Information from Brian Braun Notes for THOMAS HENRY TIBBLES: Dictionary of American Biography v9 p522: In 1856 he was a member of John Brown's company in Kansas. Attended Mount Union College at Alliance, Ohio. During the Civil War he served on the plains as a guide and scout. After the war he became an itinerant Methodist preacher, although later he became a Presbyterian and still later an Unitarian. In 1873-1874 he was employed as a reporter on the Omaha Daily Herald. As a reporter he advanced the cause of 34 Ponca Indians who had left their reservation in Oklahoma and attempted a return to their former lands in Nebraska. The Indians were arrested. Tibbles, with a fellow reporter, enlisted the help of two attorneys and after a trial in federal district court (U.S. ex rel Standing Bear v . Crook, 25 Federal Cases 695) the Indians were freed. Tibbles then went on a speaking tour on behalf of the Indians. Tibbles was a supporter of the National Farmer's Alliance and The Peoples (Populist) Party. In 1904 he was the Populist Party candidate for vice-president . He published three books: Ponca Chiefs (1880); Hidden Power (1881) and The American Peasant (1892).
National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, v21, p76: Was in Winterset, IA 1854 where he entered an attorney's office and read law. Tibbles joined a caravan sent by Henry Ward Beecher t o colonize Kansas. The group was lead by James H. Lane, later U.S. senator from Kansas. Tibbles first served in Lane's free-state forces and drilled in military tactics under John C. Freemont. He participated as an abolitionist in the warfare between pro-slavery and abolitionist forces on the Kansas Missouri border. Was captured by Col. Titus and was sentenced to death but was rescued by Lane. Later was taken prisoner by a pro-slavery group for refusing to divulge the plans of John Brown and Lane. Tibbles was hanged, but was rescued before his death by Lane's group. After the border warfare subsided he spent two years with the Iowa and Potawatamie Indians, the Iowas initiating him into their secret fraternity, the "Soldier's Lodge ". He returned to Winterset to read law. He studied at Alliance College from 1859 until the Civil War began when he secured an appointment as a volunteer aide to General Curtis in Arkansas. He took part in the battles at Pea Ridge and carried dispatches for General Grant at Vicksburg (the Fourth Iowa, in which his brothers Charles Edwin and George N. served, was engaged at Pea Ridge and Vicksburg). In 1875 he settled in the Republican River Valley in Nebraska. Knew Edward Everette Hale, Longfellow, and Wendell Phillips. Was author of the Dawes Act (1887) which provided Indians certain rights.
Buckskin and Blanket Days by Thomas Henry Tibbles: Thomas was the most famous member of the family - being a pioneer, soldier, buffalo hunter, frontier preacher, scout, editor, statesman, author, social reformer, and in 1904 he was a candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Populist Party ticket. Among his books are Buckskin and Blanket Days, 1905 , an autobiography. Other publications are: "Ponca Chief" published 1880 over the pen name Zylyff; "Hidden Power" June 1881; "The American Peasant" 1892, dealing with the problems of western farmers. He served with Lane's Troops at Bleeding, KS in the summer of 1856 until the troop disbanded in mid Sept. From 1858 to 1861 he studied at Mt Union College at Allia nce, OH. His wife's (Amelia) mother was the granddaughter of a leading English glass manufacturer, John Hall, of Bedminster, England. From 1861 on Thomas did free lance writing and newspaper work. He served in the Civil War as a scout and newspaper correspondent. In 1871-7 3 he became a circuit preacher in western MO and 1873-74 in Republican Valley, NE. He was a very large man. It is noted in his book, Buckskin and Blanket Days, that as near as research can tell he was a most accurate and honest newspaper man. According to his book his father died when he was 10 years old and he was more or less on his own from then on - according to other sources he ran away from home at age 6. Bright Eyes attended Presbyterian Mission Schools and then a private school in Elizabeth, NJ to become a teacher. She later traveled with Thomas making speeches on behalf of the Indians.
