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The ancestry, life, and times of Hon. He

3 1924 012 533 695

BREV, lv£/^J. &EN. HENRY HASTINGS SIBLEY.

THE

ANCESTRY, LIFE, AND TIMES

HON. HENRY HASTINGS SIBLEY, LL.D.

EX-MBMBEE OF U. S. CONGRESS; MEMBER OP THE AMERICAN

GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY ; FIRST DELEGATE FROM

THE TERRITORY, AND FIRST GOVERNOR OF

THE STATE, OF MINNESOTA.

BREVET MAJOR GENERAL, U. S. V.; COMMANDER OF THE LOYAL LEGION

OF MINNESOTA; PRESIDENT OF BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE

STATE UNIVERSITY, OF THE STATE HISTORICAL

SOCIETY, OF THE STATE NORMAL

SCHOOL BOARD,

ETC.

Non omnis moriar.

NATHAI^IEL WEST, D.D.

floneeb pkes8 publishing company, Saikt Paul, Minnesota.

Copyright, 1889, by HBSRY Hastings SibiW,

PREFACE.

I PURPOSE to write, in outline, the Aneestry, Lif?, and Times of Henry- Hastings Sibley, the historic starting point of whose pedigree is first descried in the gray foretime, near the Plantagenets, and not remote from Norman conquest, when Saxons fought against their proud invaders. Briefly, I desire to indicate historic names in the line descending thence, ■conspicuous through the scenes of English history, down to the times of the Pilgrim Fathers and days of Cromwell, the times of Carver, Standish, and of Endicott's and Winthrop's fleets, when, as part of a vast immigration, the Sibley s crossed the seas, while "Westward the •course of empire took its way;" a line thence lengthening and widening through the mazes of American colonial and revolutionary strife; crossing the epoch of the Great Ordinance of 1787, continuing to the War of 1812, when the subject of this sketch was a babe a year old, and a prisoner of war in British hands ; thence, hitherward, spreading through the settle- ment of the Northwest Territory, and particularly of Minnesota, before it had a state or territorial name, and advancing to the period of the present writing. It is a long and sometimes tortuous road to travel, and much of our march must imitate the steps of Homer's gods in space.

The task, not less pleasing than severe, recites the story of one whose fortunes were not only unsunderable from the birth and history of Minnesota, but are so interwoven with the fortunes of the whole North- west, that the dimensions of a single volume are insufficient to compass the wealth of material by which the treatment of the theme is embar- rassed. The fabled Atlas, with the globe on his shoulders, illustrates, in measure, the relation to the State of Minnesota of one who, with universal consent, repeated public expression, and on anniversary occasions, has been by his contemporaries accorded the rank of "First Citizen of Minne- sota," and to whose health the magnates of the state, met in semi- centenary banquet, responded, rising to their feet in honor of their guest, and applauding the toast "Long Live the King!" This meed of meritorious praise not a vain flattery precludes the possibility of exaggeration on the part of a historian, and binds him to respect the public judgment. Sprung from a line of ancestors renowned in the annals of their country, in both hemispheres, stretching backward through

IT PEKFACE.

six ceutnriea and twenty geneiations, and many of whose noblest qnalitiea are illustrated in the life of Henry Hastings Sibley, Minnesota possesses, as her own, a man whose memory she wUl covet to keep as long as the "North Star State" shines in the constellation of states that tdim. the great American Union. It is not that many brave men, and noble, have not preceded Agamemnon, nor that the snbject of this sketch lacked contemporaries of distinguished name, men of literary, civil, mili- tary, and social mark, deserving well of the state, as also of the nation, but it is that Agamemnon himself was great.

In the study of my task I have not only applied myself to the most authoritative published historical and genealogical sources of information, but also, with interest, to unpublished manuscripts and notes, corre- spondence, diaries, and various papers of unusual value relating to my theme, so that, notwithstanding the many sketches, histories, and volumes, already extant, the reader will here be treated to some draughts undrawn before, and find new flowers not hitherto set on the board.

Juvat integros accedere fontes, atque haurire; juvatgue novos decerpere fiores.

I write, therefore, from sources individual and official, personal and public, state and national, American and European, concerning one who, in his youth, was of adventurous disposition, marvelous in his many- sided life, of great capabilities, commanding intellect, high moral tone, intense susceptibility to the beautiful, religiously disposed, and of deter- mined will and purpose; a man whose history fax transcends the r61e of .ffineas whom Virgil sang, and who, were a Homer now living, would be made the subject of his muse; a man of virtues such as Tacitus- has told of Agricola; of physical stature Ajax-like in his manhood, full of symmetry, and courtly in his manners; a man of fine accom- plishment, integrity unwavering, ideals ennobling, endurances wellnigh incredible, and of whom, one of the most gifted governors of the state has testified that "he bore in his breast, to this distant region, the seeds of an advancing and all-comprehending civilization," planting the same in the Territory of Minnesota, making its "solitary places glad," and its "wilderness to blossom as the rose."' A frontiersman and van- courier by hereditary right, and with lineal prestige superior to a hun- dred robber-kings, romantic, chivalrous, and self-reliant, instinct vntb exploit and enterprise, he could have been no other than his history has- unfolded him. The prearranged conditions of his birth foredestined him to be a "Prince of IHoneers." The stature of his thought, the persistence of his will, the kindness of his heart, his self-conscious elevation.

