Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Gibson

A simple flat stone marker for The Honourable Sir John Morison Gibson. 10th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1908-14 was knighted in 1912. He was born in Toronto of Scottish immigrants and grew up in the Hamilton area. As one of the "5 John's" who formed the Dominion Power and Transmission Company that brought hydroelectricity to Hamilton in 1896, he was part of an influential group of men and this John used his many connections to merge his political career with business and real estate and eventually transportation. With his financial and legal interests, there were a few conflicts of interest that he managed to use to his advantage. He was not a popular Lt Governor as he chafed under the restriction of his office where he could not be his usual autocratic self and freely express his opinions. But, like many a businessman, he was also a great philanthropist and helped form the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Wentworth Historical Society, was on the board of the Hamilton School Trustees for 15 years where he championed the upgrading of educational facilities and the hiring of better-educated teachers, and urged the creation of an industrial school and a public library.
He experienced great personal loss in his family life and would marry three times, to Emily Birrell in 1869 (d. 1874), Caroline Hope in 1876 (d. 1877 along with their daughter), Elizabeth Malloch in 1881 (d. 1929) From this last marriage came four sons and two daughters. Three of his sons would predecease him - in 1908, John Gordon would die of TB, in 1915, Francis Malloch would be killed in action in France and in 1920, Archibald Hope would lose his life to influenza. Sir John died of a stroke in 1929 at his home, Ravenscliffe.
K.C.M.G. Knight Commander of St Michael and St George
K.C. King's Counsel
LLD Doctor of Law
MA Master of Arts
V.D. Volunteer Decoration
As a freemason since 1867, Gibson also rose to Grand Master of the lodge in 1892-94.

for a Taphophile Tragics at the Hamilton Cemetery

10 comments:

Nicola Carpenter said...

Such an interesting life and such a simple stone.

Beneath Thy Feet

Paul in Powell River said...

A good long lifespan, for the times.

Peter said...

Lots of achievements, both personal and professional. Agree, a simple stone.

Lois said...

He certainly led an interesting life. I like the simplicity of the stone myself.

Julie said...

He must have been a comflcted man: there are two dominant strains that run right through his life. As you say, he is autocratic, and I would think domineering with a born-to-rule mentality where he could do not wrong. We think of it sometimes as a 'benevolent dictatorship', but it is still taking away the self-determnation of other people. Very condescending. And yet ... and yet ... he did a range of good things that bordered on a belief in equality. And yet ... and yet ... he had a simple stone which means (IMHO) that he had a simple soul. Perhaps I am wrong ...

I like that concept of the Five Johns. They must have had a massive impact on their time to be grouped in such a way.

Now ... both his first and second wife died early: way too early. However, both he and this third wife died in the same year, 1929. Did he die first of the stroke, and she died afterwards? Do you know? Please do not tellme that she took her own life, being unable to live without him. Now that WOULD complicate my vision of him.

Lowell said...

This is a particularly fascinating piece. It's amazing he lived so long with three wives! :-) What I think is most interesting about him is the fact he was able to accomplish quite a lot in the midst of much family tragedy.

Mark said...

A really interesting post. Thanks.

hamilton said...

I know I have a photo of the Malloch monument, but I cannot find it. I will have to go back and take another to get the dates of Elizabeth and her family. I must say, it never occurred to me that she might have done such a thing.

hamilton said...

and yes, these men had a great influence in the future aspects of the city. this was back in the day when politicians could still be businessmen and could therefore shape the city to their own commercial gain.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Incredible mix of achievements and tragedies! So strange that his wife died in the same year as this Ontario governor. Such a huge public life, I wonder that he had any time for a family life.