Another Good Man Gone:
The Life and Times of Jesse Preston Gibbon

By Bobby Caldwell and Dr. Harold Graham1

Another Good Man Gone, declared the headline of the Reporter-Index, Hickory, Mississippi, of January 9, 1902. The article continues:

    After a long and painful illness, Hon. J. P. Gibbon died at his home 3 miles north of Hickory on Dec. 20, 1901, surrounded by his large and loving family, and a number of kind friends. Mr. Gibbon was born in South Carolina 65 years ago last October and lived in his native state till some 20 years ago when he moved to this county.

    Judge Gibbon was a gentleman of culture and refinement, having a high sense of honor; and his rugged integrity and honesty was well known.

    He leaves to his large intelligent and interesting family a fine inheritance not much in earthly possessions possible, but what is far preferable, a good name.

    Mr. Gibbon was an excellent and useful citizen and will be greatly missed by his family and community. He has served long and well as Justice of the Peace. He wore the gray during the entire war and was very fond of talking of the stirring time in the 60’s.

    Yes, Judge Gibbon is gone to the undiscovered country, and I trust and believe he has prepared for the change.

But for all the noble accomplishments in his life, there were also personal decisions that he made that would cause him to leave behind a family in South Carolina.

South Carolina Roots 

Laura Gibbons Hersperger in the book Michael Gibbons of South Carolina, McNaughton, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1988, provides a detailed account of over 10,000 descendants of Michael Gibbons I, a school teacher who settled in South Carolina prior to the American Revolution, many of whom have continued to live in and around Sumter and Clarendon Counties in South Carolina. A notable exception is that of our subject, Jesse Preston Gibbon, youngest son of Jesse Gibbons, Sr., and his wife Jane Byrd and great grandson of the immigrant Michel Gibbons. As a further exception, Jesse Preston would spell his surname as Gibbon, whereas most of his South Carolina kin would use the Gibbons spelling. 

Not much is known about Michael Gibbons I other than that he was a schoolmaster. It is not known if he was an immigrant or not. His will written in March of 1748 did establish the fact that he was residing then near Georgetown, South Carolina. From the will, we also find out that he had a wife named Mary and that they had at least four children and that one of them was named Michael Gibbons II. 

We have no birthdate for Michael Gibbons II, but we know from census records that he was born before 1755 and died in 1803. We also know from military records that Michael Gibbons II served as one of Francis Marion’s South Carolina Militia in the Revolutionary War. 

Michael Gibbons II and his wife Sarah had eight children, one of whom was Jesse Gibbons, Sr. Jesse Gibbons, Sr., was born in 1782 and died in 1844. By his wife Jane Byrd he had eleven children, the youngest of whom was Jesse Preston Gibbon.

Jesse Preston Gibbon was born October 29, 1836 in Sumter District (now Clarendon County2), South Carolina, and married (1) to Margaret Elizabeth Dennis on 12 March 1857 in Sumter District, South Carolina. Three of their children—Elizabeth Ellen Gibbon3, William Eli “Boss” Gibbon, and Hugh Preston Gibbon--were born before the Civil War, and a fourth child Dicey Gibbon apparently was born after the war4.

The Civil War

Jesse Preston Gibbon enlisted in the Gaillard’s Regiment of the South Carolina Infantry and Sharpshooters on the 4th of Dec., 1861. He served for four years and the end of the war. On one occasion, he was court-martialed for being AWOL and spent ten days in the brig, but such were the rules of discipline, a lesson he apparently learned as he advanced to the rank of Sergeant before his honorable discharge. On February 28, 1865, he was captured and sent to Fort Anderson as a POW where he was released on an oath of allegiance at the end of the war. 

The home of Jesse Preston Gibbon was several counties inland from Fort Sumter and the virtual starting point of the Civil War. Area residents had experienced several years of anxiety prior to the actual firing at Fort Sumter, a worry so severe that many of the women and children were sent to live as far away from Fort Sumter as possible. Jesse Preston Gibbon would later explain to some of his Mississippi family that this was a factor that led to his abandonment of Margaret and their children and his elopement with Agnes Rebecca McElveen to Mississippi.  Agnes Rebecca, as his explanation began, was actually his first love, but she left in the exodus from the area around Fort Sumter and he being told by Margaret Elizabeth Dennis that she was dead, married Margaret instead5. Agnes Rebecca, his explanation continues, reappeared after the war. They saw each other at church one day and shortly thereafter eloped.