1 Words of Governor Davis.

PEEFACE. V

modest as obliging, and condescending as dignified, were among the noblest products of Nature, in his constitution. The arching canopy of heaven, the heaving waters of the lakes, Nature's vast solitudes, and the great prairies of the West, were types, to him, of the Infinite and Ever- present One, and their silent magic left upon him their undying impress. Narrow, bigoted, unjust, unbenevolent, irreligious, ignoble, degraded, untruthful, unsympathetic, he could never be.

His primacy is conceded. In his youth he was superlative among the many Nimrods around him, "a mighty hunter before the Lord," a "splendid shot," not surpassed by the Indian; a sportsman by birth, loading the shoulders of his fleet barb with the game that skimmed the sky, and chasing, with delight, not only through the air, but through lines of living prairie fire, the buffalo and elk, the panther and the deer, and camping at night, unmolested, where the red man roamed. He was the first judicial o£5cer, and sole lawgiver over a domain extensive as the Empire of France, and where, to-day, a half century gone by, stand the four great states of Iowa, Minnesota, and the two Dakotas, thronged with millions of an ifidustrious population, cultured and rich, shielded by laws their wisdom has framed, and crowned with institutions their liberality has reared. Their sky-pointing spires rise everywhere, and glitter heavenward, in the glancing sunlight, where once the smoke of the wigwam curled, and the savage war-whoop was the only Sabbath beU. He was the first in a tenderer jurisdiction, the captured conqueror of one whose personal attractions were, to him, a net of the sweetest entangle- ment, and a wound whose pain was his pleasure. He was first as fore- man of the first grand jury ever impaneled west of the Mississippi, in what is now known as Minnesota, interpreting to a French jury the charge of a Saxon judge. He was the first delegate from Wisconsin Territory, after Wisconsin was admitted as a state with diminished boundaries, gaining by dint of sheer superiority his seat in Congress, and, after powerful opposition, securing the passage of a bill organizing the Terri- tory of Minnesota. He was the first delegate from the Territory ot Minnesota thus organized, and re-elected by the overwhelming voice ot the people. He was first as president of the Democratic branch of the convention met in troublous times to form the state constitution, its guiding genius and its counselor. He was first as the first governor ot the State of Minnesota he had done so much to found; the stalwart champion of her honor and credit during the long struggle in which both were sought by reckless politicians to be destroyed. He was first as a state military officer, appointed by the governor, with the powers of a general commanding the state troops, in the fateful hour of

VI PEKFAOE.

the Sioux massacre of 1862, when the blood of nearly a thousand lives cried for vengeance, and the homes of Minnesota's first settlers lay smouldering in their fires. He was the first from the state as a general in the army, appointed by the president, to command the whole mili- tary district of Minnesota during the Civil War. He was first in the second joint military expedition against the Indians in 1862-3, victorious in three successive battles, driving them across the Missouri river. He was first upon the board of Indian commissioners to negotiate treaties with the hostile Sioux and other bands stUl threatening the upper banks of that waterway. He was the first military officer of the state brev- etted as major general in the army of the United States Volunteers for gallant and meritorious service in the field. And as if Minnesotians could heap no honors too profusely on him, he has been for years eminent among the regents of the State University, adorning the chair of the president of the board, president also of the State Normal School Board, and of the State Historical Society; also of the Chamber of Commerce, of the Cemetery Association, of the Gas Company, of St. Paul; commander of the Loyal Legion, and standing at the head of various institutions and charities besides. If recurring primacies and responsible positions and honors multiplied; if the consentient suffrages of popular esteem, public confidence and admiration, afiection and respect; if a life devoted to the interests of the state and the welfare of his fellow men are a passport to the gratitude of any people, then, with others worthy of reward, so much of the character and deeds of Henry Hastings Sibley will secure for him, while life stiU lingers, a constant and enduring regard, and, when life is ended, a monument to perpetuate the name and the figure of one of whom both state and nation have just cause to be proud.

To secure the utmost accuracy, the following narrative, so far as relates to events under his immediate observation, has been submitted to the criti- cism of Mr. Sibley himself. The statements made can be relied upon as historically just. Authentic documents vouch for the rest. For whatever commendation of the deeds, person, or character of the subject of this sketch may be found in the course of these pages, the writer is alone responsible, heedless of many a protest forbidding the same, and purposed to express what justice and truth required at his hands.

NATHANIEL WEST.

TABLE OF GENERAL CONTENTS.

7%e specialized summary of contents is placed over the head of each chapter, for the greater convenience of the reader. The index, at the dose of the volume, gives a particular paged reference to each of the subjects, persons, events, and items of the book. The present table of general contents simply indicates, in the most gen- eral way, the main scope and character of the chapters.

CHAPTER I.

Page.

