Stephen Amos Hibbs: Bridge Burner, Literally (52 Ancestors #1)

Stephen Amos Hibbs was the brother of my 3rd-great-grandmother Martha (Hibbs) Mason. He was born in 1826 in present-day West Virginia, the son of John and Jane (Amos) Hibbs.

West Virginia was formed in 1863 when the western counties of Virginia decided that they didn’t really want to secede from the Union. But just because they opted to become a Union state doesn’t mean that they were 100% behind the Union cause. Far from it. The state was pocketed with Confederate sympathizers. Among them: Stephen A. Hibbs.

On 1 May 1863, he was captured by Union forces for being a “bridge burner.” His record in the Union Provost Marshals’ Files notes that he was a “rebel.” Page 1 of the record names him as “Stephen A. Hibbs / Cit.” (short for “citizen.”) This last term isn’t indicating his citizenship (as in voting rights, etc.) It’s an indication that he was a civilian, rather than a member of the Confederate army.

Stephen A. Hibbs, Union Provost Marshals' File Of Paper Relating To Individual Civilians, National Archives microfilm M345, page 2. Downloaded from Fold3.com.

Stephen A. Hibbs, Union Provost Marshals’ File Of Paper Relating To Individual Civilians, National Archives microfilm M345, page 2. Downloaded from Fold3.com.

How do I know this is 1863 when there is no year on the record? It’s stated that he was captured in “Marion Co., Va.” — not West Virginia. West Virginia didn’t become a state until 20 June 1863, making that the latest that this record could have been (accurately) created. (Yes, there’s the possibility that they wrote “Va.” out of habit, kind of like how it’s usually February before you start writing the correct year on your checks.) It also states that he was 37 years old. Census records consistently place his birth year in 1826. 1826 + 37 = 1863.

After the war, Stephen left Marion County, West Virginia and settled briefly in Warren County, Illinois. He then moved to Wayne County, Iowa, where he was a practicing physician and cattle farmer.1)Biographical and Historical Record of Wayne and Appanoose Counties, Iowa (Chicago: Inter-State Publishing, 1886), p. 395. Available on Google Books.

Did his Southern sympathies cause him strife after the war? (His sister Martha was married to a Union soldier. That could have made for an awkward Christmas dinner… ) Is that what precipitated his move west? Or was he simply looking for more opportunity for himself and his family than what was available in Marion County? Either way, it looks like he made a fresh start.

A Note About the Other Stephen A. Hibbs

Many people have combined this Stephen with the Stephen A. Hibbs who served with the 7th Iowa Infantry. That is a different Stephen A. Hibbs. According to his pension file, he was born in 1845, much too late to be the same one.2)Stephen A. Hibbs, Civil War pension file, application 1196430. Available online at GenealogyCenter.info.

Stephen Amos Hibbs in Review

Stephen Amos Hibbs first married Malinda Yost. After her death, he married Eliza (Blue) Glover, the widow of Stephen Glover. In 1865, he and his family moved to Warren County, Illinois and to Wayne County, Iowa in 1868.3)Biographical and Historical Record of Wayne and Appanoose Counties, Iowa (Chicago: Inter-State Publishing, 1886), p. 395. Available on Google Books. He died 11 March 1902 and is buried in Southlawn Cemetery, in Seymour, Wayne County, Iowa.4)Dr. Stephen Amos Hibbs memorial, FindAGrave.com.

References   [ + ]

1, 3. Biographical and Historical Record of Wayne and Appanoose Counties, Iowa (Chicago: Inter-State Publishing, 1886), p. 395. Available on Google Books.
2. Stephen A. Hibbs, Civil War pension file, application 1196430. Available online at GenealogyCenter.info.
4. Dr. Stephen Amos Hibbs memorial, FindAGrave.com.

10 thoughts on “Stephen Amos Hibbs: Bridge Burner, Literally (52 Ancestors #1)

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      I’ll be posting the Week 1 recap tomorrow morning. You might want to post your link there so it will be with all of the other ones.

      Reply
  1. Sue

    A wonderful piece of ephemera in the record keeping of ‘Rebels’. Very interesting how you deduced the dates and like you said, sometimes we don’t get use to a new year until February or even March. At any rate, it sounds like Stephen’s fresh start was the right one for him. So many needed a fresh start after the Civil War. I am also researching in that time period. So much information. I am amazed and thankful to all who have kept records and contributed them.

    Thanks for hosting another year of 52 Ancestor Weeks. I am looking forward to participating and meeting others who will be posting. I will post my link on tomorrows recap.
    Sue at Tracks Of My Georgia Ancestors

    Reply
  2. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

    I made a wonderful find in the Union Provost Marshals’ File concerning my William A. W. Dempsey of Fayette County, West Virginia. Helped me to prove that he was not the person whose marker is on his grave. Like your Stephen A. HIbbs he was confused with another William A. Dempsey who served during the Civil War.
    I love seeing your posts about families in West Virginia.

    Reply
    1. labwriter

      I was interested to see your story about a West Virginia bridge burner. I have a few of these in my family as well, burning bridges in Carter County, Tenn.

      I’m so happy to have found your 52 Ancestor challenge–discovered last week, so I can start the challenge at Week 1 for 2015. This is such a great idea, and I can’t wait to meet other people who are part of the challenge. I’ll be watching for the Week 1 recap later today.

      Reply
  3. Dana

    Interesting post! I have a Revolutionary ancestor that has also been combined with another person by the same name & I’m trying to sort them out. They were both in the same state & both served, but I believe they are really two men – not one.

    Looking forward to joining in on the first recap of the year & my first “52 ancestors” post!

    Reply
  4. labwriter

    So I seem to have a glitch in the profile of my WordPress.com account. This is my first time for using WordPress, so I’ll have to figure that out. The profile seems to point to the wrong account. This is a shakedown reply–thanks for your patience.

    Reply

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