Would he have considered a divorce at this point? Under South Carolina statute, that option was not available until many years later. Margaret Gibbon was awarded a divorce on 26 May 1876, one of the first allowed by South Carolina.

On to Mississippi

When Jesse Preston Gibbon and Agnes Rebecca McElveen departed South Carolina in 1870, Agnes was now pregnant with child, a son, Dick McElveen Gibbon, later born after their arrival in Mississippi. Stella Puckett Gibbon, a daughter-in-law of Jesse Preston Gibbon, would later describe their departure from the train station. According to her, Jesse Preston Gibbon had recruited his oldest son, William Eli “Boss” Gibbon, now about the age of 11, to drive an oxen cart to the train station with their belongings. It would be the last that Jesse Preston saw of any of his South Carolina family.

We (meaning Patsy Gary and Bobby Caldwell, descendants of Jesse Preston and Agnes Rebecca, and Harold Graham, a descendant of Jesse Preston and wife #3, Sarah Emily Perry) have heard stories as to what happened to break up the marriage between Jesse Preston and Margaret Elizabeth Dennis, but all involved parties are dead now so there’s no way we can ever really know with accuracy what happened. Our parents were of the generation that thought children should be seen and not heard, so much of this was not discussed in our presence until we were middle-aged or older.

One of the stories that we would like to believe is that Agnes Rebecca was Jesse Preston’s first love and that the Margaret Elizabeth Dennis, who became his first wife, told rumors about Agnes Rebecca so that Jesse Preston would drop Agnes Rebecca and marry her. Then, when Jesse Preston found out what she had done, he knew that he could.

Gibbon, Jesse Preston Thumbnail

Gibbon, Agnes Rebecca McElveen

Jesse Preston Gibbon & Agnes Rebecca McElveen Gibbon

not live with this woman anymore. After making arrangements so that his family would be well-taken care of financially, he headed west with his first love, Agnes Rebecca McElveen. Is this story true?… of course it is! And that’s our story and we’re sticking to it!

Their route from South Carolina carried them westward. According to one account, they planned to travel to Louisiana; from another account the plan was for Texas. Nevertheless, nature would intervene. As the train approached Chunky, Mississippi, they had to stop because a flood had washed out the railroad bridge over the Chunky River. So, Jesse Preston and Agnes Rebecca settled south of Meehan in what is known as the Point community where Jesse worked for a Mr. James upon their arrival, later buying his own farm.

We don’t know when or where they got married, but Patsy Cochran Gary’s mother Agnes Paralee Gibbon Cochran passed the wedding ring down to her and she has now passed it on down to her daughter, Judy Gary Leatherwood. The ring has “A. R. 1872” inscribed inside. We do not know which jurisdiction they would have been married in, but the issue would have been moot since the South Carolina divorce from the first wife wasn’t granted until 1876. Our grandpa Joe and his older brother Dick, were already born by then, so go figure. They did have a daughter, Nellie, and another son who died as an infant before Rebecca’s untimely death at the age of 42 in 1879, leaving the three young children ages nine, four, and two behind. By our most reliable accounts she is buried in the Goodwater Baptist Church Cemetery south of Meehan in an unmarked grave. Family members once knew the location of that grave, but that knowledge has been erased with the passage of time.

Following the death of Agnes Rebecca, Jesse Preston Gibbon was married two additional times, producing a total 18 offspring from his four marriages. In 1882, he also moved from Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to the Berry community of Newton County where he would spend the rest of his years6. Below is a summary of the first three generations.

 

Descendants of Jesse Preston Gibbon, Sr.

Generation No. 1

1.  JESSE PRESTON GIBBON, SR. was born 29 Oct 1836 in Sumter District, South Carolina, and died 20 Dec 1901 in Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi.  He married (1) MARGARET ELIZABETH DENNIS 12 Mar 1857 in Sumter District, South Carolina.  She was born 27 Nov 1833 in Sumter District, South Carolina, and died 10 Dec 1896 in South Carolina.  He married (2) AGNES REBECCA MCELVEEN 1872.  She was born 19 Jan 1837 in Sumter County, South Carolina, and died 01 Mar 1879 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.  He married (3) SARAH EMILY PERRY 18 Aug 1879 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, daughter of JOHN PERRY and LAURA BLASS.  She was born 02 Aug 1853 in Marengo County, Alabama, and died 05 Dec 1889 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.  He married (4) MARTHA LEANNA SATERFIEL 02 Feb 1890 in Newton County, Mississippi, daughter of JAMES SATERFIEL and LAURA BLASS.  She was born 22 Feb 1860 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and died 14 Mar 1905 in Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi.