Ancestral lines, English and American, of the Sibley family; ar- morial bearings; religious, civil, social, political, and military, status in history; their immigration to the New World; biographi- cal sketches of some of the more prominent in American annals; incidents and events connected with their career; a general his- toric view ranging backward, from 1629, the time of the landing of " Winthrop's Fleet," to near the Norman Conquest, and for- ward, from 1629 to 1811, the birth-year of Henry Hastings Sib- ley 1-45

CHAPTER II.

Period of the boyhood, early manhood, Indian and pre-territorial, life of Henry Hastings Sibley; or from 1811 to 1828, the year he left his paternal home for the Sault Ste. Marie; from 1828 to 1834, the year his feet first touched Mendota; from 1834 to 1843, the year of his marriage; from 1843 to 1848, the year of his en- trance into the Congress of the United States as delegate from the residuary portion of the Territory of Wisconsin 46-93

CHAPTER III.

Period of the congressional career of Hon. Henry Hastings Sibley; first as a delegate from the Territory x)f Wisconsin, 1848-9; pre- ceded by a statement of the influence of the United States upon European institutions at that time; also a statement of the great outstanding questions affecting the fortunes of the whole country when Mr. Sibley began his political life; and an account of his successful struggle to secure his seat in Congress, and the recog- nition of the rights of his constituents. Thirtieth Congress, opening of second session, December 3, 1848 94-103-115

Till CONTENTS.

CHAPTER IV.

Page.

Period of the congressional career of Hon. Henry Hastings Sibley, as delegate from Wisconsin Territory, continued; including the history of the acquisition of the Northwest Territory, and of the Louisiana purchase; the organization .of various special terri- tories, and particularly of the Territory of Minnesota, sprung from a "double mother," and under eightfold successive juris- dictions; the intense political agitation of the country; the vio- lence of sectional strife; the great yet successful struggle to secure the passage of the bill establishing Minnesota Territory; and the important results flowing therefrom. Thirtieth Congress, second session, from December 3, 1848, to March 3, 1849 116-135

CHAPTER V.

Period of the congressional career of Hon. Henry Hastings Sibley, continued, but now as delegate from the Territory of Minnesota; the increasing political agitation of the entire country threatening the disruption of the Union, and establishment of dual and hos- tile governments; exciting scenes in Congress; the arduous labor and unremitting devotion of Mr. Sibley to the interests of his constituents; his fearless and eloquent arraignment of the Indian policy of the United States; defense of the red man; assertion ot the claims of the pioneer; and vindication of the rights of the Territory of Minnesota. Thirty-first Congress, first session, from December 3, 1849, to September 30, 1850; second session, from December 2, 1850, to March 3, 1851 136-158-173

CHAPTER VI.

Period of the congressional career of Hon. Henry Hastings Sibley, continued; polar antagonism between North and South; politi- cal parties breaking up; assertion of moral principles in state and national politics; difficult and embarrasing position of Mr. Sib- ley; his unswerving unpartisan attention to the affairs and inter- ests of Minnesota; his conflicts and struggles in the house; his victories; his great service in securing territorial appropriations and legislation for the benefit of Minnesota; his final appeals in behalf of railroad communications, connecting the Gulf of Mexico with the British line. North, and Lake Superior with the Missis- sippi river. Thirty-second Congress, first session, from Decem- ber 1, 1851, to ^August 31, 1852; second session, from December 6, 1852, to March 3, 1853 174-200-209

CHAPTER VII.

Post-congressional career of Hon. Henry Hastings Sibley, or period of his public service in the legislature of the Territory of Minne- sota; his exposure and defeat of public fraud and corruption; his

CONTENTS. ix

Page. memorial to Congress unveiling the crimes of the Minnesota & Northwestern Bailroad Compa.ny, and the fraud of the ter- ritorial legislature upon the substance and rights of the people; his position in the formation of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota; his administration as the first governor of the state; his resistance to the "Five Million Loan," and his manly strug- gle to maintain the credit and honor of the state; the phenome- nal condition of the world in 1860-62. Mr. Sibley in the cele- brated Charleston Convention, South Carolina, 1860 210-240-246

CHAPTEE VIII.

Post-gubernatorial life of ex-Governor Sibley. Period of his first military campaign against the insurgent Sioux Indians; the great massacre of 1862; commissioned August 19, 1862, by Governor Ramsey, as colonel commanding the expedition against the Sioux, with full powers of a general officer; pursuitof the Indians; battles of Birch Coolie and Wood Lake; defeat of Little Crow and re- lease of the captives; trial and condemnation of the criminal Sioux by military commission; simultaneous execution of thirty- eight; the results of the expedition; promoted to rank of briga- dier general, September 29, 1862. Observations by the writer, upon our culture, humanity, and civilization. Action of the legislature of Minnesota, and the business men of St. Paul, in reference to freneral Sibley. First military campaign, and results; from August 19, 1862, to September 23, 1862, to March 23, 1863.

247-277-301

CHAPTER IX.