Nebraska, The Land and the People Vol 1: When the People's Party National Convention met at Springfield the Democratic National Convention was meeting at St Louis. Action of the Democrats left no course for the Populists except the nomination of an independent ticket from their own ranks. Upon the first ballot for President, Thomas E Watson, of Georgia, received 333 votes, William V Allen, of Nebraska 308 votes. The nomination of Watson was made unanimous and Thomas H. Tibbles of Nebraska, veteran Populist editor, was named for vice president . Cordian good will and union of the two factions prevailed. The time honored principles of the People's party were reassessed in the platform, but the voters of the nation who had joined with enthusiasm in the convention of 1892 and 1896 were no longer in the ranks, as the returns of the election disclosed.
Thomas Henry Tibbles was born May 22, 1838 or 1840. In his family bible, he or one of his wives says 1838. In the 1880 Census, he is in Omaha, a widower, and says he is 40 years old. Buckskin & Blanket Days says he was born in 1840.
T.H. was a pioneer, soldier, buffalo hunter, frontier preacher, scout, editor, statesman, author, social reformer, and in 1904 he was a candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Populist Party ticket. Among the books he has written are BUCKSKIN AND BLANKET DAYS, written in 1905, and is more or less an autobiography of his life. Other publications are: "Ponca Chief" published 1880 over the pen name Zylyff; "Hidden Power" June 1881; "The American Peasant" 1892, dealing with the problems of western farmers. He served with Lane's Troops at Bleeding, KS in the summer of 1856 until the troop disbanded in mid Sept. From 1858 to 1861 he studied at Mt Union College at Alliance, OH. From 1861 on Thomas did freelance writing and newspaper work. He served in the Civil War as a scout and newspaper correspondent. In 1871-73 he became a circuit preacher in western MO and 1873-74 in Republican Valley, NE. He was a very large man. It is noted in his book, Buckskin and Blanket Days, that as near as research can tell he was a most accurate and honest newspaper man. According to his book his father died when he was 10 years old and he was more or less on his own from then on - according to other sources he ran away from home at age 6. Bright Eyes attended Presbyterian Mission Schools and then a private school in Elizabeth, NJ to become a teacher. She later traveled with Thomas making speeches in behalf of the Indians.
Thomas Henry Tibbles was a "crusader." He had spent time in Bleeding Kansas supporting the efforts of Henry Ward Beecher to bring the territory into the Union as a free state. Once during the fighting in Kansas, Tibbles almost was hanged for his abolitionist beliefs. Later, after studying at Mount Union College in Ohio, he became a Methodist minister and a newspaper reporter, first in Missouri and then Nebraska. It was while serving as a minister in Republican City, Nebraska, that he became involved with the suffering of the Plains Indians. During the drought of 1874 he raised funds to feed the destitute tribes to keep them from starving. Tibbles continued to support the Indians in their efforts to maintain their tribal identity after he became a reporter for the Omaha Herald.
In 1879 a group of Ponca led by Standing Bear were arrested in an attempt to return to their ancient homeland. While Standing Bear and his followers were imprisoned at Fort Omaha, Tibbles and a fellow reporter, W. L. Carpenter, took up their cause and implemented a campaign to gain their release. Tibbles's work The Ponca Chiefs: An Indian Attempt to Appeal from the Tomahawk to the Courts, published in 1879, helped win support for Standing Bear and his followers. Successful in having the Poncas released, Tibbles and Carpenter then formed what often was called the Indian Ring, a group that advocated fair treatment for Native Americans.
Susette La Flesche quickly became involved in the movement and, apparently at Tibbles's suggestion, took the name Bright Eyes. Along with her brother, Francis La Flesche, and Standing Bear, Bright Eyes undertook a speaking tour of such eastern cities as Boston in an effort to end the government's policy of forced removal of the northern tribes to Indian Territory.
Following the death of Tibbles's first wife, Amelia Owen, he married Bright Eyes on 23 July 1881 in a ceremony performed by the Reverend S. N. D. Martin at the Ponca Reservation Mission. Tibbles's two children by his first marriage were raised by Bright Eyes. The couple had no children of their own. At first Tibbles and Bright Eyes lived in Tibbles's house in Omaha, but in 1882 they moved to a new home on the Omaha Reservation.
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