Children of JESSE GIBBON and MARGARET DENNIS are:

       i. ELIZABETH ELLEN GIBBON, b. 05 Sep 1857, Sumter District, South Carolina; d. 20 Jan 1919, South Carolina; m. JAMES WILLIAM YARBOROUGH.

       ii. WILLIAM ELI (BOSS) GIBBON, b. 11 Feb 1860, Clarendon County, South Carolina; d. 31 Dec 1934, Clarendon County, South Carolina; m. LAURA VERMELLE ROBERSON.

       iii. HUGH PRESTON GIBBON, b. 27 Nov 1861, Clarendon County, South Carolina; d. 03 Sep 1917, Clarendon County, South Carolina; m. (1) THEODOSIA E. JOHNSON; m. (2) MARTHA CYNTHIA STALVEY.

       iv. DICEY GIBBON, b. Abt. 1866, Clarendon County, South Carolina; d. 1880, Clarendon County, South Carolina.

Children of JESSE GIBBON and AGNES MCELVEEN are:

      v. DICK MCELVEEN GIBBON, b. 20 May 1870, Lauderdale County, Mississippi; d. 04 Aug 1945, Meridian, Mississippi.

      vi. JOSEPH PATRICK GIBBON, b. 01 Feb 1875, Lauderdale County, Mississippi; d. 16 Jan 1959, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi.

      vii. NELLIE HUNT GIBBON, b. 1877, Lauderdale County, Mississippi; d. 1903, Hickory, Mississippi.

      viii. ELLEN GIBBON. Died in infancy.

Children of JESSE GIBBON and SARAH PERRY are:

      ix. JESSE BYRD GIBBON, b. 23 May 1880, Lauderdale County, Mississippi; d. 02 Dec 1948, Chunky, Mississippi.

      x. LAURA JANE GIBBON, b. 01 Dec 1882, Lauderdale County, Mississippi; d. 23 Aug 1943, Crossroads community, Newton County, Mississippi.

      xi. WILLIAM HARDIN GIBBON, b. 13 Sep 1883, Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

      xii. EXALINE L. GIBBON, b. 28 Sep 1885, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 1936.

      xiii. SALLIE BALLENTINE GIBBON, b. 09 Oct 1887, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 07 Jun 1911, Hickory, Newton County, Mississippi.

      xiv. MARY EMILY GIBBON, b. 02 Dec 1889, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 22 Aug 1943, Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

Children of JESSE GIBBON and MARTHA SATERFIEL are:

      xv. CHINA ANN GIBBON, b. 09 Oct 1890, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 20 Jun 1954, Chunky, Mississippi. Did not marry.

      xvi. CLARENCE C. GIBBON, b. 29 Apr 1894, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. Nov 1971, Mississippi City, Mississippi; m. MARY STELLA (STELL) HENDERSON; b. 14 Dec 1895; d. Feb 1972, Mississippi City, Mississippi. No issue.

      xvii. KATIE MAY GIBBON, b. 01 Jan 1898, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 03 Sep 1975, Chunky, Mississippi.

      xviii. INFANT GIBBON.

Generation No. 2

2.  DICK MCELVEEN GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 20 May 1870 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and died 04 Aug 1945 in Meridian, Mississippi.  He married CHARLOTTIE BELLE LACEY Dec 1904 in Meridian, Mississippi.  She was born 11 Mar 1878 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and died 03 Oct 1954 in Meridian, Mississippi.

Children of DICK GIBBON and CHARLOTTIE LACEY are:

       i. LACY PRESTON GIBBON.

       ii. WARFORD PATRICK GIBBON.

       iii. MCELVEEN VARDAMAN GIBBON.

       iv. MARY EDWINA GIBBON.

       v. RALPH GIBBON.

3.  JOSEPH PATRICK GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 01 Feb 1875 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and died 16 Jan 1959 in Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi.  He married JULIA ELVIRA EVERETT 19 Dec 1895 in Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi, daughter of BAILEY EVERETT and ANNA JOLLY.  She was born 18 Jun 1874 in Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi, and died 09 Jan 1958 in Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi.

