John Franklin Kibbey


John Franklin Kibbey

Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana, USA
Death 10 Oct 1900 (aged 74)
Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana, USA
Burial Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana, USA
Memorial ID 73886152 View Source
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Children: Joseph H., Mary Elizabeth, John C., Frank C., and Walter Pryne

(Multiple newspaper accounts from the Richmond Evening Item.)

JOHN F. KIBBEY, son of John C. Kibbey, was admitted to practice March 2, 1852. He was elected, in 1864, to succeed Jeremiah Wilson as judge of the Sixth judicial district, and came into office, March, 1865. He was re-elected in 1868, and his term will expire in 1872.


HON. JOHN F. KIBBEY, Judge of Wayne Circuit Court, was born in Richmond, May 4,1826, a son of John C. Kibbey, a native of Warren County, Ohio, who came to Wayne County, Ind., in 1813, locating at Salisbury, and six years later at Richmond, where, save a few years spent in Centreville, he lived till his death in 1861. John C. Kibbey was well versed in general literature. He served as Justice of the Peace many years. He married Mary Espy, and to them was born one child, John F. Kibbey.

John F. Kibbey studied in his early life under the supervision of his father, and in 1845 entered Miami University at Oxford, Ohio. In 1849 he began the study of law in the office of Senator Morton, and in 1852 was admitted to the bar, and soon afterward became a partner of his preceptor. In 1851 he was elected Surveyor of Wayne County, and served by re-election till 1856. The above partnership continued till Senator Morton was elected Governor of Indiana.

In March, 1862, Judge Kibbey was appointed Attorney-General of the State, to fill a vacancy. One year later he was appointed Military commander of his congressional district, with the rank of Colonel. His duties were to raise volunteers for the war, provide for their maintenance, and control the camps, until organized into regiments, and mustered in the service. While acting in this capacity he enlisted over 1,900 men.

In 1856 he was appointed Judge of the Common Pleas Court, holding the office till the spring of·1873, when the office was abolished. The following October he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court of Wayne County, into which the Common Pleas Court was merged, an office he still holds. In 1876 he was nominated by the Republican party Supreme Judge of the State, but with the rest of the ticket was defeated.

Until 1854 the Judge's political affiliations were with the Democratic party, but being opposed to its action on the slavery question, he abandoned it and two years later assisted in the organization of the Republican party, to which he has since adhered.

May 5, 1852, Judge Kibbey married Caroline Conningham. They have five children.

The Judge and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church. Judge Kibbey is eminently qualified for the position which he now holds. Possessed of a wide knowledge, both of law and general literature, logical in reasoning, sound in judgment, he is able to analyze intricate questions, and to express his decisions briefly, precisely and forcibly. His long career upon the bench has won for him distinction and honor. Judge Kibbey is deservedly popular, both in legal and social circles, and is an influential member of his party.


Many years were spent in study under his father, who was exceedingly well versed in literature. In 1845 he entered Miami University, at Oxford, Ohio. His aspirations had always been towards the bar, and in 1849, he began the study of law in the office of Oliver P. Morton, in Centerville. After a study of two years he was admitted to the bar, in 1852, and soon afterwards formed a partnership with his former preceptor, Mr. Morton. This partnership was a happy combination.

Mr. Morton, who had a great dislike for all kinds of office work, was especially strong before a jury, while Mr. Kibbey's strong forte was just in such minute and close study as was required to draw up pleadings, etc. In March, 1862, Mr. Kibbey was appointed attorney-general of Indiana to fill a vacancy in that office.

In 1863 he was appointed military commander of his Congressional district, with the rank of colonel. His duties were to raise volunteers, equip them, and control the camps until mustered into service. While acting in this capacity he enlisted over 1,900 men. At the same time that he was engaged in military duties, Mr. Kibbey was also judge of the Wayne Common Pleas Court, holding this office from 1865 until it was abolished, in 1873. In October, 1873, he was elected judge of the Wayne Circuit Court, serving in this capacity until 1885· Few members of this bar had a wider and more general knowledge of the law than Mr. Kibbey, and his career upon the bench, a period of twenty years, won him distinction and honor


John Franklin Kibbey was born May 4, 1826, the place of his birth being on Pearl (now South Fifth) street, in the city of Richmond.

His ancestors were among the earliest settlers of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio river. His grandfather, Ephraim Kibbey, was a Revolutionary soldier, serving all through the war for independence, and he came from New Jersey to Cincinnati, then Fort Washington, as early as 1790. His name is inscribed upon the monument erected to the memory of the first settlers of Hamilton county, the location of that settlement being in what is now the city of Cincinnati. He was also a soldier in the Indian war under the command of Gen. Anthony Wayne, which war was terminated by the battle of Fallen Timbers on the Maumee river and the Treaty of Greenville.

