BRENNEN FAMILY CHRONICLES

© Christopher Earls Brennen

CHAPTER FIVE

THE GIBSON FAMILY


Map of the Kircubbin area of the Ards peninsula with some
of the places occuring in the story of the Gibson family.

The Gibson family seems to have long resided in eastern County Down, Northern Ireland, and, in particular on the Ards peninsula. Family legend tells of two brothers, Robert and Charles Gibson, from around Loch Lomond in Scotland who came to Ireland as soldiers in Cromwell's army in 1649. For their services the two brothers were given land in Ballygarvin (Ballybrain) on the Ards peninsula. It is said that an annotation in some document of the local Presbyterian Church recognizes these events. It is also said that the Gibsons, like three other pre-plantation protestant families in County Down, the Logans, the Bissetts and the McKees, organized themselves into protestant ``tribes'' along traditional Irish lines, one supposes for their own protection. The Gibsons flourished and proliferated so that, today, it is a very common name in County Down. Our own ancestors lived in the region around Ballygarvin and Kircubbin and belonged to the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church at least since the founding of that church in 1777. The records of the church have survived and provide some documentation on the extensive Gibson families. Note that an Alexander Gibson of Nunsquarter is included in the Election Check Book for County Down dated 1746-1789; the landlord is W. Ward.

Robert Gibson of Balliggan, born about 1757, is the earliest ancestor remembered by our oral family history. A gravestone in the Kircubbin Presbyterian graveyard records the grave of a Robert Gibson of Kircubbin who died on Aug. 2, 1814, at the age of 57 (see inscription below). It is just possible that this Robert Gibson was our ancestor. According to the records of the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church, Robert had the following children:

