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John Morison Gibson, Member of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario, representing the city of Hamilton, is son of the late William Gibson, of the township of Toronto, farmer, who came to this country in 1827, from Glamis, Forfarshire, Scotland, and who married Mary Sinclair, whose family belong to the township of Nelson, in the county of Halton, and cousin of the late David Gibson, of Yonge Street, near Toronto, who formerly represented North York in the old Parliament of Canada, and who was prominently associated with W. Lyon Mackenzie in the troubles of 1837.
He was born on the 1st of January, 1842, in the township of Toronto, County of York, and was educated at the Central School in Hamilton, and University College, Toronto, taking at the latter institution the degree of B.A. in 1863, carrying off Prince’s Prize of that year, together with medals in Classics and. Modern Languages, and the prize in Oriental Languages.
He commenced the study of Law, at Hamilton, in the office of Burton, Sadleir and Bruce, and was called to the Bar in Michaelmas term, 1867; entered the law course at the University of Toronto, taking Scholarships in his course, and the Gold Medal of the Faculty on receiving the degree of LL.B. Since being called to the Bar, he has been in successful practice, and has been for twelve years past a member of the extensive law firm of Mackelcan, Gibson and Bell. of Hamilton. Mr. Gibson has been a member of the Board of Education of Hamilton for many years, during two of which he was chairman.
When under the University Act of 1873, the Senate of that institution became, in part, an elective body, he was elected by his fellow graduates, and at the end of his term of five years, in 1878, was re-elected.
Since 1860 he has been an active member of the volunteer force, having joined at that time the University Rifle Corps on its original organization. Afterwards he joined the 13th Battalion of Hamilton, to which corps he still belongs, having served in the various ranks of Private, Corporal, Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain and Major, and attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He has frequently performed frontier and camp service, and was with his regiment at Ridgeway in 1866. He holds a first class military school certificate, and is thus well qualified both by experience and education for his position in the militia force. Colonel. Gibson enjoys a very high reputation as a marksman, having for about ten years past selected rifle shooting as his summer relaxation. He has been at Wimbledon three times, in the Canadian teams of 1874, 1875, and 1879, winning prizes on each occasion. In 1879 he achieved the highest honor which has yet fallen to a Canadian Rifleman, by winning the Prince of Wales’ Prize (a badge and £100), and taking a high place in the prize lists in several other matches. He also had the honor of standing at the head of the Canadian team in the competition for the Rajah of Kolopore’s Cup; was also a member in the team from Canada in the great Centennial small-bore competition of 1876, at Creedmore, in which teams from Scotland, Ireland, Australia, the United States and Canada took part.
In politics Col. Gibson has always been an ardent Reformer, and, for many years, occupied the onerous position of Secretary of the Reform Association of Hamilton, and displayed great energy and zeal in the various political contests of 1867, 1872, 1873, 1874 and 1878. On the appointment of James M. Williams, Esq. to the Registrarship of Wentworth, and his consequent retirement from the Local House, Mr. Gibson was chosen by the Reform party to contest Hamilton for the Legislative Assembly, and after a very keen and exciting contest, carried the city by sixty-two majority over his opponent, Hugh Murray, Esq. The city of Hamilton was a centre of interest during this election, being visited at different times by Hon. O. Mowat, Hon. A. S. Hardy, and Hon. E. Blake, on the Reform side; and Sir Charles Tupper, Messrs Plumb, Costigan, and other lights of the Conservative party, on the other side.
Our subject was first married on the 26th of October, 1869, to Emily Annie, daughter of the late Ralph Birrell, merchant, of London, Ont., she dying June 3rd, 1874; and, again on the 26th September, 1876, to Caroline Hope, daughter of Hon. Adam Hope, of Hamilton, who also died October 9th, 1877.