Biography of John Samuel Gibson
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John Samuel Gibson has for thirty years been a banker at Geneseo, and had been the leading man of affairs in that rich and prosperous section of Rice County. Mr. Gibson might be called a pioneer of Geneseo, since he arrived in the village only two years after it was established. He had used his personal influence and his business position in many ways to build up the community and had been honored with almost every office in the gift of his fellow citizens.
His ancestry in both the paternal and maternal lines shows him to be a member of old and substantial American stock. His great-grandfather, Samuel Gibson, was born in Scotland, went from there to Ireland, and about 1799 immigrated to America and settled on a farm in Pennsylvania. Later he joined his son John Gibson, grandfather of John S., in migrating to Southern Michigan, and he spent his last years in Constantine in that state.
Grandfather John Gibson was born in Ireland, when two years of age he went with his father to Pennsylvania and when a young man went west to Southern Michigan and cleared up a farm in the beautiful district along the St. Joseph River in the county of that name. He followed farming all his active career and died at Constantine in 1876. The maiden name of his wife was DeFrance, of French descent.
Samuel Gibson, father of the Geneseo banker, was born in the State of Pennsylvania in 1832 and accompanied his parents to Constantine, Michigan, where he married. He was a successful farmer and continued active in that vocation until he retired in 1909. He died at Constantine March 22, 1913. As a democrat he was entrusted with several township offices and for one term represented his county in the State Legislature. He was reared a Presbyterian but afterwards became identified with the Congregational Church.
Samuel Gibson married Martha J. Greene. She was born at Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1840, and died March 22, 1917, while returning home from Tennessee. She was laid to rest at Constantine.
This branch of the Greene family had many historical associations with the colonial period of America, and particularly the colony and State of Connecticut. In this line Mr. Gibson traces his descent from John Greene, who was the fourth son of Richard of Bowbridge Hill, Gillingham, Dorsetshire. Richard was of a junior branch, sixth in descent from the lord chief justice of England. John Greene with his wife and children came in 1635 from his home in Salisbury, Wilts, where he had practiced as a surgeon, to Salem, Massachusetts. Soon afterwards he went to Providence and was one of the twelve to whom Roger Williams conveyed land in his “initial deed” (so called because the men are named only by initials) and was one of the twelve original members of the First Baptist Church in Providence. He was of the party who with Samuel Gorton bought Shawomet, later called Warwick, from the Indians. This is the only name of a white man who signed as a witness to this deed. His own plot, called Occupassnatuset, more commonly known as Pastuxet, remained in the Greene family ownership until 1782. This John Greene held responsible positions under the charter and was a commissioner from 1654 to 1657.
A son of this immigrant, also named John Greene, was for nearly fifty years almost constantly in public life in Rhode Island. From 1652 to 1663 he was commissioner; 1652-54 general recorder; 1655 general solicitor; 1657-1660 attorney general; 1658 warden; and most of the time from 1660 to 1690 was assistant, five times deputy, seven times major for the Main, and was sent with John Clarke to England to secure vindication of the charter. From 1690 to 1700 he was deputy governor of the colony.
In the next generation was Maj. Job Greene, who was speaker of the House in Rhode Island in 1727-1728.
A son of Major Greene was Philip Greene, who was associate justice of the Court of Common Pleas of Kent County, Rhode Island, in 1759-1776; chief justice of the same court all through the Revolutionary period from 1776 to 1784, and gave liberally of his supplies and money for the maintenance of the army during the struggle for independence.
William Greene, a son of the chief justice, was associate justice of the Court of Common Pleas of Kent County in 1784-85. His brother was Col. Christopher Greene of Revolutionary fame, hero of the exploit of Red Bank.
In the next generation was Christopher Greene, who spent his life in Warwick, Rhode Island, and for fifty years was a deacon in the Baptist Church. He married Ann Frances Low.
Their son, William Warren Greene, was the father of Martha J. Greene and the grandfather of John S. Gibson. William Warren Greene was born in Connecticut in 1806. In early life he was a sailor and later he moved to Southern Michigan and was a pioneer farmer there. He died at Paw Paw in that state in 1889. He married Jane Ann Gray, who spent her life in Connecticut. Their four children were: Thomas Gray, who married Julia Ann Gibson, both now deceased; Christopher Francis, who married Margaret Hamilton, and both are deceased; Martha Jane, who became the wife of Samuel Gibson, as above noted; and Mary Ann, who married William Henry Driskell.
Samuel Gibson and wife were the parents of six children, John S. being the third in order of birth. The daughter, Elizabeth, is the wife of T. U. Balkwill, a jeweler at Detroit, Michigan; Caroline I. is married and lives at Constantine, Michigan; Frances B. is the wife of William B. Fell, president of the Carton factory at Battle Creek, Michigan; Gertrude I. is unmarried and lives at Constantine; and William G. is a farmer and owner of a grain elevator at Constantine.
In the picturesque Village of Constantine in St. Joseph County, Michigan, John Samuel Gibson was born September 4, 1866. He attended the public school of his birthplace, graduating from high school in 1883. After a year on his father’s farm he took a course in Eastman’s Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York, was again on the home farm for two years, and acquired his first practical knowledge of banking by a year of service as assistant bookkeeper with the National Bank of Constantine.
In 1888 Mr. Gibson came to Geneseo, Kansas, and accepted the position of cashier of the Central State Bank. This bank was established in 1887 by George W. Clausen under a state charter. Its record through all these years had justified the confidence of its patrons and it is one of the substantial and well managed financial institutions of Rice County. It had a capital of $15,000, surplus of $15,000, and deposits approximating $100,000. For fifteen years Mr. Gibson was cashier and since 1913 had been president. The other officers are J. M. Johnson, vice president; L. L. Coulter, cashier; and M. C. Watts, assistant cashier. Mr. Gibson also owned the bank building at the corner of Main and Silver Avenue, in which the bank had had its home since it was erected in 1892. This is the main business block of the town and furnishes quarters for the bank, for offices and for a printing establishment. It is a two-story and basement brick building.
Since coming to Rice County Mr. Gibson had acquired a large amount of property and business interests. In 1896 was erected the modern family home on Ninth Street, he owned two other dwelling houses in the town, a farm of 200 acres a mile and a half north of Galt, 40 acres within the corporation limits of Geneseo and a number of city lots. He and his brother W. G. own the old homestead of about 433 acres at Constantine, Michigan. Mr. Gibson also had 230 acres of farming land in Carter County, Missouri, and a four apartment brick flat building in Kansas City, Missouri.
While Mr. Gibson is in no sense a politician his public record is evidence of the position of esteem he enjoys at Geneseo. For fifteen years he served the town as mayor, being the first honored with that office, and was mayor for thirteen consecutive years. He also served two terms as city treasurer and as a member of the school board. He is a democrat in politics, is past master of Geneseo Lodge No. 361, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is affiliated with Ellsworth Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, Ellsworth Commandery, Knights Templar, Wichita Consistory No. 2 of the Scottish Rite, Ellsworth Council, Royal and Select Masters, Geneseo Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America and Geneseo Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. He is also one of the moving spirits in the local Commercial Club.
In 1896, at Geneseo, Mr. Gibson married Mrs. Flora A. Coulter. Her parents, Stillman E. and Mary Dix, are both deceased. Her father served in the War with Mexico during the ’40s and for many years was an active farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Gibson have one son, John Samuel, now in the freshman class of the Geneseo High School.