  1. John Gibson, the son of Robert Gibson of Inishargy, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Nov.23, 1779.
  2. Thomas Gibson, the son of Robert Gibson of Kircubbin, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Aug.4, 1781.
  3. Mary Gibson, the daughter of Robert Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Jun.1, 1783. This may be the Mary Gibson who appears in the following gravestone inscription in the Kircubbin graveyard: Here lieth the body of Robert Gibson, late of Kirkcubbin who departed this life 2d August 1814 aged 57 years. The body of Mary Gibson who departed this life 18th November 1810 aged 27 years.
  4. Margaret Gibson, the daughter of Robert Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Apr.15, 1785.
  5. Jane Gibson, the daughter of Robert Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on May 12, 1787.
  6. Robert Gibson, the son of Robert Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Sep.7, 1788.
  7. Elizabeth Gibson, the daughter of Robert Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Feb.26, 1791.
  8. Charlotte Gibson, the daughter of Robert Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on May 11, 1793.
  9. Alexander Gibson, our ancestor, is remembered as a son of Robert Gibson. According to the records of the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church, Alexander Gibson had the following children:
    1. George Gibson, the son of Alexander Gibson of Kircubbin, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on May 6, 1780.
    2. Jean Gibson, the daughter of Alexander Gibson of Nunsquarter, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Dec.25, 1781. This may be the Jean Gibson who married John Bailie in Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Dec.30, 1806.
    3. Elizabeth Gibson, the daughter of Alexander Gibson of Nunsquarter, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Jun.28, 1784. This may be the Eliza Gibson who married Hugh Gilmor and is remembered on the following gravestone inscription in Greyabbey: Erected by Robert Gilmore to the memory of Hugh Gilmor late of Ballybrain who departed this life 3rd August 1835 aged 53 years. Also the remains of his wife Eliza Gilmor alias Gibson who departed this life 19th October 1846 aged 62 years. Also their grandson Hugh Gilmore who died 9th Feb 1853 aged 15 years. Also their grand-daughter Letticia Gilmor who departed this life 16th Feb. 1861 aged 19 years. Also his son Hugh Gilmore who died 3rd April 1871 aged 19 years. Also his son James Gilmore who died 4th May 1871 aged 22 years. Also the above named Robert Gilmore who died 24th Sept. 1882 aged 71 years. Also his wife Letticia Gilmore who died 29th Oct. 1892 aged 82 years. Also Robert Gilmore, Rubane, son of the last named, who died 29th May 1917 aged 73 years. Also Ann Gilmore, wife of the last-named Robt. Gilmore, who died 17th Dec. 1924 aged 78 years. Also Letitia, daughter of the last-named, died 25th March 1930 aged 60 years.
    4. Ann Gibson, the daughter of Alexander Gibson of Nunsquarter, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Jul.16, 1788.
    5. William Gibson, the son of Alexander Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Dec.22, 1790.
    6. Alexander Gibson, our ancestor, and reputedly the son of Alexander and grandson of Robert, was born in June, 1801(?). The Kircubbin Presbyterian Church records indicate that an Alexander Gibson was born the son of Alexander and christened on Dec. 25, 1792; if the younger Alexander was 56 years old at his death rather than the 46 years indicated on his gravestone (see below) then that church record may indeed refer to our ancestor. We do know that Alexander Gibson, the younger, married Mary Ward, born Sept.29, 1800, the daughter of John Ward of Kircubbin. The 1824 list of freeholders in the Barony of Ards includes John Ward who holds a freehold in Kircubbin worth 40s. from the Honorable Robert Ward. Also, the 1834 tithe applotment records include John Ward with land in Kircubbin. In the Lisbane Roman Catholic graveyard there is a headstone that reads: ``WARD. Erected by Alexander Gibson of Kircubbin in memory of his father in law John Ward who departed this life 6th Aug. 1843 age 78 years.''
      Tubber-na-carrig
      Alexander and Mary Gibson lived in Tubber-na-carrig (literally ``the well in the rock'') on the outskirts of Kircubbin. The complex at Tubber-na-carrig consisted of a large gothic-style country house, "Tubber-na-carrig", that was built in the 1830s by Charles Ward of Bangor Castle and was that family's summer home during the 19th century. The house still stands and was sold in 2001. Perhaps Mary was a member of this Ward Family; she and Alexander lived on this estate which had a gatehouse and other buildings.
      Alexander was in the straw-hat business, a cottage industry that disappeared when Luton in England took over the business. Alexander died at the age of 46(?) on March 26, 1848 of pneumonia contracted at Maguiresbridge, County Fermanagh; family legend recalls that this was the result of sleeping between damp sheets. He is buried in Kircubbin Presbyterian graveyard where his tombstone reads: ``Erected by Alexander Gibson of Kircubbin in memory of his son Alexander who died 27th June 1841 aged 1 year. Also the above named Alexr. Gibson who died the 26th March 1848 aged 46 years. Also his daughter-in-law Sarah Gibson alias Kerr who died the 6th January 1868 aged 25 years. Also Letitia Gibson, wife of Robert Gibson, who died 9th September 1875 aged 34 years. Also his wife Mary Gibson alias Ward who died 8th January 1877 aged 78 years. Also his beloved wife Elizabeth Gibson who departed this life 13th Decr. 1904 aged 62 years. Also the above named Robert Gibson who departed this life 25th May 1906 aged 73 years.'' As this states, Mary Gibson died on Jan.8, 1877.
    7. Andrew Gibson, the son of Alexander Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Jul.19, 1795.
    8. William Gibson, the son of Alexander Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Aug.21, 1803.
    9. James Gibson, the son of Alexander Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Oct.16, 1805. This may be the James Gibson who is buried in Greyabbey: Here lieth the remains of Susanna Gibson alias Gilmore, wife to James Gibson of Greyabbey, who departed this life the 24th October 1845 aged 35 years. Also 3 of his children who died young. Also the above named James Gibson who died 16th January 1878 aged 72 years. Also his wife Margaret Gibson who died 9th Feb. 1882 aged 74 years. Also his grandson Francis Gibson who died 24th Decr. 1883 aged 1 years. Also his grand-daughter Eliza Gibson who died 26th May 1901 aged 2 years. Also his great-granddaughter Alice Taylor, died at Myra Castle, Downpatrick, 24th Nov. 1913 aged 7 years. Inscribed by William Gibson in memory of his wife Eliza Gibson who died 4th February 1922 aged 62 years. Also the above named William Gibson who died 1st May 1931 aged 81 years.
    10. Robert Gibson, the son of Alexander Gibson, was christened in the Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Feb.27, 1807.


