Grayson County TXGenWeb

Hibbard family

First Generation of Hibbards in Denison, Texas

The four Hibbard brothers (Walter, Fred, Charles, and H. A.) originally came to Denison, Texas, in 1876 from Troy, Wisconsin, to begin operating one of the earliest successful grocery companies in the city. The Hibbards initially occupied 301 West Main Street in 1888, remaining there until Madden’s Department Store displaced them in 1894.

The Hibbards in 1894 found new quarters at 112 South Houston Avenue, in a building constructed in 1885 by the Waples-Platter Grocery Company. In 1897, when Lingo-Leeper moved out of the earliest Waples-Platter structure at 100 East Main Street, the Hibbards moved into it for the next five years, while also retaining their other location nearby at 112 South Houston. In 1902, they moved into their new Denison Grocer Company building at 112–114 North Houston Avenue, leaving behind both the former locations.

By 1908, the firm was well established, with W. S. Hibbard serving as president, C. S. Cobb as vice president, and C. C. Jinks as secretary. A publication of that year cites the “large brick structure of three floors, each 60 by 160 feet in dimension. This building was erected in 1905 [sic] and fitted up with every modern convenience. The stock carried and handled includes everything in the line of groceries and produce. In short, the house is a thoroughly modern and up-to-date establishment. . . . A number of traveling men represent the house throughout Denison’s prescribed territory.”

City Directory Information:

1907          W. [Walter] S. Hibbard, member of board of education, Denison.

1907          Walter S. Hibbard, president and treasurer of Denison Grocer Company, 112-114 North Houston Avenue. Residence, 624 West Gandy Street. Wife is Allie Hibbard.

1907          Denison Grocer Company, 112-114 North Houston Avenue. W. S. Hibbard, president and treasurer; J. B. McDougall, vice president; C. C. Jinks, secretary.

1912          Walter S. Hibbard is a member of the Denison School Board. He urges the City council to build a new high school.


‪Biography of Walter S. Hibbard

Source: A History of Texas and Texansby Francis White Johnson and Ernest William Winkler, volume 3 (1914), page 1417

 There are in every community men of great force of character and exceptional ability, who by reason of their capacity for leadership become recognized as foremost citizens and bear a most important part in public affairs. Such a man is Walter S. Hibbard, president of the Denison Grocery Company, at Denison, a man of large and varied interests, who has spent his entire business career here. He has at various times taken an active part in shaping public sentiment when the welfare of the city has been at stake and is a representative of its best type of citizenship. Mr. Hibbard was born September 14, 1860, in Wisconsin, and is a son of R. P. and M. R. Hibbard.

R. P. Hibbard was born in the state of Michigan, of Scotch parentage, and as a young man removed to Wisconsin, where he spent a number of years in agricultural pursuits. He came to Texas in 1876, and almost immediately embarked in the drug business at Denison, in which he continued to be engaged during the remainder of his life. He died in 1907, and the mother, who was born in New York, passed away during the same year. They were the parents of four sons, as follows: Charles M., who is a tinner by trade and carries on a successful business in Denison; Walter S., of this review; H. A., who is the proprietor of a retail grocery establishment at Denison; and Fred P., formerly in partnership with Walter S., who passed away in 1900.

The early education of Walter S. Hibbard was secured in the public schools of his native state. He was sixteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to Texas, and here he completed his studies in the graded and high schools of Denison. He early showed ambition and industry, and after his graduation from the high school he soon secured employment as a telegrapher for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad at Denison. It had always been his ambition to enter commercial lines, however, and when the opportunity offered, in 1890, he took his earnings and engaged in the grocery business with his brother, Fred P. Hibbard, under the firm style of Hibbard Brothers. 

Looking east on East Main Street
In 1897–1902, the Hibbards' Denison Grocer Company first occupied 100 East Main Street, shown here.

Across the street, just west of the MKT freight office, are saloons, cafes, and a loan office.
Note the electrical poles and trolley car.

This was but a retail concern, but in 1895 the brothers embarked in the wholesale trade, which met with such success that in 1901 the business was incorporated with a stock company, under the style of Denison Grocery Company, and of this concern Mr. Hibbard has continued to be president. 

Aerial View
100 block North Houston Avenue at corner of East Main Street

 MKT Depot and Southern Nuts Building (earlier, Denison Grocery Company)

Although he devotes the greater part of his attention to this business, his abilities are not allowed to go to waste, for several large industries have gained the benefit of his keen discernment, acumen and good judgment. He is vice-president of the Southwestern Surety and Insurance Company, and a director of the National Bank of Denison and of the Denison Banking and Trust Company. He is a member of the executive board of the Chamber of Commerce, and has the utmost confidence of his associates in all fields. 

