Gibson House

© Copyright by Jean Leeper and the Lewelling Quaker Museum Board

 

New counter on September 13, 2011

Located along the north side of the strip of land between School Street and Pioneer (Pig Alley) Steet that the Lewelling brothers once owned. Extraction of these land records follow the pictures of the Gibson house that William Lewelling may have built.

Another View

Gibson House. (2 pictures) At one time Isaac Gibson owned and he was the brother of Tamar and Mary Gibson who married Peter and George Hobson, and the Hobson brothers are tied to the Underground Railroad and/or the Lewelling house. The above house was on School Street and sat near what is now first base on the grade school baseball diamond, about three blocks east from the Lewelling House. It too was destroyed by fire.

It is not believed that Isaac Gibson owned the property during the Civil War, but purchased it later. Need abstract to verify. Lewis Savage believes that William Lewelling built this house and being a teacher with the gift of ministry did not have the funds his brother's John and Henderson had.

 

 

younger manolder man

Isaac Gibson

From the Free Press, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa Sept 30, 1915‚"Recent investigations have discovered a strangely planned cellar; what would seem to be a well but no water; and passages leading underground some distance from the Gibson house."   (Article written right after Isaac Gibson's death)

From The Iowan June-July 1956 by Curt Harnack page 23‚ "Another house is owned by my father, Jay Long.  It has bars on the basement windows yet and two doors inside that were hiding places." (The house Jay Long owned was the Isaac Gibson's house.)

From the Mt. Pleasant News, Nov 25, 1972, "The cellar was divided into several small rooms, each with a stout door and the cellar windows were barred." 

Picture from Bob Mendenhall to the Lewelling Quaker Museum

This picture shows a bricked cellar room that goes a little ways back.  Some believed used to hide runaway slaves.

Stories of tunnels running between houses cannot be documented, as no one bothered to write what they knew down. But Elsie Craig, 86 in 2006 and still with a clear memory, remembers her father, Charles Ross Pidgeon, who was born in 1877, telling about tunnels that one person could be in near Pig Alley (her term), that road that ran east from Whittier College/Academy (later Salem High School.)  The teachers warned the kids to stay out of these tunnels and the tunnels were boarded up trying to keep kids out.  Her father said they did not appear to run a long ways.  She said they were near Old Grandma Weeks (what the kids called her) property and from the conversation, south of the house where Isaac Gibson lived.  Mr. Pidgeon descended from Isaac and Phebe Pidgeon early Salem pioneers and who were part of the group who were removed from Salem Meeting for joining the Separatist meeting. The information below shows that Henderson and William Lewelling in 1842 purchased the land that was between School Street and Pig Alley and where the Gibson house was located. 

This leads me to believe that a tunnel might have lead from a field to the Gibson house or another, unknown to us, Underground Railroad house south of School Street.

No other tunnel documentation can be found.

 

From 1842 Land records we can show that The Lewellings owned the above properties.

Yellow - Henderson Lewelling Orange William Lewelling and blue - John Lewelling

On the above map I have tried to mark some of their property on the south side of Salem but the abstracts of titles will all need to be searched to verify.  It looks like that Henderson and William Lewelling owned all of the land between South School Street and East Pioneer Street (Pig Alley)

 

31st day of the 8th  month 1842, page 308-309 for $350

Aaron Street Jr. and Peter Boyer to Henderson Lewelling

... the first commencing fifty links south of the South East corner of Block No. twenty-four in the Town of Salem, thence South eight chains and forty seven links to the Quarter section line thence west along said line sixteen chains and fifty  links, thence N 24º 46' East fifteen chains forty links thence South five chains, thence east nine chains, eighty-two links, to its beginning (Lewelling Quaker Museum property, abstract documents)

 

 The second commencing fifty (sic) fifty links South and sixty-two links east of the South East corner of Block twenty-three in Salem running south eight chains and thirty four links to the quarter section line, thence east along said line three chains seventy five links hence North eight chains twenty eight links, thence west three chains, seventy five links to the place of beginning.  (Believed to be O. L.  18-19 and part of 20 and 21, Need abstract to document completely.)

 

The third commencing fifty links east of the North East corner of Block # twenty-one in Salem, running South thirteen chains, seventeen links, thence east eighteen chains sixty-two links, thence north six chains, nineteen links, thence west fifteen chains, thence North six chains, seventy-four links, thence west three chains, sixty-two links to the place of its beginning containing altogether thirty-one acres and eighty eight hundredths be the same more or less (O. L. 26 plus land along diagonal early road up to the side of lot 21.  Will get abstract to prove for sure.)  This would contain the Gibson house as it was called later and the possible tunnel(s) near that house.

  Signed by Aaron Street, Elizabeth Street, Peter Boyer and Cecilia Boyer

 

31st  day of the 8th month 1841 page 311-312 for $120

Aaron Street Jr. and Peter Boyer to William Lewelling

... the first commencing fifty links east and fifty links South of the South East corner of Block # twenty-one in the town of Salem running South eight chains thirty-four links to the quarter Section line; thence west seven chains, thirty-four links, thence North eight chains twenty-eight links, thence East seven chains and thirty-four to the place of its beginning.   It is O. L. 22 and part of 20 and 21. Will verify with abstract later.

The second commencing fifty links south of the South West corner of Block twenty-three in Salem, thence East five chains eight links, thence South eight chains seventeen links to the quarter section line, thence west along said line five chains, eight links, thence North eight chains forty-five links to the place of its beginning.  Containing all together ten acres and thirty hundredth be the same more or less.

Signed by Aaron Street, Elizabeth Street, Peter Boyer and Cecilia Boyer

O. L. 14-17 10.3 acres.   Abstract for Peter Collins house (brick house across from Lewelling Quaker Museum verifies)

 

27th day of the 4th  month 1841 page 309-310 for $40.00

Aaron Street Jr. and Peter Boyer to Henderson Lewelling

Lots # 3 and 4 in Block # twenty-two

Signed by Aaron Street, Elizabeth Street, Peter Boyer and Cecilia Boyer

 

31st day of the 8th  month 1842 page 310-311 for $40.00

Aaron Street Jr. and Peter Boyer to John Lewelling

Lots # 1 and 2 in Block # twenty-two

   Signed by Aaron Street, Elizabeth Street, Peter Boyer and Cecilia Boyer

 

16th day of the 4th month 1847 Deed Book F page 415

Henderson Lewelling and his wife Elizabeth have made constituted and appointed and by all those present do make constitute and appoint John Lewelling of the County and State aforesaid our lawful attorney for us and in our name and stead to convey by a good deed of general warrantee all real Estate belonging to us and situated in Said County. And further to ask, demand, sue for and receive all sums of money, debts and demands which is our shall be due and belonging to us.

 

10th day of the 3rd month 1847 Deed Book F page 205 for $733

Henderson Lewelling and Elizabeth his wife convey to William Lewelling Lot # 4 in Block # 19

Signed 5th day 4d month 1847 by Henderson Lewelling and Elizabeth Lewelling

Recorded 6th April 1847

 

Terms

Rod 16.5 feet or 5.5 yards.

4 rods = 1 chain or 22 yards.

Chain 66 feet long or 100 links

Each link 7.92 inches. 

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