The father of John F. Kibbey came to Wayne county, Indiana, in 1813, and first established his residence at Salisbury, but in 1819 removed to Richmond. He married Elizabeth Espy, by whom he had one son - John F. Kibbey - and several daughters. For many years he resided in Richmond, then for a short time in Centerville, and later removed to the State of Illinois, where he died in 1861. The father of Judge Kibbey was a man possessed of strong traits of character, of positive opinions, fearless in their expression and independent in action. He took upon himself the education of his son and instructed him in all the elementary branches taught in the schools, and talked with him familiarly upon the subjects of general interest in the period in which he lived.

In 1849 John F. entered Miami University, at Oxford, Ohio, then one of the most popular institutions of learning in the West, and which furnished many illustrious names to the various professional and prominent walks of life, He did not graduate at the university, but in the same year commenced the study of law in the office of Oliver P. Morton, and was admitted to the bar of Wayne county, March 2, 1852. On his admission to the bar he formed a partnership with Oliver P. Morton, which association continued until Mr. Morton became governor of Indiana, in 1861, and then for a short time was in partnership with George Holland.

In the year 1861 a vacancy occurred in the office of attorney-general of Indiana and Mr. Kibbey was appointed by Governor Morton to that office, which he occupied until his successor was elected. He also served as the military commander of his Congressional district, with the title of Colonel. In 1865 he was appointed judge of the Common Pleas Court, entering upon the discharge of his duties in May of that year. In 1873 the law providing for courts of common pleas was repealed, and the business of that court was transferred to the Circuit Court, Wayne county being created a judicial district; of which John F. Kibbey was elected judge, in October, 1873, and immediately qualified. He was re-elected at the end of that term, but at the end of his second term he declined re-election, and his official life terminated Oct. 23, 1885, after service as judge of Common Pleas and Circuit Court for a period of twenty years. He then engaged in the practice of his profession and continued in the same until about two years before his death. In 1876 he was nominated by the Republican party as a candidate for Supreme Judge of the State, and was again nominated by the party in 1882. At both elections he received the full vote of his party, but was defeated with the other candidates on the ticket.

He held many positions of prominence and was well known throughout the State. He was elected surveyor of Wayne county in 1851 and held that office until 1856. He had a multitude of friends, not only in Richmond and Wayne county, but throughout Eastern Indiana. For some years before his death the Judge had not been very active in the practice of law, because of enfeebled health, but gave strict attention to his office business, and there were few days when he was not at his work. Twenty-five years before his death there was no more prominent lawyer in Eastern Indiana than Judge John F. Kibbey, and for many years he was regarded as one of the strongest men of Wayne county, and held an enviable place in the estimation of the people.

He was personally acquainted with a great many of Indiana's prominent men, and his memory of important incidents of the stirring times preceding and up to the time of the Civil war never failed him. His career on the bench was a long one, and he was regarded by the practitioners of the Wayne County bar as one of the fairest minded and most competent judges.

On the day following his twenty-sixth birthday, on May 5, 1852, Judge Kibbey was united in marriage to Miss Caroline Conningham, at Centerville, Wayne county. Judge Kibbey died in Richmond, Oct. 10, 1900, and his wife survives him, spending her summers in Richmond and her winters either in California or Arizona. The children born to them were Joseph H., Mary Elizabeth, John C., Frank C., and Walter Pryne.

Joseph H. Kibbey resides in Arizona, where he has recently relinquished the office of governor, in which he officiated for five years by appointment of President Roosevelt. This is the longest period of incumbency served by any man as governor of that Territory, his predecessors being limited in every instance to not exceeding one year. He has a large law practice at Phoenix, Ariz., where he resides, and on account of this fact he refused an appointment as Territorial judge, offered him by President Taft. He was United States District Judge four years under President Harrison.

John C. Kibbey, the second son, was in the banking business at Tallapoosa, Ga., and is now deceased.

(Multiple newspaper accounts from the Richmond Evening Item.)

Frank C. Kibbey received his preliminary education in the public schools of Richmond, and later finished a course at Earlham College. In early manhood he went to Arizona, where he was engaged in mining and prospecting, and while there served as clerk of the Supreme Court of the Territory for a period of three years. Upon leaving Arizona he removed to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he became engaged in the street railway business. He entered the service of the United States during the Spanish-American war as a member of the Thirty-second Michigan infantry and served in the military arm of the government until peace had been declared. Although somewhat disappointed at not being able to reach the scene of hostilities he served loyally by performing the duties assigned him, and a great deal of, his work was in a clerical capacity. As an evidence of his high standing among his comrades it may be stated that he has just recently retired from the position of Department Commander of the Department of Indiana, United Spanish War Veterans, after a term of signal usefulness in that position. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen at Richmond, the Knights of Pythias at Phoenix, Ariz., and in Richmond he is also associated with the Elks, the Commercial Club, and the Young Men's Business Club. On Dec. 16, 1886, Mr. Kibbey was married to Miss Louise Winton, daughter of Dr. Horace Winton, of North Manchester, Ind., where Mrs. Kibbey was born and educated. Of this union there has been born a daughter, Mary Elizabeth.

Gravesite Details Interment 10/13/1900

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