Gibson was platted on October 20, 1890 and organized in 1891. In its early days, it was the railroad that made the town. The first train to Gibson made its stop on December 20, 1890. It was part of Louis Houck’s Missouri and Arkansas Railroad Company. The line extended from Cape Girardeau with connections in St. Louis, Kennett and Gibson.
The line had two passenger trains per day. It was most often referred to as the Houck Road and later became known as the Ham Train, after one of the conductors who lived in Campbell. The town was incorporated on August 4, 1902. Voters elected five trustess, who elected one of the trustees to serve as chairman. The trustees were responsible for appointing a town clerk, marshall, collector, treasurer and street commissioner. The town’s first mayor was David C. Pollock.
Gibson was originally called Canaan Island. It included what locals know today as North Canaan, South Canaan and Gibson. Gibson, named after one of the first families, later became the name of all the areas, totaling 160 acres (0.65 km2).
Gibson’s early days including a railroad station, sawmill, cotton gin, grist mill, grocery store, church and schoolhouse. Farming was also one of the townspeople’s leading businesses. The town continued to grow, and in a few years, Gibson had a drug store, physician, two lodges, a barber shop, blacksmith shop, three general stores and two car dealerships. Gibson had two local baseball teams, the Gibson Grinnel Eaters and the Canaan Islanders.
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