JAMES L. GIBBS
††††††††††† James L. Gibbs is a resident of Carterís and is one of the native sons of Tuolumne County.† He was born on his fatherís ranch, situated on the banks of the Tuolumne River, four miles from the town, his birth occurring on the 21st of March, 1864.† His father, William D. Gibbs, came to this state in 1849.† He was a native of Alabama, born April 4, 1827, and was descended from one of the old southern families.† When he was five years of age his parents removed to Texas, and he was therefore reared in the Lone Star State.
††††††††††† When James Marshall discovered gold at Coloma, the news of that discovery spread like wild-fire throughout the country and from all sections there flocked to California men of strong purpose who were resolved to seek fortune in the mines.† Mr. Gibbs crossed the plains with mules and a pack train, leaving home in April, 1849, and arriving in San Francisco in August.† While en route the party with which he traveled had several encounters with the Indians, in which a number of the emigrants lost their lives and many of their horses and other animals were stolen by the red men.† The company was a very numerous one when they started, but after a time they separated into several divisions, and thus divided, the smaller companies continued on their way.† The train with which Mr. Gibbs traveled proceeded to Los Angeles and thence up the coast.† He at once made his way to the mining district and began the search for gold at Big Oak Flat, where he was very successful, taking out several ounces of gold each day.† Later he went to the Tuolumne River and built a dam across the stream, but when the heavy rainstorms came it was washed out and the money he thus expended was lost. †Subsequently he engaged in ranching near La Grange, and in 1861 he came to Carterís, which was then called Summerville.† Here he became interested in quartz mining and prosperity again attended his efforts.† He was also in the butchering business for a time, but ultimately removed to his ranch, where he had three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land.† He carried on stock raising extensively and his fields were highly cultivated.† He had a good home upon his place and for thirty-five years it was his residence.† A man of much intelligence, Mr. Gibbs was formerly a very active and influential member of the Democratic Party, but he left office-holding to others.† He was a valued member of the Masonic fraternity.
††††††††††† Mr. Gibbs was united in marriage December 24, 1853, to Miss Mary F. Summers, a native of Missouri and a daughter of a California pioneer.† They had sixteen children, twelve of whom reached years of maturity, while eleven are still living.† The father died on the 9th of September, 1895, but his good wife still survives and is now in the sixty-fifth year of her age, one of the highly esteemed and brave pioneer women, whose identification with California covers a long period.† The children living are:† G. J., now a resident of Texas; Laura E., the wife of Robert A. Sowrie, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; Flora E., the wife of William R. Barger; James Lee and his twin sister, Lee Dora, the latter the wife of Fordy Ball; Frances, the wife of W. E. Booker, one of the supervisors of the county; H. J., who is in Texas; W. A., a resident of Chinese Camp; Rosie, the wife of Rev. Z. Needham, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; J. J., who is now in the store with his brother; and Roy, who is in Fresno.
††††††††††† James Lee Gibbs, whose name introduces this review, and who has so kindly furnished the material for the history of his honored parents and family, was educated in the public schools of Tuolumne County, and resided on the ranch with his father until his twentieth year, when he learned the blacksmithís trade, which he followed at Carterís until 1896.† He then embarked in merchandising and now carries a new and well selected stock of general merchandise, keeping everything needful for the population of the town and surrounding country, including mining supplies.† He is a very obliging and popular merchant, his straightforward dealing and courteous treatment of his customers securing him a very liberal patronage, which is constantly growing.† His trade thus grows in volume and importance and is now a profitable source of income.
††††††††††† Mr. Gibbs was married August 24, 1898, to Mrs. Dell Pruett, a widow with two children, Harvey and Jessie.† Mr. Gibbs is a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has followed in the political footsteps of his honored father, being a staunch Democrat.† He has a wide acquaintance in the county in which he makes his home and where his entire life has been passed, and those who are known from boyhood are numbered among his warmest friends, a fact which indicates that his career has been worthy of regard.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010† Gerald Iaquinta.