Children of JOSEPH GIBBON and JULIA EVERETT are:

      i. AGNES PARALEE GIBBON, b. 19 Oct 1896, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 15 Aug 1983, Newton, Mississippi; m. JOSEPH CHARLES COCHRAN, 26 Dec 1921, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 04 Jul 1889, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 07 Aug 1972, Newton, Mississippi. They had two children: Mary Julia Cochran, died as an infant, and Patsy Ruth Cochran, later wife of James Franklin Gary.

       ii. EUGENE OPIE GIBBON, b. 03 Feb 1898, Hickory, Mississippi; d. 24 Mar 1990, Newton, Mississippi; m. GOLIE ELSIE CASTLES, 10 Oct 1925, Hickory, Mississippi; b. 03 Jun 1899, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 09 Jun 1983, Newton, Mississippi. Opie was a railroad employee. He and Elsie lived their entire life at the Tidwell house place southeast and within sight of the Joe Gibbon place. Opie and Elsie were the parents of three children: Bonnie Jean Gibbon married George Wyatt Johnson, Billy Bryan Gibbon married Emma Lucille Coker, and Joseph Charles (Joe) Gibbon married Donna Jean Price.

      iii. EVVA LORENE GIBBON, b. 21 Feb 1900, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 12 Mar 2001, Newton, Mississippi; m. (1) CLARENCE CALDWELL, 30 Jan 1921, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 06 Jun 1895, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 30 Nov 1962, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; m. (2) OTIS VAUDRILLE (O. V. ) SWEARINGEN, REV., 01 Nov 1967, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 21 Nov 1896; d. 22 Feb 1968. The marriage of Evva to Clarence Caldwell produced three children: Joseph Carl Caldwell married Mary Barraca, Donald McKay Caldwell, Sr., married Audrey Ann Cowan, and Robert Kenneth (Bobby) Caldwell, unmarried

      iv. LORA EDNA GIBBON, b. 25 May 1904, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 21 June 2002, Fortuna, California; m. RUFUS WALKER CHILDRE, 19 Jan 1933, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 14 Feb 1904, Raleigh, Smith County, Mississippi; d. 11 Nov 1964, Oregon. The marriage produced one son: Jim Walker Childre married Lucy May Baker.

      v. ROSA ODESSA (ROSIE) GIBBON, b. 04 Dec 1906, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 30 Mar 1990, Newton, Mississippi; m. WILLIE CLINTON PUGH, 25 Sep 1937; b. 21 Aug 1907, Jasper County, Mississippi; d. 02 Jan 1985, Newton, Mississippi. Their marriage produced three children: Bobby Clinton Pugh married (1) Arlette Demier and (2) Grace Annette Everett; William Patrick (Pat) Pugh married (1) Thelma Louise Greene, (2) Vida Joyce Huff, and (3) Brenda Faye Guillory; and Infant Pugh, died young.

       vi. JOSEPH PRESTON GIBBON, b. 02 Feb 1909, Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 23 Dec 2000, Hickory, Mississippi; m. MARY MILETUS FOREMAN, 22 Sep 1933, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 12 Dec 1914, Hickory, Mississippi. Joe lived in Oregon and was employed with the Gilchrist Timber Company. Upon his retirement in 1972, he returned to Hickory, Mississippi. His one daughter, Kay Hulene Gibbon married Dwayne L. (Jake)Young and lived in Gilchrist,Oregon.

4.  NELLIE HUNT GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 1877 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and died 1903 in Hickory, Mississippi.  She married LEVIN MARSHALL RUSSELL 28 Oct 1894 in Newton County, Mississippi, son of FRANKLIN RUSSELL and SARAH MANN.  He was born 28 Sep 1874 in Newton County, Mississippi, and died 05 Mar 1953 in Hickory, Mississippi. Marshall Russell partnered with T. N. McMullan in a general merchandise business in Hickory, Mississippi.

Children of NELLIE GIBBON and LEVIN RUSSELL are:

       i. HERBERT LESLIE RUSSELL, b. 03 Sep 1895, Hickory, Mississippi; d. 23 Sep 1977, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; m. DIAMOND LORETTA MOORE, 23 Jun 1927; b. 20 Aug 1895; d. 14 Dec 1983, Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

       ii. STELLA MARGUERITE RUSSELL, b. 22 Mar 1897, Hickory, Mississippi; d. 08 Feb 1972, Meridian, Mississippi. Did not marry.

       iii. MARTHA (MATTIE) RUSSELL, b. 02 Nov 1899, Hickory, Mississippi; d. 25 Aug 1995, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas; m. MONTGOMERY.

