Bio: Gibbs, Horace W. (1858 - 1934)

Contact: Janet Schwarze




----Source: History of Clark County, Wisconsin compiled by Franklin Curtiss-Wedge, 1918, pages 452 and 453


Horace W. Gibbs (11 Dec 1858 - 1 Jun 1934)


Horace W. Gibbs, proprietor of a flourishing farm of 280 acres in Sections 14-22 and 23, Worden Township, is a native of Michigan, having been born in Allegan County, Dec. 11, 1858, a son of Comfort B. and Abigail (Ball) Gibbs. The parents were from New York State, the father coming west when a young man. When he first settled in Allegan County, Mich., he was engaged in the lumber business as a jobber, but for the most part of his life he was a farmer. He died in 1910 at the age of 82 years.


He had been a widower for about eight years, his wife having died in 1900, at the age of 66. Of their seven children, four are now living: Horace W., subject of this sketch Julia P., residing in Michigan Albert, of Park Falls, Wis., and Frank, who resides in Worden, Wis. Horace W. Gibbs followed the blacksmith's trade for eighteen years, beginning at the age of 21. He then went into the hardware business in Coloma, Waushara County, conducting a store for two years and for the four succeeding years was engaged in farming in that county. Then going to Plainfield, he resided there two years, conducting the Mitchell Hotel.


In 1906 Mr. Gibbs came to Clark County and bought his present farm, of which he has cleared about eighty acres. In 1917 he built a barn, 38 by 128 feet, with stone basement and concrete floor, with room for 100 head of cattle, and he is now figuring on the construction of sheep sheds.


He was married on October, 1897 to Estrena Yonkey (family member Bonnie Kline indicates here name was actually Ernestine/Ernestina Yonke), who was born in Marquette County, Wis., May 1, 1856, daughter of John and Susan Kensel. Her parents, who were Germans, are no longer living. Since buying his present farm, Mr. Gibbs has made good progress, and is doing a prosperous business, which is increasing yearly. He and his wife have made many friends in this vicinity.


Horace and Tine with grand-nephews
Glenn (Bud) and Dale Haas


Family Notes


When I first got the information on Horace W. Gibbs ( my great uncle) from the Internet site, I wrote to you about what I thought was incorrect information.  Now that we have been to Packwaukee, Montello, and Portage and have found more info, I have discovered that what I previously had was incomplete.  That is why it seemed in error.  The way it seems now is that my great aunt was born Ernestina Marie Kenzel (confirmation certificate) and married Johann Jahnke (marriage certificate found in Montello).  Her son Henry married and the name on his marriage certificate, also found in Montello, was Henry Yonke.  I am assuming that the name was changed from the German Jahnke to the English Yonke about 1875 after Ernestina married Johann and before she married my great uncle Horace.  I have not been able to determine where the Krousa fits in--only that Horace's obituary states his wife's name before their marriage was Ernstina (another spelling discrepancy) Krousa.  So--do as you wish about changing the account as stated in the 1918 history of Clark County that I found on the website. I guess I should not be so hasty in coming to conclusions about errors!  Aren't we glad we don't chisel this info in stone!  Bonnie E. Kline


