One of the great consequences of this website being well established and indexed on the internet is that it provides an easy access for people around the world who have an interest in connecting with the Gibbs family. In recent years I have had contacts with Italians who have been investigating abandoned anglican graveyards, at a time when Gibbs family merchants held prominent positions in Sicily, Naples and Genoa.
Gaetano Marchese emailed that many researchers are interested in Abraham Gibbs (Topsham 1758 – Palermo 1816, a half cousin of Antony Gibbs), especially in Palermo, Messina and Bronte, a small Sicilian town, where there was the famous Duchy of Nelson. One of these, the scholar Mr. Rosario Lentini, author of many books on the presence of British Merchants in Sicily, between XVIII and XIX century and particularly on the so-called “English Decade”, 1806-15, recently wrote:
“ ….For so many years I followed Gibbs and I never found a shred of evidence about his burial. The main hypothesis remains that about the cemetery at “Acquasanta” and the fact that no gravestone has been found, probably depends on the destructions and irreversible damages caused in the past decades. Also, there is no trace of his transfer from Acquasanta cemetery to the Rotoli non-catholic cemetery (the largest one in Palermo), because I personally checked inch by inch even that burial ground. It could exist another possibility. A burial in the ground of his villa at Mezzomonreale (a western suburb of Palermo) where he lived in the last years of his life. It is improbable but possible because there is an important precedent with the remains of the British Consul Daniel Boomester, who was buried in his garden in 1802. I take the opportunity to send you my last historical essay on Gibbs …”
Gaetano added … the cemetery was opened in about 1810 for the need of a burial ground for the members of the British Community in Palermo, and closed in 1871. It remained in excellent conditions until 1950, when its administrator, the Anglo-Palermitan Family, Whitaker, let the Municipal Authority of Palermo have it. Since then, the old cemetery was abandoned and relentlessly devastated by private interests (even became a dumping ground). From 2005, the site is under an institutional protection for a possible recovery. We hope to dig up and collect all the gravestones broken pieces, spread all over the cemetery, for identifying some guests. Most of them were merchants; Abraham Gibbs was not a whatever guy, surely a merchant, but also the reference Banker of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and in no way the British Consul or King Ferdinand I of Boubon, would have ever given their consent to bury Gibbs everywhere, outside the “Acquasanta” English cemetery, also known as “Protestant Cemetery” or “Lazzaretto Cemetery”. We hope, one day, to find Abraham Gibbs’s grave.”
A while ago Marco Cazzulo emailed me about Charles Gibbs of Genoa (Topsham 1808 – Genoa 1857). “… In this period I’m cataloging the burials of the old English cemetery of S. Benigno, about a mile west Genoa. For years, in its vicinity, a stone quarry (operated by Genoa’s goverment) worked until it was decided to destroy this cemetery. The graves were moved (in 1904) to the current cemetery of Staglieno Genoa. I have uncovered the grave of Charles Gibbs and Maria wife of ?? Gibbs. The field where are these graves are in bad conditions and I’m trying, with a few of friends, to clean it. I cut the weeds and I removed the dirt that covered the graves and I found the Gibbs’ graves …”
On Charles Gibbs’ grave is:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF/ CHARLES GIBBS ESQUIRE / BANKER / WHO DIED AT GENOA / 7 DECEMBER 1857 / AGED 48 YEARS
On Maria’s grave is:
XXXVII / […] the memory of / […] MARIA / […] uch beloved Wife of / […] GIBBS Esq.re / […] of this City / […] ted this life / […] vember 1835. / […] 29. years. / […] same vault / […] the remains of / […] S LOUISA / […] ghter of the above /
Charles Gibbs was Abraham Gibbs of Palermo’s nephew; he was a merchant in Genoa, working with his uncle Lyle Gibbs at his firm Gibbs & Co. of Genoa. Lyle also died and was buried in Genoa in February 1839. Maria is Ellin Maria née Gamble, the wife of John Ley Gibbs, older brother of Charles, and their 3 year old daughter was Francis Louise Gibbs. Charles’ wife Stuarta also died in Genoa in 1873; she was the daughter of the British Consul in Genoa. Their daughter, Constance, was born in Genoa and married an Italian (Giulio Adamoli), and their family were last know living near Varese in northern Italy.
Giulio and Constance Adamoli are subjects of another Italian email exchange, with Fichtner Augusto (thanks to google translate for enabling us to carry on a lengthy exchange). As a child Fichtner used to play with their great-grandson in the grounds of Besozzo Palace, the Adamoli ancestral home, and recalls dressing up in military uniforms and swords found in the basement. Captain Giulio Adamoli fought as a volunteer with Garibaldi in the Italian Independence Wars of 1859 – 67 and was later a Senator in the Italian Parliament, spending his final 20 years in Egypt. They had 3 daughters and 3 grandsons; one went missing in Russia, another died in a climbing accident on the sea cliffs at Portofino and one emigrated in disgrace to USA, leaving only a grand-daughter in Varese. Fichtner recounted that when the castle was sold all the contents and family papers were thrown into a skip and bonfire, though he rescued a few items.
On a trip to Italy we visited Besozzo, with the “palazzo” now converted to luxury apartments and were told one of the residents was an elderly woman descended from the Adamoli family, but she spent most of her time in Rome. We had lunch at a nearby mountain refuge overlooking Lago Maggiore where a plaque indicated that all the land around was given to the mountaineering club by the Adamoli family and the refuge built in memory of their beloved grandson Giulio Adamoli de Grandi, who had been killed in that climbing accident. The only real remnant of the family history that we could find around that area of Italy.