5.  JESSE BYRD GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 23 May 1880 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and died 02 Dec 1948 in Chunky, Mississippi.  He married PERMELIA ESTELLA (STELLA) PUCKETT 17 Apr 1904 in Newton County, Mississippi, daughter of JOHN PUCKETT and VICTORIA DAY.  She was born 05 Aug 1881 in Chunky, Mississippi, and died 14 Jul 1984 in Meridian, Mississippi.

Children of JESSE GIBBON and PERMELIA PUCKETT are:

       i. CARL PRESSLEY GIBBON, b. 11 Jan 1905, Oakland community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 13 Feb 1973, Chunky, Mississippi; m. (1) MATTIE LOUISE JONES, 27 Jul 1925, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 30 Sep 1909, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 10 Jun 1983; m. (2) MATTIE DEAN, Abt. 1950; m. (3) GLADYS VILONE SWANNER, 29 Jun 1956, Scott County, Mississippi; b. 19 May 1926. The marriage of Carl Gibbon and Mattie Jones produced six children: Jesse Charles Gibbon m. Bonnie Nell Rigdon; Annie Myrtle Gibbon m. Daniel B. (Tex) Texaria, Sr.; Estelle Gibbon m. Max Gene Willis; Douglas Gibbon m. Lorraine Stringer; Lottie Ruth Gibbon m. Paul Elton Winstead; and William (Billy) Gibbon m. Betty Louise (MNU).

       ii. ANNIE LAURA GIBBON, b. 28 Feb 1906, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 05 Mar 1978, Meridian, Mississippi; m. CLYDE FRANKLIN FITZGERALD, 01 Dec 1929, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 09 Apr 1908, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 17 Jul 1985, Meridian, Mississippi. They were the parents of six children: Jesse Franklin Fitzgerald m. Margaret Lucretia Hurst; Walterine Fitzgerald m. Albert Bartlett; Gail Fitzgerald m. Wells; Wynona Carol Fitzgerald m. Clarence Gilmore Wells; Martha Fitzgerald; and Maurice L. Fitzgerald.

      iii. JESSE CLOYD GIBBON, b. 16 Apr 1912, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 30 Apr 1989; m. ESTER MAE  SMITH, 11 Feb 1932, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 02 May 1914, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 21 Oct 2001, Chunky, Mississippi.  Their marriage produced two children: Ursula Alfreda Gibbon m. R. S. Laird and Dorothy Jane Gibbon m. Thrasher.

       iv. WILLA REA GIBBON, b. 30 Apr 1918, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 25 May 1920, Chunky, Mississippi.

6.  LAURA JANE GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 01 Dec 1882 in Newton County, Mississippi, and died 23 Aug 1943 in Crossroads community, Newton County, Mississippi.  She married HENRY GARLAND PUCKETT 15 Nov 1903 in Newton County, Mississippi, son of JOHN PUCKETT and VICTORIA DAY.  He was born 07 Jan 1879 in Chunky, Mississippi, and died 05 Sep 1967 in Crossroads community, Newton County, Mississippi.

Children of LAURA GIBBON and HENRY PUCKETT are:

       i. LUTHER PUCKETT, b. 27 Feb 1905, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 04 Mar 1905, Chunky, Mississippi.

       ii. HENRY LEE PUCKETT, b. Feb 1906, Chunky, Mississippi; d. Sep 1906, Chunky, Mississippi.

       iii. JESSIE LORENE PUCKETT, b. 13 Jul 1907, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 10 Sep 1996, Newton, Mississippi; m. (1) HENRY GRADY VANCE, 25 Dec 1924, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 09 Dec 1902, Vance Springs, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 19 Sep 1975, Newton, Mississippi; m. (2) RICHMOND LEWIS SISTRUNK, 14 Jan 1977, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 15 Jul 1900, Leake County, Mississippi; d. May 1979, Union, Newton County, Mississippi. Jessie and Henry had no natural issue, but adopted Katherine Robertson and Robert A. (Bobby) Grissom.

