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Biographies
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Sacramento County

 

FRANCIS GIBSON

Upon the occasion of the jubilee parade in commemoration of the annexation to Sacramento of the growing suburb of Oak Park a gray-haired gentleman of about seventy-five years was observed in the line of march, easily and tirelessly pushing a decorated wheel- bai-row loaded down with flowers and vegetables taken from his own garden in Oak Park and raised by his own personal work. At the various stops along the line of the parade he regaled the onlookers with impromptu speeches, exhibiting his display of home-grown products as the result of the labor of a man advanced in years as a forcible illustration of the possibilities lying before men young in years but his equal in determination, industry and painstaking application. To one and all he declared that a long residence had convinced him of the greatness of Sacramento and its possibilities for future growth. The celebration occurred October 21, 1911, and on the 15th of November the annexation jubilee committee awarded him a handsome silver loving cup, appropriately engraved, as a permanent testimonial to the originality and success of his entry.

This California pioneer of 1858 is a native of England, born January 17, 18.37, and at the age of twelve years came to America with his parents, who made a brief sojourn at Fultonville in the Mohawk valley of New York and then removed to the province of Ontario, Canada, settling at Ingersoll not far from the shore of Lake Erie, xlt the age of twenty-one years the young man left home to make his own way in the world and proceeded via Panama to California, where he settled in Sutter county near the Sacramento river. The years that followed were filled with agricultural activities as well as the management of a warehouse business and a cheese factory. To him, in partnership with Mr. Baldwin, belongs the distinction of having made the first cheese in Sutter county. As a dairyman he was progressive, resourceful and sagacious, and the returns from his dairy investments were well merited. In addition he made a specialty of the poultry industry and for years had from one to two thousand turkeys on his ranch. Movements for the agricultural upbuilding of the region received his judicious support. No pioneer was more progressive than he and none more industrious. Through his own unaided efforts he acquired the title to about thirteen hundred acres of ranch kind in Sutter county. Over these broad acres roamed his large herds of stock and his fine milk cows. Until advancing years taught him the need of lessened activities he was one of the foremost farmers of the entire county, always busy and usually successful in his ventures. As he studied the country and became more familiar with its possibilities his own devotion to the country increased and he has formed the opinion, as a result of long experience, that no commonwealth surpasses our own in the vastness of its resources and the magnitude of its opportunities.

During 1867 Mr. Gibson married Mrs. Esther Bennett, who was born in England and died in California in 1883. The two children of the union have also passed away, Fred dying at the age of eleven years and George when a child of five. After the death of his first wife he married her sister, Mrs. Zelina Prosser, of Sacramento, whose death occurred in 1904, leaving him alone and without any relatives (except by marriage) in the United States. Twice he has returned to Canada to renew the friendships of youth and to visit his two brothers, one of whom, Hon. Joseph Gibson, has become a man of prominence, frequently addressing the Canadian parliament and otherwise identifying himself with public issues. Retiring from agricultural pursuits in 1900 Mr. Gibson came to Sacramento and has since bought and sold considerable property at Oak Park, where he now resides at No. 3219 Fourth avenue. After becoming a citizen of the United States he gave his allegiance to the Republican party. Twice he had the privilege of voting for Abraham Lincoln for president and he still continues to east his vote in favor of the men and measures advocated by his party. 


Source:
History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011