The previous post explored the lives of George Milsom Gibson (1782 -1814) and John Thomas Gibson (1785 – 1852), two of the sons of my 5 x great uncle Bowes John Gibson (1744 – 1817), both of whom served in the British army in India in the first half of the nineteenth century. I noted that George died in his early 30s, leaving a wife and young son, for whom I have been unable to find any further records. John died in India in 1852 at the age of 67, having fathered nine children by his wife Henrietta. Of these children, four seem to have died at a young age, while one son, John James, followed his father into the military but predeceased him, leaving an unknown number of children.

That leaves two sons – Charles Dockley and Thomas Wheatley – and two daughters – Louisa Grace and Henrietta Elizabeth – for whom we have more information. In the next few posts, I’ll set out what we know about their lives, thus taking the story of the Gibson family to the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth.

St John's College, Cambridge, in 1842 (via

St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1842 (via

In the remainder of this post, I’ll summarise what we know about Charles Dockley Gibson, who was born in 1818. In the previous post I noted that Charles graduated from St John’s College, Cambridge in 1841 and worked for a while as a teacher in London. However, he took holy orders some time before his marriage, in 1843, to Louisa Laing, the daughter of one of his father’s schoolfriends, and seems to have served for a short time in Suffolk, perhaps as a curate.

Charles Dockley Gibson proceeded to the degree of M.A. in 1847 and in 1848 took up an appointment as an army chaplain, returning to India, the country of his birth and still the home of his parents and a number of his siblings. Apparently Charles held a number of posts, serving at St George’s Cathedral in Madras from 1849-57, and at Fort St George from 1862-65 and 1866-68. At one stage he was the chaplain of St John’s church in Vellore. According to one source his father built a small church near his home at Kotagherry, perhaps intending that his son would serve as its incumbent.

Church at Kotagherry, India: was this the church built by John Thomas Gibson? (via

Church at Kotagherry, India: was this the church built by John Thomas Gibson? (via

According to another account, Charles Dockley Gibson was ‘very popular in society on account of his pleasant manners and various accomplishments, and probably on account of his relationship to many Madras officers, civil and military.’ The document continues:

His brother was in the Madras Army, and two of his sisters were married to officers in the same. He had sufficient influence to serve most of his time in Madras. He was on the committee of the Additional Clergy Society during nearly the whole time he was in the Presidency town.

However, his influence was not enough to prevent Charles being removed from Fort St George in 1868, ‘for a neglect of duty’, following a complaint from the General Office Commanding. He died in the following year at Calicut. He was 51 years old. I’m not sure what became of his wife Louisa, or whether they had any surviving children.