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Ernest Willard Gibson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ernest Willard Gibson
Ernest W. Gibson.jpg
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
November 21, 1933 – June 20, 1940
Preceded byPorter H. Dale
Succeeded byErnest W. Gibson Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1933 – October 19, 1933
Preceded byNone (new district)
Succeeded byCharles A. Plumley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's 2nd district
In office
November 6, 1923 – March 3, 1933
Preceded byPorter H. Dale
Succeeded byNone (district eliminated)
President pro tempore of the Vermont Senate
In office
Preceded byWilliam J. Van Patten
Succeeded byMax L. Powell
Member of the Vermont Senate from Windham County
In office
Serving with George H. Gorham
Preceded byCharles S. Chase, Brigham T. Phelps
Succeeded byEdwin P. Adams, Edgar M. Butler
Judge of the Brattleboro, Vermont Municipal Court
In office
December 20, 1906 – December 1, 1910
Preceded byNone (position created)
Succeeded byKittredge Haskins
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives from Brattleboro
In office
Preceded byClarke C. Fitts
Succeeded byHerbert G. Barber
Personal details
Ernest Willard Gibson

(1872-12-29)December 29, 1872
Londonderry, Vermont, U.S.
DiedJune 20, 1940(1940-06-20) (aged 67)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Grace Fullerton Hadley[1]
Children4, including Ernest W. Gibson Jr.
Alma materNorwich University (B.S., M.A.)
University of Michigan Law School
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceVermont National Guard
United States Army
Years of service1899-1908
US-O6 insignia.svg
Battles/warsPancho Villa Expedition
World War I

Ernest Willard Gibson (December 29, 1872 – June 20, 1940) was an American politician and lawyer from Vermont. He served as a United States Representative and Senator.

Early life

Ernest W. Gibson was born in Londonderry, Vermont, on December 29, 1872,[2] and attended local schools. He was a graduate of Black River Academy, where his classmates included Calvin Coolidge.[3] He graduated from Norwich University in 1894, and was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity.[4] He received his Master of Arts degree from Norwich in 1896.[5] He studied law with Eleazer L. Waterman and James Loren Martin, attended the University of Michigan Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1899.[6][7]

Start of career

Gibson was a high school principal in Chester from 1894 until 1898.[8] He served as a Chester Village Trustee from 1895 to 1898.[7]

He was a trustee of Norwich University from 1899 to 1909 and again from 1919 to 1935, and served as vice president of the board of trustees.[9] Gibson received an honorary LL.D. from Norwich in 1926.[10]

A Republican, after becoming an attorney he practiced in Brattleboro, where he also served as the Windham County Register of Probate and Deputy Clerk of Vermont's United States District Court.[11] From 1904 to 1911 he was a lecturer on constitutional law at Norwich University.[12]

In 1906 he was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives.[13] In 1908 he was elected to the Vermont State Senate, and served as President pro tempore.[14]

From 1906 to 1910 Gibson served as Brattleboro's Municipal Court Judge.[15] In 1910 he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor.[16]

Gibson became a leader of the Progressive movement in Vermont, which ultimately led to creation of a recognized faction within the Vermont Republican Party, the Aiken-Gibson Wing. The Aiken-Gibson Wing was more liberal than the party establishment, which had been led for years by conservative business interests including the Smith family of St. Albans, the Fairbanks family of St. Johnsbury, and the Proctor family of Proctor.[17][18]

Despite his Progressive views, Gibson remained loyal to the Republicans and worked to keep Vermonters with similar views in the party. To that end, in 1912 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention.[19][20]

Gibson served as Windham County State's Attorney from 1919 until 1921, and was Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs (chief assistant) to Governor James Hartness in 1921.[21][22]

Military service

From 1899 to 1908 Gibson served in the Vermont National Guard. Enlisting as a private, he was commissioned in 1901. From 1906 to 1908 he served on the staff of Governor Fletcher D. Proctor as a colonel.[23][24]

He served again from 1915 to 1923. Joining the 1st Vermont Infantry Regiment as a captain, he served in the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1915 and 1916.[25][26][27]

Gibson also served in World War I. As captain and commander of Company I, 1st Vermont Infantry (later federalized as the 57th Pioneer Infantry Regiment), Gibson served at Camp Bartlett, Camp Greene, and Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina before departing for France in September, 1918. The 57th Pioneer Infantry provided replacement troops for the 83rd Division, with Gibson and a handful of soldiers left to reorganize the regiment and prepare it for a scheduled for deployment to the front lines. The Armistice occurred before the unit moved, and Gibson returned to the United States. At the end of the war he was stationed at Camp Devens, where he received his discharge in March, 1919.[28][29][30] Gibson remained in the National Guard, and retired as a colonel upon winning election to Congress.

United States Representative

In November 1923, Gibson was elected to the United States House of Representatives (Sixty-eighth United States Congress), filling the vacancy caused when Porter H. Dale resigned Vermont's 2nd district seat to become a United States Senator. He was reelected to the Sixty-ninth, and the four succeeding Congresses, serving from November 6, 1923, until his resignation on October 19, 1933.[31]

Vermont lost a House district as a result of the 1930 census, and in 1932 Gibson was elected as Vermont's at-large Congressman, defeating Loren R. Pierce in the primary, and going on to win the general election. Governor John E. Weeks had run for the 1st district seat in 1930, and indicated that if elected it would be the capstone of his career and he would not run in 1932, thus avoiding the possibility that two incumbents would run against each other for the at-large seat.

