Place of migration:
Migrated to/Born in USA

John Gibbons  1860

My great-grandfather, John Gibbons, was born in Aran, County Galway on March 26, 1860 to Daniel Gibbons and Bridget Ward.  He was baptized in the parish of Kilcolgan on March 29, 1860 with Patrick Ward and Surney (?) Ward as his godparents.  Baptismal records for John’s 5 siblings (Michael 1861; Mary 1863; Margaret 1865; Celia 1868; Honoria 1871) are also in Kilcolgan parish.

John immigrated to America, on the ship Lord Gough, arriving in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 31, 1880 and initially stayed with his godfather uncle Patrick Ward.

John moved to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (suburban Philadelphia) where he worked on a farm in Fitzwatertown.  There he met Mary Askin of Bolie, County Derry.  Mary was a seamstress/servant and had immigrated in 1874 with her widowed father and 2 siblings.

On February 5, 1885, John married Mary Askin at Immaculate Conception BVM Roman Catholic Church in Jenkintown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  After marrying, they lived in Philadelphia where their first 2 children were born; Jeremiah (1886-1886), Henry (Harry) Ward (1887-1962).  John worked in the freight department of the Reading Railroad in Philadelphia until a strike cost him his job.  John, Mary and Harry moved to the Oreland or Glenside area of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania where John worked as a laborer in iron ore extraction.  This is where their daughters Mary (1890-1980) and Sara Elizabeth (1892-1990) were born.

After the iron ore streak ended, John and Mary went back to farming and worked on farms (share farming) in Montgomery County.  Their 4 other children were born at various farms in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  They are; John Jr. (1894-1895) born in Prospectville, Kathryn Margaret (1897-1985) born in Jarrettown, Francis (Frank) Daniel (1899-1975) born in Whitmarsh Township and James Michael (1902-1969) born in Broad Axe.

John was a quiet man but was interested in everything his children were involved in.  He helped them with school lessons in writing, reading and arithmetic.  John had a good sense of humor and was a deeply religious man.  He learned to play the violin after age 40 because he wanted to play Connaughtman’s Ramble.  John learned other Irish tunes, as well, and would entertain Mary and the children in the evenings after their long days working on the farm.

After saving up money for many years, John and Mary bought a house in Rockledge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1913.  They also bought the adjoining lot so John could do his farming/gardening he so loved.  He grew asparagus, eggplant, kale, tomatoes, string beans, lima beans, sweet corn and cabbage.  John worked at a local golf course cutting grass, trimming, etc. in winter and summer.  He stopped working at the golf course after his 2nd heart attack at about age 75.  John worked his vegetable garden until the last year of his life.

John died October 24, 1952, at the age of 92, at his home in Rockledge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  His wife Mary passed away 16 months later.  They are buried at St. Anthony of Padua Cemetery in Ambler, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In the 1901 Census of Ireland, John’s parents, Daniel and Bridget Gibbons, and siblings Michael and Celia are listed as residents of a house 22 in Killeenaran, Parliamentary Division: South Galway; Poor Law Union: Gort; Barony: Dunkellin; Sub-District: Kilcolgan; Parish: Drumacoo.  In the 1911 Census of Ireland, Daniel, Bridget and Michael are listed as residents of a house 10 in Killeenaran.

John’s mother, Bridget Ward, died July 29, 1914 at age 82, with daughter-in-law Norah Gibbons (Connell) present at her death.  His father Daniel Gibbons, died November 9, 1917, at age 95, with son Michael present at his death.  Both Daniel and Bridget’s places of death are listed as Aran, District of Kinvara, Union of Gort, County Galway.  Their place of burial is unknown.

John’s brother Michael (1861-?) was baptized in the parish of Kilcolgan on August 24, 1861 with Henry Ward and Mary McKean as his godparents.  In 1914, Michael married Honor (Nora) Connell in Craughwell, County Galway and had 1 child Patrick (1916-?).  During the time of the Black and Tans, Michael’s home was burned. So as not to be found, Michael dug a hole and slept there at night. His date of death and burial location is unknown.

