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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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GIBBS, Adrian Hoxie

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GIBBS, Adrian Hoxie. (Brecksville, OH--Omaha, NB, Dec. 14, 1896). Gibbs came to Dubuque around 1855. He had worked as a shipping clerk and accountant with a large shipping company on the Great Lakes. He worked as a bookkeeper for the Merchants Dispatch Line in Dunleith which was managed by C. H. Merry. Merry later owned the elevator, ferry, transfer business prior to the construction of a bridge, had an interest in steam boats, and ran the ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD office. Gibbs managed the entire business complex and had under his employ nine-tenths of all the men in the city.

In 1864 Gibbs married Miss Fanny Langworthy, moved to Dubuque and went into business for himself. Operating from a warehouse on the levee, he became one of the most important grain merchants and commission agents on the Upper Mississippi River. In addition to his widespread business activities, he was for years the anonymous rating agent of Dubuque businesses for Dunn and Bradstreet.

Within a few years, Gibbs with his former employer C. H. Merry, initiated the practice of shipping large quantities of grain by barge on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER to New Orleans and then Liverpool, England. Their first venture, however, met with disaster. The experience cost the partners thousands of dollars, but provided an example quickly followed by others. This was quickly followed by the loss of $50,000 through the dishonesty of others.

Gibbs gave up the commission business and entered a gold mining venture with his brother. Dishonesty of the company's principal officers, however, with attacks of Native Americans on the mining operation led to the failure of this project. He tried selling insurance in East Dubuque, Illinois, but finally found employment with the auditing department of the Union Pacific Railroad. He was later associated with the Omaha Exposition Association and the coal business of M. T. Mount and Company.



"In Memoriam," Dubuque Herald, December 27, 1896, p. 2