of Dubuque, Iowa
~ Researched, compiled and transcribed
by Georgeann McClure and Sue Rekkas
~~~~ *** ~~~~
The Daily Times, Friday, March 24, 1905, page 12.
PIONEER RIVER CAPTAIN DIES
NORMAN E. TIBBALS, AGED 71 YEARS, ENDS VOYAGE
Captain Norman E. Tibbals, a pioneer river captain, died this
morning at his home in Dubuque at the age of 71 years,
according to a special telegram received from Dubuque today.
Captain Tibbals was known up and down the river by
every steamboat man who has been in the service for more than
a few years.
has commanded some of the best boats on the river.
~Ferry Boats on the Upper Mississippi River by Capt. Fred. A.
Bill, Saturday Evening Post, July 12, 1924, Burlington Iowa.
“After the death
of Capt. Yates, Norman Tibbals was in charge and handled her
until she went out of commission, as we remember.
“Norm” was a brother of Captain, W.
Tibbals now living
in Dubuque and the present “Dean of rivermen” having just
celebrated his 92nd birthday.
~~~~ *** ~~~~
WILLIAM R TIBBALS
1870 Dubuque Iowa City Directory
Tibbals, Wm. R.
steamboat pilot, res Eleventh se cor Spruce
Davenport Daily Leader, February 3, 1895, page 3
Capt. William R.
Tibbals of Rock Island, was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday,
as supervising inspector of steam vessels for the Fifth Upper
Capt. Tibbals has for many years been master of the
government snag and tow boat J. G. Parke.
~~~~ *** ~~~~
History of Dubuque County Iowa page 893
native of Dummerston, Windham Co., Vermont, was born on a farm
in 1832, son of Reuben Walker.
When 18 he went to Boston, but in early life came west
and operated a sailing barge on the Mississippi river north of
Dubuque, transporting and trading.
He was of striking personality, over 6 feet tall, broad
in proportion, genial, easily approved, optimistic and
enthusiastic, sympathetic, a staunch friend of the deserving
regardless of politics, religion, wreath or position.
In 1858 he married Cornelia Fairbanks.
He died in 1904.
~~~~ *** ~~~~
Webb of steamer “Itasca” of Northwestern Packet Company was
engaged to point out those places at which the greatest
obstacles to navigation were usually found.
His long experience as Captain of steamers on the river
made him familiar with the needs of navigation as well as the
difficulties attending it.
His good sense and kind, manly character endured him to
us all. He subsequently lost his life, by an accident, in the
public service.”--Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers to
the Secretary of War by United States Army, Corps of
Engineers, Mississippi River Commission
“Captain N. F.
Webb was master of the “Itasca” in 1863, with Charles C.
Mather chief clerk….Captain N. F. Webb again was in command of
the “Itasca” in 1867, and may have been in charge in the
intervening years, but of this I have no evidence.
~George B. Merrick, Steamboats and Steamboatmen of the Upper
Saturday Evening Post of Burlington, Iowa, May 27, 1916, page
“My season’s work was
on the “Itasca” with Captain Webb whose home was in LeClaire.
He had come from the Ohio River at an earlier date and
was rather a peculiar man in some respects but we became very
was perfectly bald and wore a wig.”
~Captain Hanks, “The
Life and Adventures of Stephen B. Hanks.
The Saturday Evening Post, Burlington, Iowa, “Recalling
the Dred Scott
and Transcribed by Georgeann McClure.
The Davenport Democrat,
Thursday, August 18, 1870, page 1.
News--Probable Death of the Steamboat Veteran, Capt. Webb.
Times of yesterday contains the following account of a
fatal accident to Captain N. F. Webb of the Northern Line.
Last Monday the
Montana got aground at a point known as Robinson’s bar, about
ten miles below St. Paul.
She had thrown out a line to the shore, and with the
aid of the “dummy” engine was attempting to haul herself off,
when the steamer Milwaukee came in sight, and as the line was
stretched over the main channel, she was obliged to pass over
slacking their line, the officers of the Montana kept it taut,
and through this carelessness the accident ensued.
