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 George Washington Gibson

George Washington Gibson

Birth
Union, Union County, South Carolina, USA
Death 17 Aug 1871 (aged 71)
Washington County, Utah, USA
Burial Grafton, Washington County, Utah, USA
Memorial ID 59785 · View Source
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Son of Robert Gibson and Mary Evans

Married Mary Ann Sparks, 15 Mar 1822, Union County, South Carolina

Children - Moses Washington Gibson, Joseph Smith Gibson, Manomas Lovina Gibson, William Washington Gibson, Robert Pilaskey Gibson, Frances Abigail Gibson, Laura Arrilla Gibson, Lydia Ardelicia Elinor Gibson, Robert Malek Gibson, William Gilbert Gibson, Mary Denisia Gibson

Married Ann Elizabeth Newman, 15 Mar 1857, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Children - Ann Elizabeth Gibson, George Andrew Gibson, Sarah Jane Gibson, Mary Ardillacy Gibson, Joshua Newman Gibson, James William Gibson

History - In the great Mormon migration to the western United States, there seems to have been three distinct plans whereby people who had accepted wholeheartedly the principles of the newly-found religion would begin the long journey to find haven in the Rocky Mountains.

The vast majority of these converts were to come by land under the able leadership of Brigham Young upon whom the mantle of the Church had fallen after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Samuel Brannan was called to take some of the Eastern States Saints and sail on a chartered ship, Brooklyn, which would carry them around the Horn, then on to the present site of San Francisco, California.

John Brown was to go into the Southern States and gather those Saints who were ready to leave their all and make the westward journey. He was given instructions to meet President Young in the Indian Country. Both Brannan and Brown carried out their part of the master plan and started for the Rocky Mountains in the year 1846; but Brigham Young and the main body of the Saints were detained on the banks of the Missouri River, chiefly because of the call made by the government for 500 of their young men to be organized into what is known in history as the Mormon Battalion.

One of the families traveling among the Mississippi Saints was the George Washington Gibson family. George Washington Gibson, the son of Robert and May "Polly" Evans Gibson was born June 17, 1800 in Union County, South Carolina. The Gibson's owned land and had slaves. (Reportedly about 15)

On 15 March 1822 George was married to Mary Ann Sparks, the daughter of Josiah Sparks and Lydia Tollison. This marriage of Mary Ann and George was considered a fine match, uniting two fine southern families together. They made their home in Union County and proceeded to raise a family.

Mary Ann Sparks was born June 10, 1802 in Union County, South Carolina. In her youth she was taught to work, how to cook the things they raised on their farm and how to spin, weave and knit. At 20 years she was well prepared to take on the responsibilities of a home when she married George Washington Gibson on the 15th of Mar 1822 in Union County, South Carolina. This union was blessed with eleven children.

Some where along through the years the Gibson family left South Carolina and traveled across Georgia and Alabama into Mississippi, which was the home state of George's mother. It was here in 1845 that the Gibson's joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a year later they joined the John Brown Company and commenced their long journey westward toward the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.

It might be interesting to know a little about John Brown and this company he led from the Southern States. They are known in Church history as the "Mississippi Saints, and one can read quite a bit about them. Among the 14 families, besides the Gibsons, were the Crosbys, Thomases, Lays, Dowdles, Myers, Harmons, Bankheads, Smithsons, Cheaneys, and Holladays.

Capt. Brown and his group started in April of 1846 and failing to meet Brigham, journeyed to the Old Spanish Fort on the Arkansas River at Pueblo, Colorado where they stayed the winter of 1846-47.

After their arrival in Pueblo in 1846, George was stricken with mountain fever. He was tenderly nursed and his family cared for by the Spanish women in the fort. George was too sick to work, and so the family was dependent upon the kindness of the people for food. One of the children remembers having these kind women take them to their homes and give them good dinners. Mary Ann Gibson was much concerned over her husband and also nursed him day and night.

The Spanish women brought generous amounts of vegetables from their gardens. They often took the younger Gibson children to their homes and tended them. Mary Ann was much impressed with the immaculate cleanliness of her Spanish friends, though their homes were of logs, the floors were scrubbed snowy white and everything was spotless.