       iv. LONNIE LAMAR PUCKETT, b. 25 Jan 1910, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 20 Jul 1976, Crossroads community, Newton, Mississippi. Veteran of World War II. Did not marry.

       v. WILLIAM LLOYD PUCKETT, b. 04 Jun 1912, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 22 Jun 1971, Pearl, Mississippi; m. LOUISE CLARK, 22 Oct 1933, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 16 Nov 1915, Newton County, Mississippi; d. Oct 1977, Pearl, Mississippi. Children: Yvonne Puckett m. Wiley Puckett, Gerald Puckett m. Shirley Thompson; JoAnn Puckett m. (1) Joe Jackson, Sr. (2) Ed King and (3) Larry Hollingsworth, Cindy Puckett m. Ronnie B. McKinley

       vi. TRESSIE ELAINE PUCKETT, b. 11 Dec 1914, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 02 Feb 2001, Union, Mississippi; m. CHARLES LAFAYETTE GRAHAM, 24 Dec 1934, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 09 Jan 1912, Conehatta, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 07 Apr 1990, Newton, Mississippi. Children: Shirley Annette Graham m. Vernon Ray Reeves, Glenda Carole Graham m. Edd Fowler, and William Harold Graham m. Nancy Ray Milling.

      vii. INFANT SON PUCKETT, b. 02 Mar 1916, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 05 Mar 1916, Chunky, Mississippi.

      viii. JAMES GARLAND PUCKETT, b. 18 Jun 1919, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 28 Dec 1961, Crossroads community, Newton County, Mississippi. Mentally handicapped. Never married.

      ix. SARAH VIRGINIA PUCKETT, b. 04 Mar 1921, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 01 Dec 2002, Decatur, Mississippi; m. GEORGE EDISON HOLLINGSWORTH, 28 Dec 1939, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 07 Jun 1919, Macedonia community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 31 Jul 1982, Newton, Mississippi. No issue.

      x. LILLIE JANETTE PUCKETT, b. 16 Sep 1923, Chunky, Mississippi; m. C. T. HARALSON; b. 12 Sep 1919, Scott County, Mississippi; d. January 6, 1972, Newton, Mississippi. They had one daughter: Sue Lynne Haralson m. Harold Lee Hollingsworth.

      xi. EDNA RUTH PUCKETT, b. 31 Jan 1926, Crossroads community, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 26 Oct 1998, Newton, Mississippi; m. MARSHALL HOLLINGSWORTH, 02 Oct 1943, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 07 Sep 1925, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 08 Nov 1980, Meridian, Mississippi. They had six children: Marsha Ruth Hollingsworth m. William Edward Hedrick, Raymond Hollingsworth m. Patricia Carol Chaney, Kenneth Hollingsworth m. Peggy Ruth Pullin, Lee Ann Hollingsworth m. Charles Donald Scoggin, Betty Joyce Hollingsworth m. R. T. Purvis, Jr., and Charles Wayne Hollingsworth, d/y.

7.  EXALINE L. GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 28 Sep 1885 in Newton County, Mississippi, and died 1936.  She married CHARLIE EVERETT TATUM Abt. 1910, son of MARION TATUM and PERMELIA EVERETT.  He was born 03 Oct 1883 in Chunky, Mississippi, and died 04 Feb 1956 in Hickory, Mississippi.

Children of EXALINE GIBBON and CHARLIE TATUM are:

      i. LENA TATUM, b. 10 Dec 1911, Chunky, Mississippi; d. 22 May 1992, Tucson, Arizona; m. EARL MARTIN; b. Lauderdale County, Mississippi; d. Arizona. Lena and Earl met in Meridian, Mississippi, where he worked for a bakery. Lena had difficulty with her lungs, often having them to bleed, so they moved to Arizona. According to Elaine Puckett Graham, Earl flagged a ride to Arizona, found a job, and came back for Lena. He did well in Arizona and they owned a nice home. They were also prominent in the Baptist Church at the state level. They had no children.

      ii. INFANT SON TATUM, b. Chunky, Mississippi; d. Chunky, Mississippi.

      iii. INFANT DAUGHTER TATUM, b. Chunky, Mississippi; d. Chunky, Mississippi.

