother…) I cannot locate off hand the newspaper articles and book
notations which cite, I believe, the Hibbard spelling, but will find them
The important verification, as you suggested, is the
dedication engraved on the trophy tankard itself:
CAPTAIN I.N. HIBBARD
BY PACIFIC COAST STEAMSHIP COMPANY
FOR EFFICIENT AND COURAGEOUS ASSISTANCE
TO CREW AND PASSENGERS ON STEAMSHIP QUEEN AT SEA
FEB’Y 27 1904
The steamship, QUEEN, burned at sea on the above
date. I have a copy of a photograph of the ship, details of the trip it
was making up the coast, names if passengers, information on the company
which owned it as well as numerous accounts of the shipping trade at that
time on the coast, etc. I am so encouraged by the possibilities in your
findings that, although it appears that the Captain would have been around
71 at the time of the steamship accident, not to mention 81 when his
whaling venture in Alaska ended, we just might be on the right track.
I’m going to start tomorrow on my next task — to
borrow newspaper microfilm, if any, from the town to which the ship was
towed after the fire and from other locations which may give forth
Continued in Captain I.N. Hibbard (Hibberd?)