Dettie Louisa GIBSON BATES and the Sibling Melting Pot

On this day in 1957 my maternal great grandmother Dettie GIBSON BATES passed away. On this same day in 1828, Bart’s maternal 3rd great grandfather, Heinrich Wolhelm WOLF was born. As for the blog, I’ll celebrate Dettie’s life today and celebrate Heinrich’s tomorrow. I can’t wait to get started!

I’m going to tell you a secret. I don’t always know what story I’m going to tell when I sit down to write. Sometimes I sit down and I’m stuck because I just don’t see the story. Dettie was one of those. I was surprised that I’d never written specifically about her and yet I really didn’t know what story to tell you about her. When I’m stuck I have a formula to get “un-stuck”. Usually by the time I’m done with the formula, I’m able to keep writing and finish the story. With Dettie, I pulled through the formula and by the time I was starting the second paragraph I knew what I was going to write. Except, I didn’t write it. This is one of those stories that hijacked ME. I was going to go one way and the story said, “Nope! THIS is the story that’s going to be told today!” I have to tell you, I never would have chosen this story line about siblings but this is the one that was dying to get out today so here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Dettie was my maternal great grandmother. She was born in 1883 in Kansas to James Thomas “JT” and Lucinda DOW GIBSON.

Dettie is sitting and her sister, Barbara Myrtle, is standing.

My mom doesn’t recall much about Dettie but says what she remembers is that Dettie was a small woman. One of Dettie’s legs was shorter the other. Dettie also lost a finger in a canning factory accident. If you look closely you can see that she has only 3 fingers in this photo of she and her husband, Albert Lewis BATES.

Albert and Dettie GIBSON BATES’ wedding photograph.

I wanted to tell you stories only about Dettie but her mom (Lucinda) kept poking her head into the story. You can go here for background about Dettie’s mom but long story short- she couldn’t keep a man…or maybe the men couldn’t keep her! I’m not sure which way it was but every time- and I mean EVERY time- I research Lucinda I find a new record. Her background lays the foundation for Dettie’s story.

The first census that Dettie was enumerated in was the State of Kansas census of 1885. Dettie was one year old. The census is interesting to me not because of Dettie but because Dettie’s mom is listed as ‘Mulatto’. I have not found any evidence of her being Native American nor that she is any race other than Caucasian but I am still searching.

By the time the next census rolled around Dettie’s mom had remarried to David JONES. Other minors in the home in this 1900 Federal census for Arkansas were Dettie’s sister Barbara and her half-brother Leander. Dettie also had two other half-siblings through her mother plus at least one child borne by her mother that I cannot account for yet), at least 10 half-siblings through her father, at least four additional step-siblings through her stepfather David, and at least two additional step-siblings through her stepfather Robert GATEWOOD. By those numbers this family should have exactly ZERO secrets! We should be floating in information! And today, once again, I found new information about Lucinda. That information provided the two GATEWOOD step-siblings I just told you about. The other thing I discovered today is that unlike what Lucinda told public officials, she wasn’t a widow of Robert GATEWOOD. All that time I spent looking for his death certificate circa 1910-1920 in Missouri was in vain. Just today I located him. He lived until at least 1920 and was living in Oklahoma at that time. He outlived Lucinda by at least a year.


Siblings are such an important part of life and Dettie had an abundance of them! Since she had so many, I want to close by giving you a list of the ones I know about.

Dettie’s full sister:
Barbara Myrtle GIBSON (married Frank FISHER)

Dettie’s half-siblings through her mom (and mom’s several husbands):
Mary Rebecca ALBIN (married Ulyssus GOSSETT)
William Edgar (ALBIN) GIESE (he was adopted out at a very young age)
Leander B. JONES (one of only two known siblings younger than Dettie)

Dettie’s half-siblings through her dad:
William Lafayette GIBSON
Jane Lucinda GIBSON (married a HENRY)
Mary E. GIBSON (married James McHALEY)
James Melvin GIBSON
Samuel Luke A. GIBSON
Eliza J. GIBSON (married Issacher KELLUM)
Reed Isiah GIBSON
Ella Amanda GIBSON (married Shorty LONG; I wrote a blog post about this couple here)

Dettie’s step-siblings through her mom’s several husbands:
Emma JONES (married Charles KROPP)
William JONES
Samuel L. JONES
Harry Monroe GATEWOOD (one of only two known siblings younger than Dettie)

If you count the children that George ALBIN had after his marriage with Dettie’s mom ended (before Dettie was born) you would have to include these step-siblings on top of the ones already named:
Clara Lula ALBIN
Clyde Emmerson ALBIN
Ethel Eliza ALBIN (married Ray F. GLENN)

In addition to all of these children, there is one child I have been unable to account for and am assuming either this baby was adopted out or was born and died in between census years. On the 1900 census, Lucinda stated she had given birth to 6 children. I have only been able to account for 5 of these children. I’m still holding out hope that one of us finds this child.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a peek into Dettie’s childhood. It would be interesting to know what kinds of relationships she had with all these siblings. Perhaps one day I’ll find out. Hug your siblings tight today. Whatever squabbles you have between you, set them aside- it isn’t worth losing a sibling over.

Until tomorrow,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

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