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Shephard aka Buck Gibson

The Melungeon

Buck Gibson was born about 1765 and along with Vardy Collins was called the 'head and source' of the Melungeons of Newman's Ridge.  It is not known who his parents are or where he was born.  He first appears in Wilkes County, North Carolina in the part that would later be called Ashe County.  It is also unknown who his first wife was but it would appear he had been married before he married to Matilda Denham who was born about 1802. There has been much speculation as to who Buck's father was but today it remains speculation.


The first Gibson found in Wilkes County was John Gibson, son of Gideon Gibson of the Pee Dee Settlement in South Carolina. John was probably born around 1740 and married by 1767 to Agnes Adair, daughter of James Adair, Indian trader and author of "History of the American Indians" published in 1775. 

20 Aug 1767 GEDION GIBSON, Gentleman, on Great Pedee in Craven Co, SC, for 700pd, to JAMES ADAIR of Dobbs Co, NC, negroes Lucey, Kilis, Pleasant, Candice, Hannah, Nell & Judith.  Witt JOHN CADE, [This Cade family is from Louisa County, Va.] JOHN GIBSON, SARANN McTYRE.  [Misc Records South Carolina, Vol OO, p 136]

Surry and Wilkes County, NC Taxables", Vol. i, 1771-1777 by William Perry Johnson, cpy 1974.
John Gipson is on page 33 in the Benjamin Cleveland District which is today, Wilkes County. He shows: John Gipson, Negro Killis, Frank, Plesent, and Luse, 5 polls.

John Gibson died near Nashville, Tennessee in 1790 and Agnes Adair Gibson joined the Gibson family at Port Gibson where they had settled earlier.  More on John Gibson can be found here.

David and Mary Gibson appear on the 1778 tax list of Wilkes County, North Carolina and the next Gibson that appears is
Thomas Gibson when he made a land entry on 9 June 1780 on Cranberry Path in Wilkes County. They may have been from the Orange County, North Carolina line which goes back to Louisa County or could just as well have came from the Pee Dee River Settlement.

William Gibson/Gipson born Dec 1753 Monk's Corners, South Carolina lived in Guilford County, North Carolina and  enlisted from Rowan County, North Carolina.  His mother was widow during Revolutionary War. After the Revolution he lived in Guilford County, North Carolina for 3 years then to Winchester, Virginia for 2 years then to Rockingham County, North Carolina for 1 year then to Wilkes and Rowan County, North Carolina for 12 years. Then to Clinch River in Virginia and in 1800 moved to Kentucky, 1829 he moved to Indiana and applied Oct 19, 1832 from Boone County, Indiana and died Apr 9, 1835.

The 1790 census of Wilkes County finds the following Gibsons;

Tenth Company
Andrew Gibson
Jordan Gibson
Joel Gibson
Archibald Gibson
Ezekiel Gibson

The Raleigh Register and Daily North Carolina Weekly Advertiser published on October 5, 1802 property to be exposed to sale at the court house in Wilkesborough to satisfy taxes due; 100 acres on the Waters of New River, given in by Thomas Gibson for 1798 and 150 acres lying on New River Waters, given in by Sheppard Gibson, for 1799.

The Gibson DNA Project (Lineage III) shows a shared ancestor of Buck Gibson to the Louisa County, Virginia Gibson lines but also with the John Gibson line of the Pee Dee Settlement.  While Joel and Andrew Gibson appear to have came from Rockingham County, North Carolina and associated with Champ Gibson and Thomas Gibson who died in 1780, wife Mary, of Henry County, Virginia it is unclear who David and Mary Gibson were residing in Wilkes County in 1778.  William Gibson born in Monks County, South Carolina, another early settler in Wilkes County is also unaccounted for.  These Louisa County Gibsons seem to be connected to the Gideon Gibson family of the Pee Dee Settlement through DNA, and it is my speculation at this time the Gibsons of Charles City County were early Indian traders as the first Thomas Gibson accompanied John Smith to erect a home for Powhatan in 1608. 

It is worthy to note that Bryson Gibson born 1782, son of Thomas Gibson , early settler of Stony Creek Church in present Scott County, Virginia *does not* match the DNA of the Louisa County or Pee Dee Gibsons.  Bryson's family went to Magoffin, Morgan Counties in Kentucky and were known as 'Indians of Magoffin' and to Highland County, Ohio where they were called 'Carmel Indians'.  It is unknown how or if Bryson was related to Buck Gibson.  There were as many as FIVE different Gibson lines found on Newman's Ridge. 

Later associations with the traders Robert Hicks, George Reeves, Robert Lang, James Adair etc., indicate they likely accompanied these traders to the Cherokee, Catawba, Chickasaw and other tribes.  Granville County, North Carolina records of 1749 show Edward Nicks, son in law of Thomas Gibson who died in Louisa County in 1734, along with John Gibson as neighbors of Christopher Gist and his son Nathaniel [said to be father of Sequoyah] on the Dan River.  Sneedville in Hancock County, Tennessee was first called Greasy Rock and according to Lewis Jarvis, attorney of Hancock County; was a rendezvous point for traders.  This cession map  shows the 1785 Cherokee boundary line as well as the 'Kentucky Road' passing through Sneedville/Greasy Rock in current Hancock County, Tennessee.

Useful Links
Gibson Research
Rockingham County Indians
Gibson Family of Pee Dee