Important Dates in the Lives of the Gibbs and Fox Families

1634-1780 A Nation in Turmoil

1634          Jean Nicolet lands at Green Bay, Wisconsin

1668          Jacques Marquette and Claude Dablon establish a mission at Sault Ste. Marie

1701          Anhtoine de la Mothe Cadillac founds Detroit

1763          French give up Wisconsin to the English

1770          Boston Massacre

1774          First Continental Congress meets in Philadelphia

1776          Declaration of Independence

           1781-1838 Settlement West of the Alleghenies

     1781          Establishment of Northwest Territory, now the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,

                      Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota

1783          End of the Revolutionary War in the United States       

1789          New York is one of the first thirteen states the United States

1803          Ohio becomes the 17th state of the United States; Louisiana Purchase

1805          First white settlers come to Marlboro Township, Ohio; Michigan Territory is created

1812          War of 1812

1816          Indiana becomes a state

1818          Illinois becomes a state

1820          Samuel Fox is born in Ohio

1825          Erie Canal opens

1830’s       Logging industry begins in Wisconsin

1833          First settlers come to Allegan, Michigan

1837          Michigan becomes the 26th state of the United States

1843          Samuel Fox marries Catherine Fox

1844          Solomon S. Fox is born in Ohio

1838-1913 Further Movement Westward

1848          Wisconsin becomes a state

1849          Three iron mining companies begin operation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

1850          Margaret Glass is born in Ohio

1851          Samuel Fox marries Elizabeth Baer/Blair

1860          Samuel Fox marries Elizabeth Benner/Brenner

1861-1865 Civil War in the United States

1862          Solomon S. Fox enlists in the Ohio infantry

1865          Solomon S. Fox enlists in the Union Army

1866          Solomon S. Fox and Margaret Glass are married in Ohio

1867          Solomon and Margaret Fox emigrate from Ohio to Michigan

1868          Solomon Fox purchases land near Bradley, Michigan

1877          Comfort and Abigail Gibbs move from Michigan to Coloma, Wisconsin

1884          Fire destroys much of Allegan, Michigan

1887          Albert Gibbs marries Nettie Kellog in Marquette County, Wisconsin

1890          Francis Henry Gibbs marries Minnie Rose Fox in Bradley, Michigan

1891          Birth and death of Rex, son of Francis and Minnie Gibbs, in Allegan, Michigan

1892          Solomon Fox becomes an Allegan County Supervisor

1893          Francis and Minnie Gibbs move to Coloma, Wisconsin; birth and death of son Ray

1894          Francis and Minnie Gibbs move to Packwaukee, Wisconsin

1895          Horace Gibbs marries Ernestine Yahnke /Yonke in Marquette County, Wisconsin;

1895          Beulah Marie born to Frank and Minnie Gibbs in Packwaukee, Wisconsin; Beulah Marie born to Solomon and Margaret Fox in Bradley, Michigan

1898          Spanish American War

1900          Abigail Ball Gibbs dies at Packwaukee, Wisconsin

1903          Ford Motor Company incorporated; Bethleva Leota born to Frank and Minnie Gibbs at Packwaukee, Wisconsin

1904          Frank and Minnie Gibbs move to Plainfield, Wisconsin

            1905          Reid Lloyd born to Frank and Minnie Gibbs at Plainfield, Wisconsin

            1906          Solomon S. Fox becomes Register of Deeds of Allegan County, Michigan and daughter Nora H. Fox Newton becomes Deputy Registrar; Comfort, Horace and Ernestina, and Frank and Minnie Gibbs move to rural Thorp in Clark Co., WI

1907          Earl Fox dies of scarlet fever in Telluride, Colorado

1908          Solomon S. Fox dies of a stroke in Allegan, Michigan

1910          Wisconsin’s lumber industry declines; Comfort Gibbs dies in Worden Township,

                     Clark County, Wisconsin; Roy Roscoe born to Frank and Minnie Gibbs


1914-1945 Two World Wars

1914-1918    World War I

1916          Beulah Marie Gibbs marries Martin John Haas at Neillsville, Wisconsin

1926          Bethelva Leota Gibbs marries Carl Theodore Brandt at Thorp, Wisconsin

1927          Reid Lloyd Gibbs marries Lila Emma Brown at Thorp, Wisconsin

1929          The Great Depression in the United States

1932          Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected President of the United States

1933          Adolph Hitler named chancellor of Germany; Roy Roscoe Gibbs marries Helene

                     Dorothea Berseth at Menomonie, Wisconsin

1942          Albert Leander Gibbs dies in Neenah, Wisconsin

1944          Francis Henry Gibbs dies at Thorp, Wisconsin

1945          Atom bomb dropped on Japan ending World War II


1945-1989 The Cold War

1945-1946 The Iron Curtain descends across Europe between Russia and nations to the west

