Dade County, Missouri Genealogy Trails
THOMAS BENTON GIBBS
This prominent citizen and progressive and enterprising ranch and stock man of Routt county, living in the neighborhood of Yampa, is a self-made man and glories in the fact. His fortunes have been builded by his own energies and capacity, and he is indebted to no favoring circumstances beyond his natural endowment of a determined spirit and an aptness of apprehension which enabled him to see opportunities where others overlooked them and make use of them for his own advantage. He was born near Greenfield, Dade county, Missouri, on January 5, 1843, and is the son of Henry and Nancy Gibbs, natives of Tennessee, who moved to Missouri in the early days and afterward to Kansas where they made their final home, the mother dying there in 1856 and the father being killed in the Union army during the Civil war. The father was a successful farmer and an ardent Republican, and both were devoted members of the Baptist church. They had ten children, five of whom are living, Henry M., Thomas B., Rebecca, Mary and Rudie. Owing to the circumstances of the family and the troubled section of the country in which they lived during his boyhood and youth, Mr. Gibbs had very limited opportunities for securing an education in the schools, his only chance in this respect being fragmentary and irregular attendance at a primary country school in the neighborhood of his home. His personal experiences were valuable, however, in broadening his mind and giving him a large amount of that worldly wisdom which is acquired through no other avenue. He remained at home until he reached the age of eighteen, then rented a farm in his native county which he worked until the spring of 1862. On March 12th of that year he enlisted in defense of the Union as a member of the Fourteenth Missouri Militia, and after a service of one year in that command his regiment was consolidated with the Eighth Regiment, in which he became a member of Company L. In this he served nine months. After his discharge he returned to his farm and this he continued to operate until 1875, when he sold his interests in Missouri and became a resident of Colorado, locating near Florissant in what is now Teller county. Here he did ranch work until 1877, when he turned his attention to freighting between Colorado Springs and Leadville, which he followed two years. In this enterprise his labor was hard and his course full of danger. He was frequently exposed to the fury of the elements, swollen streams often obstructed his progress, Indians were sometimes at hand and hostile, and the lawless elements of the country looked upon all men engaged in his pursuit as their lawful prey. But the profits were large and the work was alluring because of its very difficulties, and he stuck to it until the increase in railroad transportation rendered it less profitable. Then, in 1879, he bought a one-half interest in a ranch at Florissant, to which he gave his whole attention during the next three years. The venture was successful and in the spring of 1883 he moved to Routt county and took up a part of his present ranch on a homestead claim. This he has increased to three hundred and fifty acres, of which two hundred are tillable, the land all being of a high grade of excellence. He has improved the place with first rate modern buildings and other structures, his dwelling being one of the best and most completely equipped in the neighborhood. Hay, grain and hardy vegetables are raised with success, and goodly herds of Shorthorn and Durham cattle care comfortably maintained on the ranch, and numbers of well-bred horses are annually produced for market. Mr. Gibbs, while one of the most progressive ranchmen of his county, is also earnest and constant in his devotion to the general welfare of his section. He is an ardent Republican in political allegiance, and a man of great public-spirit and enterprise in the matter of public improvements. He was married on November 20, 1866, to Miss Margaret Bird, a native of Tennessee. They had one child, their son Henry M., who died at an early age.
(Source: Progressive Men of Western Colorado, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Kim Mohler)
Dade County, Missouri Genealogy Trails
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