John’s sister Mary (1863-1947) was baptized in the parish of Kilcolgan on July 13, 1863 with Martin Quinn and Mary Ward as her godparents.  His sister Margaret (1865-1931) was baptized in the parish of Kilgolgan on December 29, 1865 with Marty Kiely and Selia (Celia) Ward as her godparents.  Both sisters immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Mary arrived in 1883 and Margaret’s arrival is currently unknown.  In 1890, Mary married James Murray in Philadelphia and had 6 children.  In 1912, Margaret married Patrick Kelly in Philadelphia and had no children.  Both sisters died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and are buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

John’s sister Celia (1868-1957) was baptized in the parish of Kilcolgan on December 31, 1868 with Patrick Warde and Maria Fitzgibbons as her godparents. In 1904, Celia married Bartly Mooney in Ballindereen, County Galway and had 5 children; Mary (1905-?), Thomas (1906-?), Delia (1907-?), Martin (1910-?), Norah (1911-1911).  Celia died in Knockakilleen, County Galway with daughter-in-law Nora Mooney present at her death.  Her burial location is unknown.

John’s sister Honoria/Honor (1871-?) was baptized in the parish of Kilcolgan on March 9, 1871 with (?) Millville (?) and Maria Ward as her godparents. Honor is still a work in progress.  At this time, it is unknown if she immigrated to America or remained in Ireland.

According to family lore the Gibbons name may have been Fitzgibbons early on.  Subsequently, John’s sister Celia is listed as Fitzgibbons in her baptismal record, as is her father Daniel and her godmother Maria.

Additional Information
Date of Birth 26th Mar 1860  
Date of Death 24th Oct 1952  


  • This is such an interesting Chronicle - you have done an amazing job of telling John's life and also that of his family who stayed in Ireland. Do you have any connections with South Galway - Kilcolgan, Ballindereen, Kinvara today? 

    IrelandXO Moderator LC

    Monday 24th February 2020, 01:09PM
  • Hello Laura,

    Thank you for reading my Chronicle.  I do not have any connections with South Galway today, but I hope to somehow.  It would be great to find descendents of John's siblings who remained in Ireland.  Or descendents of John's aunts and uncles on his father and mother's lines. I would love to find some connections.

    Thank you,


    Wednesday 26th February 2020, 12:52AM
  • Hi de Lourdes,

    Thank you so much for all your help. It is amazing what you can find out once 'on the ground'. (Although not everyone 'on the ground' has your special talents of investigation).

    Noirin, I hope this will be the first step in helping you connect with your family in Ballinderreen. Let us know how you get on and maybe one day we will welcome you here for a long overdue cup of tea.



    IrelandXO Moderator LC

    Thursday 5th March 2020, 12:13PM
  • Dear Sr. de Lourdes Fahy,

    Thank you so much for your help!  I can’t thank you enough for researching my family!  Thank you for providing the Drumacoo cemetery as the likely burial location for my great-great-grandparents.  I will do some research on that cemetery.

    I will also find ways to connect with the Huban and Mooney folks with the hope they can share info/stories passed down from Ceila Gibbons.  Thanks to your help, this will be possible!

    Yes, Daniel Gibbons did have a brother Owen.  Three of Owen’s 8 (?) children came to Philadelphia, but I have not found any living decedents yet of Owen, anywhere.

    Are you aware of any Ward’s still in the parish?  My gggrandmother Bridget Ward had 5 siblings (Ceila, Mary/Marie, Michael, Patrick, Henry).  Patrick came to Philadelphia, but her other siblings remained in Ballindereen.  I do not have any info on her sisters Ceila, Mary/Marie.  Bridget’s brother Michael married and had a son Patrick Ward, but I do not know who he married, or any date details.  Bridget’s brother Henry (1845-1895) married Mary Madden and had 5 children (Mary, Daniel, Patrick, Bridget, Ceila).  Mary, Daniel and Patrick came to Philadelphia.  His daughter Celia (1875-1940) stayed in Ballindereen and married Patrick Connelly and had 4 children (Christopher, Patrick, Maryanne, Henry).  I do not know what became of his daughter Bridget (1877-?).

    Laura, thank you for sharing my great-grandfather's chroncile.  I look forward to that cup of tea!



    Sunday 8th March 2020, 03:43PM