Thomas Henry Tibbles


Thomas Henry Tibbles

Washington County, Ohio, USA
Death 14 May 1928 (aged 89–90)
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA
Burial Bellevue, Sarpy County, Nebraska, USA
Plot Block 8, Lot 5, Grave 4
Memorial ID 127717305 View Source

Note: The year of his birth may be inscribed incorrectly on his tombstone. Several sources state he was born in 1840.

Son of William and Martha (nee Cooley) Tibbles. In his book, "Buckskin and Blanket Days," Thomas states he was born May 22, 1840 near Athens, Washington County, Ohio, which differs from the date inscribed on his headstone. Thomas was married 3 times. His first wife was Amelia Owens (d. 1879 of peritonitis), with whom he had two daughters, Eda (who married Herbert Bates) and May (who married Allen Barris). His 2nd wife was Susette "Bright Eyes" LaFlesche (whom he married July 23, 1881 at the old Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, NE), and his 3rd wife was Ida Riddle.

From Wikepedia:

Thomas Henry Tibbles (1840 – 1928) was a journalist and author from Omaha, Nebraska who became an activist for Native American rights in the United States during the late nineteenth century.

Born in Ohio, he moved to Illinois with his parents. At 16 years of age, he traveled to Kansas and participated in the "Bleeding Kansas" slavery-related border conflict on the side of the abolitionists; there, he served under James H. Lane and John Brown. Taken prisoner by pro-slavery forces, he was sentenced to be hanged but escaped. After the end of the Kansas hostilities, he spent some time with the Omaha, even accompanying them in a conflict with the Sioux. He was later active, among other things, as a Methodist preacher in the frontier territory before turning to journalism.

As assistant editor of the Omaha Daily Herald, he was instrumental in bringing the case of Standing Bear and the Ponca Indian people before the United States District Court at Fort Omaha in 1879. This case was famous for its ruling that "an Indian is a person," with all the rights of full citizens. He was later married to Susette ("Bright Eyes") LaFlesche, a member of the Omaha tribe who had served as Standing Bear's interpreter at the trial. Tibbles was a witness to the aftermath of the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1891, and reported this tragedy to the world. From 1893-1895, he worked as a newspaper correspondent in Washington D.C. On returning to Nebraska, Tibbles became editor-in-chief of The Independent, a weekly Populist Party newspaper. He was the Populist Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1904.


Omaha Daily Bee, September 21, 1883:

It will be remembered that Bright Eyes, an Omaha Indian girl, was sometime since married to Rev. T. H. Tibbles. She is living with her husband at Bancroft, and a correspondent who recently saw her says: "She is about 35 years of age, small in stature, and has the habits of the white lady. She dresses in good taste, and as for neatness about the house she is hard to beat. Everything is in apple-pie order. T. H. Tibbles has been married once before. He has two children by his first wife, both daughters.


Omaha Daily Bee, January 8, 1907:

T. H. Tibbles, the veteran editor and politician, is to be married. His bride is to be Miss Ribbel, assistant to the Superintendent Morris of the Associated Charities. She has already tendered her resignation to the board of directors of the Associated Charities, to take effect at once. The wedding is to be in February.

Miss Ribbel came to Omaha several months ago from Lincoln, where she was engaged in charity work. Since she has been in the city Mr. Tibbles has become interested in the work of the Associated Charities and has frequently attended the meetings of the organization. He has also given, in the editorials in his paper, some attention to charity work.

Mr. Tibbles fame is national. He was a candidate on the populist ticket for vice president in 1904. He achieved some fame also by his marriage with the Indian woman, Bright Eyes.

Gravesite Details

He is buried next to Ida Tibbles, his 3rd wife.

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