John Henry Gibson-

Federal Writers' Project

of the W.P.A.

District #6

Marion County

Anna Pritchett

1200 Kentucky Avenue



Colton Street

John Henry Gibson was born a slave, many years ago, in Scott County,


His old master, John Henry Bidding, was a wealthy farmer; he also owned

the hotel, or rooming house.

When court was in session the "higher ups" would come to this house, and

stay until the court affairs were settled.

Mr. Bidding, who was very kind to his slaves, died when John Gibson was

very young. All slaves and other property passed on to the son, Joseph

Bidding, who in turn was as kind as his father had been.

Gibson's father belonged to General Lee Gibson, who was a neighboring

farmer. He saw and met Miss Elizabeth Bidding's maid; they liked each

other so very much, Miss Elizabeth bought him from General Gibson, and

let him have her maid as his wife. The wife lived only a short time,

leaving a little boy.

After the Civil war, a white man, by the name of Luster, was comming to

Ohio, brought John Gibson with him. They came to Indianapolis, and

Gibson liked it so well, he decided to remain; Mr. Luster told him if he

ever became dissatisfied to come on to Ohio to him, but he remained in

Indianapolis until 1872, then went back south, married, came back, and

made Indianapolis his home.

Interviewer's Comment

Mr. Gibson is very old, but does not know his exact age. He fought in

the Civil war, and said he could not be very young to have done that.

His sight is very nearly gone, can only distinguish light and dark.

He is very proud of his name, having been named for his old master.

Submitted January 24, 1938

Indianapolis, Indiana

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