Gibbs Family History PDF Print E-mail

by Curtis P. Irwin, Sr. (circa 1952)

From the first issue of The Gibbs Magazine, published by The Nicholas Gibbs Historical Society.

Gibbs Crest

It is believed that the forefathers of Nicholas Gibbs, because of religious and political reasons, migrated from England, their mother country, about the time of the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the reign of Oliver Cromwell. They sought refuge along the Rhine River in Germany and it was in the village of Wallruth, near the town of Krumbach, Duchy of Baden, that Nicholas was born on September 29, 1733.

In the original Gibbs family there were three brothers, Peter, Abraham, and Nicholas, and two sisters, Mary and Catherine. Abraham and Nicholas came from Germany to America, Nicholas coming to America in 1747 and Abraham sometime prior to that time. Peter died in Germany before Nicholas left for America. Abraham settled in the town of Fredericktown, Maryland, and his descendants were residents of Baltimore, Maryland, in 1846. Nicholas, named for his father (Nicholas of Germany), became offended with his father in some way and left home for America at the age of 14 years (1747). He left home with 30 guineas ($150.00 in American money), which the captain of the ship told him was just half enough to pay for his fare across the ocean, so Nicholas sold his time to pay for the other half.

After working his time out for the other half of his fare, he joined the English army and served five years in the French and Indian War. While he was a soldier his brother, Abraham, heard of him and sought an appointment with him. Nicholas had no recollection of ever having seen his brother, so he applied the criterion his mother had given him by which to identify Abraham, should ever they meet, which was a spot or scar on Abraham's head. Finding the spot on Abraham's head, he at once claimed him as his brother. After serving his tour of five years, Nicholas went to Frederickstown, Maryland to live with his brother, Abraham. However his brother's wife and he did not harmonize, so Nicholas went to North Carolina and settled in Orange County, where he married Miss Mary Ephland and where part of his family was grown and some married before he came to East Tennessee to settle 12 miles northeast of Knoxville, Tennessee, near House Mountain.

Nicholas sold his property in Orange County, North Carolina on October 12, 1791, to Obed Green. His daughter, Catherine, married John Holmes on October 17, 1791 and it is believed that shortly after her marriage he and his large family moved to East Tennessee and settled in what is now Knox County. His old home is still standing near Harbison's Cross Roads (1952). Acccording to Tennessee records, Nicholas bought 450 acres of land in Hawkins County on March 6, 1792, for 200 pounds, "including Beaver Dam Fork on Beaver Creek." This section of Hawkins County later became part of Knox County, when on June 11, 1792, Governor Blount issued an ordinance defining the lines of Greene and Hawkins Counties and laying off two new counties, Knox and Jefferson.

Gibbs house, 1963
Nicholas Gibbs' Home in 1963

On July 18, 1792,¹ the first court in Knox County was held by James White, et al. On April 25, 1796, the first County Court was begun under the State Constitution, at which time Nicholas Gibbs was one of the Justices of Peace commissioned by the Governor. On April 25, 1796, Nicholas Gibbs was given a grant of 100 acres on Beaver Dam Creek (Knox County) for "services in the Continental Line" (Land Grant Records, Raleigh, North Carolina, Book 88, Page 193, Grant 257, dated March 7, 1796). This grant is also recorded in Knox County, Tennessee, Book B, No. 2, Registrar's Office, and his name appears on the Knox County roll of Revolutionary War soldiers as having participated in the Battle of King's Mountain.² Both Nicholas Gibbs and his wife are buried in an old cemetery located on Emery Road, near Harbison's Cross Roads, North Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1915 stones were erected on the graves by some of his descendants.

