by Helen Trumbull
William and Ellen Morrison, my great, great grandparents lived in Belfast, Ireland. They worked with linen and were lace makers taking their goods to Glasgow, Scotland to sell.
William and Ellen had eight children. Their daughter, Ellen, born in 1833, in Belfast, Ireland came to America with four of her brothers. The census says they came over in 1866. Ellen did not become a naturalized citizen.
A family by the name of Gibson also lived In Ireland. Alexander Gibson was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1825. Gibsons lived about five miles from the Morrisons, but they did not know each other. The story handed down by the family was that Ellen and Alexander met on the ship when they came to America, but the census shows that Alexander came in 1855 and Ellen In 1866.
Alexander and Ellen met, and they were married in Illinois in 1866. Their son, William, was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1867. This little family left Illinois and settled in Keokuk County, Iowa, near Sigourney. They lived here for seventeen years. Six girls were born here. They were Margaret Jane, Mary E., Sarah, Agnes, Ellen and Anna.
Alex farmed with one horse and ditched the old Iowa sloughs with oxen.
In about 1884 the Gibsons arrived in Nebraska. They settled in Fillmore County for two years, and then they moved to Custer County where they lived eighteen miles south of Broken Bow, Nebraska, on the Loup River.
Around 1890 the family moved to McPherson County where Alexander took out a homestead of 160 acres. They also bought some land in this county. Alexander’s land was located in the western part of McPherson County and this part of the county later became part of Arthur County.
William, their oldest child, was already living in McPherson County having a homestead located east of the Mike Connell place at that time.
Sarah Gibson and Mary E. Gibson took out homesteads and bought land located close to their parents’ place in western McPherson County.
Margaret Jane, the oldest daughter, and John Neusy Hazelbaker were the first couple to apply for a marriage license after the county was organized. They were married December 23, 1890, at the residence of Alexander Gibson. D.P. Wilcox, County Judge married them.
John and Margaret moved to Seneca, Nebraska, where they lived for awhile. One son drowned in the Seneca Lake. They also lived in Bingham, Nebraska. They finally ended up near Walla Walla, Washington, where they were wheat farmers.
The Hazelbakers had six children. Twin girls died while they were at Bingham.
After moving from the farm, Margaret was a cook for a Boys Fraternity House at the college in Walla Walla.
Margaret lived to be a few days older than 100 years.
The Gibson’s second daughter, Mary E., married Hugh Elmer Neal in 1900. Their story can be found in another part of this book.
Sarah, the third daughter, and my grandmother married William Thomas Haney on November 3, 1895. Their story can be found in another part of this book.
William’s story can be found in another part of this book also.
Agnes, the fourth daughter, and Orin L. Thompson were the fourth couple to be married in this county on August 8, 1893, at Omega, Nebraska. Find their story in another part of this book.
Ellen, daughter number five, and John T. Adams applied for marriage license number thirteen in the county. They were married June 17, 1895, at the Rev. G.W. Brook residence, which was located east of Ringgold, Nebraska. Witnesses were Miss Sarah Gibson and Mrs. Sophronia H. Brooks. Rev. George W. Brooks officiated.
Two daughters were born to this couple, Alma and Orpha. Later they were divorced and Ellen and the girls went to Wyoming, where she made a living by cooking on the Driscoll Ranch. From Wyoming, they moved to near Polson, Montana, near the Flathead Lake. Ellen remarried. Her husband’s name was Stratton Bowers. The daughter, Alma, also married a Bowers, Stratton’s brother.
Ellen lived the remainder of her life in Montana.
The Gibson’s seventh child was Anna, born near Sigourney, Iowa, Keokuk County.
By 1900 Alex, Ellen, and Anna were living in Mullen. By the 1900 census, Anna was 21 years old. It was after this that she married William Le La Cheur. In the later years of Bill and Anna’s life they lived in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Anna died first of cancer.
After a few years in Mullen, Alex and Ellen took out a homestead two miles south of their daughter, Sarah and Thomas Haneys. They built a sod house with two rooms in it. One big room was used as a kitchen, dining room and living room. The other room was a bedroom.
They raised a nice garden and Aunt Nancy remembers that her grandmother had planted hop vines all around the porch. She used the hops to make yeast for bread making.
Alex passed away May 16, 1909 at the age of 84 years, one month, and 26 days. In 1909 there were no doctors or morticians close. The men built a casket and the neighbor women brought flowers and houseplants from home. The funeral was held in the big room of their sod house. The casket was hauled to Eclipse Cemetery in the back of a lumber wagon.
Ellen passed away in 1913 at the age of 80 years. She is buried at Eclipse Cemetery. There are four generations of Gibsons buried at the Eclipse Cemetery.
McPherson County: Facts, Families, Fiction