Exactly when Gibson was founded is hard to say. Was it when J.D. Gibson sold his first bottle of liquor? Was it when he claimed the land? Or was it the day he proudly hung his home-made sign on what was soon to become the Gibson Saloon?
Well, the exact date of birth of the town may be open for discussion, but what is absolutely certain is that the story started long before that first bottle of liquor...
Once Upon a Time there was a soldier. His name was Jonathan D. Gibson. He may not have been the most handsome guy in the company, but he was strong and likeable, with a down-to-earth perspective on life, like so many others of his Dixie brothers. They say he had a wife and kid back when he lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi, but the war took them away from him. Heartbroken he packed what little he had of belongings, and headed west.
The stories don't say much about Jonathan's journey westward, but we know he changed his course somewhere in New Mexico and started to travel north. In the summer of ‘68 he found himself at a deserted depot in Wyoming. He set up camp and decided to rest for a week or so. After a couple of days a group of miners came by. They were heading home after two weeks of working in the silver mines close by and asked Jonathan if he had some liquor to sell. He sure did. Jonathan was fond of whiskey and had made damn sure he wasn't going to come up short on the necessities. Two days went by and another group of miners passed, they too were interested in buying a bottle or two. The miners paid good money for the whiskey and soon he was serving a small business from the shack. He got the liquor in town for 2 dollars a bottle and sold it to the miners for 5. Jonathan knew his whiskey and soon the miners in the area knew he was selling quality liquor at a reasonable price. Months went by and business was good, so he eventually decided to buy the land. He bought 160 acres of land for 10 dollars and started to build what was to become the Gibson Saloon.
Shortly after he had bought the land The Benson-Fuller Mining Company approached him and made a deal on establishing a small office close by to administrate their silver mines in the area, and over the next years a small community of miners settled in the area around Gibson's saloon.
After a short period back in uniform as a scout in the Indian wars he returned something of a hero in ‘77. He decided to settle down for good and have a family again, so he put an ad in an east coast newspaper in search of a wife. After some correspondence back and forth Lilly A. White arrived to become the future Mrs. Gibson. They got married, and in 1879 they had a baby boy. By this time Gibson had grown to become a small town, and the old soldier spent his last year living happily in the town bearing his name.
Jonathan D. Gibson died in 1880 leaving a town, a wife and two young children.
The town of Gibson today is a small town with only about 250 citizens. Approximately half of the population lives outside the town center. The main income of the town is mining. There are three major silver mines owned by The Benson-Fuller Mining Company within two days travel of the city, and about fifty male citizens (and four female) are employed by the company. The rest of the townsmen make their living owning cattle, growing crops and taking care of the services needed in a small western town.
The townspeople have a strong sense of ownership to the town, and strive to make Gibson a nice place where hard working, law abiding Christian folks may settle down. They don't have many visitors going by, with the exception of some cowboys and drifters now and then, delegates from the mining company and old relatives coming to pay a visit to their loved ones.
The first establishment in Gibson was the Saloon, and in 1884 a brothel was built. There was of course a lot of arguing and shouting about whether the town should accept such an establishment within its borders, but it was there, and so was Madame Starr and her soiled doves. Most of the townspeople stay away from Madame Starr's house, and those who visit it don't talk about it. The Saloon and the Brothel live side by side in Gibson, but the arguing continues and the owners can't be called anything but rivals.
Last winter a disaster struck the town. A major blizzard which killed almost one third of the population of Gibson hit the area. It was during the Thanksgiving Holiday, and Hart's Crossing (The closest town to Gibson) were having a big celebration. Everybody was invited and almost everybody went. The evening before Thanksgiving the wind started picking up and within a few hours all you could see was white... Houses were blown away, wagons crushed; cattle froze to death, old people and children died. In Gibson the church was totally damaged and Madam's house just wasn't there anymore. A lot of cattle died too... the whole thing was thoroughly a disaster.
Everyone knew somebody who died. A mother, a brother, a lover or a child. Nobody was untouched by the catastrophe. It took a while before the townspeople got back in regular business, but when spring came the town started slowly mending the damages and talk about everyday issues again.
When early summer arrived, another thing happened. Sheriff Cade announced that he was retiring to spend more time with his new wife and family. For most people it wasn't a shock, but it sure was sad. As old Jebediah Tunstall loudly said: “Sheriff Cade is the best thing that ever happened to this town.” It was hard to argue with that.
Gibson needed a sheriff, so a sheriff election had to be held. Two candidates are running in the election. Deputy Hart and Captain Armstrong are both good choices and they both have active campaign leaders. Some townsfolk have decided, but a lot of people still aren't sure who to vote for. They're both great guys...
It's going to be a really exciting election, that's for sure.