The Milwaukee steamed down slowly and passed over the
rope, stopping her wheels entirely in order to avoid all
danger of tangling with it, but caught the line with the
rudder, and, of course, pulled it down with great violence.
The check holes through which the line passed from the
Montana were unable to bear the pressure, and gave way
allowing the rope to sweep down over the deck with great
Webb chanced to be standing on the boiler deck.
Before he could make a motion to get out of the way or
even think, the rope struck him full in the stomach and threw
him up in the air a distance of
He was a large,
portly man, and he struck the deck with a sickening thud,
lighting on the back of his head.
When picked up he was insensible and a hasty
examination revealed the fact that his skull was badly
soon removed to St. Paul and shown every attention possible.
In passing Winona Capt. Buford received a dispatch
stating that Mr. Webb was just alive and that was all.
We regret to write it, but we must.
There is no doubt that the noble, hospitable,
chivalrous Capt. Webb is numbered with the dead ere this time.
Capt. N. F. Webb
was a universal favorite in Dubuque, and the news of the
accident that caused his death will be received with profound
one of the old veterans in steamboat circles and has made the
bosom of the Father of Waters his home for more than forty
commenced his career as cabin boy, and worked up to the post
of engineer, and from that captain.
About two years ago he was commissioned to take charge
of the government steamer Montana, a responsible position, the
duties of which he performed with much acceptability.
The wife of
Capt. Webb, who has been an invalid for many years, resides at
LeClaire and is nearly frantic over her terrible loss.
We hope soon to gather fuller and more accurate
information in regard to the sad accident.
The Daily Dispatch,
Wednesday Morning, August 24, 1870, page 4.
LATE CAPT. WEBB.
The body of the veteran Steamboat
Captain, N. F. Webb, late of the United States steamer
Montana, arrived at Dubuque Monday evening, on the steamer
Alex Mitchell. The corpse was in charge of and received
by a committee of Knight Templars, of Siloam Commandery, of
Dubuque. Yesterday morning the funeral took place from
the Tremont House. The religious ceremonies were held in
the Congregational Church. Dr. E. A. Gnibert pronounced
a eulogy upon the deceased, after which the interment took
place at Linwood Cemetery, according to the Masonic ritual.
The funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Dubuque.
To Circuit Court of
Scott County, Iowa
In the matter of Amelia
Received of the Clerk of the Court of Dubuque County.
Personal property belonging to the Estate of
N. F. Webb, (Deceased) for the maintenance of Amelia
Webb, To Wit
-- $590.00 Five hundred and ninety dollars, 1 Pitcher,
1 Platter , 1 Cup, 2 Gobbets, 1 picture, 1 cane and 1 album.
property has been in my possession since January 24, 1876-and
is subject to the order of the court.
Wm F Gault -- Guardian
Dated LeClaire, Iowa.
February 1st 1876
Scott County Death
Record Volume 4 1897 to 1909
Name Sex Age Date of Death Martial
77ys 8mon 9dys
January 26, 1898
New Abany, Ind.
Place of death Cause of Death Place of Burial
Republican, Wednesday, February 2, 1998, page 6.
The death of
Mrs. Webb, wife of Captain Webb, a well-known river man on the
Mississippi years ago, took place in LeClaire Thursday with
burial the next day in the LeClaire Cemetery.
Mrs. Webb had no
some time she has lived with the Blairs in LeClaire.
She died from the effects of a severe cold.
Mrs. Webb, who
was a very cultivated and intelligent woman, had a most
peculiar and eventful history.
She was married to Captain Webb when she was only 14
years of age. He
put her in school and gave her the best education the times
allowed, and afterward brought her to LeClaire to live with
him. The captain
was engaged in the packet trade for some time, and was then
made captain of the United States steamer Montana, on which
steamer he met with an accidental death.
The shock was such that his wife never entirely
recovered from it, her mind having been since unbalanced
though she has remained a very companionable person.