John Gibbs, worked 1730 - 1754


Occupation

joiner

Place of work

Newport, Rhode Island

Biography

The earliest surviving record of Newport joiner John Gibbs was made in August, 1731, when he purchased land in Newport from his father Robert Gibbs of Massachusetts and his wife Hepsabeth.(1)

Though little more is known of Gibbs' family background or professional life, his financial status was often questioned in official records. In August, 1740, Gibbs was called a Newport joiner when he brought suit against South Kingston joiner John Cook. Though Gibb initiated the suit, it was dismissed and he was ordered to pay Cook's costs of suit, one pound fifteen shillings and two pence.(2) Gibbs appealed that decision at the next session of the same court in February, 1740/41, and judgment was found in his favor. The court declares that Gibbs was to recover forty one pounds twelve shillings and ten pence, but John Cook had disappeared. The sheriff declared that he could find, "neither body nor Estate of the Deft" and Gibbs presumably recovered nothing.(3)

This deeply litigious pattern repeated throughout Gibbs' life. On March 30, 1743 he was again called a Newport joiner when he signed a bond for eighty pounds with the Trustees of the Colony of Rhode Island. His failure to repay this debt brought him to court many times, in May, 1748, May, 1750, and November, 1751.(4) He was sued twice in November, 1751, the second time by Newport tailor Timothy Balch after he failed to pay ten pounds for a jacket and pair of breeches.(5)

The years 1752-1754 proceeded in much the same manner, with Gibbs appearing in court regularly for failing to pay debts. The last mention of him in Rhode Island occurred in November, 1755, when he was successfully sued by Christopher Champlin and ordered to pay thirty pounds, one shilling, and six pence.(6)

BWC and PEK


1. Robert and Hepsabeth Gibbs to John Gibbs Deed, August 20, 1731,Newport Land Evidence III, 50. As recorded in Colonial Records Land Evidence Card Index, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.

2. John Gibbs v. John Cook, South Kingston Inferior Court of Common Pleas vol. A, 534. Rhode Island Judicial Record Center, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

3. John Cook v. John Gibbs, South Kingston Inferior Court of Common Pleas vol. A, 631.

4. Trustees v. John Gibbs, Newport County Court of Common Pleas vol. C, 229, 649, 728, 846. Rhode Island Judicial Record Center, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

5. Timothy Balch v. John Gibbs, Newport County Court of Common Pleas vol. C, 810.

6. Christopher Champlin v. John Gibbs, Newport County Court of Common Pleas vol. E, 187. Rhode Island Judicial Record Center, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.