During his House tenure, Gibson was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Sixty-ninth Congress) and the Committee on Territories (Seventy-first Congress).[32]

United States Senate

In November 1933, Gibson was appointed to the United State Senate, filling the vacancy created by the death of Porter H. Dale.[33] He was elected in 1934 to complete Dale's term, and elected to a full term in 1938. Gibson served in the Senate from November 21, 1933, until his death on June 20, 1940. He died in Washington, D.C., and is interred in Morningside Cemetery in Brattleboro.[34]


Gibson married Grace Fullerton Hadley on November 25, 1896. They had four children, Frank Hadley Gibson (1899–1922), Ernest William Gibson Jr. (1901–1969), Doris Gibson (1903–1947) and Preston Fullerton Gibson (1908–1955).[7]

Ernest W. Gibson Jr. succeeded his father temporarily in the Senate and later served as Governor of Vermont and Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont.[35]

The younger Ernest Gibson's children included Ernest W. Gibson III, an associate justice of the Vermont Supreme Court.[36]

Preston F. Gibson was a lawyer who was active in Republican politics and served as judge of Brattleboro's municipal court.[37][38]

See also


  1. ^ Vermont Vital Records, 1720-1908, marriage record for Ernest W. Gibson and Grace Fullerton Hadley (1896), retrieved February 28, 2014
  2. ^ Port of New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, entry Ernest W. Gibson, arriving on S.S. President Harding, September 24, 1927, page 186, retrieved February 28, 2014
  3. ^ Middlesex Club of Boston, Program, Grant Night Dinner, 1924, page 20
  4. ^ Ellis, William Arba (1911). Norwich University, 1819–1911; Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor. 3. Montpelier, VT: Capital City Press. p. 283.
  5. ^ Norwich University, 1819-1911, p. 283.
  6. ^ University of Michigan Law School, Annual Catalogue for 1893-1894, 1893, page 48
  7. ^ a b c Norwich University, 1819-1911, p. 284.
  8. ^ Vermont Bar Association, Report of Proceedings of the Annual Meeting, Volume 34, 1940, page 82
  9. ^ White, James Terry (1943). The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. J.T. White. p. 452.
  10. ^ Norwich University, Norwich University Record, 1937, page 5
  11. ^ Prentiss Cutler Dodge, Encyclopedia of Vermont Biography, 1912, pages 199-200
  12. ^ Ellis, Norwich University, page 600
  13. ^ Prentiss Cutler Dodge, Encyclopedia of Vermont Biography
  14. ^ Vermont General Assembly, Journal of the Vermont State Senate, 1908, page 5
  15. ^ James Terry White, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography
  16. ^ Prentiss Cutler Dodge, Encyclopedia of Vermont Biography
  17. ^ Samuel B. Hand, The Star That Set: The Vermont Republican Party, 1854-1974, 2003, page 133
  18. ^ Richard Munson Judd, The New Deal in Vermont: Its Impact and Aftermath, 1979, pages 64, 160, 303
  19. ^ "Gibson, Ernest Willard (1872–1940)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  20. ^ Peter S. Jennison, The Roadside History of Vermont, 1989, 101
  21. ^ Sampson and Murdock, The New England Business Directory and Gazetteer, 1920, page 123
  22. ^ Vermont Bar Association, Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1940
  23. ^ Ellis, Norwich University, page 284
  24. ^ Vermont Adjutant General, Biennial Report, General Order Number 1, 1906, page 1
  25. ^ U.S. Army Adjutant General, Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916, entry for Ernest W. Gibson, August 1916, retrieved February 28, 1916
  26. ^ U.S. Army Adjutant General, Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916, entry for Ernest W. Gibson, October 1916, retrieved February 28, 1916
  27. ^ Army and Navy Journal, Inc., Army and Navy Journal, Volume 74, Issues 1-26, 1936, page 462
  28. ^ U.S. Army Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976, Vermont Roster of Soldiers in World War I (1917-1919), 1927, entry for Ernest Willard Gibson, page 494
  29. ^ Richard A. Rinaldi, The US Army in World War I - Orders of Battle, 2004, page 102
  30. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Vermont Legislative Directory and State Manual, 1965, page 168
  31. ^ "Sen. Ernest Gibson". Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  32. ^ United States. Congress (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–2005: The Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and the Congress of the United States, from the First Through the One Hundred Eighth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 2005. Government Printing Office. p. 1115. ISBN 9780160731761.
  33. ^ "Appointed Senators". United States Senate. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  34. ^ "Ernest Willard Gibson, Sr". Find a Grave. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  35. ^ "Gibson, Ernest William (1901–1969)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  36. ^ Myers, Ed (November 6, 1969). "Judge Gibson to be Buried Friday in Brattleboro". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. p. 1.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  37. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1949, page 680
  38. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office, Memorial Services Held in the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States, Together with Remarks Presented in Eulogy of Ernest Willard Gibson (late a Senator from Vermont), 1943, page 52

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Porter H. Dale
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's 2nd congressional district

1923 – 1933
District eliminated
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Vermont's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Charles A. Plumley
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Porter H. Dale
 U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Vermont
1933 – 1940
Served alongside: Warren Austin
Succeeded by
Ernest W. Gibson Jr.
This page was last edited on 24 January 2020, at 01:58
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