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George Wheeler Gibson collection, 1857-1866.
Collection Overview


George Wheeler Gibson collection, 1857-1866


Gibson, George Wheeler.


Gibson, Henry.


Bostwick, Amelia.


National Bank of D. O. Mills and Company


The Gibson collection includes both business correspondence of George Wheeler Gibson and personal correspondence from his extended family during the late 1850s and early 1860s.
Business correspondence: Letters from Gibson to D.O. Mills and Co., 1858-1861 and from D.O. Mills to Gibson, 1858-1862. Letters from Gibson appear to be copies produced by one of the early duplicating processes.
This exchange of correspondence documents the range of Gibson's business affairs in Sacramento, from foreclosures on real estate loans and the resulting efforts to sell unwanted property to efforts to sell pew number 42 at Grace Church for which Gibson originally paid $300 (he eventually sold it for $125). Mention is made of local events such as the 1860 tax levy to finance purchase of land for the California State Capitol as well as events of national interest, such as the acknowledgement in July of 1859 that the first letter sent overland had arrived in New York.
And, toward the end of the correspondence in 1861, the Civil War conflict becomes a topic of discussion as in this comment from Gibson on May 28, 1861: "The universal feeling at the North seems to be in relation to this secession question 'Let us have the question settled permanently now' at whatever cost and I am sure you may, at no distant day find it so, as the administration have taken a through ticket and will not turn back or stop over at any of the way stations."
Personal correspondence, 1857-1866. Letters to Gibson from his brother, Henry, and sisters, Amelia, Clara, Martha, and Libby; with misc. correspondence from his wife, Anna, and various family members and friends.
Letters that George received from his siblings are illustrative of a close-knit family. As the eldest, as well as the most successful of the family, George is consulted for advice about financial affairs and is often thanked for financial assistance as well as advice. Letters from his brother, Henry, talk of Henry's attempts to settle into business as he moves from Great Barrington to New York City and back again, finally leaving for California to try his fortune there.
His last letter is sent on March 14, 1864 from New York City: "Notwithstanding all your advice which you kindly have given me in relation to going to California I have not abided by it, but have gone right contrary to it, perhaps to my sorrow but hope not. The U.S. mail steamer 'Illinois' sails to day at 12 oclock for California, of which I am one of her passengers in the 2d cabin price paid $145."
Sisters Clara (married to a clergyman, Mr. Platt, and living in Tivoli, N.Y.), Lizzy (living in Ohio), and Martha (taking in borders in Great Barrington) are represented by a few scattered letters. But there are ca. 65 letters from George's youngest sister, Amelia, covering the years 1860-1866, which are rich in detail, offering an intimate account of a family's declining fortunes. When her husband, William Bostwick, goes off to California to promote an "Amalgamator" for the processing of gold, he goes against her wishes as she fears he will be unsuccessful. This proves to be the case and Bostwick proves himself to be unfaithful as well, ceasing communication and deserting all his family responsibilities, including financial support. Amelia is left dependent on the family, living for the most part with William's mother and sister and relying on George and Clara to provided homes for her children.
As 1866 begins, she discusses her situation: "... so you see George every New Year seems to open with some new blessing to be thankful for and how can I ever be sufficiently grateful for all the kindnesses that I have received, since deserted by my rightful protector. I am always glad to hear from my absent children and know that they are well and happy, as no one but a Mother knows the anxious hours I have fearing something may befall them surrounded as we are by diseases, accidents &c and I trust to be ever allowed in their absence to feel a Mothers double interest in them, when their Father thus neglects them."


1857 (issued)


n-us-ca -- n-us---
Gibson, George Wheeler -- Correspondence
Gibson family -- Correspondence
Bostwick, Amelia -- Correspondence
National Bank of D. O. Mills and Company -- Records and correspondence
Capitalists and financiers -- California -- Correspondence
Bankers -- California -- Correspondence
Real property -- California -- Sacramento
Sacramento (Calif.) -- History
Women -- United States -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
Pioneers' spouses -- United States -- History -- 19th century


George Wheeler Gibson grew up in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Ca. 1856 he went to California where he resided in Sacramento, engaging in real estate and finance. In 1858 he returned to Massachusetts after the death of his father in February and left his California business affairs with the National Bank of D.O. Mills. In the summer of 1858 he married Anna Heaton and the Gibsons moved to Stuyvesant, New York, shortly thereafter.
George's siblings included a younger brother, Henry, and several sisters, including Clara, Martha, Lizzy and Amelia, the youngest of the family. George was much involved in their lives, offering advice and support. In 1862 Amelia's husband, William Bostwick, went to California and left his family without support. George and his wife then raised Amelia's son, Charlie.
George Wheeler Gibson collection
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.

Physical Description:

1 ms. box







Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.