Research in Progress Laura Wolcott Gibbs

Original Source of research:

Another gentlewoman of the same period was Mrs. Laura Wolcott Gibbs, wife of Colonel George Gibbs of Newport. The first Oliver Wolcott, a Signer, Governor of Connecticut and General in the Revolutionary War, was her grandfather; while the second of the same name, Secretary of the Treasury under Washington and Adams, Governor of his State and United States Judge, was her father. I am in the fullest sympathy with the following remarks concerning her made at her funeral by the Rev. Dr. Henry W. Bellows: “I confess I always felt in the presence of Mrs. Gibbs as if I were talking with Oliver Wolcott himself, and saw in her self-reliant, self-asserting and independent manner and speech an unmistakable copy of a strong and thoroughly individual character, forged in the hottest fires of national struggle. The intense individuality of her nature set her apart from others. You felt that from the womb she must have been just what she was—a piece of the original granite on which the nation was built…. The force, the courage, the self-poise she exhibited in the ordinary concerns of our peaceful life would in a masculine frame have made, in times of national peril, a patriot of the most decided and energetic character—one able and willing to believe all things possible, and to make all the efforts and sacrifices by which impossibilities are accomplished.”

Mrs. Gibbs was literally steeped and moulded in the traditions of the past; in fact, she was a reminder of the noble women of the Revolutionary era, many of whom have left records behind them. She was gifted with a keen sense of humor, and her talent in repartee was proverbial. Although many years my senior, I found delightful companionship in her society, and her home was always a great resource to me. Her accomplished daughter, the wife of Captain Theophile d’Oremieulx, U.S.A., was particularly skilled in music. Her son, Wolcott Gibbs, the distinguished Professor of Harvard University,[148] maintained to the last the high intellectual standard of his ancestors. He died several years ago. I was informed by his mother that at one period of its history Columbia College desired to secure his services as a professor, but that the Hon. Hamilton Fish, one of its trustees and an uncompromising Episcopalian, objected on the ground of his Unitarian faith and was sustained by the Board of Trustees. It seemed a rather inconsistent act, as at another period of its history a Hebrew was chosen as a member of the same faculty.

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