Captain I.N. Hibbard (Hibberd?)

Share and search for Hibbard Family information.
Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 1
Joined: November 8th, 2012, 5:58 pm

Captain I.N. Hibbard (Hibberd?)

Post by Hibbard »

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.
She replied:

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.

For example:

- 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 verify that.
- 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 deeply appreciated.

Ulysses replied:

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 marriage date.
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, etc.).

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 tomorrow.

The important verification, as you suggested, is the dedication engraved on the trophy tankard itself:

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 additional details.

I’m still convinced that our person in question is Captain I.N. Hibberd, in consideration of the following possible conditions:
The name could have been misspelled on the artifact. There are many instances where a trophy, an award, a census, news media and other seemingly trustworthy sources unfortunately contain the wrong spelling of a person’s name. I wouldn’t say that it’s ‘common’, but happens. The error could be due to his association with Dr. Lloyd Hibbard. I can confirm the spelling of his name as being ‘Hibbard’, however, I’ve been unable to find information regarding the association or friendship with these two individuals or where the connection originated. It could be simply that two people with the same or similar names met and developed an association due to a common ground because of their last names. I’m not sure.

The media that I am sharing with you (passport signatures, quotes from publications, a book written by Captain I.N. Hibberd, and census reports) could indeed be entirely and ironically another person who had similar activities, was also a Captain and who lived during the same time zone as the other. Although that is a possibility, I still don’t think it’s likely that two famous Captains (Hibberd also being an author) could have that much in common and not be the same person.

I’m also ruling out the possibility of Captain Hibberd’s name being misspelled due to, not only the many references to him in literature and the name that appears on his book, ‘Sixteen Times Round Cape Horn: The Reminiscences of Captain Isaac Norris Hibberd’, but also his own signature which appears on two passports clearly signed ‘I.N. Hibberd’.

Here is some information to also consider, so far the only information I could locate concerning I.N. Hibbard:

From: Canadian Genealogy Index, 1600s-1900s
Name: I.N. Hibbard
Year: 1901
Province: Yukon Territory
County: Nome
Place: Nome, Alaska
Comments: Miner
Source: Dawson City, Yukon Territory and Alaska Directory and Gazetteer, 1901 Vol 722

Notice that this I.N. Hibbard is listed as a ‘Miner’ and not a ‘merchant, shipper or Captain’ as is Hibberd in all the other media associated with ‘Hibberd’.

Here’s another from a California Passenger and Crew List 1893-1957
Name: Isaac N. Hibbard
Arrival Date: April 1, 1921
Age: 58
Birth Date: abt 1863
Gender: Male
Ship Name: Wenatchee
Port of Arrival : San Francisco , CA
Port of Departure: Los Angles, CA

Here is the information concerning I.N. Hibberd
1900 United States Federal Census
Name: Isaac N. Hibberd
Home in 1900: San Francisco , CA
Age: 38
Birth Date: Dec 1861
Race: White
Ethnicity: American
Household Relationship: Son-In-Law
Father’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Spouse’s Name: Alice
Marriage Year: 1897
Marital Status: Married
Years Married: 3
Residence: San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Capt. Alaska Ex. Co.


1910 United States Federal Census
Name: Isaac N. Hibberd
Age in 1910: 48
Year of Birth: abt 1862
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Household Relationship: Head
Father’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Spouse’s Name: Alice H.
Home in 1910: Oakland, Alameda, CA
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Occupation: Shipping


U.S. Passport Application
Name: Isaac N. Hibberd (signature included)
Birth Date: 18 Dec 1861
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Passport Issue Date: 15 Dec 1905


U.S. Passport Application
Name: Isaac N. Hibberd (signature and photo included)
Birth Date: 16 Dec 1861
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Residence: San Francisco, CA
Passport Issue Date: 27 Jul 1921


U.S. Passport Application
California Passenger and Crew
Name: Issac N. Hibberd (Notice spelling ‘Issac’)
Arrival Date: 15 Nov 1922
Age: 60
Birth Date: abt 1862
Birth Place: Pennsylvania
Gender: Male
Ship Name: Wilhelmina
Port of Arrival: San Francisco, CA
Port of Departure: Honolulu, Hawaii






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: ... ook 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.
Post Reply