In the previous post I assessed the evidence that my 6 x great grandfather John Gibson was the man of that name who was declared bankrupt and imprisoned in the Fleet in 1742. If that person was indeed my ancestor, then it appears that by the mid-1750s at the latest he was once again a free man. In the meantime, as I noted in an earlier post, two of his daughters had married. Jane Gibson was married to William Coates of Theydon Mount, and my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Gibson was married to John Collins of Epping, both of these men being neighbours of the Gibsons at their country estate of Woodredon, near Waltham Abbey in Essex.


In August 1754, a third Gibson daughter embarked on married life. Seventeen-year-old Ann Gibson was married at the church of St George-in-the-East, Stepney. The witnesses were her father John Gibson and her brother-in-law William Coates. The bridegroom was Charles Gottfried Schwartz, about whom I’ve managed to discover frustratingly little. He is said to be ‘of this parish’, i.e. St George in the East. In 1759, five years after this marriage, a man by the name of Carl Frederick, otherwise Charles Schwartz, a mariner from the same parish, made his will. Frustratingly, the testator makes no reference to any family members, leaving everything he owns to friends.

However, in the absence of other evidence, and given what we know about his son’s later career, it seems likely that Charles was a merchant, perhaps with maritime connections, and probably a member of the substantial German immigrant community living in London and trading mainly with the cities of the Hanseatic League. The absence of records for the Schwartzes after their marriage may be because their children were baptised in one of London’s German churches, whose archives are not easily accessible.


Part of John Rocque’s London map of 1746

In the summer of 1759 Ann’s sister, my 5 x great grandmother Elizabeth Collins née Gibson, gave birth to a daughter. Frances Collins was baptised at St Botolph’s, Aldgate, on 8th July. The parish register gives the family’s address as Darby Street, between the churchyard and Rosemary Lane (see map above). As far as I know, Frances was the Collinses only child, and certainly the only one to survive to adulthood.

The next Gibson sister to marry was Mary, who married William Hunter at St Botolph’s in March 1760, with both of her parents acting as witnesses. Little is known about William, except that he was a mariner.


Ships on the Thames, London, 18th century

In January 1561 it was Frances Gibson‘s turn to marry. Her husband was Michael Bonner, like Charles Schwarz a resident of the parish of St George-in-the-East, and another mariner. Despite his address at the time of their marriage, Michael Bonner was probably born not far from the Gibson family home. Michael, son of John Bonner, mariner, and his wife Frances Robertson, was born in East Smithfield and baptised at St Botolph’s, Aldgate, in 1733, though the family had moved to Stepney by the time their daughter Sarah was born three years later.

Michael and Frances Bonner had two sons. John William Bonner was born (like his cousin Frances Collins) in Darby Street, in 1762, while his brother Michael Bonner the younger was born in Bird Street, Stepney, in 1768. The parish register announcing the latter’s baptism describes his father as a captain, suggesting that by this stage he commanded his own ship. At some stage, the Bonners crossed the river to make their home in Bermondsey, where they would live until Michael and Frances Bonner both died in 1802.

My 6 x great grandfather John Gibson died early in the year 1763 and was buried on 20th February at the church of St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney. He was 64 years old. His daughter Elizabeth’s first husband John Collins must have died before this time, though I’ve yet to find a record of his death, since on on 20th Mary 1763, three months to the day after her father’s funeral, Elizabeth married her second husband, and my 5 x great grandfather, Joseph Holdsworth, at the church of St Magdalene, Bermondsey. I’ll write about their life together in another post.


In 1764 Sir John, later Baron Henneker, began to acquire the manor of Woodredon in Essex from John Gibson’s widow Mary, a process that would only be completed after Mary’s death a quarter of a century later. In the meantime, Mary and her unmarried daughter Sarah appear to have moved from Tower Hill to the then genteel, semi-rural suburb of Mile End Old Town, where there are records of Mary Gibson paying land tax in 1766. It seems likely that Mary’s mother, Mary Greene, had died in the interim.

It was from an address in Mile End Old Town that John and Mary Gibson’s only son Bowes John would marry his first wife, Elizabeth Hindley, on 13th October 1766. The ceremony took place at the parish church of St Dunstan’s, where Bowes John’s father had been buried three years earlier.

The illustrious family of Bowes John Gibson is certainly deserving of a separate post, though before telling their story, my next post will attempt to disentangle the often complicated ties between the grandchildren of John and Mary Gibson, in the second half of the eighteenth century.