Period of the second military campaign of General Sibley against the Sioux Indians; organizes the expedition and advances from Camp Pope, June 16, 1863; pursuit of the retreating foe; forced marches from Fort Atchison, July 20, 1863; the battles of Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake, and Stony Lake; 10,000 Indians driven across the Missouri river; the important results of the campaign; order issued for the homeward march; deep personal bereavement of General Sibley. Observations by the writer upon the "Indian Problem;" fate of Little Crow; second military campaign, and results; from June 16, 1863, to July 31, 1863, to September 13, 1863 302-317-333

CHAPTER X.

Post-military career of General Sibley; promoted, by brevet, to the rank of brevet major general. United States Volunteers; delayed commission received April 30, 1866; recalled to national service after being honorably mustered out; occupied in negotiating trea- ties with the Indians; multiplied offices, and responsibilities pressed upon him; reopening of the question of the Minnesota

X CONTENTS.

Page. state railroad bonds; General Sibley's election to the state legis- lature, and bis triumphant vindication of his administration as first governor of the state; his elevation to many dignities; his last years crowned with military, civic, literary, and academic, honors, 1864r-1870-1889. Observations of the writer upon state

morality; public expression in regard to General Sibley

334-345-355-364^38

CHAPTEE XI.

Resume of the career of Henry Hastings Sibley; special description of his various characteristics; "as a man; a statesman; a public speaker; a debater; his moral attributes; religious element; his literary merit; love of humor; love of nature; humanity, and be- nevolence. Home, family, and connections, of General Sibley. Observations upon his wonderful career. The indebtedness of Minnesota to him as the foundation of her greatness, and the central figure around which all others revolve 382-417-431

Personal acknowledgment 432

APPENDIX.

Part 1 435-457

Part II 458-481

Part III 482-549

Note on New Ulm 550-554

THE

ANCESTRY, LIFE, AND TIMES

OF

HON. HENRY HASTINGS SIBLEY, LL.D.

CHAPTER I.

ANCESTEAL LINE OF HENEY HASTINGS SIBLEY. THE FIEST AMBEICAN SIBLEYS. JOHN SIBLEY OF SALEM. JOHN SIBLEY OF CHAELES- TOWN. DEEIVATION OF THE NAME; SAXON, NOT NOEMAN. COATS OF AEMS. SIBLEYS OF HERTFOED AND KENT. " JOHN SIBILE" OF GEAY'S INN. "JOHN SIBLEY" OF ST. ALBANS. THE SIBLEY HIGH SHEEIFFS OF HEETFOEDSHIKE. LBTTEES OF HYDE CLAEKE, ESQ., LONDON. SOCIAL POSITION. INTEEMAEEIAGBS. DODINGTON OF LINCOLN'S INN. DE. WILLIAM GOUGE OF WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY. BACKWARD GLANCE FROM CHAELES I. TO WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.

DOMESDAY BOOK. FOEWAED GLANCE FROM CHAELES I. TO PEES- ENT TIME. "STAE CHAMBBE" AND "CONVENTICLE." SIBLEYS AND THE WINTHEOP FLEET. GERM OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE. ENDI- COTT'S ADVANCE. LANDING AT SALEM AND OHAELESTOWN. THE "caput EOTUNDUM." CONNECTION BETWEEN JOHN ttF CHARLES- TOWN AND JOHN OF SALEM. SHIP LISTS LOST. LINKS. THE SUTTON SIBLEYS. SUTTON TOWNSHIP, AND THE LAND GEANT. GODFEAE- INQ PEOPLE. PUEGATOEY AND ICICLES. SIBLEYS AND WHIPPLES.

CHUECH AND PEW. THE SIBLEY PEWS. JOSIAH SIBLEY AND "YE WIDOWS."— MUSIC. SCENES IN CHUECH. DISTINGUISHED CONNEC- TIONS.— PUEITANIC NAMES. BBEE BAEEEL WHIPPED FOE WOEKING ON SUNDAY. CAT PUNISHED FOE CATCHING A MOUSE DUEING PEAYEE. THE TALL BEIDE. MES. SIBLEY AND THE BBAE.— SALEM WITCHCEAFT. INDIAN JOHN AND THE CAKE. BEEKLEY'S ODE, "WBSTWAED THE COUESE OF EMPIEE TAKES ITS WAY." BEILLIANT COLONIAL AND EBVOLUTIONAEY EECOBD OF THE SIBLEYS. CHIEF JUSTICE SOLOMON SIBLEY OF DETEOIT, FATHEE OF HENEY HASTINGS. NAMES OF HIS CHILDREN. CATHERINE WHIPPLE. COMMODOEB WHIPPLE. FIEST SHOT AT THE BEITISH FLAG ON THE SEAS. STEPHEN HOPKINS, SIGNER OF THE " DECLAEATION. " COLONEL EBENEZEE SPROAT. THE "OHIO COMPANY." ORDINANCE OF 1787.

IMPOETANT FACT NOT GENERALLY KNOWN.— ;LANDING OF THE WHIPPLES AND SPEOATS AT THE MOUTH OF THE MUSKINGHAM EIVEE,

1

2 ANCESTEY, LIFE, AND TIMES OP

OHIO. "BUCKEYE." SARAH WHIPPLE SPKOAT, MOTHER OF HENRY HASTINGS SIBLEY, BOTH PRISONERS IN BRITISH HANDS AT DETROIT. GIRLHOOD, EDUCATION, LIFE, AND DEATH OF MRS. SOLOMON SIB- LEY.— HER CHARACTER. BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE TO HER MEMORY BY MRS. ELLETT.

