Member Biography

Charles L. Gibbons Sr.


 The Gibbons Family, A Chester County Family, 1884, Genealogy Open Stacks, HSP. 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1845       1 Whig
1846       1 Whig
1847     Speaker 1 Whig

COUNTIES: Philadelphia City  


03/30/1814 - 08/14/1884

Charles L. Gibbons, Sr. (W1) Philadelphia City 1845-1847

Early Life: 

Charles L. Gibbons, Sr., born March 30, 1814, Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware; son of Doctor William Gibbons and  Rebecca Donaldson Gibbons; read law under Charles Chauncey of Philadelphia; admitted, Philadelphia bar, 1838; became his mentor’s law partner (specialized in civil law); Philadelphia District Attorney; elected, Whig, Pennsylvania Senate, 1845-1847; married, Elizabeth Cox “Eliza” Hull Gibbons 1839, children, Caroline Hull Gibbons White, Charles Gibbons Jr.; died, August 14, 1884 (aged 70), rheumatic gout, summer home, Beach Haven, Ocean County, New Jersey; interment, Laurel Hill Cemetery Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:

Former Whig played a major role in the formation of the 1856 Republican Party; served, organization’s first state convention chair; named and co-founded the Union League, 1862, served, director, Union League, 1863-1869, vice-president, 1870-1874. Planned League recruitment Civil War, helping to organize nine regiments (black and white), cavalry and artillery companies. A crusader for African American equality; expressed a devout hatred of slavery, aligning with Governor Andrew Curtin-Senator Alexander McClure faction of the Union Republican Party.   

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1st district, Philadelphia City, 1845-1847. In the Senate, supported high tariffs, promoted the incorporation of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, while advocating efforts to expedite the completion of a Pennsylvania Central Railroad line; repeal the fugitive slave act; elected, Speaker of the Senate, 1847.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members "G""Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

The Gibbons Family, A Chester County Family, 1884.  

Obituary of the Honorable Charles Gibbons, Public Ledger (Philadelphia), August 15, 1884. 

Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, editors James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, six volumes New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889. 

Last Will and Testament of Charles L. Gibbons, executed 14 August 1884. 

Chronicles of the Union League of Philadelphia, 1862-1902 (Philadelphia: William F. Fell and Company, 1902), page 42.

Maxwell Whiteman, Gentlemen in Crisis: The First Century of the Union League of Philadelphia, 1862-1962 (Philadelphia: The Union League of Philadelphia, 1975), page 74.

Senate Journal, February 13, 1846, page 195.

Charles Gibbons (1814-1884) - Find a Grave Memorial