Mary Clark (Gipson)
|Also Known As:||"Griffith or Gibson"|
Daughter of John Jordan Gibson and Eliza Gibson
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Mary Clark
My reason for suggesting that John Clark’s second wife may have been Mary Gibson also is based on largely circumstanial evidence, e.g. John naming his youngest son Gibson and the fact that members of the Gibson family were close Clark neighbors in Edgecombe and Anson Cos. as well as in South Carolina.
The Gibsons were an unusual colonial family. Gideon Gibson, who I suggest may have been Mary’s father, was a well-known Cherokee and Chickasaw Indian trader who
settled at Occoneechee Neck along the Roanoke River in the early 1720’s. A free black, Gideon married a white planter’s daughter (Mary Brown) and all of his children followed suit and married whites. (The Louise Hayes biography of Elijah Clark comments on the General’s unusual dark complexion and rugged handsomness, a description that gives some credence to Mary Gibson’s
If skin color and occupation were not enough to distinguish Gideon Gibson, his younger brother, Jordan Gibson, became a famous scout and close companion of both Squire Boone and son Daniel Boone. Jordan Gibson’s son Jim lived with the Boones in Kentucky and later in Missouri.
I'm still seeking info about Mary Gibson? Clark. I am curious about an alternative to her being descended from Gideon Gibson, neighbor of John Clark, which has been speculated but not confirmed. I can't find a Mary in Gideon's family that fits. Martha Nisbit Pickens moved from her long-time home on Cub Creek to South Carolina after husband Israel was killed. Why would she unless to be near a relative, possibly Mary? who was married to John. When Mary died, she married John. (My time frame may be in error.) Was he an in-law? She named hers and John's son Gibson Clark. Why would she have named him for the surname of the spouse before her unless there is a family link? I see other Nisbit descendants who also have the first name of Gibson. Also, Andrew Pickens, brother of Israel, and the Clarks were known to each other. If we can establish her parents/siblings, we might have a different lineage and reason for Gibson Clark's name. If you can shed any light, please contact me.
It is my understanding that one possible lineage of General Elijah Clark is that his mother was the daughter of Gideon and Mary (Brown) Gibson of Bertie Precinct. There seems to be information about this line that originates with Elizabeth Chevaz, who went to court to have her son Gibson Gibson released from bondage in 1672. One account I've read, however, shows her married name as Blyth. So, where and when did it change to Gibson? Can someone give the ancestry back to Ireland? beginning with Mary Gibson, wife of John Clark, parents of Elijah and going back? Also, there seems to be a case in Charles City Co. VA where one of the Gibsons (Gibby? or Gideon?) proved he was not mulatto, but of Portuguese decent. I've been reading about Melungeons, but the lineage seems a bit unclear.
By 1790 they [free african-americans] represented 1.7% of the free population of North Carolina, concentrated in the counties of Northampton, Halifax, Bertie, Granville, Craven, Robeson, and Hertford where they were about 5% of the free population ... In these counties most African American families were landowners, and several did exceptionally well.
The Bunch, Chavis and Gibson families owned slaves and acquired over a thousand acres of land on both sides of the Roanoke River ...
Some members of the Gibson family moved to South Carolina in 1731 where a member of the Commons House of Assembly complained that "several free colored men with their white wives had immigrated from Virginia." Governor Robert Johnson of South Carolina summoned Gideon Gibson and his family to explain their presence there and after meeting him and his family reported,
I have had them before me in Council and upon Examination find that they are not Negroes nor Slaves but Free people, That the Father of them here is named Gideon Gibson and his Father was also free, I have been informed by a person who has lived in Virginia that this Gibson has lived there Several Years in good Repute and by his papers that he has produced before me that his transactions there have been very regular, That he has for several years paid Taxes for two tracts of Land and had several Negroes of his own, That he is a Carpenter by Trade and is come hither for the support of his Family [Box 2, bundle: S.C., Minutes of House of Burgesses (1730-35), 9, Parish Transcripts, N.Y. Hist. Soc. by Jordan, White over Black, 172].
Like the early settlers of the North Carolina frontier Governor Johnson was more concerned with the Gibsons' social class than their race. In mid-eighteenth century North Carolina we find wealthy mixed race families counted in some years by tax assessors as "mulatto" and in other years as white.
John Gibson, Gideon Gibson and Gibeon Chavis, all married the daughters of prosperous white farmers. Some members of the Gibson, Chavis, Bunch and Gowen families became resolutely white after several generations.
By 1870 many of those who remained behind were living in virtually the same condition as the freed slaves. In the 1870 census for Northampton County, North Carolina, the most common occupation listed for those who were free before 1800 was "farm laborer," the same occupation as the former slaves. Some married former slaves, and by the twentieth century they had no idea their ancestors had been free.
Some of the lighter-skinned descendants of these families formed their own distinct communities which have been the subject of anthropological research. Those in Robeson County are called "Lumbee Indians," in Halifax and Warren Counties — "Haliwa-Saponi," in South Carolina — "Brass Ankles" and "Turks," in Tennessee and Kentucky — "Melungeons" and "Portuguese," and in Ohio — "Carmel Indians." Several fantastic theories on their origin have been suggested. One is that they were from Raleigh's lost colony at Roanoke and another that they were an amalgamation of the Siouan-speaking tribes in North and South Carolina [Blu, The Lumbee Problem, 36-41].
Dad also told me a story. It seems there was this Melungeon woman who sold whiskey from her cabin and was so enormously fat that when the revenue agents came to arrest her they couldn't get her out the door. When she died they had to knock out a wall to remove her body.
This story has been widespread. It turns up in east Tennessee folklore, it figures in a novel by Kentucky writer Jesse Stuart, and it turns out that it's true. The woman was Mahala "Big Haley" Mullins. Born in the 1820s, she married a son of the Melungeon patriarch "Irish Jim" Mullins (also known as "Hare-lipped Jim"), and bore him some 19 or 20 children. Her weight apparently never approached the 700 pounds of legend, but it did suffice to confine her to her Hancock County cabin, from which she sold high-quality moonshine until her death in 1902. As one deputy sent to arrest her reported, she was "catchable" but not "fetchable."