CHILDREN OF ALEXANDER GIBSON AND MARY WARD:

  1. Margaret Gibson whose christening was recorded on Jan. 19, 1823, in the Kircubbin Church and whose father was recorded as Alexander, may have been a child of Alexander and Mary though, if so, family history has forgotten her.
  2. John Gibson was born on March 9, 1823. He was associated with Grainger's in Newtownards, County Down. His son, Alexander, emigrated to the United States.
  3. William Gibson, born Jan.22, 1825, died in infancy. This may be the William whose christening is recorded on June 24, 1825, in the Kircubbin Church records.
  4. William Gibson was born April 30, 1829. On Dec.10, 1853, a William Gibson, aged 21, a bachelor joiner of Kircubbin town whose father was Alexander Gibson, a farmer, was married in the Meetinghouse at Glastry to Rachel McVea, 21, a spinster of Kircubbin town who was born on Mar.28, 1825, and was the daughter of James McVea, a farmer. William Coffey and Margaret Jane Bailie were the witnesses. William and Rachel emigrated to Allegan County, Michigan, USA in 1856 where they established themselves at Mack's Landing on the Rabbit River. William died in 1893 and Rachel on Sep.29, 1906, in Douglas. Their children:
    1. Alexander Gibson was born on Oct.24, 1855, and emigrated to Michigan with his parents and sister. There he became a ship's captain on the Great Lakes with the McVea line of schooners, hauling grain, produce and other freight. Alexander married Eva Newcomb, born in 1860, who was the cook on the ship for many years. One child was born on board and was buried at sea. Later Alexander took up farming; with an 80 acre farm he raised many crops, fruits and vegetables as well as livestock. Eva died on Jul.10, 1924. Alexander and Eva are buried in the Fennville Cemetery, Allegan County. They raised one child:
      1. Sybelle Evea Gibson was born on Aug.17, 1897, in Allegan, Michigan. She was an accomplished seamstress and married George Albert Race who was born on Oct.7, 1893, and, at the age of 16, had emigrated from Horbury, Yorkshire, England to Allegan County, Michigan. He arrived aboard the "Celtic" from Eastbourne. Sybelle died on Dec.1, 1947, and George on Oct.1, 1963; they are buried in the Fennville Cemetery, Allegan County. They had two children:
        1. Evea Grace Race was born on Dec.18, 1920, in Fennville, Michigan. On Nov.27, 1947, she married John Klungle of Holland, Michigan, who was born on Jan.11, 1924, and worked at Hope College, Michigan. They had two daughters:
          1. Patricia Ann Klungle was born on Jul.11, 1955, in Douglas, Michigan, and graduated from Hope College, Holland, Michigan. She married William Wade Rhoney in 29 Palms, California, on Jul.22, 1983. Wade was born on Jun.3, 1955, in Eatonton, Georgia, and spent 20 years in the US Marines, stationed in 29 Palms, Okinawa, Beaufort (South Carolina) and Camp Pendleton, California. They have a son Jonathan W. Rhoney, born on Jul.18, 1985, and a daughter, Elizabeth Katelyn Rhoney, born Jul.10, 1988, in Beaufort.
          2. Constance Diane Klungle was born on Apr.25, 1958, in Douglas, Michigan, and graduated from Hope College, Holland, Michigan. She worked in Dillards Department Store until becoming a carpenter. On Aug.14, 1981, in Holland, Michigan, she married Dale Zoodsma, born Dec.15, 1957. They have three children, Chelsea Elizabeth Zoodsma, born on Dec.28, 1986, in Toledo, Ohio, Adrian John Zoodsma, born on Jan.18, 1990, in Toledo, Ohio, and Theodore Maarten Zoodsma, born on Mar.18, 1994, in Toledo, Ohio.
