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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > Historical Markers > Find a Marker > John H. and Sarah Tibbets John H. and Sarah Tibbets

John H. and Sarah TibbetsJohn H. and Sarah Tibbets

Location: in front of the house (original; exterior alterations), 6810 N. Boyd Road, Madison (Jefferson County, Indiana)

Installed: 2006 Indiana Historical Bureau, Historic Eleutherian College, Lena McDole, and Tibbets' descendants

ID# : 39.2006.2

Text

Side one:

The Tibbets provided assistance to fugitive slaves here in their home (now part of National Park Service, Network to Freedom); John piloted them to the next safe haven. Both were members of Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society and Anti-Slavery Regular Baptist Church at College Hill. John served as a trustee for the church and Eleutherian College.

Side two:

Free blacks from Madison and surrounding area and white abolitionists helped fugitive slaves. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Keywords

Underground Railroad, African American, Religion, Education

Annotated Text

The Tibbets provided assistance to fugitive slaves here in their home (now part of National Park Service, Network to Freedom); John piloted them to the next safe haven.(3) Both were members of Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society(4) and Anti-Slavery Regular Baptist Church at College Hill.(5) John served as a trustee for the church(6) and Eleutherian College.(7)

Free blacks from Madison and surrounding area and white abolitionists helped fugitive slaves.(8)

(Standard statement for UGRR markers.)

The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Notes:

(1) John Tibbetts was born in Clermont County, Ohio circa 1820. Census records for his age are not consistent and do not agree with family genealogists. Note: all census records were accessed at the web site Ancestry.com.

Samuel Tibbetts [father of John], ”U.S. Bureau of Census, Ohio, Clermont County, 1820, microfilm, pp. 34, 39, 41 (B00314), lists three "Samuel Tibbetts." The "Samuel Tibbetts" listed on p. 34 appears to agree with a Tibbets family genealogy in terms of numbers of family members. See May (Tibbetts) Jarvis, compiler, Henry Tibbetts of Dover, New Hampshire and some of his Descendants, Vol. 2 (San Diego, CA, 1939), pp. 401-02. (B00396)

A Samuel Tibbets was not located in Ohio in 1830 census. Samuel Tibbetts, Samuel Tibbetts Jr., and Joshua C. Tibbetts all appear in U.S. Bureau of Census, Ohio, Clermont County, 1840, microfilm, p. 203. (B00315) John Tibbetts would likely still be living with his father, Samuel.

John H. Tibbetts, U.S. Bureau of Census, Indiana, Jefferson County, Madison Township, 1850, microfilm, p. 2. (B00316) U.S. Bureau of Census, Indiana, Jefferson County, Lancaster Township, 1860, microfilm, p. 880. (B00317) U.S. Bureau of Census, Kansas, Labette County, Mound Valley Township, 1870, p. 7. (B00393) U.S. Bureau of Census, Kansas, Labette County, Canada Township, 1880, microfilm, p. 756. (B00318) U.S. Bureau of Census, Kansas, Labette County, Canada Township, 1900, [n.p.]. (B00398)

1850 Census and all later documents show John "H." Tibbetts. Census records for John (noted above) spell his surname Tibbetts or Tibbitts except for 1880 census, which lists Tibbets. The family genealogies, "John Henry Tibbets, " Jacquelyn J Sorby Family Page, accessed November 7, 2005 at Ancestry.com. (B00388) and Jarvis (B00396), and the applicant spell the surname "Tibbets." U.S. Bureau of Census, 1850, p. 2. (B00316)

Jarvis, p. 523. (B00396) "Tibbets, " Sorby Family Page (B00388)

Two early documents list him as John "C." Tibbets: Marriage license, September 21, 1844, Marriage Records, Book 5, 1842-1845, Jefferson County, Indiana, Indiana State Library, microfilm. (B00389); and Minute Book, Neel's Creek Anti-Slavery Society 1839-1845, Collection S2768, Manuscript Section, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library. (B00390)

John C. Tibbets and Sarah Ann Nelson married September 22, 1844. Marriage certificate, Marriage Records, Book 5, 1842-1845, Jefferson County, Indiana, Indiana State Library, microfilm. (B00389)

(2)Circa 1820, Sarah Ann Nelson was born in Indiana, daughter of James and Lucy Nelson. U.S. Bureau of Census, Indiana, Jefferson County, 1820, [n.p.]. (B00397).

