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
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
1907 W. [Walter] S. Hibbard, member of board of education,
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,
1912 Walter S. Hibbard is a member of the Denison School Board.
He urges the City council to build a new high school.
of Walter S. Hibbard
Source: A History of Texas and Texans, by Francis White Johnson and Ernest William
Winkler, volume 3
(1914), page 1417
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
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.
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.
100 block North Houston Avenue at corner of East Main Street
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
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
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.
* * *
Next Generation : Frederick
From Jim Sears, April 25, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.