        2. George Ernest Race was born on Apr.3, 1936, in Fennville, Michigan. On May 10, 1956, he married Barbara Walker, born Sep.27, 1938. George is employed as Technical Services Director at Albion College, Albion, Michigan. They have two daughters: Veronica Race was born on Jan.12, 1957, and was married on Jun.11, 1974, to Donald Cockroft; they have three children, Tiffany, Donald and Branden Cockroft: Karen Race was born on May 30, 1959, and was married on Aug.14, 1979, to Jerry Alexander; they have a son Justin Alexander.
    2. Mary Jane Gibson
      Mary Gibson was born about 1855 in Kircubbin and travelled to Michigan with her parents. She married Charles Theodore "Thete" Wilson, a widower who worked as cook on the schooner ``Mary McVea'' and who already had several sons. Mary died in 1919. She and Thete had several of their own children:
      1. Clayton Wilson
      2. Mary A. Wilson was born Oct.17, 1885, in Allegan and married Arthur Hare (born May 27, 1881 in Allegan). She died on Oct.24, 1982, and he died in June 1969. They had two daughters:
        1. Barbara Lee Hare was born on Jan.24, 1926, in Allegan and married Samuel Yennelli, born Feb.22, 1925. Barbara died on Sep.30, 1988, in Fairfield, California. They had two daughters:
          1. Cynthia Yennelli was born in 1953 and married Kurt Eric Hahn. They live in Fairfield, California, and had two children, Spencer, born in 1979 in Allegan, and Alexander, born in 1982 in Allegan.
          2. Rani Yennelli was born in 1947/48/49.
        2. Beverly Hare was born in 1927/28 in Allegan and married Don Nichols who died in 1988.
      3. Lucinda Wilson married Carl Shumaker.
      4. Rachel Wilson married John De Back.
      5. Helen Wilson was born in 1899 in Allegan and married a man named Conor. They had at least one child, Patricia, who married a man named Hodapp (pchodapp99@hotmail.com).
    3. William Gibson was drowned in Lake Michigan.
    4. Samuel Gibson
      Samuel Gibson was born in Michigan about 1867. He married twice. His first wife was Dora Newcombe, the daughter of William John Newcombe; they had four children listed below. His second wife was Laura Elizabeth Statchel with whom he had five children. Samuel died on Jun.29, 1925, and Laura on Jan.26, 1943. Samuel's children:
      1. AnnaBelle Gibson, the daughter of Samuel and Dora, was born in 1894 and married Rolland Greenalgh, born in 1883. Rolland died on Oct.26, 1954, and AnnaBelle on Mar.5, 1965. Their children:
        1. Ellen Greenalgh was born on Jan.3, 1915, was first married to William Lang on Jan.15, 1941. Later she married Albert Oonk and they had two children:
          1. Barbara A. Oonk was born on Oct.29, 1943, and was first married to A. Francis Fiala (born Apr.25, 1938) on Sep.14, 1963. They had two children, Bradley T. Fiala, born on Apr.27, 1964, and Toni Fiala, born on Nov.24, 1966. Later, on Oct.14, 1988, Barbara married W. Jacob Figeley.
          2. John M. Ounk was born on Apr.15, 1951.
        2. Charles R. Greenalgh was born on Oct.19, 1919, and married Doris Ihloff, born Apr.22, 1920, and died Sep.8, 1993.
        3. Betty L. Greenalgh was born on Oct.5, 1921, and died on Oct.6, 1921.