Heney Hastings Sibley was born in the city of Detroit, February 20, 1811. He was the fourth child and second son of an honorable sire, Chief Justice Solomon Sibley of Detroit, whose wife, Sarah "Whipple Sproat, was the only daughter of Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, an accomplished officer in the Conti- nental Army, and the granddaughter of Commodore Abraham "Whipple of the Continental Navy, an illustrious commander, the first who fired upon the British flag on the high seas, during the Eevolutionary "War, and the first to float the star- spangled colors from his masthead in the Thames at London. Judge Solomon Sibley was born in Sutton, Massachusetts, October 7, 1769, and was the third son of Reuben Sibley, born in the same place, February 20, 1743, who was the second son of Jonathan Sibley, born in the same place, September 11, 1718, who was the fourth son of Joseph Sibley II., born in the same place, liTovember 9, 1684, who was the first son of Joseph Sibley I., born in the same place, 1655, who was the third son of John Sibley I. of Salem, Massachusetts, the brother of Richard Sibley J. of Salem. Tradition vibrates somewhat as to the precise time when, these two brothers first appeared in America. One account states that, "In the year 1637, John Hampden, Oliver Cromwell, and John Pym, and others, weary of the tyranny of Charles Bex and Archbishop Laud, determined to emigrate, in a body, from England to America, with the purpose of establishing themselves as the nucleus of a free community; but the king prohibited their embarkation. Among the many young men who were thus balked in their purpose were two Sibley brothers, natives of Middlesex county, near London, John and Eichard Sibley, who contrived to escape, however, and safely landed in that part of America then known as 'ISTorth Virginia,' but now as 'New England,' locating themselves in Salem, Essex county, Massachusetts. Both these brothers were unmarried. The date of their arrival is somewhat conjectural, one authority fixing it at 1614, another at 1620, still another at 1624 ; Derrick Sibley of Cincinnati saying his record is at 1632. The precise fact

HON. HENEY HASTINGS SIBLEY, LL.D. 3

is not yet decided." i On the other hand, the later and larger number of authorities, so far as accessible, place the aijpear- ance of the Sibley brothers, John and Richard, about, or at, the time of the "Winthrop Fleet," 1629, only nine years after the landing of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower, 1620, at Plymouth Eock, and the settlement of "E^ew Plymouth," the first permanent civil foundation ever laid in New England, Charles I. being King of England. Calculated from which- ever date, the generations of the Sibley family in America, from John I. of Salem, to Henry Hastings Sibley of Detroit, are seven generations, and, including his children and grand- children, are nine generations, covering a period of twa centuries and a half. ^

Ogilsby, in his early classic "History of America," pub- lished n671, narrates that, between 1620 and 1650, a period of thirty years, or one generation, the English had planted forty- five chief towns in "New England," the first one, after the location of Fort St. George, being "iVeto Plymouth;" the second being ^^ Salem," called Mdhumbeah by the Indians, and built, in the year 1628, by "merchant adventurers;" the third being Charlestown, or Mashawmut; the fourth "Dorchester in the form of a serpent 5" the fifth "Boston, the metropolis of all the rest, in the form of a heart;" the .next "Eoxbury, which resembleth a wedge, situate between Boston and Dorchester." »

From the early records, it appears that a "John Sibley" resided at Gharlestown, Massachusetts, in 1634, while another "John Sibley" resided at Salem, Massachusetts, 1634 also. From these two Sibleys, with "Richard Sibley," a brother of John of Salem, all of Puritan stock, have descended the wide- spread connection of Sibleys, not only in New England, but throughout the whole United States. From the Salem Sibley, John I. of Salem, came Henry Hastings Sibley of St. Paul, through the line of Joseph I., son of John I. of Salem, Joseph II., son of Joseph I., Jonathan, son of Joseph II., Reuben, son of Jonathan, and Solomon, son of Reuben, as already stated.

1 Genealogical Eecord of the Sibley Family, by Hon. John Hopkins Sibley, St. Louis Missouri, 1851. Type-written from MS., p. 1.

2 History of Sutton, 1704-1876, pp. 717-726, and History of Union, by J. L. Sibley, 495- 500. Memorial of the Morses, Boston, 1850. Leland's Genealogical Record, Boston, 1850. History of Grafton, by T. C. Pierce, Worcester, 1879. History of Spencer, by J. Draper, Worcester, 1875. Indexes to American Pedigrees, by D. S. Durrie, Albany, 1886. Wells of Southhold, by Hayes, Buffalo, 1878, pp. 91, 109, 136-7, 140-149, 150, 181. Consult unrfer the title "Sibley."

