Andrew P. Gibson
Widely and favorably known as a citizen and prominently identified with the farming and stock interests of Neosho county is Captain Andrew P. Gibson, of this review. As a settler he dates among the first to settle the prairies, having located on Big Creek in the year 1870 where he purchased a tract of school land, then wild and unimproved as nature had left it. Out of the years which have since elapsed has come the magnitude of his possessions and the stability and independence of his financial position, placing him in the foreground of Neosho county's successful men.
Our subject is a native of Indiana, having been born in Marion county on the 12th of June, 1837. His people were Kentuckians, in Bourbon county of which state his father, James M. Gibson, was born in 1797 and in which state he married Polly Hamm who was born there in 1802. The parents settled in Marion county, Indiana, in the early thirties and resided there till 1842, when they removed to Mercer county, Illinois, and there died; the father in 1855, and the mother in 1852. Of their ten children only three survive, as follows: Mrs. Mary A. Noble, of Humboldt, Kansas; Andrew P., and Mrs. A. P. Finch, of Chanute. Those deceased are Huldah, James H., William A., Marvin, Louisa J., Amanda F. and John O.
Andrew P. Gibson grew up on a farm in Mercer county, Illinois, and was left an orphan at the age of eighteen years. He acquired a fair education in the country schools at his command and exhibited an aptitude and a fondness for trading early in life. His handling of horses and cattle in this way proved profitable and he took board at a hotel and engaged in it as a business. He joined a company in 1858 and crossed the "plains" to Colorado where he was one of twenty-seven to discover gold in California Gulch, now the Leadville district. He owned mine number 3 in the Gulch, by right of discovery, which he worked till his supplies were exhausted. Returning to St. Joseph, Missouri, for more supplies, he learned of the firing on Fort Sumpter and the outbreak of the civil war. His patriotism burning within him he deserted his diggings in the Rockies and hastened to his home in Illinois where, in July, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company I, Forty-fifth Illinois Voluteer [sic] Infantry. His regiment became a part of the troops operating under General Grant at Fort Donelson and it remained with that commander in all his engagements along the Mississippi river and elsewhere to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 45th Illinois was the first to hoist the stars and stripes over Vicksburg after its surrender and, as provost officer, our subject marched into the captured city at the head of the victorious army. After the settlement of the situation at Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, this regiment went on the Atlanta campaign and accompanied Sherman's army to the sea. Returning toward Washington it aided in the reduction of the wavering Confederacy, the capture of Johnston's army, and the close of the war. Its last public service was to participate in the Grand Review at the National capital and our subject was with it, and an official part of it nearly all the way through. The nearest call to a wound he had was when his shoulder strap was shot away and he was never taken prisoner and never served a day in the hospital. He was taken from the ranks and commissioned a second lieutenant, was promoted to first lieutenant, and finally made captain of his company. He was mustered out in June, 1865, with his regiment, and returned home a veteran volunteer of the rebellion.
November 8, 1865, Captain Gibson was united in marriage with Nettie E., a daughter of Clinton G. Taylor, born in New York state February 2, 1839. When five years old Mrs. Gibson moved with her father to Whiteside county, Illinois, and later on removed to Rock Island county, where she came to womanhood. Clinton G. Taylor married Eliza M. Barnes of New York, and died at Galesburg, Illinois, in 1872. His widow is a resident of Ottawa, Kansas, in full possession of her faculties at the age of ninety-one. Their children were seven in number, five of whom survive. Leona A., Nettie E., Rev. Mark B., of Brooklyn, New York; Grant H., Arthur L., of Iola, Kansas; Asa G., and Ella C.
Captain Gibson farmed five years in Illinois after his marriage and came to Neosho county, Kansas. He erected a small log house on his quarter of land and the one room down stairs and the one "up-stairs" provided their domestic accommodations for some years. He brought with him to Kansas two teams and six hundred dollars and has brought to his possessions nine hundred eighty acres of land, three hundred seventy of which he has diverted to his son and the remainder still a part of his estate. He has long since erected a fine commodious residence and his large barn is the third one to occupy the same-foundation; the others, with contents of hay, grain, implements and stock, having been destroyed by fire. He has come to be one of the heaviest feeders and shippers of cattle and hogs from his county, four hundred head of the former going from his pens to market every ordinary year. His first experience in the feeding of cattle began with a yoke of oxen with which he broke prarie [sic]. He fatted them in an old log stable and when ready for market he could not pass them through the door and one side of the building had to come out to permit their escape from prison.
In the politics of Neosho county, Captain Gibson has been most active and influential. He is a staunch Republican and represented his district in the state legislature in 1875. He was a delegate to the Republican National convention at Minneapolis in 188l when Blaine and Logan became the party nominees. He was an ardent admirer and personal friend of General Logan.
The children of Captain and Mrs. Gibson surviving, are Mark G. and Ruth E., and those deceased are Bertha L., Clinton J. and Ben C.
February 2, 1902, all the widows of settlers as early as 1870 were invited by Captain Gibson to his home to a reunion and nine ladies were present and honored the invitation. Reminiscences of the early times were indulged in freely and, in spirit, old age gave way to youth, for the time being, and the meeting was one of the events of Big Creek township. By a study of the situation at the meeting, Captain Gibson was discovered to be the only male survivor on the creek who settled there in the year whose memory they were called together to celebrate.
As a citizen Captain Gibson is above reproach and without suspicion of evil. While he has been earnestly devoted to his personal interests, the spirit of humanity has ever pervaded him and he has lent a hand to the struggling and deserving poor. Wherever duty called him, whether as plainsman, soldier, farmer, or in the whirl of politics, he has gone about it with the same earnest confidence in the accomplishment of his purpose. He is a genuine character of his county and Big Creek township furnishes no more worthy or honored son. [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; transcribed by Vicki Bryan]
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