        4. baby Greenalgh, born May 22, 1925, died at birth.
      2. Elizabeth Gibson, the daughter of Samuel and Dora, was born on Aug.22, 1896. She first married Boyd Hamlin, born in 1896, with whom she had one child. Boyd died on Nov.5, 1958. Boyd and Elizabeth were divorced and she married John W. Schreckengust, born Dec.9, 1884. John died on Dec.6, 1949, and Elizabeth on Mar.25, 1958. Elizabeth's children:
        1. Noland C. Hamlin (Schreckengust) was born on Jan.11, 1914, the son of Boyd and Elizabeth Hamlin. Later he was adopted by John Schreckengust and changed his last name. On Sep.15, 1935, Noland married Betty Singraver (born Sep., 1912). Their children:
          1. Kaye Elizabeth Schreckengust was born Aug.19, 1936, and was married on Dec.5, 1961, to James A. Spencer, born Apr.22, 1916.
          2. Noland J. Schreckengust was born Mar.30, 1938, and married Carol Christensen, born Jul.11, 1939. They had three children Dawn A. Schreckengust, born Jun.23, 1962, who married Michael Burrington on Jul.3, 1993, Darcy K. Schreckengust, born on Jan.29, 1965, and Dane N. Schreckengust, born Jun.8, 1971.
        2. Lucille Schreckengust was born in 1917, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Schreckengust. She married twice. Her second husband was Robert Fischer with whom she had a son James Fischer.
        3. Raymond Schreckengust was born on Feb.17, 1918, the son of John and Elizabeth Schreckengust. He married twice. His second wife was Phyllis Cross (married in 1957) and they had 4 children: Diane Schreckengust, born Dec.18, 1959, who married James Weenum and had a daughter Michelle born on Dec.26, 1959, Daniel Schreckengust, born Nov.16, 1962, Liza Schreckengust, born Aug.14, 1967, and Kathy Schreckengust, born Jan.10, 1968, who married Douglas Saul (born on Dec.12, 1959) on Nov.30, 1983, and had a child Jansen Saul born Mar.14, 1990. Raymond's third wife was named Linda R. Raymond died on Jan.10, 1973.
      3. William J. Gibson, the son of Samuel and Dora.
      4. Mary Jane Gibson, the daughter of Samuel and Dora, was born on Oct.7, 1888, in Sangatuck, Allegan, Michigan. She married Fred Grant Sailor on Jul.17, 1905, in Chicago, Illinois. Fred died on Dec.18, 1922, and Mary Jane married Raymond Jacob Nelson. Mary Jane had children:
        1. Anna Sailor, daughter of Fred and Mary Jane Sailor, was born in 1906 and died on Jan.14, 1919.
        2. Alice Mae Sailor, daughter of Fred and Mary Jane Sailor, was born on Feb.20, 1908, and died on Jan.18, 1978.
        3. Millard Grant Sailor, known as Dick, son of Fred and Mary Jane Sailor, was born on Jul.11, 1914. He married LaVerne H. Stucke on Dec.5, 1938, in Cook County, Illinois. Millard died on Mar.1, 1961, and Laverne on May 18, 1989. They had three children, among them:
          1. Joan Lee Sailor was born on Jun.17, 1940, and died on Oct.19, 1977. She married Bruce Claude Fickert on Jun.13, 1959, in Cook County, Illinois. They had two sons. Bruce died on Dec.31, 1974.
          2. Janet Mae Sailor was born on Mar.26, 1947, and died on May 20, 2015. She was married on May 2, 1964.
          3. Jean Sailor.
      5. three sons and one other baby were born to Samuel and Laura Gibson in the period 1903 to 1907. Three of these children died at birth.
      6. Harold Gibson, the son of Samuel and Laura was born in Aug., 1919.

