Elizabeth Gibson (Chavis)

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Elizabeth Gibson (Chevers)

Birthplace: Monkstown, County Dublin, Ireland
Death: circa 1681 (24-41)
Charles City County, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas Chavis and Unknown Gibson
Wife of Thomas Gibson
Mother of Gibson Gibson and Habburd Gibson, Sr,
Half sister of Thomas Gibson

Managed by: Carol Ann McCarn
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elizabeth Gibson (Chavis)


Elizabeth Chivers (daughter of Thomas Chevers/Chivers) had two sons named Gibson (Gibby) Gibson and Hubbard Gibson. Some Gibson researchers think that Gibby Gibson was the father of Gideon Gibson. Gideon Gibson was said to be of mixed race and lived in what was then (1720s) Chowan Co. North Carolina. In the same part of Chowan Co.(north of the Roanoke River) lived...Chavis ancestors. There was a Hubbard Gibson (Gideon Gibsons uncle?) that lived in the same area of Chowan Co. NC in 1721. I think this was Elizabeth Chivers other son. This area later became part of Bertie Co. and then Northampton Co. NC. This Gibson family and some... Chavis ancestors moved to the Pee Dee River area of South Carolina.

Elizabeth was born a Chavis from Thomas Chevers III and First Name Unknown Saponi Last Name Unknown. Elizabeth Chavis married the brother of Jane The Elder. Elizabeth Chavis petitioned the court at James City in 1672 on behalf of her son Gibson Gibson for being unlawfully bound to Thomas Barber by Berr. Mercer. The court heard the case soon after and ordered Gibson Gibson freed and returned to his mother.The legality of the status of the following tithability meant that this Elizabeth Chavis' mother was legally a free person of color. 'She married Jane The Elder's brother, Thomas Chavis, and together they had Gibson Gibson, Sr(1660) '

10th of June 1668 A List of ye Tythables from ye Colledge to Smiths forte taken up by Mr. Thos Warren
Tho. Hurle Joh. Shipp Tho Gibson & 1 negro, 04

'''Geo. Foster & Tho. Williams,''' 02 <br/>

Tho. North, 01
John Clemens, 01

'''Edmond Howell''', 01<br/>
Thomas Gibson is a father of one Gibson Gibson and therefore husband of '''Elizabeth Chavis.''' Elizabeth was married to Thomas and the Peter) Edmond Howell is a godfather of Gibson Gibson--See 23 Dec. 1679 & 28 March 1672]

Following information with sources from Margaret Ann Combs May/June 2020:

EARLY LIFE Elizabeth Chivers* (aka Chavis) was born in Monkstown Castle, Dublin County, Ireland about 1648 to Catholic Thomas Chivers* Sr and unnamed mother. She was second oldest of five siblings. Her father was a surgeon there but did not continue his medical practice in America. She traveled with her parents and three siblings to the Virginia Colony aboard the ship "Richard and Benjamin," arriving early in 1654 after her father's Irish titles and lands were confiscated by Oliver Cromwell. Her father most likely raised tobacco as a cash crop until he was able to purchase 1,100 acres in Surry County, Virginia on 20 May 1659. Her father died there after 8 Feb 1664 leaving Elizabeth and William as orphans. Elizabeth Chivers, about 16, became a white indentured servant on 13 Apr 1664 in Surry County, Virginia to Robert Cartwright: "Robt. Cartwright, carpenter, owes Capt. Flood and Mr. Benjamin Harrison for ye Elizabeth Chivers, a daughter of Thomas Chivers, dec'd., 5000 lbs good tob.(tobacco) and to buy a mare when she is of age" (16, 18 or 21). (• Note: possible variations on surname. SHIVERS, SHAVERS, CHAVEZ, CHAVES, CHAVUSE, CHAVIS, CHIVAS, CHEEVERS ... Graves??? Cheffers)

 (sources: 1
    1. Thom Montgomery, PhD, CHEVERS/SHIVERS FAMILY CHRONICLES AND CONNECTIONS, Limited Edition (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Thom Montgomery, PhD, January 2001), Thomas Chivers of Ireland: Arrival in America. http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~palsgaard/genealogy/shivers/THOMAS%20CHEVERS%20.htm.

Research into Elizabeth's paternal line can be traced back to her 7th great-grandfather, John Chevers (1395-1425) in Ballyhaly, Wexford County, Ireland. The Chevers have a long history in Wexford County and descend from Sir William Chevers, who fought with Strongbow in the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. It is believed that the family line descends from the Lords of Chievres, a town in the Netherlands in the County Hainault. The Chevers became owners of land, manor houses and titles and include many who were knighted, a judge, and mayor of Wexford. When Oliver Cromwell came into power, the Chevers were driven from their lands and Elizabeth's father was forced to make a new life in the Virginia colony of America. Elizabeth herself became an indentured servant and is believed to be the maternal head of the Gibson family in America.