3 Ogilaby's Hist. America, folio, A. D. 1671, p. 164.

4 ANCESTRY, LIFE, AND TIMES OF

Of the first two John Sibleys, the one at Charlestown, the other at Salem, we shall speak more hereafter. It is enough for our present purpose to state, that in the lines of both John and Richard Sibley of Salem are found a multitude of men and women of high distinction, adorning the annals of the nation, in all the various walks of private and of public life.

The name ' ' Sibl.ey " is a name of long standing in English his- tory, as it is of various orthography, betraying differences as marked in its development as are the differences between our English now and that of the times of Spenser and Chaucer. In the successive genealogies, heraldries, and public records of English history, it assumes a multitude of variations; as, "Sibell," "Sibille," "Sibli," "Sible," "Siblie," "Sibile," "Sibili," "Sibilie," "Sibely," "Sibly," "Sibley," "Seble," "Sybly," "Sybele," "SybeU," "Sybyle," "Sybely," withan "alias Sybery," the liquid "r" being interchangeable with the liquid "1," and moreover drawn into close relation with "Sileby," by means of the marked agreement between the armorial bearings of the families of "Sileby" and "Sybly." The etymology of the name is somewhat conjectural. It is certainly not of Greek derivation cognate with "Sibyl" from the Doric genitive of "Zeus" (Sios), Jupiter, and "Boule," the counsel or oracle of Jove, which the ancient Sibyl professed to be, even though we find the names "Sibyl Sibley," and "Sibylla" in the published pedigrees. It can hardly be of Norman derivation, meaning a "field of wheat," "Si," and "hie," since this violates the syllabic division of the word. It is doubtless true that some of the family were found in England at the time of William the Conqueror, but the genealogies do not favor a French origin. The word is clearly Anglo-Saxon, from "Sib," which means "alliance," "relationship," "peace," and "leagh," contracted to "lea," contracted to "ly," which means something laid dovm, and, therefore, either a " law," or a "land,"i. e. territory. The line in Gray's Elegy, "The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea," gives us one of the senses plainly. The other sense, cog- nate to that of the German "legen," to lay, and hence, a rule laid down to go by, a law, is familiar to aU. ^ The meaning of the word "Sibley" is, therefore, either (T) Law of Peace, or Feaee Law, or (2) Land of Peace, or Peace Land, i. e. AUiance

1 Bosworth's Anglo-Saxon and English Dictionary, pp. 155, 200.

HON. HENKY HASTINGS SIBLEY, LL.D.

Land, Union Land, the idea being that of rest, or cessation, from strife. The Eev. John Langdon Sibley, many years librarian in the University of Harvard, regards the name as a synonym for "Kinsmen's Land,^' rejecting the primary sense of the "lea," or "ly," viz., a "law, ""and also the primarysense of "Sib," viz., "peace," these two senses giving us '^Peac6 Law," as "conjectural." ^ On the contrary, it is an established rule in philology, and respected by all the later lexicogra- phers, that the primary sense must run somehow, and be seen somewhere, in all the subsequent v ariations. We cannot rej ect it, but must hold to both senses in their fulness of historic usage. The combination ' ' Sibley ' ' is the same as in the words "Dudley," "Horsley," "Morley," "Huxley," "Shipley," "Beverly," and seems to express the fact of peace and brother- hood enjoyed after times of discord and war. The variations in the form of the word do not affect its root meaning. These are common to all words in the progress of their development. In the New England Genealogical Dictionary ^ the forms "Sib- ly," "Sebley," "Sybley," are given as among others of the same name, and found everywhere in the history of the family, precisely as we find the different forms of the name "Selby," "Selebi," "Selebe," "Silibie,"and "Silby;"— a circumstance which, in connection with the close resemblance of the armo- rial bearings of the two families, has led to the supposition that the name "Selby" is only a variation of the name "Sibly." In the town records of Sutton, Massachusetts, from 1718 to 1876, we find " John Sible, " " Samuel Sible, " " Joseph Sibly, ' ' "Martha Sibley," all of the same family, a variation frequent both in Old and New England in the sixteenth and seven- teenth centuries. ^

The armorial bearings of the different branches of this ancient and widespread family are diversified, representing both peace and war, a necessity in the national history of any family. In the " Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica," London, 1837, the arms of the Poynes and Sibells are given as copied from an old worn stone below the east door of the chapel of St. Dunstan's in the west of London. The inscription reads "Armes of the Poynes and Sibells; Barry, or and gu., in chief a mullett, impaling; Gyronny of eight

i J. h. Sibley's History of Union, p. 495 note.

2 Geneal. Dictionary of New England, Vol. IV, 93.

3 mstory of Sutton, 1704-1876, pp. 31, 37, 41, 47, etc.

