The following letter was transcribed by Anna
Lynn Cauffield Burns of Anaheim, CA and submitted for inclusion at
the Genealogy in Washington Co., PA
web site in June 1997.
James Gibson (1755-11/24/1836), came first to Chester Co, Pennsylvania,
from Ireland in 1770. Tax Lists for 1771 show him in Londonderry Twp, Chester
Co. (He is believed to have come from Londonderry in northern Ireland,
son of John Gibson, with brothers Andrew and Alexander, leaving behind
James Gibson joined the Continental Army in 1776, and served until the
surrender of Cornwallis (DAR Patriot Index, p266 lists wife as Mary). He
moved to Luzerne Township, Fayette Co, about 1790, where in 1792 he married
Margaret Lackey (bap,1769-1853). The newspaper "Western Telegraph" of Washington,
Penna, published notice that he had a letter unclaimed at the Uniontown
post office (11/3/1795).
The History of Fayette County (p652), in a piece on his son Alexander
Gibson, who married Mary Hibbs, then Rebecca J Haney, states that after
the Yorktown surrender and probably after mail between the countries improved,
James Gibson found that two of his brothers from Northern Ireland had been
soldiers in the British Army; the latter Gibson brothers settled in Virginia
after the war.
James left in Ireland a sister, Jennet Gibson Ireland, who wrote to
him in 1819. The letter was addressed simply to James Gibson, Farmer, Brownsville,
America, and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 13, 1819. It reads
Craigarogan 6th April 1819
I write these few lines to let you know that we are all well at present,
thank God for all his mercies. Joseph is now working at Hyde Park for a Batt
Ewing Company which carries on a Print field. He is foreman and Boiler
there, and my son John is also working there apprenticed to the Block Print
Cutting. Joseph is earning at that work 13 shillings a week. I have but the
one son and if you would encourage him in the least to go to that country, he
would go immediately after encouragements. We are all much pleased to hear
of your welfare and the progress you have made in that country. I would wish
you would let us know if there would be any encouragement for any of your
friends to go to that country. We did not see any of your letters that you
sent to Andrew Gibson until the 4th of April 1819 and as soon as we received
it we immediately wrote to you. But no particulars not hearing from you this
long time. My daughter Agness is married to William Johnson and has three
children. We expect answer from you as soon as these lines come to hand.
When you write direct to Mr. Samuel Batt, Donegal Place, Belfast, Ireland.
No more at the present but I remain your affectionate sister, Jennet
When James Gibson died November 24, 1836, at age 81, he left the following
In the name of God Amen, I, James Gibson of Luzerne Township, Fayette
County, Pennsylvania, being advanced in years and infirm in body, but of
sound desposing mind and memory, thanks be to God for the same, Desirous of
settling my Worldly concerns, so as to give no cause of difficulty to my
family, and having advanced to my married children various amounts in
property and money and wishing to deal as equally as may be with them all, Do
make and ordain this my last will and Testament revoking all other wills by
me made heretofore viz.
To my beloved wife Margaret Gibson, I will and bequeath my large Bible, my
silver watch and one half part of my moveables and chattels of every kind
after my just debts and funeral expenses are paid and one third of the clear
rents and profits of my land during her natural life.
To my son Alexander Gibson, in addition to what he has already received, I
will and bequeath my Tom horse except his note for about 143 dollars which he
is to pay.
To my daughter Rebecca Eagle, widow of William Eagle, deceased, in addition
to what she has already had, I will and bequeath fifty dollars.
To my daughter Eleanor, wife of George D. Stevenson, in addition to what she
has here before received, I will and bequeath one hundred and twenty one
To my daughter Polly Gibson, I will and bequeath four hundred and twenty
five dollars and as acknowledgement of her kind care and attention to me and
remaining with us, I will to her her bedding and the appurtenances, a new
Secretary desk, the tan mare and a new saddle, bridle.
To my daughter Henrietta, wife of Jesse Coobert (Covert) I will and bequeath
in addition to what she has already received two hundred dollars.
The foregoing special legacies to be a lien on my lands until paid with
interest from one year after my decease, and should any of my children die
before me, I will that their legacy descend to their heirs. All the
foregoing bequeathments that are under one hundred dollars to be payable in
one year and all over that sum in one, two, and three years in equal
proportions after my decease.
To my son James Gibson I will and bequeath all the residue of my property,
real, personal, and mixed to him, his heirs and assigns forever. And lastly
I appoint my son James, and my son-in-law George D. Stevenson, Exectors of
this my last will. In testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this
eleventh day of October A. D. 1836. Note the word half in the tenth line
inserted before signing.