1946          The transistor is invented at Bell Telephone Laboratories

1947          Wisconsin’s first television station WTMJ-TV set up in Milwaukee

1950-1953 Korean Conflict

1954          Minnie Rose Fox Gibbs dies at Stanley, Wisconsin

1957          Sputnik launched by the Soviet Union initiates the "space race"

1959          Patents are issued for the microchip

1963          The structure of DNA is documented

1968          Reid Lloyd Gibbs dies at Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

1971          Beulah Marie Gibbs Haas dies at San Diego, California; first e-mail message sent

1976          Apple Computer begins marketing personal computers


1990-2008 More Wars

1990          Unification of East & West Germany; first program developed for searching the


1991          Roy Roscoe Gibbs dies at Stanley, Wisconsin

1993          Establishment of the European Union

2001          Bethelva Leota Gibbs Brandt dies at Stanley, Wisconsin; 9/11 Terrorist Attack on the

                  Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and World Trade Buildings in New York City

2001-2008    War in Iraq

The Name Gibbs


Information contributed by David Gibbs on the website states that the surname Gibbs is of Norman origin dating back to the conquest of England by French invaders in 1066It is highly likely that there was a family connection between those named Gibbs, Gibb, Gabe, Geeb and Geep. The variation in spelling was probably due to pronunciation—a mix of dialect and accent. The information regarding births, marriages and deaths that was entered in parish registers of Britain was passed to the vicar verbally by peasants who were incapable of scrutinizing an entry so variations went unchecked. The name Gibbs may well have sounded like Geebs.  For the name Gibbs to be listed as Gibb is a common occurrence, even today.


Other information found on various web sites indicates that the name Gibbs is derived from the British Gibb, a form of the forename Gilbert, and the Scottish forename "Gislebert" made up of two Germanic elements meaning "bright hostage."  The motto on the Gibbs crest is "Tenax propositi" which translated means "firm of purpose."


One of the first Gibbs residents in the United States was Andrew Gibb who bought Long Island from the Native Americans in 1655.  Other records indicate that James Gibb came to Maryland in 1674, and John Gibb came to New Jersey in 1685. 


In Great Britain today, Gibbs is a well-established name with nearly 20,000 people sharing that name, most of them living in the southern half of the country.  The Orkney Islands have nearly 2,000 people with the Gibbs name making it the second ranked surname there.  The name Gibbs ranks 374th in greater London.


Two residents of the United States having the surname Gibb/Gibbs are singer Barry Gibb, former singer with the Bee Gees, and Joe Gibbs, head coach of the Washington Redskins who led his team to four Super Bowls and winning three titles.


The Gibbs Family in Wisconsin




1. Waushara & Marquette Counties—Comfort & Abigail Gibbs (1.0), Horace & Tina Gibbs (1.4), Albert & Nettie Gibbs (1.5), Frank & Minnie Gibbs (1.6)


2. Clark County—Horace & Tina Gibbs (1.4), Frank & Minnie Gibbs (1.6), Mart & Beulah Haas (1.63), Carl & Beth Brandt (1.64), Reid & Lila Gibbs (1.65), Lloyd & Jean Gibbs (1.652), Lyle & Rose Brandt (1.642)


3. Price County—Albert & Nettie Gibbs (1.5), Watson & Gertrude Gibbs (1.51), Ollie & Minnie Sayler (1.523), Ray Sayler (1.523), Stanley & Gail Sayler (1.5231), Reo & Golda Gibbs (1.53)


The Gibbs Family in the Town of Worden


The following is compiled from editorials in The Thorp Courier in November of 1968, Clark County Visitor’s Guide, 2007, documented information found at county seats, and other bits of information as remembered by Lyle Brandt and Bonnie Kline.


It was in 1906 that Horace W. and Francis H. (Frank) Gibbs came from the Plainfield/Packwaukee area of Wisconsin and settled in the Town of Worden in Clark County.  After their marriages, Frank’s children, Beth and Reid, also settled in the Town of Worden, Beth in South Worden and Reid on the home place near Thorp.  Beth’s son Lyle Brandt and Reid’s son Lloyd also farmed there and were active in school affairs and in the government of the township.


Establishment of the Township

Township twenty-eight of Clark County, Wisconsin is the Town of Worden, named after the Civil War veteran, Seth Worden.  Worden is bounded on the west by Chippewa County, on the north by the Town of Thorp, on the east by the Town of Reseburg, and on the south by the Town of Butler.  


