Hibben, James P.
James Parker Hibben, who in his business career exemplifies the enterprising spirit which has led to the rapid and substantial development of the northwest, is a native son of Victoria and now a member of the firm T. N. Hibben & Company, proprietors of the largest book and stationery store of the city. He was born on the 29th of October, 1864. His father, Thomas Napier Hibben, who was the founder of the store, came to the province in 1858. He was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1828 and crossed the plains in 1849 in a "prairie schooner". At length the long and arduous journey was completed and he engaged in mining in California. Later he established a book and stationery store in San Francisco, where he carried on business until 1858, when he sold to Bancroft, the historian, who afterward published Bancroft's History of the Pacific Coast.

When that business transaction had been consummated, Thomas N. Hibben came to Victoria. Here he met Mr. Carswell and they formed a partnership and purchased the Kurskis book-store, which they conducted together until 1866. At the end of that time Mr. Hibben purchased his partner's interest and continued the business alone, building up and excellent trade. He was at first located on Yates Street and three years later removed to the present fine establishment in the center of the business district on Government Street. From the first his liberal and honourable management of the enterprise secured a large trade, which has continued to increase each year until the establishment is the largest of the kind in the city.

Early in the '60s Thomas N. Hibben went to England, where he was happily married to Miss Janet Parker Brown, a native of Paisley, Scotland, and he then brought his bride to Victoria, making the journey by way of the Isthmus of Panama and thence up the Pacific coast. Mr. Hibben was devoted to his family and did everything in his power to promote their welfare and enhance their happiness. He was a gentleman of the highest integrity of character, as manifest in his business relations and in his citizenship. He never sought, desired or held office, but gave his entire attention to the control of his business and the enjoyments of home life, and throughout the city he held the confidence and respect of those whom he was brought in contact. He departed this life on the 10th of January, 1890, amid the deep regret of many friends. He had long been recognized as a valued citizen, and because of his championship of many measures for the general good his death came as a public calamity to the community.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hibben had been born four children, all now grown to adult age, namely: Mary R., the wife of W. D. Claussen, a resident of California; Estelle Theus, who became the wife of T. Claussen, a brother of her sister's husband; Thomas Napier, who resides in Victoria and is also interested in the book and stationery business; and James Parker, who represents his mother's and his own interest in the business, with William H. Bone as partner. Both a wholesale and retail trade is carried on and the business has become the most extensive in its line in the province. The methods inaugurated by the father have always been maintained, and the house enjoys an unassailable reputation. James P. Hibben has been connected with the business from boyhood, and in the management displays excellent executive force, keen discernment and marked sagacity.

The family are Episcopalians in religious faith and occupy a very prominent social position. Mr. Hibben and his brother are both native sons of Victor


R. E. Gosnell, A History of British Columbia, (Vancouver, B. C.: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906). pp. 3350-351.