CULLEN C. GIBSON is a worthy member of the farming community of this county, and his farm, with its well tilled fields and many excellent improvements, compares favorably with the best in Girard Township. Mr. Gibson was born in Rutherford County, Tenn., near Murfreesboro; February 1, 1823. His father, James Gibson, was a son of one of the early pioneers of that county. He was a stock raiser and had a large number of horses that used to feed on the canebrake. As the country became settled he pushed on to the frontier, and thus in 1830 he came to Illinois, accompanied by his wife and three of their children with their families, making the trip by land, brining all their household goods along, and camping by the wayside at night during their journey. After twenty-one days of travel they arrived at their destination in Morgan County, and selected suitable locations on Youngblood's Prairie, seven miles southwest of Franklin. The grandfather of our subject purchased a tract of wild land, mostly prairie, built on it and actively commenced the improvement of a farm, but death cut short his career the same fall. The maiden name of his wife was Rebecca Robinson. She survived her husband some years and finally died at the home of her son Isham in this county. She reared six children to maturity - Betsy, Patsy, Sally, James, John and Isham, all of whom came to Illinois, and John and Patsy are now deceased.
The father of our subject was reared and married in Tennessee. He bought a tract of bluegrass land southwest of Murfreesboro, and engaged in farming and stock raising. He was much opposed to the institution of slavery, and on that account decided to emigrate to a free State. Hence he came to Illinois in 1830, accompanied by his father and other members of the family, as before related. He bought land in Morgan County, on Youngblood's Prairie, and moved into the rude log cabin that stood on the place. That dwelling was a primitive affair, with its roof covered with boards split by hand and held in place by poles. Boards split made the door which had wooden hinges and a wooden latch, with the string always out, betokening the hospitality of the family. The chimney was of earth and sticks, and no nails were used in the construction of the building, wooden pins taking their place. This humble abode was but a type of those occupied by the few white settlers in that wild, sparsely inhabited region, where there were but few evidences of civilization. There were no railways, and the pioneers had to go across the country over rough roads, or no roads at all, to Alton seventy miles away, to obtain necessary supplies and to market their grain and other produce. Mail facilities were of the poorest, and before stage routes were established the mail was brought with ox teams or on horseback. That was in the days before envelopes were used, and was prior to the era of cheap postage. Twenty-five cents were charged for each letter, and money being a scarce article, often the whole neighborhood was searched to find enough to pay the requisite postage.
The father of our subject won an honorable place among the pioneers of Morgan County, contributing his quota to its development. He cleared quite a farm, which he provided with good frame buildings, and otherwise improved it, and there in his comfortable home his life was terminated by death January 24, 1855. His wife, who was Hannah Meredith prior to her marriage, is thought to have been a native of North Carolina, and to have been of Welsh lineage. She attained the venerable age of eighty-seven years, dying in Morgan County in August, 1883. She was the mother of five children, named William, John, Cullen C., Rebecca and Martha.
A lad of seven years when he was brought to Illinois our subject has a distinct recollection of the incidents of frontier life in a newly settled country, and he grew to a stalwart manhood under the invigorating influences of pioneer times. He lived with his parents until his marriage, and then bought land adjoining the old home, on which stood a substantial log house that was considered a fine dwelling for those days, as it was built of hewn logs, shingles covered the roof, it had a puncheon floor, and the chimney was made of brick. In that abode he and his wife spent the first few years of their happy wedded life, and four of their children were born under its sheltering roof. In 1864 Mr. Gibson sold that place, and coming to this county, he bought the farm that he now occupies, which comprises one hundred and seventy-three acres of soil of surpassing fertility, finely located close to the village of Girard. At the time of purchase the buildings upon it were of a poor class, which he immediately replaced with a new set of a better order. In May, 1888, they were burned, entailing a heavy loss, and then Mr. Gibson erected the neat dwelling and outbuildings that now adorn the place.
September 10, 1849, was the date of the marriage of our subject with Miss Nancy J. Daugherty, who was born in Lincoln County, Ky., May 22, 1827. John Daugherty, her father, is thought to have been a native of the same State, of which his father, Charles Daugherty, was a pioneer farmer. His last years were spent there.
Mrs. Gibson's father was left an orphan at an early age. His early life was passed in his native State, and he was there married. In the fall of 1830 he emigrated to Illinois with his wife and the two children that had been born to them in their old home, making the removal with teams. He settled on Youngblood's Prairie, purchasing a tract of land, on which stood a log cabin, which became the home of the family for a number of years. In that early day the people were obliged to live in the most primitive fashion, and labor saving machinery was an unknown quantity to the farmer in carrying on his work. The grain was cut with a sickle until the cradle came into use, and there were no threshing machines, the grain being laid on the ground and tramped out by oxen or horses. There were no fanning mills, and it took three people to winnow the grain, one to pour it out, while two fanned it with a sheet. As mrs. Gibson's parents were among the early pioneers of Morgan County, her education was obtained in the primitive pioneer schools of those early days of the settlement of that county. She became accomplished in the art of spinning and weaving wool and flax, and in her early married life dressed her family in cloth of her own manufacture.
Mr. and Mrs. Gibson have twelve children, as follows: Serilda, wife of Frank Gates; James, John, Charles, Hannah, wife of James Wirt; Sarah, wife of George Garst; George; Rinda, wife of Henry Showalter; Isaac, Henry, Cullen, and Lizzie, wife of John Stowe.
Our subject and his wife are people of true religious character, who are highly thought of in their community as good neighbors and useful citizens. They and all but three of their children are members of the German Baptist Church, two of their sons being preachers of that denomination, and every good work finds in them hearty support.