Chauncey Vibbard

Chauncey Vibbard
Chauncey Vibbard.jpg
From the April, 1860 edition of the American Phrenological Journal.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th district
In office
Preceded byClark B. Cochrane
Succeeded byJames M. Marvin
Personal details
Born(1811-11-11)November 11, 1811
Galway, New York, United States
DiedJune 5, 1891(1891-06-05) (aged 79)
Macon, Georgia, United States
Resting placeRiverside Cemetery, Macon, Georgia, United States
Political partyDemocratic
OccupationRailroad executive

Chauncey Vibbard (November 11, 1811 – June 5, 1891) was an American railroad executive and a U.S. Representative from New York during the American Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Born in Galway, New York on November 11, 1811, Vibbard attended the common schools and graduated from Nott's Academy for Boys in Albany, New York (now The Albany Academy).[1][2][3]

After graduation he served as clerk in a wholesale grocery store in Albany. He then moved to New York City, and in 1834 went to Montgomery, Alabama.[4]

Upon returning to New York in 1836 Vibbard settled in Schenectady, and was appointed chief clerk of the Utica & Schenectady Railroad. He became a railroad freight and ticket agent in 1848.[5]

In the early 1850s Vibbard was one of the businessmen who consolidated several small New York railroads into the New York Central Railroad. From 1853 to 1865 he was the New York Central's General Superintendent.[6]

Election to Congress and Civil War activities[edit]

Vibbard was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1863). He declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1862.[7]

During the American Civil War he served as the Union's director and superintendent of military railroads. In 1864 he was a supporter of George B. McClellan for President.[8]

Post Civil War[edit]

The steamboat Chauncey Vibbard, named after the subject
Mabbett Railway Chair Manufacturing Company share certificate, signed by Vibbard in June 1867

Following the war Vibbard continued his business career. He was an organizer of the Family Fund Insurance Company in 1864, and served as its President until 1886.[9] He was also an owner of Foote, Vibbard & Co., a venture formed to provide supplies and equipment to railroads.[10]

In 1865 he moved to New York City and became active in constructing and operating steamships lines and elevated railroads. He was a part-owner of the record-breaking Hudson River steamboat Chauncey Vibbard, which was named for him.[11][12]

In his later life Vibbard was interested in the development of railroads in the former Confederacy, as well as several ventures in South and Central America.[13]

Vibbard retired in 1889, and moved to Macon, Georgia for his health. He died in Macon on June 5, 1891 and was interred in Macon's Riverside Cemetery.[14][15]

Since 1907 his former home in Schenectady has been the location of the Mohawk Club, a private social club that began in the 1870s.[16][17]


  1. ^ Thomas William Herringshaw, Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography, 1914, page 551
  2. ^ D. Appleton and Company, Appletons' Annual Cyclopædia and Register of Important Events, Volume 16, 1892, pages 659-660
  3. ^ Albany Academy, Celebration of the Semi-centennial Anniversary of the Albany Academy, 1863, page 43
  4. ^ Donald C. Ringwald, Hudson River Day Line: The Story of a Great American Steamboat Company, 1990, page 22
  5. ^ Engineering Journal magazine, Obituary, Chauncey Vibbard, Volume LXV, Number 7 (July, 1891), page 332
  6. ^ Larry Hart, Schenectady Gazette, Famed Railroader Chauncey Vibbard Got Start in Schenectady, May 1, 1995
  7. ^ Frederick Phisterer, New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 to 1865, 1880, page 113
  8. ^ John T. Hubbell, James W. Geary, Jon L. Wakelyn, Biographical Dictionary of the Union: Northern Leaders of the Civil War, 1995, page 557
  9. ^ Our Society Journal, The Hon. William Barnes Chosen as President of the Family Fund Society, Oct./Nov. 1886, page 12
  10. ^ American Railroad Journal, Advertisement, Foote, Vibbard & Co., Volume 38, October 7, 1865, page 1019
  11. ^ Kenneth J. Blume, Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Maritime Industry, 2011, page 228
  12. ^ Engineering News, Obituary, Chauncey Vibbard, June 13, 1891, page 561
  13. ^ Railway World, Macon and Brunswick, January 31, 1880, page 106
  14. ^ New York Times, Chauncey Vibbard Dead, June 6, 1891
  15. ^ Atlanta Constitution, Funeral of Chauncey Vibbard: The Ex-Congressman Is Laid to Rest in Macon Yesterday, June 8, 1891
  16. ^ The Mohawk Club, History, retrieved November 26, 2013
  17. ^ Michael DeMasi, Schenectady Gazette, Mohawk Club's Room No. 33 May Host Ghost, October 30, 2000

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Clark B. Cochrane
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th congressional district

Succeeded by
James M. Marvin

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website