"Sarah Ann Nelson, " Jacquelyn J Sorby Family Page, accessed November 7, 2005 at Ancestry.com. (B00387) See John H. Tibbets U.S. Census records, 1850-1880 listed in footnote (1) above.

(3)Tibbets' assistance is described in J. H. & S. A. Tibbets, "Reminiscence of Slavery Times, " [circa 1885, see p. 4 of Mss.] Theodore L. Steele Papers, M0263, Box 2, Folder 2, William H. Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, pp. 3, 9, 11-12, 13-14. (B00335)

Tibbets' purchase of the land and the purchase by current owner. Mortgage, John H. Tibbets, September 13, 1853, Jefferson County, Indiana, Mortgage Book 1853, photocopy, p. 602. (B00313) Warranty Deed, Jacob and Josephine Wakefield to William B. Rogers and Lena Rogers, recorded February 2, 1948, Jefferson County, Indiana, Deed Record, 114, January 1948-October 1948, photocopy, p. 78. (B00319)

"John H. Tibbets Home, " National Park Service, Network to Freedom web site, accessed March 3, 2005 (B00394)

(4)Minute Book, Neel's Creek Anti-Slavery Society 1839-1845, pp. 2, 3. (B00390) The spelling "Neil's Creek" was also used on a state historical marker for Lyman Hoyt; based on additional research "Neil's Creek" appears to be the most widely accepted spelling.

(5)The name of the church is not consistent. It may have begun as the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Baptist Church, and when it moved to College Hill, it became the Anti-Slavery Regular Baptist Church at College Hill. Madison Daily Courier, December 21, 1853. (B00327) Robert W. Scott, College Hill Cemetery Web site, http://myindianahome.net/gen/jeff/records/cemetery/lancoll.html (accessed March 19, 2005). (B00333) Mortgage Book 2, March 1849-August 1850, Jefferson County Indiana, p. 622-623, photocopy. (B00391) Article of Agreement, November 12, 1855, Jefferson County, Indiana, Mortgage Book 9, p. 175. (B00322)

The following sources mention the church, but they are compilations of miscellaneous files with little primary source documentation. Blacks in and around Jefferson County, Indiana, compiled by Madison-Jefferson County Public Library, p. 21. (B00329) Anti-Slavery History of Jefferson County, Indiana (Jefferson County Historical Society, Inc., 1998), p. 18. (B00332)

(6)Article of Agreement, November 12, 1855, Jefferson County, Indiana, Mortgage Book 9, p. 175. (B00322) Election of Trustees, Eleutherian College, Miscellaneous Record Book 1, Jefferson County, Indiana, p. 12.

(7) Article of Agreement, November 12, 1855. (B00322) Deed, Thomas and Rebecca Craven to Trustees of Eleutherian College, May 1, 1855, Jefferson Co. Indiana, Deed Book 52, pp. 426-27. (B00328) Madison Daily Courier, March 25, 1856. (B00325)

(8)J. H. & S. A. Tibbets, "Reminiscence, " pp. 3, 9, 11-12, 13-14. (B00335) Detroit Post, Supplement, "Underground Railroad, " May 14, 1870. (B00331) Madison Evening Courier, January 13, 1880. (B00330) Indianapolis Journal, January 25, 1880. (B00323)

Census and other information on the free blacks in area mentioned by Tibbets in the "Reminiscence" is in the Georgetown (Jefferson County) marker file at Indiana Historical Bureau.