William Henry Tebbs was born in Prince William County, Virginia in 1821 and trained as a physician. He was living in Mason County, Kentucky when he married Martha Anderson. Dr. Tebbs and his wife then moved to Platte County, Missouri with their extended family. Both Tebbs' brother Obidiah and sister Lydia lived in Platte County, as well. Judge Paxton in his history of Platte County says Tebbs was a man "with aristocratic bearing, formal in manners and brilliant in conversation." [Paxton, Annals,444] In 1854 Tebbs and his brother Obidiah were among the many Platte County residents making claims in Kansas Territory. The Tebbs brothers went to Osawkie, the first settlement in Jefferson County. At the site of Dyer's trading post on the old military road, the Missouri squatters laid out a town site and erected a large hotel. When W.H. Tebbs was elected to the Bogus Legislature, he secured the county seat for Osawkie and the town grew rapidly, but in 1858, under the free-state legislature, the county seat was moved to Oskaloosa. [Root, The First Day's Battle, 34]
Battle of Fredericksburg
Confederate dead in the Sunken Road
Tebbs resigned his commission after the battle.
After the first session of the Legislature, Tebbs continued to take an active role in politics. He was secretary of a pro-slavery meeting held to decide the proper time and place for a convention to nominate a delegate to the United States Congress in August 1855. He was on a committee of a pro-slavery "National Democratic Party" appointed at Lecompton in 1856 to prepare an "address to the people of the United States," about the issues in Kansas. One of his fellow committee members was David Atchison. [Gihon, Geary and Kansas, Ch. 40]
Obidiah Tebbs was appointed Probate Judge, or presiding county commissioner of Jefferson County, by the Bogus Legislature in 1855, and the first order of business was building the county courthouse in Osawkie. A tax of sixteen and two-third mills on the dollar was voted for the purpose. W. H. Tebbs was appointed Superintendent of Public Buildings and ordered at once to let the contract for building the court house. [Cutler, History, Jefferson County]
Sometime after the free-state victory at the ballot box in late 1857, the Tebbs family left Kansas for Hamburg, Arkansas where both Doctor Tebbs and his brother bought farms.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Doctor Tebbs organized a company of volunteers from Ashley County, Arkansas that became Company A, Third Arkansas Infantry Regiment, the "Arkansas Travelers." He was elected Captain of Company A at its inception and became Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment in 1862. "Arguably the most celebrated regiment fielded by Arkansas during the Civil War," the Third Arkansas served in Virginia from its inception to its surrender at Appomattox Court House. Tebbs resigned his commission January 11, 1863 after the battle of Fredricksburg. He died in November 1866 and is buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. [Howerton, www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/3rdcoa.html]