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Captain I.N. Hibbard (Hibberd?) – Part 3
Don Tennison
May 11, 2010

Continued from Captain I.N. Hibbard (Hibberd?) Part 2

Here is additional Internet research information for your consideration:


The record of Captain Isaac N. Hibberd, retired sea captain of San Francisco, is a most unique and interesting one; he had the distinction of being the youngest shipmaster at the age of twenty-five years in charge of as large a ship and is today one of the oldest living shipmasters, having reached the Psalmist’s allotted span of three score and ten. He was born December 16, 1861, in Darby , Delaware county, Pennsylvania , in a house which was built in 1686 and is still in possession of the family, being now occupied by the children of his father’s sister. His parents, Isaac H. and Elizabeth B. (Andrews) Hibberd, both of English lineage, were also natives of the Keystone state, the former born in Delaware county in April, 1832. The grandparents of Captain Hibberd in the paternal line were Isaac and Susan (Fairlamb) Hibberd, the latter being also a native of Pennsylvania and a descendant of an old Pennsylvania family dating back prior to 1690. The American progenitors of the Hibberd family were Quakers who left England for the new world in 1682. They were farming people, and Captain Hibberd of this review was the only male of the family in six generations who did not engage in agricultural pursuits. His parents came to the Pacific coast about 1885 and took up their abode in San Jose , California , where Isaac H. Hibberd spent the remainder of his life in honorable retirement, his death occurring June 16, 1925, at the age of ninety-three years. His wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Hibberd, passed away in San Jose , July 18, 1912, aged seventy-two years. Their family numbered four children, three sons and a daughter, as follows: Isaac N., of this review; Hannah, who was born in 1864 and died in 1918, at the age of fifty-four years; James A., who was born in 1866 and is now a resident of El Centro, California; and Frederick F., born in 1868, who makes his home in Mendocino county, this state.

In the acquirement of an education Isaac N. Hibberd attended the Quaker or Friends schools of Delaware county, Pennsylvania , and Lauderbach’s Academy of Philadelphia . The first fifteen years of his life were spent on the home farm and when a youth of nineteen he went to sea on a sailing vessel, his first trip being from Philadelphia to San Francisco . He began seafaring life as a sailor and gradually worked his way upward through various promotions until in June, 1887, he took command of the Cyrus Wakefield, continuing on this vessel and as master of the Alexander Gibson until 1892. His trade was from San Francisco to various European ports, via Cape Horn , around which he made fifteen passages during the decade between 1882 and 1892. Retiring from the sea in the latter year, Captain Hibberd took charge of the G. W. McNear warehouses of Port Costa, California , and in 1898 he went to Alaska in charge of the fleet of the Alaska Exploration Company of the Yukon . In 1900 he assumed charge of the combined fleet of the Northern Navigation Company, with headquarters in San Francisco , continuing in this capacity until the fall of 1904. From 1905 until 1908 he was engaged in the general shipping business in San Francisco , in partnership with Captain John Barneson, under the firm name of Barneson & Hibberd. For six years thereafter he was general superintendent of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, while from 1914 until 1917 he served as traffic and operating manager of the Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Coast Steamship Company. Next he acted as general supervisor of sea training for the United States Shipping Board from 1918 until 1920, during the latter half of which period he was in Boston, Massachusetts, in charge of the training bureau of the United States Shipping Board for the entire country, supervising the training of thirty-five hundred seamen on the Pacific coast and over seven thousand seamen on the Atlantic coast. After leaving the service he did general surveying and investigation work in connection with shipping problems, and in 1923 was appointed a member of the board of pilot commissioners for the port of San Francisco coast, this being a state appointment which he filled until July 1, 1931.

On the 24th of April, 1895, in San Francisco, Captain Hibberd was united in marriage to Miss Alice Hyde, a native of this city and a daughter of the late Frederick A. and Filena (Sherman) Hyde. Frederick A. Hyde had removed from Syracuse, New York, to San Francisco, California, during the ‘50s, while the lady who afterward became his wife made her way to this city from Boston about 1860. Captain and Mrs. Hibberd are the parents of two sons, Isaac Lloyd and Frederick H.. The baptismal name of Isaac has been borne by members of the family through six generations. The Captian resides with his family at 1201 Greenwich street and maintains his office at No. 1 Montgomery street , San Francisco . In politics he is a republican, while his religious faith is indicted by his membership in the Society of Friends. He also belongs to the Pacific Union, the Commercial and the Commonwealth Clubs of California. A man of domestic tastes, he finds his greatest happiness in home life and has a keen appreciation of good literature.

Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
Source: Byington, Lewis Francis, “History of San Francisco 3 Vols”
S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago , 1931. Vol. 2 Pages 221-223.
Copyright © 2007 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.

Google Book Search

Public Library Books

Steamboat Bill
By Steamship Historical Society of America GOTO page 315

Sixteen Times Round Cape Horn : The Reminiscences of Captain Isaac Norris Hibberd
By Isaac N Hibberd
Published by Mystic Seaport Museum , 1980
ISBN 0913372153, 9780913372159
44 pages

American Merchant Ships, 1850-1900
By Frederick C. Matthews
Published by Marine Research Society, 1930
Item notes: v. 1
Original from the University of California
Page 87

Captain Isaac Norris Hibberd
By Isaac Norris Hibberd
Published by s.n, 1931

Transactions of the Commonwealth Club of California
By Commonwealth Club of California
Published by The Commonwealth Club., 1934
Item notes: v.28 1933-34
Original from the University of California
Page 403

Clipper Ship Cyrus Wakefield Painted
By William Howard Yorke

On Cyrus Wakefield’s birthday, Mary Jean McLaughlin of Connecticut presented the Wakefield Wicker Society with a print of the Cyrus Wakefield, an 1885 painting by William Howard Yorke of Liverpool, England.

The Ship was built in Thomaston, Maine in 1882 by her owner, Samuel Watts. According to Herbert Hewitt, a Wakefield marine artist, she was considered to be the fastest ship ever built at Thomaston and “she had a loftier and more imposing appearance than any other vessel built at that port.” Hewitt told the Daily Item in 1978 that “the custom was to honor a large investor by naming a vessel after him or a member of his family.” While Cyrus Wakefield I died in 1873, his nephew, Cyrus Wakefield II, was running the Wakefield Rattan Company in 1882, and was a likely investor, or it is very possible that the Wakefield family was a major client.

The register of American ships lists the Cyrus Wakefield at 2119 tons, 247 feet long, 43.7 wide, and 28.6 feet deep. She had at least three captains in her two decades at sea. Her second captain, Isaac Norris Hibberd, was in his early 20’s when he took command. Hibberrd broke three world records in one voyage, and was immortalized as “the ideal American sailor” in the sea story “Cappy Ricks” by Peter B. Kyne.

This is all the information I can locate and hope it is helpful to anyone else also doing research on Captain I.N. Hibbard (or Hibbert). If you have additional information, please contact me with and updates, documents, photos or links to: webmaster@hibbardfamily.com.

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