Much of the land was claimed before any township organization was established.  The first land was claimed by Samuel Weston in September of 1854, and by Reuben Gray in 1855.  In 1853 the West Wisconsin Railway Company had secured land although no railroads were built in the township area.  In the 1870’s the Eau Claire Lumber Company secured extensive holding in various areas of the town.  In 1874 or 1875 Chris Nelson settled in the township, and in 1894 became its first assessor.  He was the grandfather of  Gaylord Nelson who became a United States Senator from Wisconsin


In 1876 the township of Thorp was organized.   It consisted of the present townships of Worden and Thorp.  An ordinance of the County Board passed on May 13, 1893 created the Town of Worden, leaving Thorp with its present boundaries.  Seth Worden had settled in the Town of Thorp, and  remained there after the two townships were created. 


The only road through the town in the early years was the present County Trunk N, located one mile south of the northern boundary of the town and going east and west.  At first it was a military road, and later a stage and supply line.  Supplies came from Chippewa Falls, through Cadott and Edson, and over Country Trunk N to the Company Farm south of Thorp.  It was the main road of the area until the time of the railroads.


Sometime before 1883 the Long Bridge Post Office was established on the Wolf River on the border of the towns of Worden and Edson.  In 1883 it was purchased by Worden residents Ole Krogan and Ole Samuelson.  It continued to be the main post office of the area until one was established in the city of Stanley in Chippewa County.



Early industry was mainly logging.  Most of the area logs were taken to mills in Thorp, Eidsvold or Stanley.  Later, dairying came to be the major industry.  Cream routes were followed by milk routes.  The first cheese factory was Clover Leaf established about 1905.  Others were West Worden, South Worden, Cloverbelt, Breezy Hill, and Hillside Dairy.  In 1968 Hillside Dairy and Clover Leaf were the only factories in operation, and by 2007, only Hillside Dairy remained. Its owner, Randy LaGrander, may be the only Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker to recieve his cheesemaking license before getting his driver’s license—at the age of fifteen.  Colby cheese, made in each of the factories, was developed by Joseph Steinwand in the late 1880’s in the small city of Colby in northern Clark                                                                                                                                                                                                                County, and is the only natural cheese native to the United States. Today, Colby Cheese is sold in supermarkets across the entire United States.


Industry in the early and mid 1900’s was mainly dairying, but in the late 1900’s many farmers had begun raising beef cattle.  In 1894 forty acres of farm land in Section Five was valued at $260.00.  The same forty acres in l967 was valued at $8,875, and in 2007 it was valued at approximately $80,000.


In 1898 ten dozen eggs sold for 76 cents and a horse could be purchased for $30.00.  By 1900 11 ½ dozen eggs sold for $1.03 and wages on a farm were about $200 a year.  In 1903 butter was about fifteen cents a pound and by 1905  wages were about seventy-five cents per day.  A statement from  South Worden Dairy of December 1934 shows that Carl Brandt received $11.36 as monthly payment for milk sold, and that he had purchased butter at thirty cents a pound.  About 1938 Bonnie remembers purchasing fabric from Sears and Montgomery Wards mail order for three or four cents per yard. 


Township Officers

Township officers consisted of a chairman, two supervisors, a clerk, a treasurer, and an assessor.   The Gibbs family was a part of the town board.  Frank served as assessor in 1918, Reid as town clerk from 1943 to 1954, Beth’s husband Carl Brandt as assessor from 1955 to 1958, and Lyle Brandt as supervisor from 1995 to the present (2008).



Rural schools in the township included River View, Jackson, Breezy Hill, Garfield, South Worden, Busy Bee, and Pioneer, the first school in the area.  With consolidation in the mid 1950’s, many of the schools closed and students attended schools in either Thorp or Stanley.


Busy Bee was established in 1878, its first building a log structure 16’ x 24’.  In 1884 an acre of land was purchased for $8.00 and a new school erected. The first Mother’s Club in Clark County was formed at Busy Bee School, and met at the school with both mothers and children preparing and presenting programs.  It was in the spring of 1950 that Bonnie did her student teaching there. The school was later closed, and in 1962, it was purchased by the Town of Worden to be used as Worden’s town hall. 


