Thomas Wheatley Gibson (1823 – 1884)

In the last post I wrote about Rev. Charles Dockley Gibson, one of the two surviving sons of Major-General John Thomas Gibson. The other son was Thomas Wheatley Gibson who followed in his father’s footsteps and served in the British army in India. In 1847 Thomas married Isabella Schneider, who was born in Milan in about 1822, at Chigwell in Essex.

Thomas and Isabella Gibson had nine children: Frederick Thomas Downdsell Gibson (born 1849); Caroline Isabel Geraldine Gibson (1850); Frank Montague Hillyard Gibson (1852); Henry Adolphus Gibson (1856); Alice Matilda Stuart Gibson (1858); Claude Aislabie Vigne Gibson (1858); Constance Laura Harriette Gibson (1861); Mabel Bertha Evelyn Gibson (1862); and Gabrielle H C Gibson (1866).

British Law Courts, Madras, 1850 (via

British Law Courts, Madras, 1850 (via

Frederick, Caroline and Frank were all born in Madras, but some time in the early 1850s the family moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands, where the remaining children were born, except for Mabel, who was born in Somerset. Thomas Wheatley Gibson seems to have retired from the army in his thirties, and it’s possible that this decision coincided with the death of his father and inheriting sufficient funds to set himself up as a farmer. The 1861 census finds the Gibsons living at Le Coin Road (or Rue du Coin) in St Ouen, Jersey. Thomas, 37, is described as ‘Military retired Madras Army’ and the family is able to afford two house servants, a wet nurse and two outdoor servants.

I can’t find the family in the 1871 census, but in 1881 we find Isabel Gibson, described as a ‘wife’, but without her husband present, living at East End Villas, St Helier, Jersey. She is described as a retired farmer, while her son son Claude, 23, is said to be an ostrich farmer. Her daughter Mabel, 18, and a visitor named Annie Huapath (or possibly Herepath), 25, are also present.

According to some reports, Thomas Wheatley Gibson died in 1884 in South Africa. In 1891, his widow Isabel, now 66, was still in St Helier with Mabel, now 27, and a housemaid and a cook. Isabella Gibson died in Jersey in 1900, leaving effects of £220 5s 3d, probate being granted to Raymond Murray Richardson, an East India agent.

St Helier harbour, mid 19th century (via

St Helier harbour, mid 19th century (via

What became of the children of Thomas and Isabella Gibson? I can find no further records for Frederick and Gabrielle Gibson, the first and last-born of their children. Caroline Gibson died in 1873 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, apparently never having married. For some reason, there was a delay in processing her estate, and it wasn’t until 1901 that her effects passed to her sister Constance. I can find no records for Mabel Gibson after her mother’s death.

Frank Montague Hillyard Gibson married Louisa Letitia Crole in Cape Town in 1873, South Africa, and later migrated to Australia, where he worked as a journalist. He died in 1929 in Grenfell, New South Wales.

According to one source, Henry Adolphus Gibson emigrated to Canada in 1883 with his wife Fannie Augusta Croll (was she a relation of the Lousia Crole who married his brother Frank?)  and lived in Winnipeg, where Henry worked as a farmer and land agent, for more than forty years, Henry and Fannie had seven children: Millicent Caroline Gibson (b. 1882; she became Mrs. Daniel J. Ferguson), Evelyn Bertie Gibson (b. 1887; Mrs. Matthew C. Ryan), Gladys Una Gibson (b. 1889), Cuthbert Montague Gibson (1890-1934), Aubrey Ritherdon Gibson (b. 1894), and Cyril Leslie Gibson (b 1896). Henry Gibson retired to Los Angeles, California in about 1929 and died there on 13 September 1934.

Claude Aislabie Vigne Gibson married Edith Marian Clayton in London in 1881. Apparently he was still alive in 1935 when administration of the will of his sister Constance was granted to Maria Horatia Hoxhead, wife of John Codsrington Charles Coxhead, ‘attorney of Claude Vigne Gibson’.

Constance Laura Harriette Gibson married Walter West Pierce, an officer in the merchant marine, who had also been born in India. They had a daughter Edith and a son named Ernest. In 1891 they were living in St Saviour, Jersey. Walter Pierce died in 1900 and in the following year his widow Constance could be found living in Oxford Row, Bath, where she was the matron of some kind of establishment, employing an attendant, a cook, a parlourmaid and a housemaid. Constance Pierce died in West Kensington, London, in 1934.

