James Leonard Gibbs, county assessor of Mayes county, has the distinction of being the first republican ever elected to the office of assessor in this county. He assumed office on the 3d of January, 1921, for a term of two years. Mr. Gibbs was born at Eagle Mills, Lawrence County, Tennessee, on the 15th of August, 1.863, a son of A. B. and Evelyn (Shannon) Gibbs, both of whom are deceased. For many years the father was a builder and contractor in Tennessee and at the close of the Civil war removed to Illinois. In 1880 he went to Cherryvale, Kansas, and followed the same line of business until his demise in May, 1890. His widow survived him until December, 1918, her death occurring in Gage, this state. Four sons and four daughters were born to their union, James Leonard being the fifth in order of birth.
James Leonard Gibbs improved what educational opportunities were offered to him and then read and studied by himself, being ever desirous of increasing his knowledge. He started farming at an early day and for five years followed agricultural pursuits in Kansas. He then removed to Gage, this state, where he farmed for another five years, at the termination of which time he engaged in contracting and painting. He achieved substantial success in that connection and followed that line of occupation in Gage until 1915, when he came to Pryor. He established the same line of business here and conducted it for a period of six years, when, drifting into politics, he was elected county assessor of Mayes County and became the incumbent in that office January 3, 1921. For ten years he was township assessor at Gage, Ellis County. Mr. Gibbs holds to the belief that a public office is a public trust and he devotes his entire time to his duties as assessor.
In Cherryvale, Kansas, March 1, 1893, occurred the marriage of Mr. Gibbs and Miss Jane Taylor, a daughter of Robert and Eliza Taylor, who located in Cherryvale in 1870. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs six children have been born: Ermine, who is the wife of S. D. Fields of Iowa; Hallie M., living in Montana, who served in the heavy artillery during the World war, part of the time overseas; Viola, now Mrs. Roy Brown, of Wichita, Kansas; Nelson A., who served in the navy two years and is now a resident of California; Marjorie; and Lyman J.
Since attaining his majority Mr. Gibbs has given his stanch support to the Republican Party. His fraternal affiliations are with the Odd Fellows of which he is past grand master, and he is likewise a member of the Knights and Ladies of Security. He retains his membership in that body at Cherryvale, which he joined some twenty-five years ago. The religious faith of Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs is that of the Christian Church and he is a member of the State Assessors Association. Mr. Gibbs is one of the public-spirited, enterprising citizens of Pryor whose personal interests are at all times identical with those of the community at large.