Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Charles W. Nibley Charles W. (Wilson) Nibley

1849 - 1931

  • Born 1849 Hunterfield, Scotland
  • Baptized as a child
  • Married Rebecca Neibaur 1869; practiced plural marriage; twenty-four children
  • Presiding Bishop of Church, 1907-1925
  • Second Counselor to Heber J. Grant, 1925-31
  • Died 1931 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Charles Wilson Nibley was born Feb 5, 1849 at Hunterfield, Scotland to James Nibley and Jean Wilson, the sixth of eight children. The family, having accepted the Gospel, soon moved to Zion. Nibley was a rather small and anemic child, and the physical demands of a frontier life were hard on him. Nibley's formal education was limited and fragmented, but he loved books and read voraciously. He was also an ambitious and gifted businessman. His first start in business was as a storekeeper in Wellsville. He soon moved to Brigham City, where he worked for a prosperous businessman named Morris Rosenbaum, who owned a store and a hotel. Impressed by Nibley's business acumen, Rosenbaum soon made the young man a partner. One of Rosenbaum's hotel employees was Rebecca Neibaur. Nibley fell in love with Rebecca and the two were married in 1869.

    Nibley became involved in many business ventures during his life, most of which proved to be very successful. However, the heart of his wealth was centered in the lumber industry. Nibley had established himself as a successful lumber man during the 1870s and 1880s in northern Utah and southern Idaho. But his real rise to wealth came when he and industrialist David Eccles combined their talents and organized the Oregon Lumber Company in 1889. This company became one of the largest lumber companies in the Pacific Northwest and made both men multimillionaires. Nibley's other major business interests included railroads, banking, insurance, and the sugar beet industry.

    Nibley was a well-known philanthropist. Much of his philanthropy was accomplished quietly; however, one of his public contributions was the donation of Wandamere Park, now Nibley Park Golf Course, to Salt Lake City as a Christmas present in 1921.

    President Nibley practiced plural marriage, marrying first Rebecca Neibur. In 1880 he married Ellen Ricks, and in 1885 he married Julia Budge. He fathered noted author and historian Preston Nibley. The illustrious Hugh Nibley is a grandson. In all, we know of twenty-four children he sired, twelve of whom were born in "the underground.".

Charles W. Nibley with his three wives, left to right: Ellen Ricks, C. W., Rebecca Neibaur, and Julia Budge

    On December 4, 1907, at the age of fifty-eight, he became the fifth Presiding Bishop of the Church. He held that position for the next seventeen years. During his time The Church did away with tithing scrip, and he placed the church on a strict cash payment basis. He also was influential in getting the church to build Hotel Utah. Some seventeen years later, President Heber J. Grant called him to be his Second Counselor, which position he held until his death in 1931. Of interest is that he was not ordained an Apostle when called into the First Presidency, serving as a High Priest. And equally interesting, when he died and J. Reuben Clark was called to take his position, neither was Clark ordained an Apostle until over a year later.

    President Nibley died December 11, 1931 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of eighty-two.

    The Grampa has found a magnificent web site with numerous pictures of President Nibley and his family. The gentlereader with interest in this great man is referred to The Nibley Family Photograph Collection.

    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p.766
    The Nibley Family Photograph Collection
    Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.269
    2005 Church Almanac, p.60

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