  5. Robert Gibson, our ancestor, was born on Sept.23, 1832 in Tobernacarraig. There is some evidence that Robert, who was known as ``Robin'' was a gentleman rather than an ordinary farmer. His children were expected to enter a profession rather than become farmers. He was a hedge schoolmaster and had the reputation of being a scholar; indeed his daughter, Anne, was exceedingly well read. Robert was connected with the straw-hat industry and regularly visited Luton in England, at that time the capital of the straw-hat industry. Robert married three times. His first wife, Sarah Kerr, was born in Ballygarvin in 1843. Sarah died at the age of 25 on Jan.6, 1868, shortly after the birth of their only child, Charles Kerr Gibson, on Jan.5, 1868. A little over a year later, on March 19, 1869, Robert married Letitia Colville from Ballymurphy, whose father Samuel Colville was a farmer. On the marriage certificate Robert is listed as a farmer of Kircubbin and his father Alexander is also listed as a farmer. Letitia was born in 1841 and was therefore about 28 at the time of the wedding that took place in the second Presbyterian Church of Ballywalter. James Gibson and Sarah Foster witnessed the marriage. Parenthetically we note that Robert and Letitia may have been distantly related for a Samuel Colville was married to a Jane Gibson in Kircubbin Presbyterian Church on Aug.29, 1840. Letitia gave birth to a daughter, Mary Anne Gibson, on Feb.8, 1870. Unfortunately Letitia died of diabetes on Sept.9, 1875, at the age of 34. On Feb.26, 1878, Robert was married for a third time to Eliza Palmer (1842-1904) of Portavogie, the daughter of James Palmer who had been trained for a life at sea but became a farmer. He is also remembered as the finder of a baby by the side of the road at Rubane on the way to Glastry church. James took the child home, named him Laughlin McVea after a character in a novel he was reading and raised the boy as his own son. There is also a family story concerning the way in which Robert met Eliza. It is said that Robert and his brother James were on their way to Kircubbin fair when James said: ``Robin - I am sorry that you were planning to get married and have not told the family''. To this Robin replied ``Where on earth did you hear that rumour for I certainly have no plans to marry ?''. James: ``I heard it from Eliza Palmer who said that she was going to marry you''. They proceeded on to Kircubbin fair where Robin sought out the young Eliza in order to try to straighten out the matter. Instead he fell for her and the marriage of Robert Gibson and Eliza Palmer took place a short time later in the Glastry Meetinghouse. It was witnessed by James Pippers and Mary McWatters. Eliza is listed as a spinster of full age. Robert and his father Alexander are listed as farmers. Robert and Eliza had a daughter, Anne Shaw Gibson, and two sons, Alexander Gibson and Robert Gibson. About 1885 when Anne was about four years old, Robert, Eliza and their family moved to the farmhouse by the shore in Ballygarvin; Robert Gibson of Ballygarvin is included in a list of Greyabbey farmers in the 1886 County Down Directory. Robert and Eliza Gibson are also listed in Ballygarvin in the 1901 Census. By then only their 15-year-old son Robert was still living at home. Robert Gibson, the elder, died on May 25, 1906, at the age of 73; Eliza died on Dec.13, 1904, at the age of 62. Both are buried in the graveyard of the Kircubbin presbyterian church, County Down (see above gravestone inscription).