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14 Responses to Thomas Wheatley Gibson (1823 – 1884)

  1. Bonita Creswell-Young says:

    I have more information about the Gibson family, which may help. My records show that the middle names of the children of Thomas Wheatley and Isabella Gibson are the godparents names at their christenings. Some were also related to the Gibsons through marriage. Claude Aislabe Vign Gibson’s godparents, for example, were Augustus Vign/e , Edward Herbert Harrington Vign/e, Caroline Vign/e (nee Aslaibe). Claude and Edith Marion (born Marian Martha Clayton) had a son, Francis Charles Gibson who emigrated to the United States in 1900 and raised two families there. Frank Montague Hillyard Gibson moved to Australia and also had two wives and two families, some descendants of whom moved to New Zealand.

    According to my records Claude Aislabe Vigne Gibson died in South Africa (Officer in the Cape Mounted Rifles) around 1896 although I have yet to confirm this through additional sources. I am still trying to trace the whereabouts of Edith Marion Clayton (Marian Martha), Claude’s wife, after their marriage in 1881. She may have gone to South Africa with him. Their son, Francis Charles Gibson, was raised by his grandparents until their deaths and then lived with his cousin in Accrington, Lancs, learnt the butcher’s trade under her husband, married in Lancashire in 1899, and emigrated to New York with his wife and infant, Marion Gibson (born 1899), in 1900. Their marriage certificate states that his father is deceased, occupation Sergeant-Major Cape Mounted Rifles. However, he may not have died and just separated from his wife and son. He could well have been alive in 1935 as there is a record on Ancestry (a Will I think? leaving 6000 pounds to the Cape Mounted Rifles (I have this in my notes but can’t remember where it came from on Ancestry as I have not been able to locate it in further searches).

    The family moved to South Africa in the late1860s to early 1870s which is why they do not appear on the 1871 UK census. I, too, have no record of Mable Gibson or Gabrielle Gibson. Gabrielle may well have died in South Africa as she does not appear on subsequent UK census returns.

    Jersey Historical Trust: One of our researchers has transcribed the tombstones at St Peter’s and I found in his lists the following details. The tombstone is described as Portland sandstone, with grave marker 334 South and at the time was in ‘Good condition’

    The details were:

    Alice Matilda Suart daughter of Capt Thomas Wheatley Gibson and Isabella Schneider his wife. Born 24 Dec 1858 Died 3 June 1859

    also died at Blanco, S Africa 7 Nov 1885, the above Capt T W Gibson (with verse…)

    also at Bulawayo died 1891, the eldest son, Frederick Thomas Dowdeswell (sic) (should be Dowdsnell)

    Isabella nee Schneider widow of the above Capt Thomas Wheatley Gibson of the (Madras)) Army retired, died at St Helier 1900, 78 years.

    I also found in the baptismal registers of St Mark’s District (of St Helier) the following record: Millicent Caroline Sewart daughter of Henry Adolphus Gibson and Fanny Augusta, 17 June 1881, born 6 May 1881. Godparents were Charles Gibson, Martha Gibson, Constance Sewart. Baptised by Rev C M Godfray.

    John William Schneider born Cremona, (1824 – 1903) married Amelia Euphemia Davidson, 10 March, 1851, Malcolm, Bombay, India. Fathers: John Schneider and Charles James Colbie Davidson.
    Daughter Rose Ethel Louise Schneider, married in India, Edward Giles, 19 January 1878 Bombay.
    Son, Stewart Melville Congreve Schneider

    Frederick Schneider born Italy, (1826 – 1899) married Louisa Fuller, aged 21 (he was 28) in Belgaum, Bombay, on 5 December, 1853. Died Malling,Kent 1899. Married 2nd wife, Ruth Wilson, 1876 Kensington.

    Amelia Yardley (nee Wilkins? Schneider?) married Sir William Yardley.

    Will of Sir John William Schneider, KCB, General in HM Bombay army died May 1903 to Dame Amelia Euphemia Schneider and Stewart Melville Congreve Schneider.

  2. Bonita says:

    Hello Martin
    My pleasure, glad to be able to help. I am a direct descendant of the Clayton family. Claude Gibson was my grandmother’s uncle by marriage to Edith Marion Clayton. I found your history of the Gibson family fascinating and I would like to find out more about Claude (confirm his death) and Edith Marion. Claude, I believe, may have gone to Australia (perhaps to visit his brother Frank Montague Gibson?) before going to South Africa to join the Cape Mounted Rifles.
    Claude Gibson, born 1858, arrived Melbourne on the Cuzco on 29 June 1881. I believe that Frank Montague Gibson was living there with his wife Fanny Augusta Crole in 1881.
    Kind regards

  3. gaianguy says:

    Amelia E Davidson’s sister Rose was my GTGTGT Grandmother who married Thomas Etheridge and one of their daughters Grace Marion was my GTGT Grandmother.

