A Tale of Two Tibbits

The List of Assemblymembers lists a J. H. Tibbits who represented Shasta, Modoc, and Lassen counties in 1911, and a separate James H. Tibbits who represented Amador County in 1895.

In the “Great Register of Amador County for 1894,” we learn on line 2686 (on page 36) that James H. Tibbits was a 36 years old in 1894 and born in California (as well as a miner, 5′ 11″ with a dark complexion, black hair and black eyes). This puts his approximate date of birth at 1858. However, the 1892 “Great Register of Amador County” also puts his age at 36, with the same description, which would set his birthyear around 1856.

The other Tibbits, J. H. Tibbits, who served in the legislature in 1911, completed a Biographical Index Card for the California State Library, and we learn that his full name was James Halar Tibbits and that he was born at Amador Co. on October 27, 1854. As of 1911, he was living in Redding.

At this point, it looks like the two James H. Tibbits could be related (because of their close birthyears and strong connections to Amador County). However, they could also be two separate people.

Untangling the Hoeys of San Francisco

There was a L. Hoey (Republican) who represented AD-28 in 1899. San Francisco. Went by L. Hoey in the 1899 Blue Book. The Assembly Journal describes (on page 778) the current Assemblyman as “Lawrence J. Hoey.”
There was a Lawrence Hoey (Democrat) who represented AD-46 in 1891. San Francisco. Went by Lawrence Hoey in the 1891 Blue Book. Listed as a different person from L. Hoey in the 1899 Blue Book.

Conclusion 1: The evidence indicates that there were indeed two people named Lawrence Hoey served in the State Assembly from San Francisco in the 1890s.

The 1900 Death
San Francisco Call, Volume 87, Number 172 (11 May 1900) reports Lawrence Hoey, a well-known politician, ex-Assemblyman and member of the Republican County Committee from the 32nd Assembly District died at his residence Wednesday last. He was a native of New York, 40 years of age. This Assemblyman is buried here.

The 1901 Death
San Francisco Call in Volume 90, Number 127 (5 October 1901) reports that Lawrence Hoey, a former Assemblyman from this city, died in the City and County Hospital Thursday night from pneumonia. He was an important factor in south of Market and was a ready and willing lieutenant of Martin Kelly. This Assemblyman is buried here.

In a follow-up article, the San Francisco Call, Volume 90, Number 128 (6 October 1901) includes a resolution by the San Francisco delegation of the 1899 Legislature honoring Lawrence J. Hoey as “A Fellow Member.” The next day, the San Francisco Call, Volume 90, Number 129 (7 October 1901) reported that Lawrence J. Hoey‘s funeral was attended by “nearly all the members of the Legislature of 1899”

San Francisco Call, Volume 85, Number 69 (7 February 1899) reported that Martin Kelly was championing the cause of Patrick J. Graham, who was contesting the election victory of Hoey (Republican).

Conclusion 2:
The 1900 death appears to have been Lawrence Hoey.
The 1901 death appears to have been Lawrence J. Hoey.

The 1899 Blue Book indicates that Lawrence Hoey (Republican) served in 1899. The San Francisco Call indicates that this Hoey was the one who was born in New York around 1859 and died in San Francisco in May 1900. This Assemblyman is buried here.

The 1899 Blue Book indicates that Lawrence J. Hoey (Republican) represented served in the Assembly in 1891, and while the San Francisco Call reports that Lawrence J. Hoey was a considered a “fellow member” by the 1899 legislature, apparently that doesn’t mean he was the one who served in 1899. Instead Lawrence J. Hoey died in San Francisco in October 1901.

Did I get that right?

California Lawmaker Now Available

Now available on Amazon.com is California Lawmaker by Alex Vassar, editor of the One Voter Project. Alex has spent years studying the California’s Legislature and is quoted regularly by journalists around the state.

California’s Legislature and the people who have served in it have an amazingly rich history. Some have held positions of national importance like Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger or US Supreme Court Justices Joseph McKenna and Stephen J. Field (all of whom served in the Assembly).

Henry G. Worthington, an Assemblyman elected in 1862, would later serve as a pallbearer at the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. Not all these stories end well. California legislators have also been fatally wounded in a bar brawl or died in a drunken canoeing accident.

Current through the start of the 92nd Session (2017-18), this is the story of the 4,424 men and women who have served in the California Legislature. In addition to the current session, this book explores the history of the legislature since 1849.


About the Author

Arriving at the State Capitol as a Senate Fellow in 2007, Alex Vassar has more than a decade of experience in California public policy. Alex has worked in both houses of the California Legislature, as a Senior Policy Advisor for a member of the San Jose City Council and an appointee at the State Board of Equalization. His love of California political history led him to create the One Voter Project [onevoter.org], an effort to examine trends and explore the remarkable history behind the golden state that we know today. Through his research, Alex has become a trusted reference on legislative history and you can find his quotes in the pages of the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee. Alex can occasionally be found at the Capitol during his lunch breaks, catching up on the latest news or leading tours for school groups.