8.  SALLIE BALLENTINE GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 09 Oct 1887 in Newton County, Mississippi, and died 07 Jun 1911 in Hickory, Newton County, Mississippi.  She married WILLIAMSON TYRE (WILL) SHARP Abt. 1910, son of JOHN SHARP and ARPY MCGEE.  He was born 01 Jun 1872 in Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi, and died Apr 1935 in Jasper County, Mississippi. Sallie died in childbirth. The infant lived about three months.

Child of SALLIE GIBBON and WILLIAMSON SHARP is:

       i. SALLY CARMON SHARP, b. 07 Jun 1911, Hickory, Newton County, Mississippi; d. Abt. Sep 1911, Hickory, Newton County, Mississippi.

9.  MARY EMILY GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 02 Dec 1889 in Newton County, Mississippi, and died 22 Aug 1943 in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi.  She married ALBERT JAMES RAY.  He was born 15 Sep 1892 in Millville, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and died 07 Aug 1942 in Meridian, Mississippi. Albert worked as a blacksmith for the railroad.

Children of MARY GIBBON and ALBERT RAY are:

       i. MARY MARGUERITE RAY, b. 05 Jan 1916, Meridian, Mississippi; d. 11 Dec 1982, Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, Mississippi; m. EDGAR LEE HOLBROOK; b. 05 Nov 1915, Harrison County, Mississippi; d. 06 Jun 1976, Mississippi.

       ii. ALBERT LEON RAY, b. 10 Feb 1919, Meridian, Mississippi; d. 05 Oct 2001, Dallas, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; m. CATHERINE (KAYE) MARTIN; b. 15 Sep 1920.

       iii. SARAH NELSON RAY, b. Jun 1920, Meridian, Mississippi; d. Jul 1972, Meridian, Mississippi; m. (1) EDDIE THOMAS; m. (2) FRED GRAHAM.

       iv. BETTY JO RAY, b. 01 Dec 1923, Meridian, Mississippi; d. 08 March 1992, Tucson, Arizona; m. GENE THOMSEN.

10.  KATIE MAY GIBBON (JESSE PRESTON) was born 01 Jan 1898 in Berry community, Newton County, Mississippi, and died 03 Sep 1975 in Chunky, Mississippi.  She married JOHN VAN GRESSETT 24 Aug 1919 in Newton  County, Mississippi, son of WILLIAM GRESSETT and MARTHA SMITH.  He was born 01 Apr 1896 in Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi, and died 13 Feb 1969 in Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi.

Children of KATIE GIBBON and JOHN GRESSETT are:

       i. CLARENCE GIBBON GRESSETT, b. 04 Jun 1920, Chunky, Mississippi; d. Sep 1979, Meridian, Mississippi; m. WILMA M. RHODES; b. 21 Jun 1923, Duffee, Mississippi.

       ii. WILLIAM HOWARD GRESSETT, SR., b. 04 May 1922, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. May 1972; m. IDA MAE FREEMAN, 19 Jan 1946; b. 26 Nov 1921, Meridian, Mississippi.

       iii. ANNA MARIE GRESSETT, b. 07 Mar 1924, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; m. HENRY CALTON (CAT) LOLLAR, 03 Apr 1941, Decatur, Mississippi; b. 19 Nov 1912, Walthall, Webster County, Mississippi; d. 22 Jan 2004, Chunky, Mississippi.

       iv. LEWIS EDWIN (BUNT) GRESSETT, b. 02 Jul 1926, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 27 Aug 2000, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; m. MARGARET JEWEL COOK, 15 Jun 1946, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; b. 07 Jun 1927, Clarke County, Mississippi.

       v. JOSEPH PRESTON GRESSETT, b. 26 Oct 1929, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 30 Oct 1966, Jackson, Mississippi; m. DELORES ROBERTSON, b. 03 Oct 1940, Philadelphia, Neshoba County, Mississippi.

       vi. JOHN LAMAR (DICKIE) GRESSETT, b. 18 Sep 1931, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 13 Dec 2007, Meridian, Mississippi; m. JANIE MCKEE; b. 09 Sep 1937.

       vii. WILMA ALINE GRESSETT, b. 22 Dec 1933, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; m. CARL GREEN.

       viii. CHARLES DENNIS GRESSETT, b. 26 Dec 1935, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; d. 08 Apr 1997, Mississippi; m. JERRI MASON.

       ix. DONALD RAY GRESSETT, b. 26 Sep 1938, Chunky, Newton County, Mississippi; m. DELORES ROBERTSON, b. 03 Oct 1940, Philadelphia, Neshoba County, Mississippi.