16th & 17th CENTURY VIRGINIA COLONY Prior to the beginning of staple-producting plantations, Europeans, Africans and Native Americans crossed the lines between freedom and slavery often and freely. Both free and unfree worked, played and even married openly in a manner that would later be prohibited by law and condemned by custom. In colonial Virginia, most free African American families were descendents of white indentured servant women who had children by slaves or free African Americans. When they arrived in Virginia, Africans joined a society divided by master and white servant--a society which held such contempt for white servants that masters could beat them to death without fear of punishment. So the Africans and Native Americans bound to white masters joined the same households with white servants working, eating, sleeping, drinking, and sometimes running away together. Africans became free in the 17th and 18th centuries before chattel slavery and racism had fully developed in the United States. [Heinegg, Paul. (2005) Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina: From the Colonial Period to About 1820. Baltimore, MD. Genealogical Publishing Co. Vol. I, Foreward and p.1.]

FAMILY Elizabeth's father purchased land in Surry County, Virginia bordering land owned by the Gibson family. She may still have been indentured in her early years together with Thomas Gibson. They had the following children and are considered to be the founding parents of the Gibson family in North America: Gibson Gibson ( c1660-1727), Thomas Gibson (1662-?), Hubbard Gibson Sr (c1670-before 1742), Jane the "Indian" Gibson (1672-1738), George Gibson (1674-1700) and Gidion Gibson (1676-1738) and possibly others. There was often no designation between a person's race except that they were "dark-skinned." Native Americans were lumped in with Africans and usually referred to only as dark skinned or mulattoes. Mixtures of dark-skinned people (African and Native Americans) and whites (Europeans) where there were three races represented were often referred to as melungeons, French for "mixed" race.

Records of Elizabeth are very scarce. Besides documentation of her indenture, she appears in only one other record when she, as Elizabeth Chavis, petitioned the General Court of Virginia on 28 Mar 1672 to release her son, Gibson Gibson, who had been unlawfully bound by Berr. Mercer to Thomas Barber who had gone to England, leaving the boy with Samuel Austin (Heiniger, Vol I, p282). Speculation of the boy's racial background led this researcher to the following Virginia provisions may explain why she was granted the release of Gibson's indenture. He would have been about 12 years old.


In 1655 provision was made that Indian children could become indentured servants only by consent of their parents and for specified terms agreed upon and such children were to be educated in the Christian religion. In Virginia, 1656, it was provided that Indian children brought into the colony as hostages should be assigned to masters by choice of their parents, but should not be made slaves. Again, in 1658, it was decreed that any Indian children disposed of by their parents to a white man for “education and instruction in the Christian religion”, or for any other purpose, were not to be turned over to any other person upon any pretext whatever, and any such child was to be free at the age of twenty-five. (Source: DOCUMENTING THE MELUNGEONS & THEIR KIN blog by Joanne Pezzulo on the internet at http://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/)

The 1658 provision may explain why Elizabeth Chavis successfully petitioned the General Court of Virginia on 28 March 1672 to free her son, Gibson Gibson, from being unlawfully bound by Berr. Mercer to Thomas Barber, who had gone to England leaving the boy with Samuel Austin (Heinegg, p. 282). No race is indicated in the court record, but Gibson's descendants were mixed-race.

DEATH Elizabeth died before 6 August 1681 about 33 years of age according to a Surry County (Virginia) deed by which her brother William sold land which descended to them by their father's will. (Heinegg, p. 282)

The following source Melungeon families lived in the same area of Virginia around 1730: John Bunch, Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Gibson and Thomas Collins. They begin selling their land in Louisa County. VA in 1747 and migrated to the Flatt River area of then Granville County, North Carolina. This area became Orange County in 1753. In 1747 Thomas Collins sells 184 acres of land on the south side of the Pamunkey River on Turkey Run Creek to John Dowell for 25 Ibs. (Louisa County, Va. reference in Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families blog) ___________

DOCUMENTING THE MELUNGEONS & THEIR KIN (blog) "...early records of Virginia and the Carolinas contain notices of Portuguese ships having gone to wreck on the coasts of these States and of the crews settling down and marrying in with Indians and mulattoes." Mr. James Mooney, Washington Post, 1902.

“Portuguese,” became almost synonymous for both the Muslims and the Jews who had been exiled during the Spanish Inquisition. Numerous sources state that the Gibson family [may have] originated with Elizabeth Chavis but records show that the Gibson family was here before the Chavis family according to Joanne Pezzullo, DOCUMENTING THE MELUNGEONS & THEIR KIN (http://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/ joannepezzullo@aol.com). No race is indicated in the court record of Gibson Gibson being freed from indenture, but Gibson's descendants were mixed-race.

Another source of information: www.http://the-melungeons.blogspot.com/2013/09/melungeons-portuguese-indians-gibsons.html

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Elizabeth Gibson (Chavis)'s Timeline

Monkstown, County Dublin, Ireland
James City County, Virginia, Colonial America
Age 33
Charles City County, Virginia, United States