JAMES W. GIBSON,
for nine years county judge of Jasper county, is himself one of that splendid representation of the flower of American manhood who risked and lost their lives in the great struggle between the states, and he comes of a family of soldiers and patriots, his father having served in the Mexican war and given up his life to its cause, while his grandfather was a veteran of Waterloo. Judge Gibson is a man of potent and interesting personality and his reputation as one of the prominent lawyers of this part of the state has been reinforced with the passing years, during which he has appeared in connection with many important cases. He is a strong advocate before court or jury and not only marshals his causes with great ability, but brings to bear the strength of a fine and upright character, so that he has gained and
held the inviolable confidence and regard of his fellow practitioners and also of the general public.
Judge Gibson was born in Detroit, Michigan, October 26, 1845, and is of Irish descent, his father, William Gibson, being a native of the vicinity of Castle Blaney, province of Ulster, Ireland. He came from Erin to America at about the age of twenty years and first located in Detroit, where he followed the business of an architect and builder. He was married on Christmas day, 1844, and by this union became the father of two children, Judge Gibson being the elder. Adelaide, who became Mrs. Foote, is deceased. The Mexican war broke out when the children were infants, and the father, who was a young man, enlisted in Company K, of the Third Dragoons, and was killed in a fight with the Mexican Lancers on the night of August 10, 1847. His party consisted of ten men and the lancers numbered one hundred and fifty. Mr. Gibson and another comrade were killed and two comrades were taken prisoners, but the rest of the party escaped, among them being the subject's uncle, Isaac Gibson, of the dragoons. The grandfather of our subject, James Gibson, lived to the great old age of ninety-nine. He served twenty-one years in the British army, as a member of the celebrated “Fusileers.” The two most important battles in which he participated and of which he frequently spoke in his later life were Talavera and Waterloo, at the latter of which he was wounded and carried the French lead to his grave. The subject's mother survived her husband for many years and remarried.
After the death of his soldier father the fortunes of the little family to which James W. Gibson belonged became precarious. The mother resided with her parents for a time and, until the age of fifteen, young James dwelt in the home of his grandfather. At that age he came to Illinois and located at Olney, where he lived with his uncle, Isaac Gibson, of whom previous mention has been made. He received his education in the public schools of Michigan and Illinois and after finishing his general education he read law with his uncle Isaac, passing his examinations and being admitted to the bar in 1867. He was then a veteran of the Civil war, having enlisted when in his teens in Company I, of the One Hundred and Forty-third Illinois Infantry. This veteran of twenty-two settled down to practice in Newton and in the intervening years has gained high repute and professional success. He is a Democrat of tried and true conviction and has always been of influence in party ranks. In 1877 he was elected county judge of Jasper county and served in such capacity for nine years, making the most enviable of records. In his home county he has always been able to count upon the support of both parties, for his ability and devotion to the public welfare are generally recognized and are above mere partisanship. In 1897 he was nominated by the Republicans for the circuit judgeship and was defeated. He is not an aspirant for political preferment and is well content to devote his energies to his profession.
Judge Gibson was married November 19, 1870, to Vendia C. Brooks, the scion of one of Jasper county's pioneer and highly honored families. Three children were born to them, Lela being the only survivor. Launee and Ralph are deceased. Mrs. Gibson is a valuable member of the Methodist Episcopal church and they are generally esteemed in the community, their lives being filled with good deeds and their delightful home being one of the favorite gathering places, its hospitality and culture being unsurpassed.