Nehemiah Gibson Obituary - East Boston Advocate - 29 April 1882

In Memoriam1

Nehemiah Gibson

A 19th Century Horse Drawn Carriage Hearse. Image from Carriage Musuem of America2

Our citizens have been considerably surprised this week to learn of the death of Ex-Alderman Nehemiah Gibson who expired at his residence, No. 95 Webster Street, at 3:20 P.M. on Tuesday last. Mr. Gibson had been in fail health for two years, having an organic disease which would in time have resulted in death; but the immediate cause of the sickness which proved fatal was a severe cold contracted in the new office of the firm of N. Gibson & Co., No. 25 Lewis street. Thoroughly chilled he sought his residence and was soon threatened with rheumatic fever from which, under the skillful treatment of his physician. Dr. Thorndike and the administrations of a devoted family, he would undoubtedly have rallied but for the fact that erysipilas has set in, producing blood poisoning from which he rapidly sank.

Nehemiah Gibson was born in Ashby, Mass., April 16, 1816, where he resided for several years, learning the carpenter's trade. Removing from there to Concord (where he finished his trade) and later to Cambridgeport, he came to Boston in 1837, where he has ever since resided, and during which term, until within about ten years, he has been actively engaged in the wood and coal business. 

Early in his connection with this business he was associated with Mr. Thomas French on Marginal street, and later with Mr. Alonzo Crosby; during the latter connection his plan of business was on a large number of government transports several of which he has altered to sailing vessels which he has engaged in the merchant service. 

Mr. Gibson married, March 9, 1843, Miss Lucy H. Paine. Three children were born to them, two of them are living, Mrs. Elliot Ritchie and Mr. Charles E. Gibson. Mrs. Gibson died three or four years ago, and June 25 1879, Mr. Gibson married Mrs. A.B. Magoun, a widow of one of East Boston's earliest settlers, who survives him. 

Mr. Gibson was for several years president of the Maverick Bank, succeeding the late Samuel Hall, and at the time of his death a director; he was a member of the Board of Directors of East Boston Ferrie from April 1, 1870 to Jan. 1, 1872, and from May 1872 to May 1878, and its president from April 1, 1870 to January 1872; serving on the board eight years, a longer period that any other director.

Politically, Mr. Gibson was a Democrat and served in the city government several years. viz.: In 1857 and 1858 he was a member of the Common Council; In 1861, 1870, 1871, 1873 and 1877 a member of the Board of Alderman. He was also a one year member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Socially, Mr. Gibson was one of the kindesthearted of men. Possessed of a benevolent disposition his disbursements in private charity were large and widely distributed. Born and reared in very humble circumstances he carved his own fortune and was the main support of his parents during their lifetime, and of a large circle of relatives who have from time to time enjoyed his bounty. In lustrious himself he could not brook idleness in others and yet was liberal in his donations toward those who needed aid while striving to help themselves. To his family he was devoted and affectionate husband and an indulgent father he endeared himself to his home circle by ties which death has now rudely sundered but which memory will hold dear while those who have enjoyed his domestic intimacy shall exist.

A public spirited citizens, a good neighbor, a generous open-handed friend,  a genial acquaintance, an honest man, he has passed away leaving to his family a legacy more valuable than anything else, the fragrance of a well spent life.

Funeral services were observed at the late residence at 1 o'clock P.M. yesterday. Rev. W.H. Cudworth officiated. The entire lower portion of the house was filled with friends of the deceased in public, business and social life.

A quartette composed of Mrs. Saxton-Kelley, Miss Hannah F. Crafts, Messrs. J.B. Blanchard and R.J. Elder, sang "Thy will be done." Mr. Cudworth read selections from the Scriptures, followed by appropriate remarks upon the useful and prosperous life of the deceased, wherein he referred to the ambition, industry, integrity and honorable character of the departed, drawing lessons from his achievements applicable to those whose pursuits had led them in paths side by side with him now lost to the busy world of mortality.

At the conclusion of Mr. Cudworth's remarks the quartette sang "The sweet bye-and-bye" A fervent and eloquent supplication was made by the pastor, after which the quartette sang, "Shall we meet beyond the river?" This was followed by the benediction. Opportunity was afforded all present to look upon the face of our late fellow citizen, which presented a remarkably natural appearance. The remains were enclosed in an elegant casket, the plate bearing the simple inscription:

Nehemiah Gibson

Died April 25th, 1882

Aged 66 years, 9 days

The pall bearers were Asa P. Potter (president of the Maverick National Bank). Thos. Dana, Col. Jonas H. French, Hon. Charles R. McLean, Judge G.W. Warren, N.B. Mansfield, Henry F. Woods, Silvanus Smith, Geo. T. Sampson and Abram S. Foss.

Among the prominent people present we noticed ex-Alderman Clinton Viles, James Powers. Nath'l Seaver, Geo. L. Thorndike, D.D. Kelly; Alderman Wm. Woolley and ... P.S. Hucklus, Joshua Weston, Moses B. Tower, James Ritchie, John Burbank, Wesley A. Gove and many other business friends and neighbors.

The floral tributes were numerous and elegant. A magnificent floral broken shaft surmounted by an anchor, the whole five feet in height, was the testimonial of the directors of the Maverick National Bank. The column as composed of white pinks, its base  being of lilies, ferns and pansies. The anchor was made of lilies, rose-buds, heliotropes mounted on roses and ferns. This beautiful piece was the workmanship of Messrs. S.W. Twombly & Sons, 161 Tremont street.

The following designs were contributed by the family: A barkentine five feet in length from stem to stern, the hull of white oinks, the deck framed of heliotopes, rosebuds and pansies, the masts of violets; a very large pillow bearing the word, in violets, "Father;" an anchor of tea rose-buds and ferns; a cross and crown three feet in height on a base of ferns; a sheaf of wheat, lilies of the valley and pansies; a large bunch of calla lilies and ferns; a very large basket of flowers.

The parlors were trimmed with ivy, and over the casket was suspended a snow-white dove. Around the plate of the casket was a wreath of Marshal Neil and Jacqueminot roses. All the family floral offerings were furnished by J. Newman & Sons of 7 Tremont street.

The family have received the following communications  from the cashier of the Maverick National Bank, embodying a series of 


Maverick National Bank,

Boston, April 27, 1882

At a meeting of the directors of the Maverick National Bank of Boston, held this day, it was unanimously

Resolve, That being called suddenly to meet a great loss by the decease of their beloved associate, Nehemiah Gibson (who was for ever twenty years a director, commencing his service while the bank was a state organization and was for six years its president), the board can but feebly express, at this time, their sense of high obligation to his memory for the constant and faithful services he rendered to the bank during this long period; and they desire to place on record their high appreciation of his sterling integrity and of his remarkable promptness energy and great capacity in all business affairs; and their grateful remembrance of his courtesy and kindness in all their relations with him and they join with this community in tendering their cordial sympathy to his bereaved family, and in assuring them that his useful life has been crowned with the highest success which his official character and well-known person worth have secured.

Resolved, That the board will attend the funeral of the deceased, on the 28th inst.

Resolved, That these resolutions be placed on the records of the bank, and that a copy be sent to the family of the deceased.

J.J. Eddy,

Cashier and Clerk of the Board of Director.


1 East Boston Advocate - Saturday, 29 April 1882 - pg. 1.

2 Plate No. 18. Hearse. Carriage Monthly June 1885 page 60. Image from Carriage Museum of America - Used with permission. (Old link -