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GIPSON, JAMES (1800–1855). James Gipson, pioneer, was born in Virginia in 1800. According to tradition, his father, Archibald Gipson, was born in Scotland and moved to Virginia in time to serve in the American Revolution. In the early 1800s the Gipson family moved from Virginia to Kentucky, where they held land in Lincoln, Floyd, and Wayne counties. James Gipson was married in 1820 or 1821 to Sarah Putman; the couple had nine children. One of their daughters, Bathsheba, became the wife of Capt. Miles Squier Bennet, son of Maj. Valentine Bennet, a hero of the Texas Revolution. After leaving Kentucky, the Gipsons lived for a time in Illinois and Iowa, where they were among the first families to occupy lands in the Black Hawk Cession (or Purchase) of 1832. They then settled in Jamestown, Indiana, for several years. Archibald Gipson died there in the late 1830s. In 1838–39 James and Sarah Gipson and family embarked on the long and arduous journey to the Republic of Texas. They landed at the storied port of Old Indianola and traveled inland to establish their family in Gonzales. Their land was in the outer town, west of Water Street, in the San Marcos River valley. James Gipson was a surveyor, Indian fighter, and ferryman. He owned and operated Gipson's Ferry, which crossed the San Marcos River. On August 11, 1840, with Edward Burleson, Mathew Caldwell, Benjamin McCulloch, and others, James Gipson fought valiantly and was wounded in the battle of Plum Creek. In 1840 he was elected a justice of Gonzales County, and in 1841 he represented the Gonzales County Court in negotiations with the city of Gonzales concerning the courthouse. In 1842 many sick and wounded soldiers returning from the Somervell expedition were encamped near the Gipson home at Gonzales. Realizing the plight of these men, the Gipson family received them into their home, where Sarah Gipson and her daughter Bathsheba nursed them back to health. James Gipson had a brother, Archibald, who was also a noted Indian fighter, and who fought in the Texas army (1836–37). Later he was in the Adrián Woll campaign, and lost his eye in the battle of the Rio Hondo, 1842. It was said that James and Archibald Gipson could always be counted on in times of danger to shoulder their rifles to defend the settlers from the Indians. James Gipson died in March 1855 and was laid to rest by the side of his wife, who had preceded him in death. They were buried in the vicinity of their ferry, beneath a live oak tree overlooking the San Marcos River.

Gonzales County Historical Commission, History of Gonzales County (Dallas: Curtis, 1986). Andrew Jackson Sowell, Rangers and Pioneers of Texas (San Antonio: Shepard, 1884; rpt., New York: Argosy-Antiquarian, 1964). J. W. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin: Hutchings, 1889; rpt., Austin: State House, 1985).
Ross Boothe, Jr.

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Handbook of Texas Online, Ross Boothe, Jr., "Gipson, James," accessed November 19, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.