It would be easy to say that the story ended when Jesse Preston Gibbon died, but that is not the case. Within a matter of two years following his death, heirs from his first marriage in South Carolina had filed claims on his estate in Newton County7. The case was finally dismissed with a favorable ruling for his Newton County family.

The finances of his family were so meager at the time of his death that for more than 70 years the grave for Jesse Preston Gibbon lay unmarked in Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Cemetery north of Hickory. It was then that Harold Graham, with help from the late Pat Pugh, secured and placed a military marker commemorating his service as a Confederate soldier. The grave site of his fourth wife, Martha Leana Saterfiel Gibbon, remains unmarked.

But regardless of his financial status and controversial decisions he made in his lifetime, Jesse Preston Gibbon did leave a legacy that should be told. His story, in fact, could not be told in such a manner if he had not eloped with Agnes Rebecca McElveen to Mississippi to begin a new life; otherwise, there would not be two great grandsons to tell the story!

There are two stories we will part with, beginning with a story by Bobby Caldwell. 

    There is a human interest story that I want to pass on to you which was told by my Grandmother Julie Everett Gibbon after she married into the family. Grandma Julie and all her Everett brothers and sister addressed their father as “Pap”. So, after she married Grandpa Joe Gibbon, she thought that perhaps she should address his father as “Pap” too, instead of Mr. Gibbon. So she made up her mind one day that the very next time she saw him, she would call him “Pap”. Well, the very next day as she walking down the road to visit a neighbor, she met Mr. Gibbon walking the opposite way in the road. She bolstered up her courage and said, “Howdy, Pap”. She said that he was so taken aback and that she felt so awkward and embarrassed that she never tried that again. From then on, it was Mr. Gibbon!

The second story involves the musical instrument known to most city folks as a violin, but which is known by most country folk as a fiddle. Old Joe Wells owned one of these instruments that he kept in his store at Hickory and every time that “Mr. Gibbon” came to town he was asked to play. Joe Wells was so impressed with the music that one day he gave Mr. Gibbon that instrument.

In a matter of years following Mr. Gibbon’s death, the instrument was passed between three of his children, each making an attempt at music, but being told each time by a music teacher that the instrument was too expensive to be used for lessons. The last owner was Clarence Gibbon who lived at Mississippi City, Mississippi. Clarence and his wife Stell Henderson Gibbon had no children. With his death the instrument became the property of his wife, and with her death, it made its way into the Henderson family.

The instrument? A Stradivarius8, the finest violin every made, some models of which are now valued in the millions of dollars.

Stradivarius Violin

Notes

  1. Special thanks as well to Patsy Gary and Bobby Pugh for contributing to this story.
  2. Clarendon County was created from Sumter County/District in 1855.
  3. Hersperger gives the DOB for Elizabeth Ellen Gibbons as 5 Sept 1853; however, all available evidence, including the 1860 Federal Census, indicates she was born ca. 1857. She married James William Yarborough and lived in South Carolina.
  4. Dicey Gibbons died in August 1880, a victim of diphtheria, her age given as twelve at the time (Source: U. S. Census: Mortality Schedule.)
  5. Agnes Rebecca was still living with her parents in 1860, according to the 1860 Federal Census, a fact that seems to dispute the explanation of Jesse Preston Gibbon
  6. On November 20, 1882, J. P. Gibbon & wife purchased for the sum of $400 a total of 115 acres from Charles R. Warren lying in Section 19, Township 6, Range 13 East and NW of Hickory-Meridian Road. Reference: Newton County, Mississippi Deeds, Book 6, Page 430. Prior to his death, Jesse Preston Gibbon would make additional purchases in the area including land formerly owned by the Berry School District.
  7. Newton County, Mississippi, Chancery Court Docket Book 2, Case #734, File 734.
  8. Story as related by Stella Puckett Gibbon.

 nchgsnchgsnchgsncgsnchgsnchgsnchtgsnchgsncnchgsnchgs

[Home] [Archives] [NCHGS Info] [Newton County] [NCHGS Research] [Articles and Notes] [Culture & Traditions] [Families] [Military Records & Links] [Native Americans] [Newspapers] [Organizations] [Photos] [Remembering Citizens & Friends] [Research Links] [Guests]

Copyright © 2015 NCHGS
Designed & Maintained by George R Searcy