Family Stories

The following stories are excerpted from The Lillibridges of the World genealogy, compiled by Donna E. Lillibridge and John L. Lillibridge, and published in 1994.  It’s a 2-1/2 inch bound book accompanied by at least two supplements and features a rich history of the Lillibridge family in full genealogical detail with photographs.  John is currently requesting assistance keeping the genealogy up-to-date; if you have Lillibridge ancestry and a passion to keep the family history alive, please contact John at
Alanson Lillibridge
Alanson Lillibridge
(4th generation from Thomas the First)
Born in New York state, Alanson moved to Michigan in 1844. Eight years later he traveled via wagon and a team of oxen to Coffin’s Grove, Iowa, where he purchased 100 acres of land at $2 per acre. He farmed there for 13 years, then moved to near Greeley; by 1878 he had accumulated 220 acres. In addition to farming, Alanson served briefly as local school director and five years as road supervisor.

Captain Robert Lillibridge

Captain Robert Lillibridge
It’s probably fair to say that Captain Robert Lillibridge experienced more excitement and danger before his 35th birthday than most of us will in our entire lifetimes. The final decade of the 18th century was particularly active for ship captains, with slave uprisings throughout the Caribbean and the 1793-1801 British-French war. Add to that the threat of the privateer, a private warship common throughout colonial times and engaged in what is often described as state-sponsored piracy.

It was in this environment that Capt. Lillibridge commandeered a number of vessels, including the brigadeers Jane and Ruby and the schooners President and Fair Lady.

It was during his service on the Fair Lady that Capt. Lillibridge encountered the privateer Hope, commanded by David Foggo. According to a 1794 article in The Pennsylvania Gazette regarding the September ’93 adventure, Foggo enticed Capt. Lillibridge onto the Hope, and immediately sent ten men to board the Fair Lady and take charge of her. The next day, Foggo ordered the Fair Lady to Bermuda, which had throughout the 18th century become a center for piracy.

In Bermuda, the schooner was raided for valuables, the passengers taken for prisoners, and the vessel’s entire cargo condemned. Capt. Lillibridge was ordered to stand trial and was beaten by the Hope’s agent, requiring three days of recuperaton with the help of a physician. Thankfully, he returned safely to New York by December 30th of that year.

The Gazette has also reported Capt. Lillibridge sailing from L’Anse-a-Veau (Haiti) on the President, to San Juan (Puerto Rico) on the Ruby, from Philadelphia on the Jane, and on a schooner “to L’Acul (Haiti), with the intention to bring off some cannon and stores deposited there.”

The image of Capt. Lillibridge above is owned by the Smithsonian Institute and is watercolor on ivory. Special thanks to John Lillibrige for sharing it for this story.

Willard Merrick Lillibridge
Willard Merrick Lillibridge
(4th gen.from Benjamin) graduated from Hamilton (NY) College in 1869. After a year of law studies in St. Louis, MO, in 1871, Willard settled in Detroit the next year, completed his law education, and became head of the law firm Lillibridge and Latham in 1880. In ’82 he married his wife, Katherine. While in Detroit, Willard served as a member of the Board of Education and as a judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court. Three years after his death in 1904, the Otto School in Detroit was renamed the Lillibridge School in his honor.

Hiram Newell Lillibridge

Hiram Newell Lillibridge
(4th gen.from Thomas the First) moved from his birthplace in Meadville, PA, very early in life to attend elementary school in Waterville Township, KS. At only 18 years of age, he homesteaded 80 acres there and constructed a dugout for a house, where he and his new bride, Margaret, lived for several years. With only 20 dollars to his name, he immediately found work as a farm hand, and accumulated enough money to buy a yoke of oxen. As he began to prosper, Hiram built a log house, followed by a frame house in 1875. By the time of his death in 1942, Hiram and Margaret were a very respected and successful couple in the area.

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