  4. Bonita Creswell-Young says:

    Hello Martin
    I have some more information on the Gibson family, descended from Thomas Wheatley Gibson. I have found the burial of Claude Aislabe Vigne Gibson in St Pauls Church, Kandy, Ceylon.
    I have also found the baptism of the last child of Thomas Wheatley Gibson and Isabella Schneider, Gabrielle Hortense Congreve Gibson, born 5 October 1866 in Kowie East, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape South Africa, baptised 2 December 1866. As she was not on the 1871 census, I can only assume that she died prior to 1871.
    Kind regards

  5. Bonita Creswell-Young says:

    Hello Martin
    I now have confirmation of Claude Aislabe Vigne Gibson’s second marriage to Laura Eleanor D’Silva in Ceylon as below:

    Laura Eleanor D’Silva born 14 September 1858 married at St.Michael & All Angels Church, Kollupitiya (SMAC) 21 January 1903, Claude Aislabe Vigne Gibson born 1857, son of Thomas Wheatley Gibson and …….
    Witnesses: John Cecil Kaule and Nina Andree

    Kind regards

    • Martin says:

      Many thanks for this new information, Bonita. Coincidentally, I had an email this week from a descendant of Henry Adolphus Gibson in Canada, who is researching their branch of the Gibson family tree. I could connect you with them, if you like. Best wishes, Martin.

      • Bonita Creswell-Young says:

        Hello Martin
        Yes, I would like to be in touch with descendants of Henry Adolphus Gibson, thank you very much.

  6. Bonita Creswell-Young says:

    Hello Martin
    This is the link to full death records for Claude Aislabe Vign Gibson and Eleanor Laura D’Silva in Ceylon if you are interested in following it up:
    A CD containing the full records is available from Genealogy Bookshop. Individual Burial Records may be purchased through Genealogy Bookshop for £4.00 each. This is from the website Kabristan Archives.

    Kind regards


    • Martin says:

      Hi Bonita

      Missing link?


      • Bonita Creswell-Young says:

        I am sorry, Martin, I thought that I had done a cut and paste, but obviously not. Here is the information on what you can order and the form to fill out. It is on the Kabristan Archives – Ceylon Death and Burial records, Individual Genealogy Record webpage. Click on Kandy Apr 1875- Dec 1949 link.

        I don’t know how much additional information the records will provide but you may discover the date of death of Claude Gibson, and perhaps other information as well.

        Individual Genealogy Record
        Price: £4.00
        Individual copies of Genealogy Records (including Memorial Inscriptions and/or Burial Records, Birth and/or Baptismal Records, and Marriage Records) from The Kabristan Archives publications may be ordered when you prefer not to order a book or CD, but rather receive an email containing the individual Genealogy Record you require.
        Please note, this is not a certificate. Our records are obtained from written sources, registers and surveys and you will receive an email containing a transcribed copy of the original text, where readable.
        Each record is individually checked in our source materials, and the email will be sent within a maximum of 2 working days.

        I hope that this gets you to the right page.

        Kind regards

  7. Beverley [Bostock] Zarowny says:

    I was thrilled to find this information. I am the Granddaughter of Millicent Caroline Gibson. She married my Grand Father Daniel James, Ferguson, had 2 daughters, Jean Gladys and Helen Beatrice.
    I am Jean’s daughter, Beverley [Bostock] Zarowny. I have 2 daughters, 6 grandchildren and 2 greatdaughters. Helen had 6 daughters. Both Jean & Helen have died but have a large family. If you would like more information please feel free to e-mail me.

  8. Martin says:

    Hi Beverley. Good to hear from you. We must be (very!) distant relatives, via the Gibson connection. Thank you for your comment, and I’m pleased to have been of help. I had an email recently from Alix Sullivan, another descendant of Henry Adolphus Gibson. I assume you know each other?
    Best wishes

  9. Bonita Creswell-Young says:

    Hello Martin
    I have found the following record for Constance (Gibson) Pierce that might be of interest.

    1911 England census
    Constance Pierce, 47, housekeeper at Tye Hall, Roxwell, Essex (lots of servants and gardener, farm manager, etc.) Born, 1864, St Ouens, Jersey. (although she was born Somerset).
    Kind regards

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