  6. James Gibson was born Jan.23, 1837. One family story recalls that James, who was in business, was travelling one day by horse from Ballygarvin to Kircubbin. At a hollow in the road known as Jean's Brae he was robbed of the large sum of 72 pounds plus jewelry by the Cherry brothers who were noted highwaymen. The brothers were caught and are reputed to have been the last men publically hanged in Conway Square, Newtownards.

  7. Alexander Gibson, born April 16, 1840, died at the age of one on June 27, 1841 (see above gravestone inscription).


CHILDREN OF ROBERT GIBSON:

  1. Charles Kerr Gibson, the child of Robert Gibson by his first wife, Sarah Kerr, was born in Kircubbin on Jan.6, 1868. Charles became a commercial salesman for Robertson, Leadley and Ferguson. Later he was successful in business in Belfast and rose to become the managing director of the Bank Buildings in Belfast, a large block containing stores and offices. He married Nessie Clotworthy and they lived at ``Silverton'', Earlswood Road, Belfast. They had six children:
    1. Charles Gibson.
    2. Ward Gibson.
    3. Eileen Gibson.
    4. Gwen Gibson.
    5. Nora Gibson.
    6. Marjorie Gibson.

  2. Mary Anne Gibson, the daughter of Robert Gibson by his second wife, Letitia Colville, was born on Feb.8, 1870. She married Samuel McCully and they had three children:
    1. Robert McCully.
    2. Mary McCully married William Moore and they had a son:
      1. William Gibson Moore married Charlotte Chase and they had four children:
        1. Colleen May Moore married John Dierna and they had two sons, John Samuel Dierna and Steven William Dierna.
        2. Kathleen Ann Moore married Robert Starr and they had a son whose name we believe was Mark Starr.
        3. Dennis Michael ``Danny'' Moore married and was later divorced from Eilene Ecstein.
        4. Kevin Brian Moore who is a veterinarian.
    3. William McCully married Eleanor Beattie.

  3. Anne Shaw Gibson, the first child of Robert Gibson by his third marriage to Elizabeth Palmer, was born in Tobernacarraig, County Down on Oct.7, 1881. She was brought up to seek a job rather than marry a farmer and after school became an apprentice in the Post Office in Belfast. This must have happened before 1901 for she is not listed as living with her parents in the returns of the Census of that year. She may have had help from her brother Charles in making the move to Belfast. She lived in rooms near the waterworks on the Antrim Road in Belfast. About 1909 she married Cecil Brennen who was also working in the Post Office in Belfast. For other information see Cecil Brennen in the preceding chapter. Anne was a very scholarly woman and extremely well read. She was also very strict with her children and worked very hard to ensure that they had the very best education. She was quite puritanical and took a dim view of some of the antics of her husband's brother Alfred. Her son, Wilfred Brennen, said that when he was courting Muriel Earls, Anne warned him against the Earls girls, saying that they were a ``loose lot''. Anne and her husband moved to ``Church Hill'', Ballykelly, County Derry after his retirement. She outlived her husband and died in Ballykelly in about 1957. She is buried in the Presbyterian Church in Ballykelly, opposite ``Church Hill''. She believed it unchristian to revere the remains of the dead and to erect headstones so her grave is unmarked.

  4. Alexander Gibson was born on Feb.21, 1884 but died of congestion in August 1885. Anne is reputed to have been very fond of this child. Family history also remembers that Anne got a new panama hat for the funeral. However when left alone she fiddled with the hat so much that it came completely apart and was reduced to a single long length of straw.

  5. Robert Gibson, the third child of Robert Gibson by his marriage to Elizabeth Palmer, was born on Sept.7, 1885, in Ballygarvin. In the 1901 Census he is listed as a 15-year-old farmer living with his father and mother on their farm in Ballygarvin. He grew up to become a farmer, perhaps against his father's wishes. His farm, ``Ashbank'', on the Portaferry Road, Greyabbey, County Down was quite successful. Bob did particularly well by providing farm products to Stewarts, one of the first chain of grocery stores. On Jul.4, 1906, at the age of 21, Bob married Agnes Stewart in Killinchy Presbyterian Church. Agnes was born on Aug.26, 1878, the youngest daughter of Michael Stewart, a farmer of Orchard House, Ringhardy, Killinchy, and his wife Jane formerly Thompson. Perhaps because he had only one child, Bob became very attached to the children of his sister, Anne (see next chapter). All six of these children spent their summers down on Uncle Bob's farm where they worked for their keep. Bob also provided for Anne and her large family by frequent deliveries of food to their home in Belfast. Indeed he almost adopted my father Wilfred Brennen. Bob took an active interest in local affairs, serving on the local Education Committee and on the North Down Rural District Council. He was also a supporter of the Unionist cause. Bob and Agnes celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Jul.4, 1956. After retirement Bob built himself a small house on the other side of the road from his farm and there he lived alone, his wife Agnes having predeceased him. He died in about 1975 in the Mid-Ulster hospital, Magherafelt, where Wilfred Brennen was the consultant surgeon. Bob and Agnes had one daughter:
    1. Lilian Palmer Gibson was born on Oct.8, 1907, in Ballygarvin. She was a thin, frail girl who lived her life with her parents on the farm in Ballygarvin. She died of cancer on Dec.14, 1972, at the age of 65.

Robert Gibson c.1937. Robert Gibson's farm on the shores of Strangford Lough.

Last updated 1/3/05.


Christopher E. Brennen