The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Jonathan Tibbet of El Monte California

Representative of the early pioneers of El Monte is the name of Jonathan Tibbet who was born December 8, 1822 in Franklin County, Ohio. His parents were Jonathan and Huldah (Root) Tibbet, the father being a farmer and native of New York, while his mother came from Vermont. They had a very large family, fourteen children in all, of whom the subject of this sketch was the sixth. An interesting fact concerning the family is that one of the children, Edward was the grandfather of the grand opera singer, Lawrence Tibbet.

Jonathan Jr., was educated in the public schools of the community in which he was raised. Upon reaching his majority, he assisted his father on the farm, which being in a timbered section, necessitated the work of splitting rails. He later learned the carpenter trade at which he worked for a time.

In 1849 Mr. Tibbet with his family came to California by ox-team, their first destination being Placerville, in El Dorado County. Arriving in February of 1850, Mr. Tibbet, engaged in mining and prospecting, in which he was very successful. His good fortune in this is attested by the fact that in one day he mined $8580 in gold. Soon afterward, he returned to the East remaining in Ohio until in 1853, when he again set out for California. This time he came by the Southern Route bringing a drove of cattle and sheep. They landed in that year in El Monte, and settled first on a tract of land southeast of town where they remained for several years. Later, about 1859, Mr. Tibbet moved his family to a 160-acre tract near what is now Rosemead, which he had purchased. On this place Mr. Tibbet built the home, which still stands. The lumber for this home Mr. Tibbet and his sons cut in the Halcom Valley near San Bernardino, the logs being later sawed into lumber and transported to the home site. For years this was the only house for miles around in this vicinity. Here the family lived for several years while Mr. Tibbet engaged in freighting. This business required that he remain away from home many months at a time, since his trips took him from San Pedro to Salt Lake city, frequently returning by way of San Francisco. He was very successful in this line of work and continued in it until 1875 when he moved to Compton. Here he purchased a dairy, which he operated for a number of years, later moving to Santa Monica where he purchased a 100-acre ranch on which he developed another dairy. Here he remained for many years successfully managing on of the leading dairies of that section.

In 1844 Mr. Tibbet was married to Miss Phoebe Point, a native of New York, whose parents were Stephen and Eleanor (Scofield) Point, natives of Ohio.

To Mr. and Mrs. Tibbet were born three children: James H., who married Henrietta Mills of an El Monte Pioneer family; Samantha Jane, who married William Snoddy, pioneer of El Monte; Jonathan F., who married Emma Bowman of Riverside; and Phoebe, who married Percy N. Arnold of Santa Monica. Mr. Tibbet continued the management of his dairy near Santa Monica until the death of Mrs. Tibbet, which occurred in September 1892. He then retired from active work transferring the management of the dairy to his son-in-law, Percy Arnold; himself continuing to reside in the ranch home until called by death in April 1904.

In politics, Mrs. Tibbet was a Republican, and was active in contributing time and means to the promotion of the party’s interest. In religion he was a member of the Methodist Church, though not actively identified with it.

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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