HON. WILLIAM P. GIBBS, who pleasantly and profitably combines the occupations of farming and the practice of law at Gordon, Palo Pinto county, has lived at his present place, “in the shade of the same tree,” for over twenty-five years, so that no one has deeper interest in the welfare and permanent progress of this section of the state.
Mr. Gibbs is a Missourian by birth, having been born in Madison county of that state in 1850, a son of H. A. and Sophronia (Roseborough) Gibbs. His father, a native of North Carolina, moved to Madison county, Missouri, in 1844, and continued his occupation of farming until his death. After his death the mother came to Gordon, Texas, to make her home with her son, but she passed away the following year.
Reared on a farm, Mr. Gibbs has had a thorough and practical experience in this industry beginning with his boyhood. He lived at the Missouri home until 1878, and in that year came to Texas and located on the farm in Palo Pinto county where he has lived ever since. His farm was located one mile northeast of where Gordon later grew up into a town. With the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railroad through the southern part of Palo Pinto county in 1881 there sprung up several towns, one of which was Gordon, which has now become a prosperous and substantial commercial center. As a farmer Mr. Gibbs has been one of the most successful in this county. He has three hundred and fifty acres in cultivation every year and a pasture of one hundred acres. Believing in and practicing diversification of crops, he has not made the mistake of so many southern farmers in sticking to one crop and in all seasons has been able to make a profit out of his business. He conducts his farm on business principles throughout, watches the markets closely, takes advantage of his opportunities, and consequently makes money.
It was after he came to Texas that Mr. Gibbs turned his attention to the law, pursuing his studies privately and securing admission to the bar in 1884. He now has a good practice in the courts of Palo Pinto and adjoining counties. By two successive elections he served as county attorney from 1890 to 1894. In 1902 he was elected representative from the eighty-first legislative district, serving during the twenty-eighth session of the legislature. He made a most creditable record in the house, and several important laws now in force bear the impress of his influence. As a member of the committee on roads, bridges and ferries he prepared, introduced and had passed through both houses a special bill known as the special road law for Palo Pinto county, which provided for a reduction of the poll tax in this county from five dollars to three, and an increase in the road tax from fifteen cents to thirty cents on the hundred dollars, the purpose being to raise funds by bond issues for the building of bridges in Palo Pinto county. This measure has proved a very beneficent one and especially advantageous and needful in this county owing to the sinuous windings of the Brazos river across the county, so that good and substantial bridges are an absolute necessity for easy vehicle traffic. During his legislature career Mr. Gibbs was also one of a committee of three appointed to draft a law providing for the working of convicts on public roads, and it fell upon him to draw up the proper statue for this object, and it was enacted and is now a law.
As may be seen from what has been said, Mr. Gibbs has been at the forefront in gaining public improvements for Gordon and for Palo Pinto county and his public-spirited citizenship has been shown in many other ways. Through his influence with the presiding elder he was instrumental in having erected the first Methodist church edifice in Gordon; in fact, on the recommendation of the presiding elder the board of church extension turned over to him the funds and placed in his hands over to him the funds and placed in his hands the matter of building the church. Subsequently he was a leading factor in erecting the present church building a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars. He is a steward and a prominent member of the Methodist church at Gordon. He is also a popular member of the Masonic order, and an uncompromising Democrat in politics.
Mr. Gibbs was married in Missouri to Miss Amanda Thompson. They have taken much pride in giving their four sons excellent home and educational training and are gratified to see them entering upon worthy careers. Charles, the eldest, is a lawyer and now county attorney of Midland county, this state; Walter, the second, owns and operates a good farm adjoining that of his father; and Albert and William are the youngest.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 350-351.