118 N Houston Avenue
remodeled Denison Grocer Company Building
ca. 2010

The Denison Grocery Company is a concern which has grown out of the needs of its locality, and which has developed its trade until it extends all over the states of Texas and Oklahoma. The business house, at Nos. 212 and 214 North Houston avenue, is a modern structure, and here handles a full line of all general groceries of a high grade. From the first Mr. Hibbard's able management has been seen in its affairs, and his partners constantly look to him for advice and leadership in matters of importance affecting the firm. Mr. Hibbard has always been a Republican, and while he has not been an office seeker has realized the responsibilities placed upon the successful men of any community, and has served efficiently and conscientiously in the capacity of alderman, his record in the city council being an active and honorable one. A close friend of education he has done all in his power to advance its cause, and has served for a long period as a member of the school board, of which he has been president for seven years. His fraternal connections are with the Woodmen of the World and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, in both of which he has numerous friends. With his family he attends the Presbyterian church, to which he gives his hearty support, both financial and as a member of the board of trustees.

On April 3, 1884, Mr. Hibbard was united in marriage at Denison, Texas, with Miss Alice Buckman, a daughter of Isaac Buckman. Mrs. Hibbard's father, an old-time grain merchant, came from Illinois to Sherman, Texas, at an early day, and later located in Denison, where his death occurred in 1894. To Mr. and Mrs. Hibbard there has been born one daughter: Margaret Evelyn, who became the wife of Jack Little, in the employ of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, and has one child, Margaret Alice, who is now four years old. Mr. and Mrs. Hibbard reside in their comfortable modern home, a center of culture and refinement, located at No. 629 Woodard Street, Denison.

 * * *

The Next Generation  : Frederick P. Hibbard
From Jim Sears, April 25, 2010

He was born in Denison in the 1890s, but he left town for good at an early age. He spent his entire career in the service of his country, and his job took him to many foreign lands. He was written about in Time magazine, and his voice was heard on radio around the world. Yes, I could be speaking of Dwight Eisenhower. But those first three sentences also describe Frederick Pomeroy Hibbard, Jr. 

Born in Denison on July 25, 1894 to Frederick Pomeroy and Daisy Bacon Hibbard, Frederick P. Hibbard Jr. attended Culver Military Academy in Indiana, took his A. B. from the University of Texas, and did a year of postgraduate work at Harvard. He served in the army from 1917 to 1919 before entering the U. S. Foreign Service in 1920. His appointments included posts in Warsaw, London, Mexico City, La Paz, Prague, Bucharest, and Monrovia. 

Frederick was still in the Foreign Service when he died of an unknown illness in 1943. He was 49. His father died in 1903 at age 39 (when Fred Jr. was 9 years old). Fred Sr. is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison. 

You may know something about the Hibbards, who were in the drug and grocery business in early Denison. You may even be familiar with some of the facts that I have only recently unearthed about Frederick, the Foreign Service diplomat. I will share just three more tidbits that were of particular interest to me. The first is the attached article from the June 24, 1935 issue of Time. It was written in that saucy style for which the magazine has long been known, but which was especially audacious in the years before Wolcott Gibbs' famous New Yorker parody of it in 1936. My favorite example in this piece: "As Charge d'Affaires Mr. Hibbard had spent long days in polite palaver with Liberian kinkywigs, long nights swatting mosquitoes and tropical vermin." Coining disparaging terms like "kinkywigs" would mean more serious trouble for Time nowadays. 

The second item is an 1805 book once owned by Hibbard. It is now available for $3,000, with his name still on the bookplate. You can read about it and see a picture of it at

The last item is an audio clip that includes Hibbard speaking. It's from the Czech Radio archives, and the occasion was the 200th anniversary in 1932 of the birth of George Washington. The complete recording is just over five minutes long. The first four minutes are of Czechoslovakia's first president, Tomas Masaryk, speaking first in his native language and then in English. Hibbard comes in during the last minute, after Masaryk has finished.

 I know relatively little about Denison history, but some of the things I have been reading recently suggest to me that the junior high or high school might do well to consider offering the subject as an elective. Perhaps one of you could teach it.

THE CABINET: Wound Unsalted
Monday, Jun. 24, 1935

In the only foreign capital named after a U. S. President—Monrovia of Liberia— Frederick Pomeroy Hibbard, a white Texan who for 15 years has been running diplomatic errands for the U. S. State Department, last week looked into the face of a pale chocolate-colored, mustachioed little Negro and addressed him as "Your Excellency." Liberia's President Edwin Barclay visibly swelled with satisfaction. Legation Secretary Hibbard was informing him that the U.S. was, after a five year break, granting diplomatic recognition to Liberia. In Washington Secretary of State Hull also swelled with satisfaction: he had shown that the U. S. was more potent than the League of Nations.

