Gibbs Descendants In America

William Gibbs
My 2 x great uncle William was recorded in the UK Census for 1851 & 1861 but not in any for the following years. Further checks revealed that he sailed on the SS Denmark from Liverpool to arrive in New York on 17th August 1866 and settled in Chicago.

The section of the page for passport applications below from 1863 shows two Williams, but it is not known which one is my 2 x great uncle.

I have not yet managed to find any record of William living in New York or why or when he actually moved to Chicago, but the 1880 USA Census & street directory shown below lists him as living at 11 Keith Street, Chicago, and keeping a restaurant, so I guess he moved there several years before the census. He must have been quite successful by then as that census also lists his wife Ellen, son William Henry, brother Henry and a servant, Mary Rexroad.

The restaurant at 81 Fifth Avenue is also mentioned in an article in the Chicago Tribune for 2nd August 1880 that reports William being swindled when trying to sell another restaurant in Quincy Street to a certain Mr. Lincoln & Mr. Trask. A transcript of the article is shown here in pdf format. Finding those streets on a modern map for Chicago is slightly difficult as the street names have changed over the years , but the map below from 1888 shows them highlighted in yellow.

William Henry Gibbs
William & Ellen had a son William Henry who married Mary E McIntyre on 15th July 1909 in La Porte, Indiana, & they had two children, William C & Yvonne. William Henry must have been small as his World War 2 Draft Registration Card from 1942 below gives his height as five feet one & a half inches and his weight as 110 pounds.

Henry Gibbs
Exactly when William’s brother Henry joined him in Chicago is also a bit of a mystery. Henry was last recorded in Britain in the 1871 Census and then he is listed in the 1880 USA Census with William and his family in Chicago. To add further confusion, the 1900 USA Census lists his year of immigration as 1878, the 1920 Census lists it as 1888 and the 1930 Census lists it as 1880. His age however is correct for each census entry.
A Henry Gibbs did sail on the S.S. England from Liverpool to arrive on 2nd June 1880 in New York, but the 1880 USA Census was taken on the 1st June, so unless William added Henry to the list in anticipation of his imminent arrival, which is unlikely, he must have sailed before that date. Another Henry Gibbs sailed on the City Of Brussels to arrive in New York on the 21st September 1874. This date fits between the UK and US Census dates, but from the passenger list below, Henry’s age is listed as 20, which would make his birth year 1854 instead of 1859, so the records may be a bit adrift. It is felt however that he did sail on the City of Brussels.

Henry married Mary Wagner on 1st July 1882 in Chicago. They had four children, Elliot Franklin, Grace E, Everett R and Alice. Everett married Hazel Clara Bretag on 24th November 1920 in Chicago and they had two children, Marjorie and Ralph.

Other Family Members
On the 30th September 1881, William & Henry's sisters Hannah & Alice and their parents, William & Eliza, sailed on the SS Greece from London to New York to join them in Chicago.

From that generation, the family members not to emigrate were my great grandfather Edmund and his sisters Eliza, Emma and Sophia.

Elliot Franklin Gibbs
Elliot must have been quite stocky as his World War 2 Draft Registration Card from 1942 below gives his height as five feet five inches and his weight as 190 pounds.

Elliot had a connection with a gangster called George J. Mensik, but not in a bad way as shown in this extract from an article originally found on the Victory Baptist Church web-site, but it is no longer available:

Danny Stanton, notorious big-time gangster in the Chicago area for a number of years, had been filled with shotgun slugs and the police were on the prowl to pick up the most likely assassin. They thought they saw one in the person of George J. Mensik as he drove his car along Washington Boulevard that Saturday afternoon on his way to the Fishermen’s Club in Cicero.

The police forced him to the curb, asked what he knew of Danny Stanton.

"Haven’t seen Stanton for six years," responded Mensik.

"Where ya’ goin’?" they demanded.

"To the Fishermen’s Club in Cicero," Mensik replied.

"Likely story," said the officer. "There are no fishermen out there! They’re down at the lake."

"These fishermen are Christians who call themselves ‘fishers’ of other men," explained Mensik.

By this time Mensik had been frisked for concealed weapons. One pocket yielded his Bible, another a package of tracts. At the police station he was plied with more questions because it was known by headquarters that at one time he was a Danny Stanton henchman – before he had taken Christ as his Saviour. Mensik urged the officers to phone the Fishermen’s Club at Cicero Bible Church and check up on him. They did, and E. F. Gibbs, business manager of the church, picked up the phone.

"Why, yes, we know George Mensik," said Gibbs. "He comes here nearly every Saturday afternoon for a meeting of the Fishermen’s Club. Its members are men who have been saved from sin by--" The officer hung up. He had heard enough. Mensik was released. But before he left he had given his captors a straight from the shoulder testimony as to why he left the underworld and became a Christian.

That story is also mentioned in a book by Norman A. Wingert called Anecdotes Alive - A Book of Conversion Stories (70 Experiences How They Found the Lord).

Below is an extract from a Bible Impact Ministries web page that also refers to Elliot:

On December 20, 1943, this committee, made up of Elliot F. Gibbs, W.L. Graham, D.L. Forsythe, and C.H. Benware, met at Wheaton College. During this meeting the committee wrote the first five articles of a tentative constitution. This constitution defined the purpose of R.B.C. as "to proclaim the Gospel primarily to spiritually neglected children." Work on the constitution continued for three months, and upon completion, copies were submitted to all state organizations for consideration.


(C) M.T. Gibbs 2015