Judging from the Knox County Court records, Nicholas Gibbs took an active part in civic affairs until his death, which presumably was in 1817, as his will, dated May 19, 1810, was probated in the July 1817 Sessions Book 2, Page 343, Knox County, Tennessee. This will lists all of his children as follows: seven daughters, Mary, Sarah, Catherine, Silphenia, Elizabeth, "Sophie's heirs", and Barbara; sons, John, David, Jacob, George, Nicholas, and Daniel. At the death of his wife any remaining estate, land excepted, was to be divided as follows: one dollar each to his sons and all remaining estate to be divided equally among his seven daughters. His sons, John and Nicholas, were appointed executors and witnesses were sons, Jacob Gibbs and Daniel Gibbs. John Gibbs, oldest son of Nicholas Gibbs, was born about 1780 and died August 13, 1840. He was buried in Gibbs graveyard in Andersonville, Tennessee, and the grave marked by a rock with his name written on it. On August 8, 1797 he married Ann Howard, born about 1777 in Virginia. They had the following children:³

1. Mary Ann, b. May 16, 1796 (family Bible); m. on August 10, 1815, John McAdoo III, b. June 21, 1790. Their children were:
  a. Malinda Emeline, b. August 3, 1816; m. October 10, 1861, Robert Morrow
  b. Elizabeth Ann, b. October 8, 1818; d. October 31, 1818
  c. William Gibbs, b. April 4, 1820; m. (1) 1849 to Anna C. Horsley; (2) to Mrs. Mary Faith Floyd McDonald on Sept. 23, 1857, widow of Randolph C. McDonald
  d. Ann Howard, b. November 1, 1822
  e. John D., b. April 4, 1825
  f. Elbert H., b. September 7, 1827
  g. Mary J., b. April 20, 1834
  h. Martha Louise, b. April 17, 1837
2. Jennie, m. Neal
3. Elizabeth, m. John Whitson
4. Malinda, m. Thomas Ingram
5. William Howard, b. about 1808; m. Nancy Taylor

John Gibbs was a Justice of the Peace in Knox County, Tennessee, in 1802,¹ later moving to Anderson County, Tennessee. The following notice of his death was abstracted from a file of East Tennessee newspaper [sic] 1791-1865:

"John Gibbs, Esq. departed this life in Anderson County, Tennessee after a protracted illness of 50 days. His disease was apoplexy. He died at 7 o'clock in the morning, on the 13th day of August (1840), in the 71st year of his age. For more than 30 years he filled the office of Justice of the Peace, was Entry Taker, etc., and once represented this county in the State Legislature. He was a man of strict urbanity of manner, honest and respected, a kind father, indulgent master, good neighbor and strict friend, lived respected and died lamented."

John Gibbs, in 1821, owned 1091 acres on the Clinch River, where the present city of Norris, Norris Dam and Lake now is in Anderson County, Tennessee. He sold this farm to Jacob Weaver, who deeded it to his daughter and she, in turn, deeded it to her son. He deeded it to his son, who deeded it to Mrs. Seetha Longmire. For five generations the farm remained in the family of Jacob Weaver. Mrs. Seetha Longmire was 73-years-old when the U.S. Government bought her land to build Norris Dam. Mrs. Longmire had spent all her life up to this date, except one year, on this farm. She moved with her son, Austin Longmire, to Maryville, Tennessee, in 1934 and died in January, 1941, at Maryville, Tennessee.

John and Captain Nicholas were brothers, both soldiers in the War of 1812. Captain Nicholas was killed in the Battle of the Horse Shoe, 55 miles south of Fort Strother, in Alabama, on March 28, 1814, leaving a wife, whose maiden name was Rachel Doyle, and two sons, William Daniel and John.

¹ Goodspeed's History of Knox County, Tennessee, page 810.

² North Carolina's Soldiers in the Revolution.

³ From the records of Mrs. Ada Morrows Reeves of Nashville, Tennessee.

[1972 - Original] Editor's Note: This Gibbs Family History is copied from the records of Miss Lucky Gibbs, 4500 Washington Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee, who had in her possession the original copy.

[Webmistress' note: The following information did not scan well. It will be corrected as soon as the original document is again available to us.] Samuel Frazier married Pacific(?) Tineey Gibbs Craighead, niece of ___ stepmother, Barbara Gibbs. They are the progenitors of the Fraziers of Hamilton County, Tenn.

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