John Wooleston Tibbatts

1802-1852


John W Tibbatts was born June 12, 1802 at Lexington, Kentucky.  He graduated from Transylvania College, studied law and gained admittance to the bar in 1826.  He established his legal practice at Newport, where he married General James Taylor's daughter Ann W December 24, 1824 and helped found the Newport Manufacturing Company in 1831. 

 By 1851 he and his wife (Ann W Taylor) possessed a combined estate of $2,500,000 and ranked as the city's wealthiest household.  The Tibbatts mansion stood at the northwest corner of Third and Washington.

Tibbatts became the first resident of Newport to sit in the U.S. House of Representatives when he carried Kentucky's 10th Congressional District for the Democrats in 1842.  The voters reelected him to a second term in 1844.  Although one of the state's wealthiest lawyers, he affiliated with the Loco-foco wing of his party, which favored free trade, hard money, limited government, universal white suffrage and an end to chartered monopolies and other special interest legislation.

See also John Wooleston Tibbatts Congressional Record

While at Washington, Tibbatts supported the Polk administration's agenda. He backed a hard currency upheld by the Independent Treasury system, free trade, and low taxes.   He opposed his party on the issue of internal improvements.  In foreign policy, he championed "Manifest Destiny".  In January 1845 he introduced legislation to annex Texas and sponsored the resolution that obligated the U.S. to defend its from Mexican aggression.  These measures formed the legal basis for the entry of Texas.

During the Mexican War, President Polk commissioned Tibbatts a full colonel in the regular army and named him to organize the reactivated 16th U.S. Infantry Regiment on April 9, 1847, shortly after he left Congress.  He recruited four of his companies in Northern Kentucky and enlisted the other six from Ohio and Indiana.  His unit was sent to the Rio Grande to join the command of his father-in-laws second cousin, Major General Zachary Taylor from Louisville.  Fighting had ended in northern Mexico when his regiment arrived.  He was then appointed as Civil and Military Governor at Monterey.

           He left the Army in August 1848 but campaigning in Mexico undermined his health.  He died July 10, 1852 and was buried in Newport Cemetery in Southgate which later was renamed Evergreen.


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