Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 252
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
WILLIAM H. LIBBY
William H Libby is residing upon the old Libby homestead, where he located on the 21st of March, 1873, the farm being one of the desirable country seats of Rockville township, Rice county. He was born in Saco, York county, Maine, January 29, 1840, the year of the great Harrison campaign, when “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too,” was the rallying cry of the Whig party, and every one spoke of the “log cabin and hard-cider campaign.” David Libby, the father of our subject, was born November 30, 1796, on the farm which was the birthplace of his son William and of his father, David Libby, Sr. The latter was born March 26, 1765, and was a son of Joseph Libby, whose birth occurred at Kittery, Maine, on the 14th of December, 1725. He was a son of Solomon Libby, who was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1695, and his father was David Libby, who was born in Scarboro, Maine, in 1651. It was his father, John Libby, who became the founder of the family in America. He was born in England, in 1602, and in 1630, braving the dangers incident to an ocean voyage at that time in order to establish a home in the new world, he settled in Scarboro, Maine, his descendants in America now numbering many hundred. Representatives of the name have been prominent in peace and brave in war and have attained distinguished positions in connection with the great material industries and with the professions. One of his descendants is Mr Libby, the famous pork packer of Chicago. The name is found in almost every state in the Union and is borne by men and women of sterling worth.
David Libby, Sr, the grandfather of our subject, was married on the 17th of November, 1793, to Miss Elizabeth Cleves, who was born in Saco, Maine, a daughter of Robert Cleves, whose birth occurred in Beverly, Massachusetts. Their son, David Libby, Jr, was reared upon the old family homestead in the Pine Tree state and engaged in farming and lumbering. As a companion and helpmate for the journey of life he chose Miss Sarah Berry, a daughter of John and Jane Berry, of Saco. The lady was born and reared in Maine, and their marriage was celebrated on the 5th of October, 1823, while their union was blessed with seven children, namely: Martha Jane, deceased wife of S M Harmon; Sarah Elizabeth, who has also passed away; David, who is living in Thomsaville, Georgia; Caroline, who became the wife of O R Hamilton, and died at Lynn, Massachusetts; Joseph F, who died in 1853; Gideon, who was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church and died in Kings, Illinois, in 1879; and William H, whose name introduces this record. The father devoted much of his life to agricultural pursuits, but was also a sawyer in the pine woods of Maine and engaged in the lumber business. In early days he gave his political support to the Whig party and was an honored and respected citizen of the community in which he made his home. His death occurred at the age of seventy-six years, and his wife passed away at the age of eighty-four. She was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church and her Christianity formed a part of her daily life.
William H Libby was reared on the old family homestead and early became familiar with the work of cultivating the fields. He was also employed in the pine woods and at intervals he attended the public schools of Maine, acquiring a good education. At the age of nineteen he began teaching, and after the inauguration of the Civil war he put aside all personal considerations that the country might have the benefit of his services on the field of action. He enlisted on the 2nd of July, 1861, donning the blue uniform as a member of Company B, Sixteenth Massachusetts Infantry, under command of General Mason and Colonel Powell T Wyman. He became a member of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by General McClellan, and served until honorably discharged on account of disability. When he was again able to work he secured a position in the navy yard at Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Before leaving for the front and after his enlistment, Mr Libby was married in his soldier’s uniform, on the 5th of August, 1861, to Miss Emily A Crosby, and then bade adieu to his bride in order to assist his country in her struggle to preserve the Union intact. The lady was born at Calais, near Passamaquoddy bay, Maine, on the 18th of September, 1839. Her father, Jeremiah Crosby, was a native of Machias, Maine, a son of Joseph and Sarah Crosby, of the Pine Tree state. After arriving at years of maturity Jeremiah Crosby wedded Susan L Keyes, who was born in Orland, Maine, a daughter of William Keyes, of Orland, who was of English descent. Mr and Mrs Crosby became the parents of four children, namely: John, who was an officer in the Civil war and is now in the United States navy at Boston, Massachusetts, holding the rank of captain, and has been all over the world; Mrs Libby, who is the next younger; Helen, who died at the age of twenty-two years; and Frederick, who died at the age of four years. The mother of this family died when Mrs Libby was only nine years old, and the father was afterward again married, his second union being with Martha Smith, by whom he had one son, Algernon Crosby, of Boston, Massachusetts, and one daughter, Fannie, who is also living in Boston. The father was a millwright by trade and at the time of the discovery of gold in California he made his way to the Pacific coast and died in that state in 1849. In religious belief he was a Universalist. The marriage of Mr and Mrs Libby has been blessed with three living children: Irene M and Walter G, at home; and Edna C, wife of A L Manassa, of Little River, Kansas, by whom she has one daughter, Helen. Mr and Mrs Libby also lost four children who died in infancy.
After his return from the war the subject of this review resided in Massachusetts for some years, working at his trade of carpentering and step-building. In 1865, however, he removed to Louisville, Kentucky, where he followed his chosen pursuit for eight years, and on the 2nd of March, 1873, he came to Rice county, locating on what is now the Libby homestead, in Rockville township. He first resided in a sod house and afterward in a dugout within the site of his present home. The date on which the material for this sketch was secured was the twenty-eighth anniversary of his arrival in the county. During the period of his residence here he has accomplished much in a business line, and is today the owner of a valuable property, which stands as a monument to his thrift and industry. A grove and an orchard are upon his farm, together with modern buildings, the latest improved machinery and all the equipments of a model farm of the twentieth century. Mr Libby votes with the Republican party, but the honors of office have had no attraction for him, as he prefers to devote his energies to his business affairs. He is a man of intelligence, broad minded and liberal in his opinions and wherever he has gone he has won warm friends by reason of his sterling worth. Both he and his wife are held in high regard in the community, and their own home is celebrated for its gracious hospitality.