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William Henry Tibbs (June 10, 1816 – October 18, 1906) was a Tennessee attorney and politician who served in the Confederate States Congress during the American Civil War. He was noted as a firebrand States' Rights advocate and Southern secessionist.


Tibbs was born in Appomattox, Virginia. In 1838, he married Mary McSherry in Bledsoe County, Tennessee. The couple had two children. However, she died four years later in Mississippi. Tibbs then married Cilena Augusta Hardwick on February 2, 1843 in Cleveland, Tennessee. They were to have four more children of their own.[1] Lucretia Clay in September 1844, John in February 1847, Mary Belle in 1849 and William in 1853[2] Tibbs owned and operated a prosperous hotel in Dalton, Georgia called The National located at the corner of Crawford and Hamilton Streets. The hotel was torn down to make way for the Hotel Dalton which was built in 1890. At the height of the Civil War he also owned and lived in the famous Chief Vann House in Spring Place where he lived for nine years.[3] He was a director of the Knoxville and Dalton Telegraph Company.[4]

Tibbs unsuccessfully ran for the 8th Senatorial District's seat in the Tennessee State Senate in 1857. He filed a formal claim for the seat, but his appeal was denied.[5]

Following the state's ordinance of secession and the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a delegate from his East Tennessee district in the First Confederate Congress from 1862-64. A late 19th century historian compared him to two of his two colleagues in the House from East Tennessee, William G. Swan and Joseph B. Heiskell, claiming, "The third of these representatives, William H. Tibbs, was perhaps more extreme than either of the others, but of far less capacity."[6]

After the war, Tibbs was a director of the Dalton and Morgantown Railroad in northern Georgia.[7]

Colonel Tibbs is buried in West Hill Cemetery in Dalton, Georgia.[8][9] The Tibbs Bridge which spans the Conasauga river in Murray County, Georgia was named after him.The first Tibbs Bridge probably was built in the 1880s. It was replaced by a steel bridge between 1913 and 1918. The steel bridge was replaced by a concrete structure around 1980.[3]


  1. Family Tree Maker
  2. James Tibbs GGG grandson,
  3. 3.0 3.1 James Tibbs.
  4. Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed at the First Session of the Thirtieth General Assembly for the Years 1853-54. (Nashville: McKennie & Brown, 1854), p. 253.
  5. Current, p. 1596.
  6. Temple, p. 413.
  7. Acts Passed by the General Assembly of Georgia Passed in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Called Session, Beginning July 4, and ending October 6, 1868. Atlanta: Burke & Co., 1868, p. 103.
  8. Find-a-Grave biography of Tibbs
  9. Roadside Georgia: Dalton Cemetery


  • Richard N. Current, Encyclopedia of the Confederacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN 0132760495.
  • Robert M. McBride and Dan M. Robinson, eds., Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, Volume I, 1796-1861. (Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives and Tennessee Historical Commission, 1975).
  • Oliver P. Temple, East Tennessee and the Civil War. Cincinnati, Ohio: The Robert Clarke Company, 1899.

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