This collection consists of the papers of Lorenzo Gibson and various members of his family. The bulk of material relates to Lorenzo Gibson, James E. Gibson, McAlmont and Gibson Druggists, and F.T. Gibson. The papers are mostly correspondence and financial spanning almost a century beginning in the late 1820s.
Lorenzo Gibson was born May 27, 1804, to William R. (May 10, 1778-May 2, 1828) and Fanney Gibson (August 27, 1783-June 1823). The Gibson’s were married in Caroline County, Virginia, on July 28, 1803, by the Reverend Parson Nelson. Lorenzo, who reportedly was born in Clarksville, Tennessee, came to Arkansas and established a mercantile business in Little Rock with his brother William R. Gibson in May 1833. They were located in part of a building built by Chester Ashley. Gibson returned to Tennessee to marry Miss Caroline Louise Thomas (February 6, 1812-September 2, 1878) of Nashville, Tennessee, on November 29, 1833, and brought her back to Arkansas. Out of this union came several children, six of whom lived to adulthood: Arbadoo Lenora, James E., Mary E., Frank Trapnall, Corinne L., and Lorenzo P. Although Lorenzo Gibson studied law and was admitted to the bar at Clarksville, Tennessee, he abandoned legal practice because of health reasons and adopted the medical profession. When the financial crash of 1837 forced Gibson to pursuits other than the mercantile business he established in Little Rock, he moved to Rockport, Washita Crossings, Hot Spring County, and was appointed postmaster there. Gibson moved between Rockport and Little Rock until he settled permanently in the latter in 1849. In addition to his other activities Gibson was also involved in Arkansas politics. He represented Pulaski County in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1838-1839, 1840-1841, and 1856-1857. In 1842-1843, he represented Hot Spring County. In 1844, he was the Whig candidate for governor and received over 7,000 votes compared to Thomas S. Drew’s winning 8,859. Whig President Zachary Taylor appointed Gibson Surveyor General of Arkansas in 1849, a post he held until the close of President Millard Filmore's administration. Although he received many votes, he was defeated in his attempt at a seat in Congress in 1865. At the time of his death on September 28, 1866, he was running for the position of United States Senator. Gibson’s wife Caroline Louise outlived him, dying on September 2, 1878. The oldest child of the Gibson’s was Arbadoo Lenora, born in 1838 in Tennessee. On April 5, 1860, she married attorney-at-law Charles Cowel Farrelly, son of Terrence Farrelly. They had two children, Ina and Cassie, who were raised by Arbadoo’s family after her early death on September 12, 1865, following an illness. James Edwin Gibson, the second child, was born in Little Rock on May 11, 1838, and died March 10, 1898. During his life he was co-owner with Dr. J.J. McAlmont of the drug firm of McAlmont and Gibson. He was appointed sanitary officer of the city of Little Rock by Mayor J.A. Woodson. He is buried in Mt. Holly Cemetery. The next child, Mary E. (born 1844), became the wife of Jeptha C. Jonson on May 29, 1866. Jonson was born September 10, 1833, in Daviess County, Kentucky. He immigrated to Arkansas in 1855 and raised cotton until April 1861, when he joined Confederate forces. He engaged in the battles of Wilson Creek, Prairie Grove, and finally Helena, where as a lieutenant colonel he was taken prisoner and confined on Johnson’s Island. He was exchanged in February 1865. After spending some time in Mexico, he returned to Arkansas, was admitted to the bar and married Mary E. Gibson. In 1868, they moved to Calhoun, Kentucky. There, Jonson was elected judge of McLean County for four years in 1870. The Jonson’s produced the following children: Lucy C., Len J., Mary, Jeptha, Jerrold A., William C., Corinne G., and Jamie. Mary E. Gibson Jonson died in June 1879. Both Mary and Jeptha Jonson were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Jeptha was also a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and the Masons. Frank Trapnall Gibson was born July 18, , near Rockport, Arkansas. He later moved to Little Rock with his parents. On April 24, 1872, he was married to Marie L. Thibault (born July 1852). Of their four children only Mary L. (born February 1872), Marie (born April 1878) and Lorenzo James (June 3, 1882-February 2, 1936) lived to adulthood. F.T. Gibson’s business experience was varied. As a boy he worked for Colonel S.H. Tucker in his business on the corner of Markham and Main. Then he was employed by Wilson and Etter and later the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad. Lastly, he returned to work with Tucker in an important position in banking. F.T. was twice assistant postmaster. Gibson died April 24, 1872 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery. Marie L. Thibault Gibson died April 18, 1902. F.T. Gibson’s two daughters remained single. The son, Lorenzo James, married Grace Audigier February 7, 1923. He was a graduate of the University of Arkansas Law School. After working for the Choctaw and Oklahoma Railroad from 1904 to 1910 he began his banking career in 1911 with the Union Trust Company. Lorenzo James eventually became vice president and trust officer. The next Gibson child was Corinne Laurie (born June 1852). She married James K. Thibault, brother of Marie L. Thibault Gibson, on December 27, 1876. Both were 24 years old. James K. Thibault and his sister, Marie L. Thibault, were two of the six children born to Felix J. and Mariah (Keatts) Thibault. James K. was educated at the University of Kentucky at Lexington. Later he was a successful cotton planter, owning a farm of 550 acres eight miles from Little Rock. James K. and Corinne Thibault had eight children: Henry, Gibson, Corinne, James, Carroll, Helen, Cecile and David. The Thibault’s were hospitable people as is evidenced by the fact that in 1900 two of the children of Jeptha and Mary E. Jonson were living with the Thibault’s: Lorenzo J., age 31, and Corinne G., age 22. The last Gibson child, Lorenzo P., was born in August 1855. On April 18, 1883, he married Mary Johnson Jordan, daughter of Dr. John A. and Irene Johnson Jordon. They had three children: Irene Johnson (born March 1884), Caroline Louise (born April 1888) and Helen (born September 1897). Irene became Mrs. Bryant McCampbell of New York. L.P. Gibson graduated from St. John’s College in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1875, and from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1877. He returned to Little Rock to practice medicine. During the yellow fever epidemic of 1879, Gibson served as a member of the Board of Health and helped keep the disease out of Little Rock and the entire state as well. From about 1878 to 1902 or 1903 he was demonstrator of anatomy in the medical department of the University of Arkansas. In addition, he lectured on children’s diseases and was adjunct professor of anatomy. He was a member of various medical societies: the Little Rock Medical Society, of which he served as president; the Arkansas Medical Society, of which he served as assistant secretary, secretary, president and editor of the journal; and the American Medical Association, of which he served as vice president in 1890. He served as surgeon general for the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad for several years and, in 1892, was appointed acting assistant surgeon of the United States Public Health and Marine Hospital Service. He also served as president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Little Rock. Gibson died December 29, 1919. Funeral services were conducted by the Right Reverend James R. Winchester, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. He was buried in the family lot in Mount Holly Cemetery.
Document, 8.5" x 11"
Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.)
Lorenzo Gibson family papers, MG.00135
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
Lorenzo Gibson family papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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United States History