Lee County Biography


Among the most highly honored residents of Paw Paw is Charles Gibbs, who after a successful career as agriculturist and teacher now lives retired in this city at the age of seventy-two years. Moreover, there is due Mr. Gibbs veneration as one of those who donned the blue uniform at the time when the union of this country was imperiled by southern secession. Mr. Gibbs still owns a valuable farm of one hundred and seventy-five acres, which he rents to his son Eugene. While a resident of LaSalle county, this state, he prominently participated in public life but since coming to Lee county he has not again entered polities. He comes of an old American family, his great-grandfather, Pelatiah Gibbs, having been a loyal soldier of Washington's corps during the Revolutionary war. For eighteen years Mr. Gibbs has been a resident of Lee county and during that time he has gained the greatest confidence and highest regard of all his fellow citizens who have had the honor of meeting him.

Charles Gibbs was born in Livermore, Androscoggin county, Maine, February 25, 1841, and is a son of Pelatiah and Anna (Norton) Gibbs. The father followed agricultural pursuits in Maine and removed subsequently to LaSalle county, Illinois, where he arrived in 1867. He there continued successfully along the same line and passed away on November 4, 1879. Charles Gibbs was reared under the parental roof and received his education in his native state. Later he assisted his father in the farm work and also taught school and hired out as a farm hand, being engaged along these various lines until the peril of the Union decided him to enlist and he joined Company E. Thirty-second Regiment, Maine Volunteers. The date of his enlistment was February 25, 1864, and he was honorably discharged December 12. of the same year. He served as first sergeant and was also in command of his company, and in that connection was in charge during the famous mine explosion before Petersburg on July 30, 1864, and was wounded during that action in his left side. Upon his honorable discharge at the end of the year 1864 he returned to the family home. He remained there until March 6, 1865, when the opportunities of the west induced him to leave for Minnesota, where he spent some time in Winona county. He then made his way to Quincy, Illinois, teaching school there. In the mouth of August, 1866, he went to Ophir township. LaSalle county, his father and the remainder of the family joining him in 1867. In the course of years Mr. Gibbs became the owner of a farm in Iroquois county, Illinois, and also rented land in Ophir township, following agricultural pursuits with gratifying results. In 1894 he bought land in Wyoming township, this county, his property bordering on the corporation of Paw Paw. He has made Lee county his permanent residence since March 1, 1895. His farm comprises one hundred and seventy-five acres and there he engaged for a number of years in general farming and dairying, his successful methods being evident from the fact that he is now able to live in retirement and in the enjoyment of a comfortable competence. His son was the first man to bottle and deliver milk in Paw Paw. He always followed the most progressive and modern standards in the operation of his agricultural enterprise and, while he has attained to individual prosperity has been a factor in promoting agricultural interests and standards in this section. He now rents his farm to his son, Eugene, who continues its operation with gratifying financial results.

On February 14, 1869, Mr. Gibbs was married, at Livermore, Maine, to Miss Mary W. Harlow, daughter of Alvin C. and Rosetta B. (Beard) Harlow, the former of whom was for many years a successful merchant at Livermore Center, Maine. He died December 12, 1899, his wife having preceded him September 19, 1879. Both are buried at Auburn, Androscoggin county, Maine. Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs have two children: Carroll H.. a merchant of Paw Paw; and Eugene N., who operates his father's farm. Mrs. Gibbs is also of Revolutionary stock, one of her ancestors, a Mr. Washburn, having participated in that memorable conflict. She is a member of the Eastern Star and the Women's Relief Corps, being deeply interested in the cause of temperance and the higher things of life.

Mr. Gibbs has always given his allegiance to the democratic party, in the principles of which he firmly believes and the ideals of which he considers most conducive to the best form of government. For five terms he served as supervisor of LaSalle county and also held the offices of assessor and director of the board of education, his continued connection with public office giving evidence of the high regard which was entertained for him by the general public while a resident of that part of the state. Since coming to Lee county he has not again entered politics, although he is deeply interested in all measures that are undertaken for the general welfare, and is ever ready to give his active support to such objects as will make for progress and advancement along intellectual, moral and material lines. Fraternally he is a blue lodge Mason and a popular member of the Grand Army of the Republic, serving at present as adjutant of William TL Thompson Post, No. 308. Mr. Gibbs is one of the venerable citizens of Lee county and the general high regard which is conceded him is well merited.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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