For several reasons a bad diplomatic situation in Liberia is usually much worse than a bad situation anywhere else: 1) Political respect for 12,000,000 U. S. Negroes requires that the post of U. S. Minister to Liberia shall be held by a Negro, and having a Negro Minister, though stoutly backstopped by a white legation Secretary, does not simplify the art of diplomacy. 2) When the Secretary of State wants to send an emissary to Liberia, he is lucky if there is a ship sailing for the African West Coast within a month, luckier still if the emissary reaches Monrovia in less than another month. 3) When the emissary lands in a surf boat at Liberia's harborless capital, he finds a dirty, ramshackle tropical town whose inhabitants consist of about 100 whites, 10,000 blacks, and 1,000,000 rats, where a one-year tour of duty is considered the equivalent of three years at Warsaw or Moscow. 4) The emissary's job is to deal with a Government controlled by perhaps 20,000 purse- proud Afro-Americans (who comprise most of the "landholders of Negro blood," the only qualified voters according to the Liberian Constitution) who for the last century have never succeeded in controlling the million or more Afro-Africans who inhabit Liberia's 43,000 square miles of equatorial jungle. 5) If everything does not go well in Liberia, it is just too bad for the U. S. State Department which is held responsible by the world at large. For Liberia was founded over a century ago as a colony for freed Negro slaves from the U. S., has a Government with a President, a Senate, a House of Representatives and all other U. S. fixings. U. S. honor cannot afford to let the British from Sierra Leone or the French from the Ivory Coast step in and clean up.

During the last five years conditions in Liberia have been salt in the wounds of the State Department. The British objected that the rats in Monrovia were so bad that bubonic plague was prevented from spreading through West Africa only by the fact that it had no harbor in which ships could dock; that a smallpox epidemic ravaged the interior; that the simplest health measures were unknown and Liberia might become a focus of infection for all Africa. This the U. S. State Department could believe. In 1929 U. S. Minister William Treyanne Francis died there of yellow fever.

More serious was the charge that Liberian President Charles Dunbar Burgess King, along with his Vice President and several Cabinet members, had been profiting by having their "Frontier Guard'' raid villages of their Afro-African countrymen, torture women and chiefs, seize black bucks and sell them into slavery in French Gabun and Spanish Fernando Po. When a League of Nations Commission verified the practice. President King and his followers, on stern advice from Washington, resigned. Next Liberia, under President Edwin Barclay, defaulted on its loan of $2,250,000 from Harvey Firestone. In 1925 when rubber was $1 per Ib. the State Department had encouraged Mr. Firestone to start a huge rubber plantation in Liberia and lend the African Republic money to pay off its European and other debts. Mr. Firestone planted 55,000 acres of rubber trees, built 100 miles of road (five times as much as Liberia had ever had before), hired thousands of natives at 25 a week, gave Liberia a brief boom. Then with Depression the Liberian Congress seized the revenues set aside to service the Firestone debt. The U. S. protested that this was contrary to the Liberian Constitution. Proclamations were posted that any Liberian Supreme Court Justice who held the Act unconstitutional would be assassinated.

Since the U. S. could not stop these occurrences, the League of Nations tried. Liberia is a charter member of the League, for it had joined the Allies one day during the War when a British warship anchored off Monrovia. The League found that Liberia, besides having no health service, had no budget, no accounts, no money, that its trouble was, as Lord Cecil put it, "the incompetence of the Government and corruption—but rather more incompetence than corruption." The League offered to send Liberia a Government adviser to set things right. President Barclay proudly declined. The League threatened to expel Liberia, then looked up its own constitution, found it had no authority to do so.

Last September U. S. Diplomat Hibbard took one of the least pleasant assignments in a career which had taken him from Poland to Peru. Only difficulty he was spared was the presence of a U. S. Minister at Monrovia. Charles E. Mitchell, the last to hold that post, had been retired because of the prolonged lack of recognition of Liberia. As Charge d'Affaires. Mr. Hibbard had spent long days in polite palaver with Liberian kinkywigs, long nights swatting mosquitoes and tropical vermin. Finally he proposed a deal: Mr. Firestone would cut interest on his Liberian loan from 7% to 5%; Liberia would frown on the slave traffic, try to do some-thing about disease; Secretary Hull would grant diplomatic recognition and send Liberia a minister; President Barclay would accept a "foreign" (i. e. white) adviser.

President Barclay, sitting in his wicker rocking chair on the second-story veranda of the Executive Mansion where he daily looks down on the tall grass and tin cans in the square below, graciously accepted the offer. Mr. Hibbard privately thanked God that his job was done, hoped he would be relieved. In the U. S. hundreds of Negroes began to besiege Postmaster General Farley's lieutenants with requests to be appointed U. S. Minister Resident & Consul General to Liberia —at $10,000 per year. The State Department was so happily excited over this settlement of "the Liberian crisis" that, in the mimeographed announcement of its accomplishment, it carelessly called the President of a friendly nation Edward instead of Edwin.,9171,754906-3,00.html#ixzz0m4yKbHeh 



Back to the Grayson County  Index
Questions?, Broken Links?, please send me a message.
This page is maintained by Elaine Nall Bay 2010