Dr. Joseph Kibbe

"Father of Erath"

Spirit of Erath Centennial Series

       It has been said that the business of a leader is to turn obstacles into stepping stones, weaknesses into strengths and disasters into triumphs. The early settlers of the uncharted (Erath) prairie area, were indeed true leaders in every aspect of the word.

        Although the establishment of the Erath community was a collaborative effort, one leader played a phenomenal role before and during the turn of the century. Dubbed the "father of Erath," Dr. Joe Kibbe skillfully guided the Erath community across the threshold of the twentieth century. Considered the most influential figure in the early Erath community, Dr. Joe Kibbe made a monumental mark in the town's history.

       As one son of Dr. William G. Kibbe, Joe Kibbe graduated from Tulane University in 1887. Dr. Joe Kibbe later married the former Pauline Derouen. His medical practice began at Perry's Bridge, south of Abbeville. However, in 1893, when the Southern Pacific Railroad Company completed the railroad in this newly established area, he decided to relocate. Dr. Kibbe bought plots of land from August Erath, and then set up his medical practice. At this time he also opened a pharmacy with Frank Williams, the son of James Newton Williams and Sara Burton. Dr. Kibbe's office was on the corner of Broadway and Lastie. The Kibbe and Williams Drug Store was located next to the office.

       As a true community leader, Dr. Joe Kibbe guided community residents in moving toward a progressive era. With the assistance of August Erath and Ollie Moss, Kibbe was able to help establish a post office in the new area. The first post office was located in the train depot. Kibbe also petitioned the Vermilion Parish School Board for the establishment of a school. As a successful business venture, Kibbe built a local lumberyard in the community. In 1899, he took office of Alderman and remained in that capacity until 1911.

     Through his guidance, leadership and determination, Kibbe assisted Erath from it's infancy to it's toddler years. Like a father guides his children, Dr. Joe Kibbe guided the Erath community during it's formative years. True to form, he is indeed worthy of the title, the father of Erath.

Dr. Joseph Kibbe and Erath's 1st Mayor Frank Williams.

Dr. Joe Kibbe's Office Building

Spirit of Erath Articles (Keys to the Past Series)

Written by Stacy Bodin, Erath's 100th Anniversary Erath Centennial Historian (1999)

A Special Thank You goes out to Attorney Warren Perrin;
 the Acadian Museum in Erath;
Kermit Bouillion;
Curney Dronet, (Erath Author);
the Abbeville Meridional (Local Newspaper);
(The late) Clement Bourgeois Jr., (Erath Historian);
John LeBlanc (Town Official);
The 1999 Centennial President Jackie Vincent;
Robert Vincent (Acadiana Museum Director);
and my parents Larson "Cap" and Gertie Hebert Bodin
who assisted me in my research in this project.

The articles presented in memory of
Relie LeBlanc III
whose enthusiasm and love of Erath
inspires me still today in my quest of
researching and writing about our community. 
His "Unity in the Community" motto
will forever remain in my heart.

Photo of LeBlanc is
Courtesy of Dickie Durr's Thrifty Way of Abbeville

Questions or comments?
Email Stacy Bodin

Erath Map (MapQuest)

Erath July 4th Celebration
The Acadian Museum in Erath, Louisiana

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