The definitive comprehensive story Antony’s struggles to establish himself and his family as merchants, through bankruptcy, principled toil and long absences, to the founding of the firm Antony Gibbs and Sons. Related by his great grandson John Arthur Gibbs, drawing on an impressive source of family records, books, manuscripts, letters and papers, many of which are now held in the London Metropolitan Archives‘ “ANTONY GIBBS AND SONS LIMITED” Collection, and published in 1922.
The attached files correspond to 19 chapters, but exclude the very extensive footnotes, appendices and charts contained within the book.
Index of Chapters
- INTRODUCTION. Early history of the Gibbs family, George Abraham Gibbs of Exeter and Pytte, John Gibbs of Topsham, and their sons and daughters.
- 1774 – 84 EXETER. Antony Gibbs’ business; the Hucks family; Marriages of Vicary, Mary and Antony Gibbs
- 1785 – 89 EXETER AND EXWICK: including Antony Gibbs’ life at Exwick; his first visit to Spain; his failure; the sale of Pytte
- 1789 – 92 MADRID. Antony and Dorothea Gibbs in Spain
- 1792 – 96 MALAGA AND EXETER: including Antony Gibbs’ accident; George Gibbs 2nd marriage; Anne Gibbs’ marriage to S. Banfill
- 1797 – 1801 LISBON AND EXETER: including the deaths of Joseph Hucks and Eleanor Ward; G. Henry Gibbs’ entry into business.
- 1801 – 05 CADIZ, EXETER AND COWLEY: including William Gibbs’ entry into business
- 1805 – 07 THE “HERMOSA MEXICANA”, SPAIN, COWLEY, AND LONDON
- 1807 – 09 THE MOVE TO LONDON AND THE FOUNDING OF ANTONY GIBBS & SONS AND THEIR CADIZ BRANCH
- 1808 – 12 (Part 1). ANTONY GIBBS & SONS FIRST FOUR YEARS IN BUSINESS
- 1808 – 12 (Part 2). LONDON AND SUBURBS
- 1813 – 14: including George and Harriett Gibbs’ marriage
- 1814 – 16: including Antony Gibbs’ death
- 1816 – 17: including G. Henry Gibbs’ marriage
- THE TOPSHAM FAMILY 1816-20, AND SKETCH FOR THEIR SUBSEQUENT HISTORY
- 1817 – 20 INCLUDING THE DEATHS OF GEORGE GIBBS SEN., SIR VICARY GIBBS, MARY CRAWLEY, AND DOROTHEA GIBBS
- EPILOGUE OF THE FAMILY
- A. GIBBS & SONS’ BUSINESS: CONCLUSION TO 1820, AND EPILOGUE
- THE FIRST YEARS OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN FIRM
This history of my great-grandparents Antony Gibbs and Dorothea Barnetta Gibbs ( born Hucks) brings in also the lives of their sons and daughters and contemporary relatives in varying detail in accordance with the amount of information In the records at my disposal, and shows that we have ancestors of whom we may be proud. It embraces besides the story of Antony Gibbs’ mercantile business, the stages by which, beginning in Exeter, and continuing in Spain, it led up to his founding in 1808 of the firm Anthony Gibbs & Sons in London, and the early history of the firm.
The end of the year 1820 is my nominal limit. It is a natural break in the family history, for, while Antony Gibbs died in 1815, his elder brother George, merchant of Bristol, died in 1818, and his sister Mary (wife of the Rev. Charles Crawley) in 1819, and in 1820 not only his wife Dorothea, but also his only surviving brother Sir Vicary Gibbs, and another of his sisters. In the firm’s history too 1820 was in epoch, since it was in that year that they took steps to found their South American Branch. But there is in the book a good deal of information concerning the family or firm relating to the period subsequent to 1820, particularly in chapters XIV, XV, XVII and XVIII.
A descriptive list of the most important of the printed and of all the manuscripts family records which I have used follows the Table of Contents . Of the manuscripts the great collection of family letters made by my uncle Henry Hicks Gibbs (Lord Aldenham) forms the principle basis of this work, and Alban, Lord Aldenham, has allowed me the fullest possible use not only of these letters but of all the other family records which his father collected.
I first looked into the letters about 14 years ago at the suggestion of one of my partners, with the object of rediscovering the forgotten history of the origins of Antony Gibbs & Sons. I found that the letters not only contained much of what I was seeking but that they were so numerous (notably those written by Antony Gibbs during the long periods of his absence from home) that a fairly continuous narrative of a great part of the lives of my great-grandparents and their sons and daughters was recoverable. The intimacy of the letters and the characters of the writers disclosed in them added to the interest of the research, and from merely taking notes I came after a time to decide to write and print as complete a history of the family and business during the lives of Antony and Dorothea Gibbs as was possible, supplementing for all sources which I could discover the information contained in the letters. Would that my interest in these matters had been stirred during the lifetime of my uncle, who died in 1907, for he had read all the family letters and papers, as shown by the notes and indices which he made for them! I have built on his work, and never ceased to deplore the loss of the help which I should assuredly have derived from his wonderful memory and from his intercourse with some of those were among my dramatis personae. I have tried to display the evidence of the letters as to character without overemphasis of good or concealment a weak qualities.
Whatever imperfections the book has, at least it brings together a store of information about the family in early days, their friends, their ways, and their business, which cannot fail to be of interest, profit, or use to some of Antony Gibbs’ descendants, and perhaps even to some of those of his brother and sister Sir Vicary Gibbs and Mary Crawley, and others have in their veins the blood of ancestors who enter into this history.
My uncle’s introduction to his printed Pedigree of the family, giving as it does a sketch of the whole history of the family and the business up to 1890, include some facts relating to the period which my book is a detailed history, and these I have necessarily repeated, since otherwise my story would not be complete in itself.
The work has occupied my orders during many years. By the time of the breaking out of the war in 1914 the first 17 chapters were drafted, and little had I thought when writing of the trade restrictions and difficulties in the wars of my ancestor’s time that England’s next Continental war was at hand, and that I should myself be occupied in Antony Gibbs & Sons’ business under like conditions. For nearly five years the work was practically laid aside, and even since 1919 there been long periods of interruption.
As a rule I write of Antony and Dorothea Gibbs, the “heroes” of the book, by their Christian names only, and so also have their children Henry, William, Joseph, Harriet, and Anne. It may here be remarked that Antony’s son Henry (my grandfather) is commonly spoken of by his full Christian name, George Henry, to distinguish him from his son Henry (Henry Hucks Gibbs), but he was addressed as Henry, and he is always Henry in the letters with which I deal and so I called him.
JOHN A. GIBBS
20, Cleveland Gardens, London, W