Memorable Manitobans: William Gibbs (1845-1903)
Accountant / baker.
Born at Somerset, England on 10 July 1845 to a family of bakers, he immigrated to the USA where he opened a small store in New York. In 1874, he moved to Canada, arriving at Selkirk, Manitoba the next year where he opened the town’ first bakery. He produced 20 loaves of bread a day, which he sold at Lower Fort Garry and to settlers along the Red River. His business prospered sufficiently that, by 1895, he owned a large store and warehouse.
Gibbs served as a member of the local school board, the Selkirk town council, the St. Andrew’s Agricultural Society, and the Manitoba Liberal party. In 1890, he organized the Selkirk Electric Company, along with Frank W. Hooker, W. H. Eaton, F. W. Colcleugh, James F. Reid, and William Overton. He was married twice, first to Mary Jones Gabriel (1856-1883) with whom he had seven children: Annie Gibbs (b 1870), Walter Henry Gabriel Gibbs, Clifford Gibbs (b 1874), Herbert “Bert” Gibbs (b 1876), George Gibbs (b 1877), Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gibbs (b 1879), and Spencer Gibbs (b 1882). After her death, he married Mary Ann Galloway with whom he had four children: Francis Spencer “Frank” Gibbs (b 1885), Lottie Clare Gibbs (b 1886), Arthur Langill Gibbs (1889-1889), and Frederick Hugh Gibbs (b 1890).
He died at Selkirk on 20 November 1903.
Selkirk Record [newspaper], 9 August 1895.
“Selkirk pioneer called to rest”, Manitoba Free Press, 21 November 1903, page 8.
Selkirk: The First Hundred Years by Barry Potyondi, 1981, page 74.
Stories of Selkirk’s Pioneers and Their Heritage by Kenneth G. Howard, 2001.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 14 January 2011
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