Breezy Hill was opened sometime during the 1884-85 school year.  It is the school that Beulah, Beth, Reid and Roy attended during the early 1920’s, and that children of Reid and Lila attended in the 30’s and 40’s.  Reid was clerk from 1940 to 1947.  Eugene Laurent and Philllip McCaffery are two of the teachers during the 30’s.  Eugene Laurent later became Superintendent of Schools for Clark County and Phillip McCaffery went on to teach at South Worden.  For a time students warmed lunches on the school boiler, but by the late 40’s the state mandated that the building be equipped with indoor plumbing and a lunch room.  About that time, some students walked to Thorp to attend the Catholic school there and attended Breezy Hill only when the weather was bad, so the school was closed in 1954.   Shortly thereafter, it was torn down and the lumber used to construct a home in the city of Thorp. 


South Worden is where Beth was teaching when she met Carl Brandt whom she later married.  She served as clerk of the school board for many years.  All of the Brandt children attended South Worden and were there when Phillip McCaffery was the teacher.  Bonnie taught there during the 1952-53 school year, just prior to the closing of the school.


In 1887 a rural school teacher earned about $30.00 a month.  In 1912 wages had risen to $33.00 a month, to $90 in 1940, to $185 in 1947, and by the mid 1950’s it was approximately $225 per month.



The West Worden Telephone Company was established on April 6, 1923.  This "Farmers’ Line" was set up and maintained by the farmers themselves.  Since none had extensive knowledge of requirements for a good communication system, poor service was usually provided.  In 1968 the company was purchased by the Wisconsin Telephone Company, and with this came the establishment of the first underground lines in the area.


Electricity came to the township in 1938 under the Rural Electrification Association— the REA. The Town of Worden was one of the first rural areas in Clark County with a Rural Fire Department.  Along with the Towns of Thorp, Withee, and Reseburg the fire department had its beginning in 1955. 


A Tornado and Its Aftermath

On June 4, 1958 a tornado severely damaged many of the crops and buildings in the southern part of the township.  Many of the buildings were never rebuilt and the value of land declined.   By the mid 1970’s farms had been consolidated, roads improved, schools closed, and students bussed into Thorp or Stanley.  The township today remains one of neat farms that raise cash crops and limited numbers of dairy cattle. Land once owned by farmers of Polish and German descent are today owned by Mennonite families that have come from Pennsylvania and who are master craftsmen and horticulturalists.


Gibbs Homes in the Town of Worden, Clark County

1940 Plat Map




Related Links


[Gibbs Family History pdf file] by Bonnie E. Kline.


If you do not have high speed internet service, you may not be able to view this extremely large file.  Excerpts from this document have been displayed above.




Table of Contents
Important Dates in the Lives of the Gibbs and Fox Families
Organization of Gibbs Roots, Branches & Twigs—A Family Tree
The Gibbs Lineage
The Name Gibbs
From New York to Michigan to Wisconsin
The Gibbs Family in Wisconsin
Comfort Bennett Gibbs
Comfort’s First Three Children—Mary, Miranda, and Julia
Comfort’s Fourth Child—Horace
Comfort’s Fifth Child—Albert
Comfort’s Sixth Child—Francis (Frank)
Rex Gibbs
Ray Gibbs
Beulah Marie Gibbs Haas
Bethelva Leota Gibbs Brandt
Reid Lloyd Gibbs
Roy Roscoe Gibbs
The Fox/Glass Lineage
The Name Fox
Important Dates in the Lives of the Foxes
Roots in Pennsylvania and Ohio
The Glass Family

Bio: Gibbs, Comfort & Abigail

Cemetery Records

Obit: Gibbs, Comfort Bennett (1828 - 1910)

Obit: Gibbs, Ernstena (1856 - 1929)

Obit: Gibbs, Francis H. (1867 - 1944)

Obit: Gibbs, June M. (1928 - 1946)

Obit: Gibbs, Reid L. (1905 - 1968)

BioM: Gibbs, Bethelva (1926)

BioM: Gibbs, Beulah (1916)




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