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HOWARD BROWN GIBBS – In the midst of a lovely forest on an eminence overlooking the Connecticut Valley and the old town of Deerfield, is the school for young boys known as Eaglebrook Lodge, founded and owned by Howard Brown Gibbs.
The Gibbs family is an old English family, various branches of which were settled in the counties of Devon, Somerset, Warwick, and Kent, but the Devonshire branch is supposed to be the ancestors of most of the American families of the name. Among the personages bearing the name in England was Robert de Quibe (as the name was then spelled) who was sent by Louis XII as ambassador to Rome and was made a cardinal by Pope Julius II; James A. Gibbes, who was appointed poet laureate in 1667 by Leopold, Emperor of Germany; and Henry Hucks Gibbs, director of the Bank of England, and a member of Parliament for the city of London. In this country such personages as Wolcott Gibbs, professor of chemistry and expert and scientific commissioner to Vienna; Dr. Robert W. Gibbs, of Charlestown, South Carolina, noted scientist and historian; George Gibbs, the mineralogist; James E. A. Gibbs, the inventor; Montgomery B. Gibbs, the eminent jurist and lawyer, and Joseph Willard Gibbs, Jr., professor of mathematics in Yale College, amply continue the renown of the ancient Gibbs family.
(I) James Gibbs, grandfather of Howard Brown Gibbs, was born in New Jersey, but removed to New York State, where he died before Mr. Gibbs was born. He was a professional musician. The only child that lived to maturity was Edgar W., of whom further.
(II) Edgar W. Gibbs, son of James Gibbs, was born in Groton, New York, and died in Marathon, New York, in 1918, aged sixty-seven years. He engaged in business as a merchant, operating a general store in Marathon, and in later years was also engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was an attendant of the Baptist Church. Edgar W. Gibbs married Emma Frances Tanner, of Freetown New York daughter of Lorenzo Dow and Emma (Haliday) Tanner. They became the parents of the following children:
- Howard B. of whom further.
- Anna B. who married Charles H. Dye, of Marathon, New York.
- Mary Edna, who married A. D. Youmans, of Rochester, New York.
(III) Howard Brown Gibbs, son of Edgar W. and Emma Frances (Tanner) Gibbs, was born in Marathon, New York, November 26, 1875 and after attending the public schools of Marathon became a student in Cortland Normal School, from which he was graduated in 1898. He then continued his studies at Amherst College, graduating in 1902. From 1902 to 1911 he took special courses in Columbia University while engaged in teaching mathematics in Worcester Academy. In 1911-1912 he served as the efficient principal of the Powder Point School at Duxbury, Massachusetts, and in the fall of 1912 accepted a position as principal of the Allen School in West Newton, which connection he maintained until 1919, winning the esteem of both students and professional associates. During the term 1919-20 he was coprincipal and instructor of mathematics in the Deerfield Academy, and from 1920 to 1922 was principal of the Allen Chalmers Military School at West Newton. This wide and varied experience afforded ample preparation for the establishment of a school of his own, and in 1922 he founded the Eaglebrook Lodge in Deerfield, of which he is, at the present time (1925) the efficient and beloved principal and owner. The school is for young boys from eight to sixteen years of age, and is one of the most picturesquely situated schools in the country. Surrounded by a fine forest, high above the surrounding country, and commanding a view of the beautiful Connecticut Valley as well as the old town of Deerfield, it combines with fine historic associations the advantages of beauty of environment The buildings are new, with every modern convenience and sanitation, and its material aspects are but the outward expression of the vital spirit which brought the school into existence. The entire plan of the institution is unique and was conceived and built into a reality by Mr. Gibbs. Each year adds something to the development of the institution, and under the able management of Mr. Gibbs this beautifully situated and wisely directed preparatory school for boys is destined to become one of the noted institutions of the country. Mr. Gibbs has an able corps of instructors as assistants, and at the present time (1925) some forty-five boys representing fifteen different States and three foreign countries are enjoying the advantages of Eaglebrook Lodge. Mr. Gibbs is one of those instructors who consider the character development of the boys as being as important as their mental development, and the influence he exercises over his students is strong and wholesome.
Fraternally, Mr. Gibbs is a member of Dalhouse Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of West Newton, and he is also a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, the New England Teachers’ Association, and the Mathematical Teachers’ Association, New England. His religious affiliation is with the Unitarian Laymen’s League.
Howard Brown Gibbs married, June 22, 1823, Judith Hemenway, of New York City, daughter of Myles and Martha (Grace) Hemenway. Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs have one son, Julian, who was born in Deerfield June 23, 1924.