Barber County Kansas

Jeremiah "Jerry" Gibbs

Jeremiah "Jerry" Gibbs was the son of Samuel Gibbs and Elizabeth Vincent. He was born 1819/1820 in New York. He married Permelia/Pamelia P. Clisbee/Closben on January 31, 1845, in Lacon, Marshall County, Illinois. Parmelia may have been a widow or a divorcee with a daughter Mary. The Gibbs can be found in the 1850 and 1860 Marshall County censuses, in Franklin County, Ks, in the 1870 census and in Barber County, Kansas, in the 1880 census. Their children:

1. Elizabeth C., born 20 Oct 1846, in Marshall County. Died 12 November 1846.
2. Sarah Fidelia, born 4 August 1848 in Marshall County, Illinois. Died 6 May 1849.
3. Julia, born 1851, Marshall County, Illinois. Married John R. Harris.
4. Parmelia J., born 5 April 1858, Kentucky. Died 16 Sept. 1859 of diarrhea in Lacon County, Illinois.

So only one of their children survived to adulthood and she died in the flood on April 21, 1885, along with her daughter Ella.

John R. Harris is living next door to the Gibbses in 1870 with his wife Julia and one year old daughter Mary. Mary was born in Illinois in 1869, so I assume the Harrises moved to Kansas in that year between her birth and the date of the 1870 census obviously. John is shown as a farm laborer, born in Ohio ca. 1846. In 1880 he is shown with wife Mary and daughters Mary and Ella and he was then a brickmaker. The newspaper article said that Jeremiah, Julia, and her daughter were lost in the flood and that the daughter and granddaughter of Jeremiah had been living with him.

There is another article from the Cresset that says Mary married Arthur Hart on May 23, 1886, and reminded people that her mother, sister, and grandfather Jerry Gibbs had died in the flood a year later. I have found no trace at all of Mary and Arthur Hart. They appear in no census from 1900 to 1930 which I find strange. Nor do I find John Harris in 1900.

Thank you for sending the links. None of those Gibbs are related to Jeremiah. He was the only brother to move to Kansas. The rest stayed in Illinois or moved to places other than Kansas.

I wonder if Jeremiah had any descendants.

The reason that I think the divorce might have been for John R. Harris and his wife Julia are that she was living with her father and that the lawyer Sample lived two doors from John in 1880. Also that the guy in the divorce lost wife and child.

-- Roberta Hofmann, from a 5 May 2007 e-mail to Jerry Ferrin.

Hi, just wanted to tell you I was really pleased to see the information you had on the Kansas flood. An ancestor, Jerry Gibbs, died in it there in Medicine Lodge. I have been trying to learn where he is buried. I think the divorce action must refer to his daughter Julia Harris and his granddaughter Ella. I know that they were living with him when the flood hit. Do you happen to know if the divorce was for John R. and Julia Harris?

Many thanks,

Roberta Hofmann

-- from a 5 May 2007 e-mail to Jerry Ferrin.

"Jerry Gibbs, his daughter and niece, living together, with their horse have all disappeared. The bodies of Mrs. Harris and her daughter, aged eleven years, have been recovered. G.W. Paddock and family, consisting of his wife and four children have all disappeared and are supposed to be among the victims of the awful calamity." -- The Great Flood of April 21, 1885, Sharon News, April 29, 1885

"Jerry Gibbs' body was recovered yesterday morning. Mrs. Harris and daughter were also taken from the creek Tuesday." -- Flood. Loss of Life at Medicine Lodge. Twenty-one Bodies Found up to 8 o'clock Yesterday morning., The Kansas Prairie Dog, Lake City, Kansas, April 23, 1885.

Also see:

Lines, a poem from Musings of the Pilgrim Bard by Scott Cummins, "Rehearsed at the "Old Settler's Picnic in Paddock's Grove on Upper Elm Creek, Barber County, Kansas, September 16, 1886, on the grounds where Esq. Paddock and his entire family drowned in the flood of 1885."

Paddock Cemetery, (also known as Haas Cemetery) - 8 miles north of Medicine Lodge. The Paddock Cemetery is named for the 7 family members who were washed away in the Elm Creek flood of April 21, 1885, and are buried in the cemetery. Photos courtesy of Nathan Lee.

Court in the Old Days, The Barber County Index, February 4, 1937. This is an article about a divorce petition which was withdrawn because a woman and her child died in the 1885 flood of Elm Creek.

Thanks to Roberta Hofmann for contributing the above information to this web site!

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