Sallie E. Gibbs

Successful businesswoman Sallie E. Gibbs was born Sarah Elizabeth Smith in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on October 18, 1844 to Mary Washington (Ledbetter) and Thomas Jefferson Smith. Her parents operated a large plantation, and she received tutoring from age four until she went to the Greensboro College for Young Ladies at the age of fifteen. There, she received a general liberal arts education and a strong Methodist Episcopal spiritual foundation.

In 1859, Sallie's parents moved their household goods and slaves to Texas. She accompanied them on the journey before returning to Greensboro to complete her studies. She graduated in 1863 as valedictorian of her class and moved to Texas after the Civil War in 1865. By that time, her parents operated a prosperous plantation near Plantersville, Montgomery County. Shortly after her return to Texas, Sallie met Sandford St. John Gibbs, a widower and successful Huntsville merchant, and the two wed in January 1866. During the next twelve years, Sallie gave birth to six children: three sons and three daughters.

After Sandford's death in 1886, Sallie assumed control of his assets and over the next 32 years transformed S. Gibbs & Co. (later Gibbs Bros. & Co.) from a mercantile business into one of East Texas' leading financial, land, and timber enterprises. With son Wilbourn and businessman Adair Wynne, Sallie established Gibbs National Bank in 1890. Until retiring in 1917, she played an active role on the bank's board of directors. Sallie died on May 27, 1918 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. During her life, she was active in the Methodist church and in area educational institutions. Her success in business was for many years reflected in the large Queen Anne-style home she and son Wilbourn built on this site in 1895.

Images

Sallie Gibbs

Sallie Gibbs

Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Sallie Gibbs

Sallie Gibbs

Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Sanford and Sallie Gibbs, 1866

Sanford and Sallie Gibbs, 1866

Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Sanford and Sallie Gibbs family, 1880

Sanford and Sallie Gibbs family, 1880

Standing: Sarah Sandford, Alice Lena, Wilbourn Smith, Mary Alla. Seated: Sandford St. Johns Gibbs, Luteola, Sallie E. Gibbs, Thomas Clifton, James Phillip. | Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Thomas Clifton Gibbs

Thomas Clifton Gibbs

Thomas Clifton Gibbs was born in 1870, the second son of Sandford and Sallie Gibbs. He attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, but his schooling there was cut short when he was called home to help his mother and older brother, Wilbourn, run the family business, the Gibbs Brothers and Company. In 1893 he married Jamesetta Hunt and together they had four daughters, Pauline, Cecile, Edith, and Anne Kathleen. | Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Sallie Sandford Gibbs (Mrs. Oscar Norsworthy)

Sallie Sandford Gibbs (Mrs. Oscar Norsworthy)

Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Luteola Gibbs (Mrs. H. H. Hawley)

Luteola Gibbs (Mrs. H. H. Hawley)

Luteola Gibbs was the youngest of Sandford and Sallie Gibbs' six children. Luteola married Henry Hudson Hawley in 1903. They had two children, Henry, Jr., and Sarah Alla. | Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Wedding of Sarah Sanford Gibbs and Dr. Oscar Norsworthy, 1910

Wedding of Sarah Sanford Gibbs and Dr. Oscar Norsworthy, 1910

The wedding of Sarah Sanford Gibbs and Dr. Oscar Norsworthy, 1910. Sarah Sanford Gibbs (Norsworthy) (1873-1933) was the fourth of Sanford and Sallie Gibbs six children. Sarah married Dr. Oscar Norsworthy, a Houston physician in 1910. The Norsworthy's lived in Houston, where Oscar had his practice, for many years. The couple later moved to San Antonio, to take advantage of the drier climate, where Sarah died in 1933. Alone among Sanford and Sallie's six children, Sarah left no heirs and directed her estate to be divided equally among her nieces and nephews who affectionately called her "Tantie". | Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Gibbs Bank in 1908, located on the north side of courthouse square in Huntsville, TX

Gibbs Bank in 1908, located on the north side of courthouse square in Huntsville, TX

Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Postcard of Gibbs Home

Postcard of Gibbs Home

Built by Sallie Elizabeth Smith Gibbs, 1895-1896. Located on the southeast side of Avenue M and 11th Street, the home faced north and was considered by many to be "Huntsville's Palace." The house was torn down in 1950. A playhouse on the property was relocated to the J. Phillip Gibbs' (Jr) home on 21st and Ave O. | Source: Walker County Historical Commission View File Details Page

Postcard of Gibbs Home

Postcard of Gibbs Home

Built by Sallie Elizabeth Smith Gibbs, 1895-1896. Located on the southeast side of Avenue M and 11th Street, the home faced north and was considered by many to be "Huntsville's Palace." The house was torn down in 1950. A playhouse on the property was relocated to the J. Phillip Gibbs' (Jr) home on 21st and Ave O. | Source: Walker County Historical Commission View File Details Page

Postcard of Gibbs Home

Postcard of Gibbs Home

Built by Sallie Elizabeth Smith Gibbs, 1895-1896. Located on the southeast side of Avenue M and 11th Street, the home faced north and was considered by many to be "Huntsville's Palace." The house was torn down in 1950. A playhouse on the property was relocated to the J. Phillip Gibbs' (Jr) home on 21st and Ave O. | Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Gibbs-Powell Home

Gibbs-Powell Home

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Cite this Page:

Texas Historical Marker, “Sallie E. Gibbs,” East Texas History, accessed June 25, 2017, http://easttexashistory.org/items/show/220.

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