The Indians were troublesome there in Pueblo, and would sit on the cabin floor while Mother Gibson was stringing green beans for dinner. As a bean would fall, they would grab it, chew it up, then spit it at her. She didn't pay any attention and went on with her work to avoid trouble with them at any cost.

While still in Pueblo two of her daughters were married. Mary D. married William New, a wealthy merchant of Pueblo and Santa Fe. Later he promised Mary he would take her to Salt Lake to join her family but she died soon after, leaving a baby girl. The husband was later killed by the Indians and the little girl was sent to relatives in the east. This was a great sorrow to Mary Ann.

Lydia married Gilbert Hunt of the Mormon Battalion and came to Utah with Captain Brown's Company.

The journey to Salt Lake Valley was continued the following spring. They were joined in this trek with a detachment of the Mormon Battalion, composed of the sick and disabled who had been unable to continue the march with the main body of the Battalion. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on the 29th of July 1847 just 5 days after the company led by Brigham Young.

The Gibson's were almost destitute, but George W. who was a carpenter by trade, soon built a log cabin in Cottonwood in which to house his family. This first home in Cottonwood was where George served for a number of years in the Bishopric. Other families also chose that area for their homes, and it was soon quite thickly populated.

The first few years in the valley were very lean years. A school house was erected and a teacher hired. The children had one book between them and each took a turn reading.

Here Mary Ann and George W. had the pleasure of seeing the rest of their children married. Robert P. married Lucinda Wakefield. Frances A. married Alvin G. Green. William G. married Cynthia Lockhart. Laura A. married James Andrews, as did her younger sister, Manomas, as his plural wife. Moses W. married Lydia Ann Badger. Joseph S. married Ruth Theobald after they had moved to Dixie.

Mary Ann supported her husband in every respect. In the early days of the Church in Utah polygamy was practiced quite extensively. It was a way by which this new land could be peopled more quickly. Thus, it was that on March 15, 1856 Mary Ann Gibson was called upon to share her husband with another woman. It was on that date that he married Elizabeth Ann Newman, daughter of Elizabeth Hughes and Joseph Newman. To this union six children were born.

It is not known just when the Gibson's left all they had accumulated in Cottonwood and answered the call to settle what was known as the Dixie Cotton Mission, some 300 miles south. President Young selected families who had lived in the Southern States, because they understood the raising of cotton, and they were best acclimated to withstand the extreme heat of Utah Dixie.

In 1859, Nathan C. Tenny, with some other families from Virgin City commenced a settlement about 6 miles above Virgin. This little new settlement was named Grafton. More settlers arrived in 1860-1861. Dams were built in the Rio Virgin River and agriculture commenced, but alas, the heavy rains in Zion Canyon and the nearby mountains caused much trouble. When the crops needed the water most, like as not, a flash flood would come and wash out the dams and ditches, also the land. The heat and mosquitoes made it an unhealthy place to live, but those sturdy pioneers who were called to the "Up-River" settlements did not easily give up or get discouraged, and in spite of very difficult situations, they struggled on to make a living. Mary Ann's family were all grown, the younger ones were striving to make homes in Dixie, but the older ones stayed in the norther part of the state.

It was September 3, 1861, a few months after her 59th birthday that Mary Ann Sparks Gibson died. She was buried in the Little Pioneer Cemetery there in Grafton. Her husband, George W., was raising a young family by his wife Elizabeth Ann. He died at Duncan Retreat, a few miles down the River between Virgin and Grafton, August 17, 1871 at the age of 71 years. He was buried in Grafton, which was then in Kane County, but later was in Washington County. As a farmer, carpenter, stock raiser, pioneer and a faithful member of the church, he had completed his life's mission.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Mississippi Company (1847); Age at departure: 47



Inscription

Father! thou art missed from Our circle,
Left Us for a better Place


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  • Maintained by: SMSmith
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 59785
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for George Washington Gibson (17 Jun 1800–17 Aug 1871), Find A Grave Memorial no. 59785, citing Grafton Cemetery, Grafton, Washington County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .