Sunday, September 9, 2012
Pringle Gibson (1833-1908)
We continue our stay in Vermont for today's biography, and we travel from Addison County to Caledonia County to profile one of that area's funnier named residents.....Mr. Pringle Gibson! This man with the funny first name represented the town of Ryegate in Caledonia County in the Vermont State House of Representatives in the early 1880s and was regarded as one of Ryegate's foremost farmers and merchandisers. In a humorous aside note, Pringle Gibson is in no way related to the famed (as well as delicious) Pringles potato chip snack that we're all familiar with.
Gibson was born in the town of Ryegate on January 5, 1833, the son of Scottish immigrant Alexander Gibson (1788-1869) and Caledonia native Jane Gardner (1791-1853). Pringle attended school in Caledonia County and married his first wife Frances Gray (1832-1889) on June 14, 1860 in Ryegate. They would go on to have two children, William A. (born 1861) and Isabel Jane (born 1867). Frances Gibson died in 1889 and three years later Pringle remarried to another Ryegate native, Emma Tucker.
From the few sources that mention him, Pringle Gibson spent a good majority of his life engaged in farming in his native town and was sold the family farm by his father. The Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, Vt., 1764-1887 notes that Gibson "farmed extensively, owning and managing one of the best farms in Ryegate" and that his parents resided with him until their deaths.
Gibson sold this farm in 1884 and then removed with his wife and children to South Ryegate, where he opened a general store under the moniker P. Gibson and Son. This store was recorded by the earlier mentioned Gazetteer as "doing a flourishing business" until Pringle and his son left it in 1895. This store later continued on under new ownership until the building was consumed by fire in 1898.
While farming and business obviously were a major part of Gibson's life, public office (both at the local and state level) eventually beckoned to him. In 1870 he was elected to his first term as Ryegate town selectman and was returned to this office in 1871 and 1884. Gibson continued in local political office in 1876 and 1877 when he was named as Ryegate town Lister, and in 1882 was elected to the Vermont State House of Representatives from Caledonia County. During his one term in the legislature, Gibson was named to the committee on Land Taxes and a brief notice on him (taken from an 1882 Vermont legislative roster) has been posted below.
Pringle Gibson left the legislature in 1884 and from 1892-1894, 1897-1899 served as the moderator of the Ryegate Town meeting. He is mentioned as being an active parishioner at the United Presbyterian Church and later at the First Presbyterian Church at South Ryegate. He died at age 75 on February 11, 1908, and was interred at the Blue Mountain Cemetery in Ryegate Corner, Vermont.