There is only one stone in the old Presbyterian Church graveyard with the last name of Gibbs, so it caught my curiosity. I thought, that by the age of 31, Mariah B. Gibbs might have left some mark on the world that I might be able to trace. I filled up 7 pages in my legal pad and many days, but have very little to show for it. I figured, with a husband’s name of Jabez Gibbs, that finding out information about Mariah would be fairly easy. I was very wrong. Be careful in taking all the information on ancestry.com at face value. Remember, it is other people, just like you, that are searching and wrong information can be easily found there. And the name Jabez Gibbs is not as unique as I thought.
If Mariah died in her 31st year, then her birthday was probably around 1810. I couldn’t find much on Maria, so I started researching Jabez Gibbs. One family tree had Mariah married to a Jabez Gibbs who lived in Broadalbin and died in 1826, but Mariah would have been around 16 years old, so that did not seem feasible. I then found another Jabez Gibbs who lived in Providence who was born in 1808. I never found any proof that this Jabez was related to the Jabez Gibbs who died in 1826, but really, two Jabez Gibbs within miles of each other,,how can they not be related? But with no proof, I cannot jump to that conclusion.
After much digging, this is what I found out. Jabez and Mariah Gibbs had three children, David D. Gibbs born 1831, Sarah M. Gibbs born 1833 and Reuben A. Gibbs born 1835. Mariah died in 1842 when her youngest, Reuben was only 7. Jabez Gibbs then remarried, in 1843, to a Sarah Dunnell Pitman. She was a widow (married to a David Smith). Sarah and Jabez had a son, Edward Stanhope Gibbs, born around 1845. ( That middle name begs me to research him!!) Jabez and Sarah and the four children lived with Sarah’s parents. Jabez lived until1857. Sarah married a third time to another Northampton resident, William Isley. But I digress.
Too often in history, trying to research women is extremely difficult. I believe Mariah’s maiden name is Gifford. I found that information on a family tree , but that tree had several errors, so a second source would be ideal, if I could find one.
So here is this lonely gravestone of a woman named Mariah, who died in her 31st year. The only thing I can find out about her is the name of her three children. Her oldest, David D. Gibbs fought in the Civil War. Her youngest son, Reuben, married a Susan and they had four children, Henry, Emma, Edward and Willie. I was not able to find anything definitive about Mariah’s daughter, Sarah M. Mariah B. Gibbs, wife of Jabez Gibbs, did leave a mark on this world, three children. Perhaps the most important legacy for which one can be known is their children.
The above is the bio I wrote for my Facebook post and it will also be the one that I attach to Mariah B. Gibbs grave photo for information. What I am adding here is my "rant" from a woman's point of view. I know times have changed, but it still frustrates me that when doing research, it is still daunting to find out information about women. I am often in the town clerk's office, looking up records and it still amazes me when only men owned property. The other frustrating thing is that many times, on gravestones, there is no mention of the woman's maiden name. It is only in recent times that women have opted to hold onto their family name. I did not and at times I regret it. So I make a point to include it whenever I can. I cannot say with certainty, still after many many days of research, what Mariah B.'s maiden name was. I will continue to search.