We have no information on William's parents except that he had a sister, Helena, who died in 1842 aged 19. She is buried in the family plot in St Marys Parish Church. In his diary written in the 1890s he made the following reference to his relations:
'All my people ( 5 in number ) died at ages varying from seven to thirty eight years.' ( of consumption)
Captain Gibbons was at sea for many years and his surviving diaries give us facinating accounts of his voyages abroad. He settled in Dungarvan and established a business as a corn and coal merchant. He is listed as such in Slater's commercial directory 1870. His grain store was situated in Carbery's Lane ( it is now incorporated in the L&N supermarket).
In 1885 William was elected as a town commissioner and was chairman in 1887. In November 1887 he published a pamphlet titled - 'Dungarvan Town Board 1884-1887 with History & Sale of Town Hall & Buttermarket in 1884.'
In 1891 extensive alterations were carried out at St.Mary's Parish Church and Captain Gibbons and his wife donated the east windows.
The Gibbon's Bequest
In his will Captain Gibbons left the then substantial sum of £1,760 to the people of Dungarvan. What motivated him to give this generous bequest? Perhaps the answer can be found in the following entry from his diary dated 17 June 1890:
'I have no wish to accumulate money for its own sake and certainly none to enrich children, who may be injured rather than served, even if I could leave them wealthy. I hold I have done my duty fairly and respectably, but I hope not foolishly by all those depending on me.'
Author: Willie Fraher