Biography of William H. Tibbils

William H. Tibbils was born May 2, 1838, at Auburn, New York, the second son of Henry W. Tibbils. His mother was Miss Abbey, of New York. William attended public school until the age of fifteen, when he went to Bethany Academy, Genesee County, New York, and there remained two years, after which he assisted his father to farm. At twenty he learned brick laying, and worked at the trade two years. During his early youth he formed an idea of becoming a lawyer, and read the elementary principals of law, becoming fascinated by the profession, through having been present at the defense by William H. Seward, of the Negro Wiatt for the murder of the Varness family, at Auburn, New York. William in his eleventh year daily attended this trial, leaving school to do so, for which he received six consecutive whippings at the hands of his aggrieved father. In 1860 he went to Pike’s Peak, Colorado, where there was a great mining excitement at the time, and remained there until 1864. During this period he met with a series of accidents, which prostrated him for two years. On his recovery he began reading law with the firm of Clarke & Tewksbury, of Benton County, Iowa. In 1868 he located, and first began practice at Carroll, Iowa, then an almost unsettled country. In 1872 he moved to Coffeyville, Kansas, and there following his profession, became acquainted with all the prominent men of the northern portion of the Indian Territory. In 1889 when the Federal court was established in the Indian Territory, Mr. Tibbils was one of the first lawyers there admitted, having obtained the first judgment rendered, and having also taken out the first execution issued by that court. In December 1890, Mr. Tibbils located at Vinita, where he is now enjoying a lucrative practice. Mr. Tibbils married Mrs. Edna Charles, widow of Robert Charles, of Steuben County, New York, and daughter of Mr. Eddy, of Steuben County, a prominent man in New York State. By this marriage he has one son William H., who is chief deputy constable for United States Commissioners’ Court, at Vinita. The subject of this sketch held the office of judge of the probate court in Kansas, and was prosecuting attorney at Coffeyville. Mr. Tibbils has always taken an active part in the organization of the Republican Party in South Kansas, having canvassed the southeastern district in company with Judge W. A. Pfeffer, successor to John J. Ingalls, in 1880. Judge Tibbils has been connected with several prominent newspapers, and has himself founded and edited three or four papers in the State of Kansas. The judge is a gentleman of marked culture, and a man of sterling and forcible characteristics, while he is at the same time gentle and sociable in disposition. Few men are possessed of an equal amount of executive energy, which, added to his large knowledge and experience of law, places him away up on the list of Indian Territory lawyers.



Indian Territory,

O'Beirne, Harry F. and Edward S. The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators, and Leading Men. St. Louis. 1898.

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