6 ANCESTRY, LIFE, AND TIMES OF

az., and or; four martlets in lozenge counterclxanged." i In "Fairbairn's Crests of Great Britain and Ireland," we have still another heraldry, (1) "Sybells," five halberds in pale, az., corded together, of the first and gu.,"^ and (2) " Sybele, Engl; out of a ducal coronet, or, a swan's head between wings." 2 Another coat of arms we find described as "per pale, az., and gu., a grifiin between three crescents, ar.," and this is given as "the arms of the Sibley family of St. Albans, certified to their descendants in this county (Hertford) by the present officers of the Herald's College." This is the crest George E. Sibley, Esq., of New York City, has pub- lished as the crest of the Sibleys from whom came the first Sibleys of Charlestown and Salem, Massachusetts, ^ and is also given by Burke, in his General Armory, ''per pale az. and gu., a griffin passant between three crescents, ar.," as the arms of the same family, * the griffin, or half liou and half vulture symbolizing swiftness, ferocity, and readiness for attack; a heraldry assumed, doubtless, at some period of the family history, by one of its great branches, to commemorate some important achievement, or mark some new distinction. This in no way conflicts with the more peaceful heraldry of the ducal coronet and swan's head with wings, as giveh in Pair- bairn's Crests, a coat of arms believed by the Sibleys of St. Albans to be the true crest of the family, the one question being whether it is the crest of the Sibleys from whom came "John Sibley, Mayor of St. Albans," or from whom came Henry and Thomas Sibley, High Sheriffs of Hertfordshire.

There is still another coat of arms belonging to the Sibley generation, and of marked historic interest. It is that of John Sibley of Gray's Inn, London. In Dugdale's celebrated '' Origines Juridicales," a rare historical memorial of the ancient English law courts and forms of trial, we find the record ^^ lohannes Sihile, 1559," his coat of arms described as fixed "m Borealibus dictw Aulce Sospicii Grayensis Fenestris," ^ that is, "on the north window of the hall called Gray's Inn," one of the most renowned seats of English legal learning.

1 Coll. Top. et Geneal. Land, 1837, Vol. IV, pp. 106, 108.

2 Fairbairn's Crests, Lond. and Edin., Vol. I, 462, and Vol. II, Plate 62, Crest 8 ; also. Vol. I, 462, and Vol. II, Plate 83, Crest 1.

3 Burke's General Armory; Sibley. See, also, J. Langdon Sibley's History of Union, p. 495.

4 Wells of Southhold, pp. 169, 160.

6 Dugdale's Origiues Juridioales, p. 307.

HON.

The coat of arms of this distinguished man is "a shield, quarterly; in first and fourth a tiger, gules, viewing himself, backward, in a mirror, az.; in second and third a chevron, gules, between three cows' heads, caboshed, fable." ^ Burke, in his General Armory, gives " the tiger looking backward in a mirror, en reguard," as the heraldry of the Sibells of Kent county, thus, "Sibell (county Kent), ar., a tiger looking down in a glass, reguard, az."^ This accounts for the first and fourth quarters of the shield, and identifies the "John Sibile" of Gray's Inn with the "Sibells of Kent," famous in defense of the nation. The explanation of the second and third quarters is given by Hasted in his "History and Survey of the County of Kent." "Writing of Axton Hundred, Kent, he describes the estate of the "Sibills of Little Mote" as one which, in 22 Henry, Vol. VIII, was greatly increased, and subsequently passed over, through Anne, daughter of "Lance- lot Sibill," to John Hope, in the time of Charles I. At the time of the survey of Domesday, the estate became the possession of Odo, bishop of Baieux, and half-brother of William the Conqueror, and was unquestionably reclaimed in some late period of English history; an estate which, held, at first, by its Saxon owners, either from Harold or Edward the Confessor, 1042, Was, doubtless, confiscated in 1066, and given, like others, by the Conqueror, to his relatives, nobles, and friends. * The explanation of the three cows' heads is that the manors of Little Mote, possessed by the Sibells, were increased by the marriage of one of the Sibells to the heir of Gowdale,^^ and the heraldic emblem, commemorating this accession, is the ''three cows' heads" in the third and fourth quarters of the combined escutcheon. * Among these Kentish "Sibells," in the time of Henry VII. we find "Thomas Sibell," and "Moolas Sibell" in the time of Edward VL, both men of distinction.

The coat of arms, therefore, of "John Sibile, 1559," of Gray's Inn, connects him with the Kentish Sibells, and com- memorates the increase of their estates by the marriage referred to. The names with which the name of this eminent and "utter barrister" of Gray's Inn is associated are second

1 Hasted's Hist. Topog. Survey, Kent County, Vol. II, p. 533. . 2, Burke'a General Armory, p. 926. 3 Hasted's mat. and Topograph. Surrey of County of Kent, 1797, 12 volumes, Vol. II, p. 538.

