John H “Jack” Nibbe MOH

b. 25/11/1847 Hamburg, Germany. d. 15/06/1902 Bremerton, Washington.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 22/04/1864 Yazoo River, Mississippi.

John H Nibbe MOH

Jack Nibbe was born in Hamburg, Germany on November 25, 1842. At age fourteen he was a merchant seaman on vessels traveling between New York and Hamburg. In 1860 he jumped ship in New York and he joined the U.S. Navy in the early days of the Civil War. At the time he was capture, he was serving as Quartermaster on the U.S.S. Petrel.

The USS Petrel was a tinclad wooden steamer in the United States Navy. Assigned to the Mississippi Squadron, she participated in the Yazoo River expedition against Haynes Bluff, 30 April–1 May 1863, then went after Confederate shipping on the Yazoo and Sunflower rivers. In July she cruised the Red, Black, Tensas and Ouachita rivers, capturing four rebel vessels and military stores.

On 3 February 1864 she helped silence Confederate batteries at Liverpool, Mississippi, on the Yazoo, to initiate naval operations to prevent Southern harassment of Sherman’s expedition to Meridian, Mississippi. For the next two weeks the ships pushed up the Yazoo, engaging Confederate troops as far up the river as Greenwood. A month and a half later, Petrel commenced attacks on Yazzo City. On 22 April 1864, however, she was disabled, captured, and after the removal of her guns and most valuable stores, was burned.

The U.S. Navy had many river boats like the Petrel that made a gigantic difference in the outcome of the war. Small and numerous, they were dubbed the ‘Mosquito Fleet.’ After the war veterans like Nibbe traveled west and the moniker found a new home on the waters of Puget Sound.

After Nibbe was captured by Confederate forces on the Yazoo River, he was transported to a southern prison where he was held until about October of that year. He was honorably discharged from the Navy on January 12th, 1865. Thereafter, he returned to deep water sailing.

In ‘67 he rounded the Horn, and in ‘68 he ventured into Puget Sound and found our paradise. Over the coming years he bounced between Puget Sound and California. In Washington, he worked as a logger and on steamboats Favorite, Flying Dutchman and others. Then, in the early ‘80s  he filed a homestead claim for the Nibbeville land. His claim was for 160 acres and he purchased an additional 5.5 acres for $1.25 an acres. When the census taker came around in 1880 John Nibbe was living at Nibbeville with his Native American wife, Jenny, and their three year old son, Jefferson. Three years later, the territorial census documented young Archie Nibbe, age two. Sadly, Archie drowned in the bay in front of the Nibbe home (near the present day Point White Community dock) and he was buried on the hillside behind the historic Lindquist home.

The fate of Jenny and Jefferson Nibbe is not recorded. They vanish from the records after the 1883 territorial census. When the census taker again met John Nibbe in early 1885 he was a single man. A post office was established at Nibbeville in February of 1885 and Nibbe was appointed Postmaster. Later that year he married widow Georgianna (Gray) Porter. She brought three children to the marriage, Charles, Elizabeth and newborn Robert.

In 1896 the family moved to Bremerton where John operated the ‘Bremerton Store’. Two years later his son Henry was born, and about the same time John was appointed Bremerton Postmaster. Jack Nibbe relinquished his position as Bremerton Postmaster in May of 1901 and soon after he retired from the Bremerton Store. He died on June 15, 1902.



Served as quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Peterel during its capture in Yazoo River, 22 April 1864. Standing his ground when a shot came through the stern, raking the gundeck and entering and exploding the boilers, when all the others had deserted the flag, Nibbe assisted in getting the wounded off the guard and proceeded to get ready to fire the ship despite the escaping steam from the boilers, at which time he was surrounded on all sides by the rebels and forced to surrender.