8 ANCESTEY, LIFE, AND TIMES OF

to none in English history, being those of Spelman, Sackville, Lovelace, "Walsingham, Lord Bacon, Yelverton, and others, all fellows of the same renowned hospice.^ As to the St. Albans branch of the family, authoritative history has preserved the name of "John Sibley, Mayor of the Borough of St. Albans, 1557, 1569, 1578," and, among the contempo- rary mayors of St. Albans, "William West, 1535, William West, 1568, 1576, and Eichard West, 1813." ^ The contempo- raneous association of these names in the same county and city, in Old England, and the contemporaneous appearance of the same names, in Charlestown and Salem, in New England, with others similarly associated, and in both places, go far to establish the fact of a common geographical origin and relation of the Sibleys of New England to the Sibleys of Hertfordshire, and of Kent also. They were numerous, and occupied prominent positions on both sides of the water. Among the high sheriffs of Hertfordshire we find "Henry Sibley, Esq., of Tardley," and "Thomas Sibley, Esq., of Yardley," during the reign of George I. and "Edward Sibley of the Monastery of St. Albans, pensioned in the reign of Queen Mary after the dissolution of the religious houses in the county of Hertford."^

That the Sibleys of Hertfordshire and Kent were of the same family is indisputable to anyone who understands Eng- lish history. What the relation of "John Sibil e, 1559," of Gray's Inn the Kentish Sibley was to "John Sibley, mayor of St. Albans, 1557," is a question of interest. Whatever the solution as to the special branches of the family and their various heraldries, there is no doubt that from these descended the "John Sibley" of Charlestown, and the "John Sibley" of Salem, Massachusetts, the last the blood progenitor of Henry Hastings Sibley of St. Paul, Minnesota. In one of the most painstaking investigations of a portion of this vast connec- tion, found in the work entitled "Wells of Southhold," the result of the study is thus stated: "John Sibley I. of Charles- town, Massachusetts, was a lineal descendant of the Sibley family of St. Albans, Herts, England, where John Sibley was burgess and mayor in the time of Edward VI."* a monarch

1 Dugdale's Grig. Jurid., pp. 279, 280.

2 Hasted, ut supra, Vol. II. p. 333.

3 Hist, and Antiq. of County of Hertford, by Eobt. Clutterbeck, Esq., F.R.S., London, 1815, Vol. I, p. 51 ; Appendix 20, Vol. II, p. 164.

4 Wells of Southhold, Hayes, pp. 159, 160.

HON. HENRY HASTINGS SIBLEY, LL.D. 9

who ruled on the English throne from 1547 to 1553, the patron of Cranmer, whose catechism was called the "Catechism of Edward YI."i Only one and a half generations lie between the John Sibleys of Hertford and Kent, on the one hand, and the John Sibleys of Charlestown and Salem, on the other, and less than one generation between their immediate descendants and the Sibley immigration to America. English history seems to give us no other contemporary "John Sibley" out- side the John of Gray's Inn, and the John of St. Albans, the one 1559, the other 1557, and if these were the same person, seen under different relations, then we have but one "John" known to history whose name the Johns of Charlestown and Salem could have borne. The traditions of the Sibley family from its earliest intimation near the time of the Con- queror; then, later still, siding with the Duke of York against the king in the battle of St. Albans, A. D. 1455, where the first blow was struck between the houses of York and Lancaster; their hereditary love of freedom and hatred of religious oppression; the fact that, not only among the Cavaliers but also among the Puritans in still later times, the sons of men of distinction, some competent as merchants, some less affluent than others, sought a home in Western wilds; the conspicuous prominence of the Sibleys in New England affairs so soon after their arrival; the identity of the proper names in the family on both sides of the sea, and of associated families also; all seems clearly to determine the whole question of family filiation. The two following letters, however, recently com- municated, to General Henry Hastings Sibley, by his relative, a gentleman of high distinction in the city of London, must be conclusive in the judgment of reasonable men:

32 St. George's Sqtjaeb, S. W. London, Janiiafy 1, 1888. General Senry HaMings Sibley,

My Dbae Sie: I have always regretted that the ties between Old and New England were allowed to slacken and almost die off. Now, however, there is a new spirit, and as the main hody of the English speaking races are now on youi continent, so I hope the intercourse will he better kept up. I am, as yoii are aware, descended from Elizabeth Sibley, one of the main stock in our county of Hertford. In the course of events it has fallen to my share, in association with my Sibley connections here, to assist in eluci-

1 Burnet'B History of His Times, Vol. Ill, p. 4.

10

dating the genealogy, as I informed you, through the help of the authorities of St. Albans, and I have been enabled to settle for your American tribe the filiation from that branch.

It is, therefore, as a simple tribute to a national and family feeling that, on the occurrence of a new year, I salute, in your person, one of those who have conferred high distinction on the Sibley family. It may be that it will not be my lot to do so for many more years.

We have our General Sibley here, also, my associate in his boyhood, who joined his family in India, and has now retired from the service. His brother George holds the Indian decoration.

Faithfally Yours,

Hyde Claeke.

The second letter, written a few montlis later, is equally important and interesting:

32 St. Geoegb's Sqtjaek, S. W. London, April 23, 1888. General Henry Hastings Sibley,

My Dbae Sib: I had the pleasure of receiving your kind letter of February 6th. In the north window of the great hall of Gray's Inn, in London, one of our ancient law colleges, stood the arms of

John Sibile, 1559.

These arms are recorded by the famous Dugdale in his " Origines Juridi- cales." They are not the same as those afterward granted to the Sibleys, the sherifis. It appears, therefore, that the Sibleys had their arms, at least, in the sixteenth century. This Sibley was most probably your forefather, John Sibley, the mayor of St. Albans, although there may have been some other John. The Gray's Inn Sibley was a man of consideration. An event in the